Running belts are more than just a cool looking accessory. They give athletes and runners a convenient place to store their valuables and their workout essentials. Depending on the model you choose, you can often carry water bottles and supplements on your run, and some models are so lightweight and comfortable, you won’t even be aware that you are wearing it. It is always a good idea to get something that is waterproof, so your sweat won’t seep into your electronics, and to get something that will help motorists see you at night. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best running belts, and a few reviews to help you start your search.
Top Running Belt Comparison Chart
Do I Need A Running Belt?
A running belt is not a necessity for your average runner, but they do have their benefits for those that like to carry a few essentials or prefer to have gels and water bottles along. If you are at the gym, having a running belt is a great way to keep valuables like your cell phone and keys safe and not somewhere where they could be stolen. Dangling keys and the bulge of an iPhone in your pocket can be distracting while you are running or working out, so having a comfortable, convenient, and accessible place to store them is a great option. You may also prefer to carry other personal items or have water and gels close by for a convenient energy recharge. Whatever you plan to carry, a running belt can give you a safe and secure way of storing these items.
Running Belt Buyer’s Guide
Types of Running Belts
The waistband belt stretches all the way around your waist without a buckle or an attachment giving you a snug fit. It is made of a stretchy material that works to keep your valuables in place. Since there isn’t a buckle, there is less reason for irritation which is a huge plus. You will find that there are two types of waistband belt styles – the traditional belt and the tubular belt.
The traditional belt design is popular among athletes and runners. It has buckles and zippers to hold your valuables securely in place that will also help you to feel more secure that you won’t lose anything. Having these additional compartments can cause you to lose the visual appeal of the belt. This belt can have issues with its loose fit and the fact that it frequently falls down under your waistline. Manufacturers have been working on these issues, and some of the higher-quality models have rectified these problems.
The second design is the tubular belt that has one large compartment that is wrapped totally around your body, and it does not have any additional pockets. This is a simple and straightforward design that has a sleek appearance, and it is constructed of a stretchy type of material that gives you the added security that a close-fitting belt will give you. It should not be restricting, but comfortable and made of a breathable material like mesh. One of the more popular tubular design models is the Flipbelt, but there are many other manufacturers that are copying this design.
Water Bottle Belt
If you are looking to take a bottle of water along on your run or workout, there are specific hydration belts that have a convenient area to store your water. It should have an attachment for your water as well as a storage pocket for your valuables. Some water bottle belts come with their own water bottles that fit exactly into the holsters, so you don’t have to search for a bottle that will work with your belt.
This style is not necessarily beltlike since it fastens onto a different belt, armband, or another article of clothing. They tend to be roomier and carry more items, but they are not as comfortable as the other models.
Race Day Belt
Runners that compete in races will appreciate the belts that come with toggles to hold their race bibs in the front. They also features spacious pockets to hold your valuables, and they have a special elastic waist system that lets you adjust the fit of the belt easily while still allowing a bit of flex to keep the belt from bouncing. This also reduces the opportunity for chafing as you run.
Running Belts for Women
As you do your research, you will see there are many types of belts that do not conform well to a woman’s curves. There are some belts that are tested by female runners that will fit a woman’s figure better, so the belt doesn’t slide down and require constant adjustments. When you running belt fits snugly and isn’t moving around, it helps to increase your comfort and minimize chafing.
Features of a Running Belt
Cost is an important consideration when you are purchasing a running belt, but there are many other features to look at that provide convenience and safety to your run.
Your biggest consideration when purchasing a running belt should be how comfortable the running belt will be while you are moving. The tightest fit will come from the tubular design, but this design can be restricting for some body shapes. Others can expand up to four times from their initial size, and they can provide a nice secure fit for any silhouette. It is always a good idea to try these belts on before buying them, so you know what type of fit and comfort level you are purchasing.
Your next consideration should be the quality of the materials and construction of the running waist. You definitely want to make sure you have a quality product that does not need to be replaced quickly. Most manufacturers are using better materials, such as ultra-thin mesh and breathable lycra, for their products, and they are also making sure to improve designs and pay closer attention to detail that will help their products have a long lifetime and provide the features their customers are looking for.
Depending on how much stuff you like to take along on your run, the storage size of your running belt is a big factor in your purchase. Do you like to take along electronics to listen to music or want a way to place a call in case of an emergency? Do you need to take along an asthma inhaler for health reasons? Many of the running belt models on the market today try to include some sort of storage space for your valuables. However, some pouches and pockets can be on the larger side which may be convenient for your belongings, but they can be pretty bulky and create bounce while you are running.
