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Best running belts: Keep phones, cash and gels safe when jogging

Nick Harris-Fry Caroline Preece
29 Aug 2019
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Our pick of the best running belts to stash your on-the-go essentials

Many runners are perfectly comfortable setting off with just a phone and set of keys, but if you’re looking to stash essential gear, consider investing in a running belt to ensure your kit is safe, dry and easily accessible.

Heading out with the bare essentials for a light jog is one thing, but for a two-hour run, you’ll likely need to carry some sort of sustenance to prevent you from running into trouble.

In addition, phones are brilliant at blasting out motivational playlists and tracking progress via apps, but as devices get bigger and more cumbersome for pockets and even armbands, you’ll need something designed to protect your tech.

Running belts offer a great solution for both, avoiding the need to cart around a bulky backpack or to deal with your valuables falling out of your pocket.

Read next: Best wired and wireless running headphones

How to choose the best running belt for you

Why is a running belt better than a backpack?

Running backpacks are a brilliant solution for commuters and hikers, allowing you to fit a huge amount of stuff into a relatively small space to cater for all eventualities. However, they can be heavy and uncomfortable, especially on long-distance runs.

A running belt is a superb alternative. Similar in look to the much-maligned “bum bag” of the 80s and 90s, a running belt sits close to your body as you run, with most waistbands lightly elasticated to prevent it from bouncing and slipping as you move around.

Are there extra features I should look for?

While most running belts come with adjustable waist straps to ensure the best fit possible, some are sold in a specific size. The wrong size can result in a belt that wobbles and slips as you run, so it’s important to have your current measurements to hand and buy accordingly.

Other features to look for will depend largely on your own requirements and the items you tend to carry on your runs. If all you need is your phone and keys, a smaller belt will suffice – although a belt with multiple pockets might be a good idea if you’re to avoid a damaged phone screen as a result of it coming into contact with other items.

For bulkier items, such as water bottles, you’ll need something a little more spacious. Look out for products that come with water flasks included.

Most importantly, running belts need to be comfortable, keeping your essentials close without hindering performance. Here are our top picks.

The best running belts you can buy in 2021

Kalenji Running Waistband: Best for water bottles

Price: £15 | Buy now from Decathlon


Hailing from Decathlon’s own budget range, the Kalenji Running Waistband comes with two handy 250ml bottles that are designed to fit perfectly into the belt’s dual pockets. The products in the range cover a variety of needs, with some just big enough to hold a race number and this particular Kalenji band large enough to keep a number of essential items to hand.

When the adjustable elasticated waistband is secured properly, the belt happily holds the water bottles in place, preventing them from bouncing around too much. Plus, the middle pocket is large enough to comfortably fit belongings such as keys, cash, gels and your phone.

Specs – Pocket size: 9 x 11cm; Weight: 200g; Flask included? Yes

Buy now from Decathlon


Fitletic Mini Sport Pouch: Best lightweight belt

Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon


The Fitletic Mini Sport Pouch will comfortably house an iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S5 into its enlarged lycra pouch. The trade-off is the belt’s overall storage space, which consists of just one pocket on the front.

With its streamlined design, it’s clearly geared up for short runs rather than long-distance marathons, in which case the single pocket should be sufficient for basic valuables. As a result of its minimalist design, it’s super-lightweight and comfortable to wear – which, after all, can be a dealbreaker when it comes to fitness gear.

Specs – Size: 5 x 10 x 32cm; Weight: 49.9g; Flask included? No

Unisex Waist Belt Bum Bag: Best for bargain hunters

Price: £6 | Buy now from eBay


An utter bargain on eBay, this Unisex Waist Belt Bum Bag is certainly simple – but, importantly, it will do the job just fine. The front pocket is large enough for a 5.5in phone, or credit cards and running gels, and there’s a nifty headphone port to keep your cable tidy.

It’s waterproof, which is a bonus, although you’re advised to check for leaks before taking it on a long run on a rainy day. Available in pink, light blue and black, this is an absolute steal.

Specs – Size: 68-98cm; Flask included? No

Buy now from eBay


FlipBelt Zipper Premium Running Belt: Best for comfort and style

Price: From £21 | Buy now from Amazon


Lacking the buckles and straps of your standard running belt, the FlipBelt Zipper Premium looks sleek and stylish and provides an easy storage solution for your gear. The stretchy material doesn’t chafe, staying firmly in place while you exercise. Plus, for the organised, there are a total of four compartments inside to keep things tidy.

The spandex-lycra blend is moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial, too, so if you tend to sweat a lot, you needn’t worry about it causing any issues.

Specs – Size: 1 x 9 x 22cm; Weight: 109g; Flask included? No

Spibelt Energy Running Pouch: Best for creative storage space

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon


In addition to being able to hold a phablet-sized phone in the main compartment, this running belt also has an ingenious solution for carrying your running gel packets. While the central pocket is expandable and great for storing personal items such as your phone, the elastic loops around the sides offer additional room to store your gels.

Even when fully loaded with gear, the belt stays in place and doesn’t bounce. The sheer amount of stuff you can fit inside is impressive.

Specs – Size: 5 x 8 x 16.5cm; Weight: 81.6g; Flask included? No

The Running Buddy Pouch: Best non-belt storage solution

Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon


A kind of “do it yourself” running belt, this pouch can be used in place of a traditional band for those who need to prioritise space. While many runners want to take as little with them as possible, sometimes that isn’t possible and you’ll need to take more than a belt would allow, but not enough to justify a running backpack.

The Running Buddy Pouch has a very clever means of attachment, with strong magnets that stick to your waistband, securing it in place. Its internal design impresses, too, with two pockets big enough to house your phone or a couple of running gels – with one of them waterproof to boot.

Specs – Size: 1.8 x 10.5 x 15.5cm; Weight: 90.7g; Flask included? No

Ultimate Performance Titan Runners Pack: Best for nighttime runners

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon


Reflective detailing makes the Ultimate Performance Titan Runners Pack the best choice for those who run at night or in bad weather. It isn’t the roomiest option, so isn’t recommended for long-distance runs or if you need to carry a lot of kit. However, it will happily fit a phone, plus music or podcast fans will love the rubber headphone port on the front.

Specs – Size: 5.4 x 10 x 20cm; Weight: 141g; Flask included? No

Ronhill Marathon Waist Belt: Best running belt for a marathon

Price: £16 | Buy now from Sports Shoes


This lightweight belt is designed to carry just the essentials you need to complete a marathon (assuming you’re able to grab water from stations along the course). It has eight loops that are designed to accommodate 32-60ml gels, and you can clip your race number on to the front of the belt, which saves you the faff of having to pin it onto your top. The belt also has a small zipped pocket on the front into which you can pop keys or a card, and reflective details for nighttime running.

Specs – Size: Not given; Weight: 40g; Flask included? No

Buy now from Sports Shoes


Montane VIA Bite 1: Best running belt for odour control

Price: £36 | Buy now from Sports Shoes


Your belt gets sweaty during a run, just like the rest of your kit, but it probably doesn’t get washed as often. Fortunately, the fabric on the Montane VIA Bite 1 belt has been treated with Polygiene, so it’s impressively effective in resisting odours and you can wear it again and again without fear of it starting to stink.

Along with this odour resistance, the VIA Bite 1 belt has plenty of storage, with a one-litre main compartment that can easily take your phone, keys and wallet, plus two stretchy side pockets into which you can squeeze a 250ml soft flask. The stretch-style fit of the belt is comfortable over long distances and stops it from moving too much when you’re on the move.

Specs – Size: Not given; Weight: 89g; Flask included? No

Buy now from Sport Shoes


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