Best Running Belts (Explained)

In terms of capacity the running belt sits between the running arm band and the running backpack. Most have the capacity to carry your keys, phone, some nutrition and even some water. They’re popular because they become a part of you and invisible very quickly when you start running. But which one is the best running belt?

Compared to an arm band that can make you feel unbalanced. Or a backpack that could make you feel weighed down. The running belt fits snugly around your waist holding everything statically in place. There’s no flopping about or fear that something will fallout.

Buyers Guide

This guide could have be summarised into one sentence that being “buy a Flipbelt”. The Flipbelt is probably the most popular running belts on the market and with good reason. They can store a lot of stuff, they are reasonably priced, durable and they wont let you down.

But before you dash over to Amazon to buy a Flipbelt consider some other points that help you.

What Size Running Belt

All good running belts come in different sizes. So measure your waist and take a look at the sizing guide associated with each belt. Most are adjustable and can be fitted to how you’re feeling on that particular day, i.e. pulled tight or slackened off towards the end of a long run.

What Capacity Running Belt

The capacity of the running belts you need is largely defined by the type of running you’ll be doing while you wear it. The aforementioned Flipbelt has the capacity to carry your phone, keys, money gels and even a water bottle.

However you may need the capacity to carry mandatory kit specified by a race organiser. There are some running belts that have a large enough capacity to fit a water proof jacket and other things you might mandated to carry.

I wear my Flipbelt on every run I do, I need to take my keys with me, my phone and some cash. I’ve worn the same Flipbelt I’m every marathon I’ve done and it’s still going strong.

Running Belt Weight

All running belts are designed to be light and are made of light weight materials. Some a larger than others so will weigh little more than the slimline versions. They will add additional weight that you will need to carry. But not so much that it will impact you marathon time with any significance.

Running Belts With Easy Access

They say a marathon starts at 20 miles, I know what they mean by this. Your mind becomes slightly confused as you try to work out how fast you need to run the last 10k to get a pb. It can be surprisingly difficult.

The last thing you need at this stage is to be struggling to access that last energy gel in your running belt. I experience this frustration in the Paris marathon 2019 my last gel was stored in an running belt I was wearing had a zip pocket. I struggled to the point where I almost gave up. This was a relatively cheap running belt with a water bottle that court me out at a critical stage. I haven’t made that mistake again (with that belt).

Can Running Belts Carry Water?

As mentioned running belts most definitely can carry water. Some have a bottle that slides into the belt itself. Some have two relatively small bottles that slot in each side of your body. And some have a dedicated slot designed to take full size running water bottle.

Best Running Belt
This is my belt that can carry a full size water bottle. I havent used it in a race since the 2019 Paris Marathon where that zip caused me so much fustration.

Carrying a full size water bottle on a training run goes from being quite heavy slopping around as you start to drink the water. They are relatively inexpensive when compared to a hydration vests and can be filled up halfway through your training run if you’re near a shop. This makes them an excellent option (despite the slopping around) for training runs but maybe not races.  

Other Considerations

Here are our couple of additional points should consider when thinking about buying a running belt.

Arm Band, Running Belt Or Hydration Vest

As I mentioned in the introduction the running belts sits between arm band and the hydration vest. I have tried and you could say failed to use a running belt beyond what it was designed to be used for.

However in the marathon I wore my water carrying running belt I wouldn’t have considered wearing it hydration vest for the extra water capacity.

Running armbands are by definition smaller and therefore have less capacity. I can see how they’ll be useful if you needed your keys and some cash but not your phone.

How Much Should A Running Belt Cost

Running belts can cost anything from $20 up to nearly $100. The one I have that carries water was one of the cheapest I could find on Amazon and it shows. There’s a very nice Solomon equivalent that’s more than twice the price that I’m considering for an event.

It’s a 20 mile race that doesn’t have water stations along the route. I think my hydration vest will be overkill. So I’m thinking of upgrading to the Solomon belt for that one.

Final Thoughts: Best Running Blet

Make sure running belt you buy not only fits you well but is suitable for the type of run that you’ll be doing while wearing it.

In my opinion every runner should have a Flipbelt. They are great. Take a look on any running forum, they are always the number one recommendation from the running community.

Best Running Belt

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there running belts that don’t bounce?

A correctly fitting running belt that isn’t overloaded will not bounce. The fit should be snug but not tight. Too tight and it will feel restrictive. If the belt is loaded up with too many gels and other things the chances of bounce are increased.
Most running belts can be adjusted while running. This is a good thing as they will get lighter as the contents is consumed.

What is a hydration waist pack (or pak)?

Like a running belt but has place holders for a water bottle or bottles. They often have a large capacity zipped pocket. They are available with one or two water bottles. If one bottle it will likely be a standard 550ml capacity bottle (sold separately). Two bottle type are around 175ml that will probably be a custom size and shape for the belt.

Runners belts with built in dog leash (or lead)

This type of runner belt have a built in dog leash that allow the runner to take the dog for a run hands free. There are various sizes of belt with different storage capacity to suit the type of dog and run. The leash part is elasticated to avoid slack that would be a potential trip hazard for the runner and the doggie.

Which running belt is best for a big phone?

If the belt is elasticated the phone will slide right in a stay in place. My old Google Pixel 3XL did not budge in my Flipbelt. I now have a smaller phone and the same Flipbelt does the same excellent job of keeping it in place perfectly.

Do runners belts with lights exist?

Yes, there are running belts with lights. The type that light up to allow the runner to be seen are readily available. There are wearable chest lights that light up and show the way.

Which is better, running belt of arm band?

It depends on how much you have to carry and how you get on with an arm band. If all you need to carry is your phone and keys an arm band may be enough storage for you. Some people don’t like running with an arm band as they feel unbalanced by it.
If you need to carry water and a bit of food on your run. A runners belt is the thing to buy.

Which running belt for petite builds (hips and waist)?

Most running belts are available in one or two sizes however the smaller size may be too large if your are quite petite. Elasticated running belts are a popular choice for those who are slim built.

How to keep a running belt from riding up?

A running belt with a good initial fit and is not over loaded will be less lightly to ride up. A belt that can be easily adjusted during a run will help avoid any annoying problems mid run. If you are intending to wear the belt during a race it is essential to test it in training.

How to wear a running belt?

A running belt may feel tight when you initially put it on but you will get used to it in a short period of time. It should quickly become part of you and help rather than hinder your running. If this isn’t the case you should try a different belt. If you find yourself cramming more and more into the belt, you may need to look for an alternative solution.

How to make a diy running belt for stashing your phone?

DIY running belts can be made from any stretchy material that is long enough to go around your waist. An old pair of running tights would be ideal for this. Cut one of the legs off and wrap around your waist. Once in position cut a hole through one layer of the tights and slide your phone inside.



Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.