The appearance of the running belt is not a big consideration for all runners and athletes, but there are some that do care about the style and aesthetics of their running belt. The tubular design has a sleek and straightforward look that many athletes and runners like, and many companies offer different color choices making it possible to personalize your running belt somewhat.
Best Running Belt Reviews
Flipbelt is one of the more well-liked exercise belts that you will find out on the market. It has a sleek and simple design that includes four good sized pockets, and it is entirely made of a water-resistant material. You also have a bunch of colors to choose from that are all bright enough to be seen during your evening run. This is not a new concept, and these features have become a fairly common characteristic of exercise belts over the years. However, it is the superb materials and simple design that sets the Flipbelt apart from all the others.
The Flipbelt is also very comfortable, especially during a serious workout. It is available in five different sizes ranging from 18 inches to 38 inches. The Flipbelt is constructed of a very flexible lycra and micro-poly material that is able to expand and contract to your body’s curves, so it is great for certain body types. Also, your breathing and your movements will not be restricted by the Flipbelt during the heat of your workout. It may be elastic, but it is attached tightly enough that it will not bounce during your run. It has a tubular design with a compliant material that does not require buckles, zippers, or belts, so you avoid any needless chafing or irritation. The breathable material also helps to prevent too much perspiration where the Flipbelt is worn, although it is machine washable if it does become soiled.
The simple and straightforward design also gives it a lightweight and almost invisible feeling when you wear it under a shirt. If you plan to wear it where it can be seen, there are seven colors choices from basic white and black to bright pinks and greens. The more brilliant the color, the more reflective it is for your evening run. The FlipBelt is made of a sweat resistant material that guarantees all your items inside will stay dry during the duration of your run.
Flipbelt does not have a ton of needless pockets that give it a complicated appearance, but it also makes sure you are not wasting the time you could be using to exercise by looking for items in various compartments. But, don’t let the number of pockets fool you, it is still spacious enough to carry your I.D., keys, debit card, or any other necessities you may need. It can even hold larger smartphones like the iPhone 6.
- It has five sizes to choose from
- It is lightweight, so you don’t notice you have it on
- Made of breathable fabric and it doesn’t chafe
- The shape of the pockets makes them easy to open so your stuff falls out
- It moves while you are running requiring adjustments
- Sizing charts are not accurate, so it is easy to get the wrong size
The SPIbelt, or the Small Personal Item Belt, is the original SPIbelt that is ideal for carrying your keys, credit cards, and cash along with your larger smartphones like the iPhone 6. It is one of the more popular running belts that is incredibly compact, but it can still hold several personal items as well as a few GU Energy Gel packs. The SPIbelt has a sleek and streamlined design that makes it perfect for athletes and runners that only want to carry the necessities, which is about all it can handle due to its size. It is constructed of a stretchy material that provides an astonishingly large capacity. It only has one long pouch that you can reach through an outside zipper. The elastic material provides gives the belt surprisingly high capacity, and there is only one long pouch that is accessible by an external zipper. The SPIbelt is constructed with an elastic material that prevents items from sliding around inside, and it has a reflective coating that makes it ideal for evening runs. It is also very comfortable with no bounce, and the soft elastic material reduces chafing. The SPIbelt also has sturdy buckle construction and glides, plus the pouch is expandable and adjustable to fit waists between 24 inches and 47 inches.
- Good construction and stitching
- Items do not bounce around due to the tight fit
- The main pouch will expand if needed
- Does not fit larger smartphones
- The main pouch is not waterproof
- A lot of stretching spoils the reflective coating
The Fitletic Ultimate Race Belt is one of the preferred exercise belts among serious athletes. It is made of moisture resistant neoprene, and it has a pouch large enough to hold keys and electronics, plus interior pockets that are perfect for your I.D. and credit cards. It has a unique design that has six slots on each side giving you convenient access to fuel and gels. Runners will stay safe on their nighttime runs with the reflective front strips, and the included race toggles are designed to hold race number bibs. For athletes and runners that love gel, this belt is the ideal belt design for comfort and convenience.
