Best Running Waist Belts

Updated April 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

39 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
342 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best running waist belts

Last Updated April 2019

There’s no need to strap on a bulky backpack when you go running. You can carry your supplies without overloading your pockets by using a running waist belt. A waist belt holds your items close to your body and keeps bouncing to a minimum. Whether you need a secure spot to stash your smartphone or a place to put your sunscreen bottle, a waist belt is a viable storage option.

A running waist belt has pockets capable of fitting small accessories. Even if you’re not in training mode, you can use a running waist belt to store money and valuables. Walking the dog on a scorching summer day? Use your running waist belt to tote your dog-walking gear. Need a discreet place to tuck some cash? A running waist belt is a handy storage tool.

You’ll be more likely to wear your running waist belt if it’s comfortable and has the features you need. Read on for our complete guide to running waist belts.

Hydration belts fit differently when the bottles are filled with liquid. You may need to adjust the fit throughout your run as you drink and slowly empty the bottles.

Type of running waist belts

There are three types of running waist belts: overhead belts, belts with a clasp or closure, and hydration belts.

Overhead belts

Overhead belts slip on over the body. There’s no way to adjust the fit because there is no clasp. They’re a bit awkward to put on, but without a closing mechanism, there’s little chance for chafing if the fit is right.

Belts with a clasp or closure

These belts are adjustable, and you don’t need to be a contortionist to get them on and off. The fastener is a potential source for chafing, however. If you frequently change your go-to accessories, an adjustable waist belt may be best because you can modify the fit as needed. For example, heavier cargo may require you to tighten or loosen the fit to prevent the belt from riding up or moving around.

Hydration belts

This type of belt offers a way to store bottles for drinking on the run. There may be additional pockets for storing fuel and other accessories. Hydration belts are usually adjustable. And, because water adds weight and there is more of a chance for bouncing to occur, this type of belt often has padding.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Avoid overfilling your waist belt. The heavier it is, the more likely it is to bounce around.

Running waist belt features

Style

Most waist belts are somewhat muted in terms of style, but a few brands offer belts in a rainbow of colors.

Zippers

If you’re concerned about keeping your valuables secure, consider a waist belt with zippers. In some cases, zippered compartments may be difficult to close, especially if you’re attempting to fit odd-shaped items inside. Some belts feature Velcro closures, but over time, the Velcro may lose its stick. It’s also likely to rub on clothing and cause pilling.

Reflective components

Low-light conditions can occur at any time of day. Reflective strips can help enhance visibility and allow drivers to spot you, even in the dark. If you regularly run in the evening or early morning, however, don’t rely on reflective materials alone. Consider purchasing a light to further increase your visibility.

Adjustability

Not all belts are adjustable, but there several good reasons for picking one that is. If you’re in between sizes, the ability to tighten or loosen as needed is useful. If you don’t always carry the same gear, the weight of the belt may change and require some adjusting to prevent excess bouncing. If you run through different seasons, you may appreciate a belt that can size up in the winter, when you’re wearing bulkier clothing.

Hydration

All runners know that staying hydrated is essential. While handheld flasks are handy training companions, some runners prefer hands-free hydration solutions. A hydration pack is a worthy option, but it adds bulk and doesn’t work for all runners. A hydration belt is a suitable alternative, and many hydration belts feature pockets for additional storage.

Multiple pockets

You may find it best to keep your gear organized and separated with numerous pockets. That way, it’ll be easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re on the go.

Moisture-wicking material

Running waist belts are typically made of sweat-wicking material that sops up perspiration. A fabric of this type keeps you dry and helps reduce the chance that you’ll experience chafing. A running belt made of cotton is more likely to hold on to moisture and dry slowly.

Waterproofing or water-resistant fabric

High-tech moisture-wicking fabrics soak up sweat, but you don’t want your stored gear to get all wet and soggy. You may wish to opt for a belt made of waterproof or water-resistant fabric in order to prevent damage to items like your smartphone. However, because waterproofing reduces breathability — which is terrible news in hot weather — some waist belts are made of breathable fabric with special separate compartments that are waterproof.

