Fact: The best running belts are ugly. Running belts, ultra-slim fanny packs, whatever you want to call them, are not here to look nice. They just want to hold your phone and your keys and maybe a few Maurten gels when you’re marathon training. Running without a phone sounds nice, but not all of us have the luxury of doing so (ever been a woman running alone, lol?). Anyway! Below you’ll find five of the best running belts that I recommend, four of which I have tested and used myself. Things they all have in common: they fit phones as large as the iPhone 12, they don’t bounce, and they’re not total eyesores.
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The best minimalist running belt: The Original SPIbelt
If you’re looking for a non-bulky running belt to carry a few things, go with the Small Personal Item (SPI) belt, which is essentially a zippered pocket on an elastic waist. It’s great! I’ve had one for years and usually bring it on runs where the only things I need to store are my phone and keys. I think I got it when I had an iPhone 6; now I have an iPhone 12 and it somehow still fits my large phone. On a non-running related note, I also wear my SPIbelt under my shirt when I’m traveling and want to have my passport, credit cards, cash, etc., close to my body. It’s low-profile and so comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing it.
The best belt for trail running: Salomon Pulse
The Salomon Pulse belt is a great option for distances long enough that you want a large compartment to stash snacks and the like but short enough that you don’t need a fastpack. Designed for both runners and nordic skiiers, it’s made of a fast-drying, moisture-wicking fabric and has horizontal pouches that can hold two half-liter hydration flasks. Note that the belt does run a little small.
The most fanny pack-like running belt: Nathan 5k Waist Belt
Nathan’s 5k waist belt is the pick that’s the most similar in style to a traditional fanny pack. It has 2 pockets with zippers: a main compartment that fits most phones, and a narrow zipped pocket for smaller items like keys and earbuds. I wore a version of this belt to run the Los Angeles Marathon in 2017 and found the adjustable strap waistband comfortable, with little to no bounce. You’ll find it on the heavy side if you’re running for speed but if you’re looking for an incredibly secure zippered belt, this is a great option.
The storage unit: FlipBelt
This one was highly recommended to me by my husband, a hobby jogger who, after buying one too many arm bands that failed to securely hold his large smartphones (currently an iPhone 12 Pro Max), finally found happiness with the FlipBelt. It has ample storage space—you can stuff enough energy gels for a long run plus essentials like your phone and keys (it has a loop to fasten your keys on), and the fabric (92% micropolgy, 8% lyrca) is very comfortable against the skin. I’ve worn it on a few marathon training runs but I won’t wear it on race day when I need to quickly access my gels. Since it’s essentially one large pocket, things can get lost in the fold. But I do like it!
The athleisure option: Lululemon Fast and Free Run Belt
This is the only belt on the list that I haven’t personally tried, but having worn Lululemon running gear, I trust its products. Similar in style to the SPIbelt, the Fast and Free features a zippered pocket secured on an elastic waistband with a buckle closure, plus two small side drop-in pockets and a hook for keys. It’s made of a lightweight, sweat-wicking fabric and has subtle reflective details for early morning runs.
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