- Well-constructed – doesn’t shift or ride up
- Has a low profile, and is very durable
- Stays in place without pinching
- Internal pocket is small and not functional
- Too big to wear running
- Needs more room to add on water bottles
The Running Buddy features a pouch design that can be fastened to your armband or belt with a series of magnets that holds it securely in place while you run. It has one of the roomiest designs of its competitors, and it is constructed of a dri-fit material that keeps your valuables from getting wet and damaged from perspiration or rain. The Running Buddy is like many other products like it on the market, and it can hold your valuables including smartphones as large as the iPhone 6 with a larger pouch than other exercise belts.
What sets the Running Buddy apart is the dri-fit material that it is made with that has recently become an industry standard with the higher-quality brands. The breathable exterior ensures that your valuables will remain free of perspiration no matter how hard your workout is. It also has a unique way to fasten to your body with its patented magnets that can be attached to your waistband, and it will remain there securely no matter how hard your run is. Many do prefer the tubular belt design, but that is not a configuration that works for everyone including those with a larger midriff, or women with more curves. Instead of searching for a belt that will conform to your shape and stay in place, the Running Buddy’s unique attachment will make your run comfortable and secure.
- Has a water-resistant inner pocket
- Can be attached to your waist band with magnets
- Stays on securely no matter what your speed is
- Doesn’t come in the best color
- It is bulky and bounces around a lot
- On the small side
The Nathan 5K Runner’s Waist Pack is a compact and streamlined waist pack that features a huge interior pocket that allows you to carry quick a few items while you are on the run. It is the first sports pack that is designed especially for runners, and it will increase your comfort while reducing bounce from your pack while you are in motion. It is made of a neoprene material that comfortably conforms to your body to stop that annoying bounce while still being able to carry all your necessities.
The Nathan 5K Runner’s Waist Pack is large enough to accommodate an iPod or a wallet in its main rear pocket that measures 7” x 4”, and the smaller mesh pouch in the front will easily hold your keys. Weight does not increase the possibility of the belt to bounce, so feel free to carry a digital camera. The belt is fully adjustable, and there is additional visibility provided by the 3M Scotchlite reflective tape.
- Very thin, you don’t even notice it is on
- Very comfortable and moisture resistant
- Enough room for your phone and keys
- Waist belt is too small for a larger person
- Pouch is too small, needs to be larger
- Strap is clumsy, has an overall bulky feel
The Nathan Gel Pak has a special design that holds GU Energy Gel gel packs making it lightweight, comfortable, and completely breathable. The GU gel packs are easy to swallow and digest packs of carbohydrates that provide athletes and runners ongoing energy. These Gel Paks power up your run or workout by conveniently carrying a couple of GU packs at a time, so you don’t have to worry about putting them in your pockets or in a sock. The Nathan Gel Pack includes several storage pockets that include an outer pocket that is expandable, an internal pocket designed to hold your valuables and includes a key clip, plus an external pocket made of mesh designed to hold any trash you may generate such as empty wrappers. The Nathan Gel Pak has a breathable back made of mesh, an elastic belt with limited-stretch that is 1 inch wide and includes a featherweight buckle.
The Nathan Gel Pak can carry up to seven packs of GU Energy Gel, or comparable sized competitor’s products, or you can substitute a few packs for your keys and smartphone. If you choose not to carry energy gels, this snug fitting pack can still carry all that you need to bring with you, so you that you can keep up your run or workout while keeping your valuable and essential items within close reach.
- Cinch strap keeps the pack tight while running
- It is small enough you hardly notice it is on
- Very stable and secure
- Too small for some smartphones
- The loops that come with the tightening straps are useless, it is better to cut them off
- Doesn’t sit quite right and needs to be adjusted a lot
The Nathan Reflective Belt Running waist incorporates a lightweight and easy to access waist pack with the features of the Run Safe Initiative of carrying an I.D., wearing reflective clothing, and having a cell phone in case of an emergency. It includes an outer pocket that is constructed with a Power Stretch Mesh that will expand to hold your valuables securely in place, plus it has 26-degree reflectivity thanks to the 3M Scotchlite reflective detail and the high visibility ANSI yellow material. Also included are a waterproof I.D. card and medical emergency card, plus a completely adjustable belt with included featherweight buckle. The Nathan Reflective Belt is designed as an all-in-one belt that will keep keeps runners and their valuables safe.
- Well-made and comfortable
- Very functional and nicely reflective
- Extremely light, you don’t even notice you are wearing it
- iPhone doesn’t fit in the pouch
- Pocket is too small to fit a couple of things
- Smaller than it looks
The Amphipod AirFlow Microstretch Belt is an amazingly small belt, but its size is a little misleading. This surprisingly small belt can actually stretch up to four times its initial size. Inside, it has a 9-inch x 2-inch pocket that can hold items such as the largest smartphones like the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6. It has a secure zipper that will keep all your items in place, and it is one of the few brands that can make the claim that it won’t bounce while you run and actually fulfill that promise.