Headphone opening

If you enjoy bopping to your favorite tunes while you bang out a tempo run, you may enjoy a waist belt with a headphone opening. A word of warning: loud music can reduce your awareness of your surroundings. Consider listening with one earpiece or lowering the volume so you can hear traffic and other ambient noise.

Need to fit an extra-large smartphone? Check the pocket measurements of the belts you’re browsing.

Staff
BestReviews

What you need to carry

Which items are necessities when you’re running? The answer differs from runner to runner. Before you start shopping, lay out the gear you regularly run with to get a sense of the type of storage space you need. Here are some examples of what you might find in a runner’s waist belt.

  • Keys

  • Pocket change

  • Credit or debit cards

  • Identification

  • Smartphone

  • Bandages

  • Anti-chafing balm

  • Anti-blister product

  • Sunscreen

  • Fuel (gels, snacks)

  • Map or directions (for trail-running or group runs)

  • Electrolyte tablets

  • Lip balm

  • Hydration flask

Running waist belt prices

A simple waist belt designed for running won’t cost more than $25. However, if you opt for a hydration belt, expect to pay more. Depending on the number of bottles included, a hydration belt costs between $40 and $65.

EXPERT TIP

Buy a small tube of sunscreen and stow it in your waist belt to re-apply on the run. Check your drugstore for a travel section that includes miniaturized versions of sunscreen, body wipes, and more.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Fit is critical, but expect some trial and error before getting it right. If the belt is too loose, you’ll experience a lot of bouncing. If it’s too tight, the belt may ride up and chafe your skin.

  • Check company size charts, and measure the area where you intend to wear the belt.

  • Wash your belt periodically. Just like sweaty workout gear, it needs to be sanitized once in a while.

  • Some runners prefer to wear their belts backward so the main pouch sits at the small of the back. Experiment with placement during training.

  • Wearing a hydration belt? Alternate your sipping. Drink from one side, then the other, to keep the weight around your hips balanced.

Other products we considered

If you’re still looking for the perfect waist storage belt for your next run, we’ve got you covered with a few more suggestions. First up, we want to recommend the SPIbelt Running Belt. The original SPIbelt is available in a slew of colors, and it's roomy enough to fit even XL smartphones. The stretchy fabric accommodates oddly shaped items, and the material is designed to prevent chafing.

Next, the Hipster from Nathan is available in a bunch of colors, from funky to neutral. The soft belt includes multiple pockets and is available in sizes from small to extra-large.

And finally, for those who need to carry hydration along with other supplies, the Nathan Peak Hydration Waist Pack includes an 18-ounce flask and features an angled design to help prevent bounce. The belt has reflective strips for added visibility, and the angled position of the bottle makes it easy to grab it for on-the-go H2O.

Use your waist belt to stash your credit card or some change in case you need to stop by a convenience store for water or snacks.

FAQ

Q. I’m worried about my keys jangling and making noise on the run. Which belt is best for me?

A. Choose a belt that fits tightly against the body to prevent jostling. The proper fit will keep items inside from bouncing around, and the belt won’t move up or down your body.

Q. No matter which belt I try, I keep finding my skin chafed at the end of a run. What should I do?

A. Chafing occurs when clothing or other accessories rub against the skin. The result is irritated, raw skin. It’s an unpleasant condition that’s well-known by plenty of runners. Make sure the belt fits properly. It should be snug without cutting off your circulation. Wear it over clothing to prevent direct contact with your skin. You may prefer to wear the belt at your hips or at your natural waist. Experiment with positioning to find what feels comfortable. If all else fails, consider applying an anti-chafing product to the affected area.

Q. I’d like to buy a hydration belt. How much water should I plan to carry?

A. Hydration belts typically hold a maximum of four small bottles. For long training runs, you’ll likely need to refill somewhere. Runners training for a marathon or ultra-marathon may prefer using a hydration backpack, which holds more liquid.

The team that worked on this review
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