What Are the Arm Bands That Football Players Wear?

American football players

Armbands are regularly seen on the football field. These are not your traditional wristbands, but rather bands of varying thicknesses and widths that players usually wear on or near their upper arms. Players wear these armbands for fairly straightforward reasons, according to The New York Times.

Looking Good

The mystery behind the armbands are not a mystery at all. “It’s a good look,” according to New York Giants linebacker Danny Clark, as quoted by The New York Times. Clark said the bands fall right where he has bulging muscles in his upper arm. The bands undoubtedly call attention to these muscles, the same way earrings make people look or your ears or lipstick makes them notice your mouth.

Muscles as Eye Candy

Other players back up Clark’s assessment that armbands are just for show, as does certified athletic trainer Ralph Reiff, who doubles as director of St. Vincent Sport Performance. He told The Times that armbands don’t do anything to enhance the playing ability, the players’ muscles or any other health-related issue. More evidence that the armbands are only for show is the fact that players don’t wear them to practice, only during games when all eyes are on them.

Where to Wear Them

Players wear armbands at different positions. Some, including Clark, wear them in the middle of their biceps. Others keep them right above the bend in the elbow. Some keep them right below it. Still others wear them over long-sleeved shirts rather than flush against the skin. The main key to wearing the armbands is to wear them anywhere around the arm to show off muscles -- but not on the wrist.

An Advertizing Bonanza

Stretched-out wristbands may function as armbands, says The New York Times. Makeshift armbands may be made from cut-up socks, strips of stretchy fabric, athletic tape or a section of a too wide and therefore uncool wristband. Armbands usually feature a sweat-absorbing material like a wristband – only a lot bigger. One brand stretches from a slack 9 inches to 21 inches round. Some armbands are reversible, with a dark color on one side and light on the other so players can use them for home or away games. The armbands often have logos visibly displayed, encouraging fans to purchase that company's products.