The Amphipod AirFlow performs admirably whether you are running out on a trail or in the gym on a treadmill. It is unmatched in its quality and performance. The Amphipod has taken a design that has been well tested, and they have improved it to the requirements of modern day users. The manufacturer used superb quality materials in its construction using a thin mesh for the pocket that allows air flow to circulate while keeping your valuables, and you, from being covered in excessive sweat. It also has several separate compartments that will keep your phone screen from getting scratched by your keys when they have to share a small compartment in a competitor’s belt. There is also the added convenience of not having to search through a single compartment to find the item you need while wasting valuable workout time. Its final feature is the reflective band that the Amphipod AirFlow has on the rear that warns motorists of your company on your evening run.
- Moisture free, sweat does not collect on the contents of the pouch
- Handy reflective band helps motorists see you
- Great material, pouch has a lot of space
- Slips out of place a lot
- Doesn’t fit some women’s figures well
- Doesn’t fit the size of some smartphones
The Armpocket Ultra i-35 is the ideal exercise armband that gives you storage space for cash, credit cards, and any other necessities that you want to take with you while you are on your run. It has a sleek and straightforward design that is sweat and weatherproof, so it protects your electronics throughout your run. The Armpocket Ultra also has a patented ergonomic design that is combined with cushioned memory foam that will keep you focused and comfortable. It is large enough to carry your cell phone, including larger smartphones like the iPhone 6, plus your car keys, gels, or MP3 player. The Armpocket Ultra also features moisture-resistant fabric, a vented strap, dual earbuds with strategically placed ports for audio access, three storage compartments, extremely visible reflective piping, and it is constructed with eco-friendly materials. It comes in three sizes and lots of great color choices. It you want comfort, superb quality, and total protection of your valuables, the Armpocket Ultra is a great choice.
- Secure fit, great sweat protection
- Well-designed and waterproof
- So comfortable, you can wear it all day
- Not big enough for all phones
- It lets moisture in and retains the smell of sweat
- Material on the edges of the strap makes your skin red
The Fitletic Hydration has an ergonomic design that will change the way you run. It is worn down low around your hips, and it curves to your body reducing bounce. The best feature of the Fitletic Hydration is that it lets you grab water bottles with just one hand. It has an upgraded pouch that is large enough to fit larger smartphones like the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5. The two included flasks are dishwasher safe, and they fit snugly into the two quick-draw bottle holsters with two gel loops that give you quick access. Silicone grippers help to reduce bounce with their exclusive Dura-Comfort Technology that also eliminates chaffing and riding up, and the moisture-resistant neoprene pocket keeps your valuables safe and dry. It also features a waistband with their Ultra Soft technology and integrated toggles to carry race bibs.
- Secure fit and solid construction
- Plastic non-skid dots keep it from sliding down off your waist
- Easily carries water bottles and small items
- Barely big enough for some phones, and the phone will get soaked with sweat
- Water bottles are made of cheap plastic and make the water taste like chemicals
- Hard to get it tight enough to not bounce
Conclusion & Recommendation
The best overall running belt is the popular FlipBelt with its simple and sleek design that is made of water-resistant material. It has four nice sized pockets that let you carry your valuables as well as larger smartphones like the iPhone 6. It is a convenient belt to use during your run or workout that will keep your essentials safe and dry.
Beginners looking for running equipment will appreciate the Nathan Reflective Belt Running Waist that allows you to carry all the necessities you need to ensure your safety and makes them very easy to access. It is constructed of Power Stretch Mesh for comfort and to keep your valuables in place. The reflective yellow material is an additional layer of safety to make sure that motorists see you out on the road.
For those that are budget minded, we recommend the SPIbelt that is not only affordable, but it is a great way to carry your credit cards, key, and cash while you are working out or on a run. The stretch material it is constructed of gives it a sleek and streamlined appearance with its surprisingly long storage capacity. It even has a reflective coating to make sure you are seen by motorists during your evening runs.
No matter which running belt you choose, you will find that the running belts out on the market today strive to be comfortable and secure while providing necessary room for your valuables. Depending on your budget, you will have a lot of options to choose from, so you will be confident and happy on your next run.