Our roundup of the best phone holders for running, from arm bands to backpacks and belts
For many, running is one of the most convenient ways to keep fit. All you need is some suitable clothing and a good pair of running shoes – and you’re good to go. However, the best phone holders for running will also provide you with somewhere to safely store your mobile, and perhaps even some other valuables, while you’re on the go.
Smartphones have become essential tools in day-to-day life, and that includes while working out. In the age of Strava and the perfectly curated running playlist, leaving your phone at home is simply not an option. Moreover, what happens if you’re left stranded in an emergency with no means of contact?
Clutching your phone in hand while out for a run is far from ideal. So, we’ve put together a roundup of the best phone holders for running – as well as a handy buying guide to help you choose the best phone holder for you, whether it be an armband, a belt or even a vest.
READ NEXT: Best running shoes
Best phone holder for running: At a glance
How to choose the best phone holder for your run
What are the different types of phone holders?
You’ve got a few different options here:
The most common phone holder for running is the phone armband. It’s also the most affordable, lightweight and, arguably, the most convenient. Most of these fasten round the upper arm with velcro and are big enough to hold your phone, but not much else.
Running belts, on the other hand, can offer a little more space (for keys, emergency snacks, etc.) and, for some, are also more comfortable than armbands. An armband concentrates all the weight on one side of your body as well as posing a risk of slipping or chafing, but a belt shifts the weight to your core.
A step up again are running vests and backpacks. Running vests are perhaps the best option for weight balance, but wearing one means your phone will often be unreachable while you’re running. Running backpacks, on the other hand, will be able to offer more space for water bottles, snacks and perhaps a change of clothes. We recommend checking out our best running backpacks roundup if you want the best storage options.
What should I look for in a good running phone holder?
In addition to your phone, you should ask yourself what else you want to take with you on your run. As we mentioned above, a running backpack might be a better option if you want somewhere to carry other essential items such as keys, money or maybe some emergency snacks. Otherwise, it follows that the lighter holder you can buy, the better.
The weather is rarely reliable in the UK, so if you don’t want the rain to write off your run you’re going to want a phone holder that’s waterproof and has a decent zip seal.
Wireless headphones are a popular choice for running, but if you’re going wired, it’s helpful to have a phone holder that comes with a headphone port. The vast majority of phone armbands will have one of these, but it’s always good to check before you buy.
Some phone armbands are touchscreen compatible, allowing you to operate your smartphone through a clear plastic screen on the holder. This isn’t an essential feature, but it can be useful if you want to change your music or check fitness stats mid-run.
How much should I spend?
Many phone armbands will do the job for under a tenner. However, you can easily spend twice that on a more feature-packed holder.
READ NEXT: Best heart rate monitors
The best phone holders for running you can buy in 2023
1. Kalenji Phone Running Armband: Best value phone armband
Price when reviewed: £9.99 | Check price at Decathlon
Many runners, particularly beginners, will want a simple, no-nonsense phone holder – and that’s just what this armband by Kalenji is.
As the name suggests, the Kalenji phone armband is particularly well-suited to fit larger phones (of sizes up to 6.26 x 3.54in). In addition to that, all the essentials are covered: it’s got a waterproof zip seal and a headphone port, and it fits well on both small and large arms. It’s also got a loop through which you can wrap the excess strap if you prefer to wear it on your wrist.
2. Hlomom Running Armband: Best phone armband for accessibility
Price when reviewed: £14 | Check price at Amazon
Unlike many standard phone armbands, this running armband grips your phone with a series of elastic bands. The benefit of this is that it can hold pretty much any smartphone up to 6.5in, while also giving you better access to your phone while you’re out on your run.
The swivel feature, which allows you to access your phone at a comfortable angle on your arm or your wrist, is a very nice touch, and the wide velcro strap is satisfyingly secure and easy to fit on all shapes and sizes of arm. There’s also a headphone cord slot and a small key pocket.
The downside of this design, which is now being adopted by several Amazon brands, is that there is little protection for your phone’s screen, since you simply strap your device onto the outside of the armband. In response to buyers’ questions about the safety of their phones, Hlomom claims “100% security” even if you’re engaging in vigorous exercise, but we’re not sure it’s ever possible to promise such a thing. Even so, provided you understand and accept the risks, this armband is an inexpensive and innovative phone holder.
3. Ronhill Stretch Pocket: Most comfortable armband for smaller phones
Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at John Lewis
If you would rather avoid the potential discomfort of velcro straps, the Ronhill Stretch Pocket might be a good alternative. The elastic pocket stretches over the arm to sit tightly against the skin and is considerably less bulky than some of the other entries on our list.
According to Ronhill, the armband is designed to hold essential items including your mobile phone. That said, it’s only really suitable for smaller smartphones. Rather irritatingly, Ronhill gives no indication of the dimensions of the pocket, but if you’ve got a particularly large phone, the Kalenji armband above may be a safer option.
4. FlipBelt Classic: Best running belt
Price when reviewed: From £26 | Check price at Amazon
As mentioned in our buying guide, a running belt can be a comfortable alternative to an armband, as it shifts weight evenly towards the core and reduces bouncing when you move.
The FlipBelt stretches over your waist, avoiding the need for any straps or buckles that could cause discomfort. It’s effectively one large tube-like pocket that can be accessed through a number of openings (these are simple slits in the belt, but if you’re worried about your valuables being secure, a zipper version is available).
The belt has a reflective logo to enhance visibility for evening or early morning runs, and comes in a wide range of colours, including neon yellow, bright pink and aqua. Bear in mind that the belt is not waterproof, but you could feasibly wear it underneath a jacket in the event of rain.
5. Evadict 10l Trail Running Bag: Best running backpack
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Decathlon
This running backpack from Evadict weighs just 285g (not taking into account the 1L water bladder that comes included), so it’s lightweight enough not to feel too cumbersome during your run.
Despite this, it offers plenty of storage: in addition to the above-mentioned water bladder, there are six front pockets for small items such as snacks and Decathlon’s own 500ml soft flasks, four back pockets for larger gear, and even slots for walking poles (for when it comes to trail running or hikes).
All this for £60 makes the Evadict Trail Running Bag pretty good value. However, if you want to see a wider selection, check out our best running backpack roundup for different storage and budget options.
6. Runitude Running Phone Holder Vest: Best running vest
Price when reviewed: £22 | Check price at Amazon
If you hate armbands and can’t get on with running backpacks, then this clever vest may revolutionise your runs. Its lightweight, secure design keeps your phone secure and accessible, and your arms completely free. There’s no bag to jiggle around on your back or trap sweat, just an 18 x 10cm waterproof lycra-lined pocket at the front of the adjustable waistband for your phone. Oh, and a zip wallet section for cards and cash, a secure key clip on your shoulder, loops for lights, a reflective patch on the back, and a strap pocket that’s big enough for face masks and gels. Not bad for a bit of strap that weighs less than 160g.
There’s no plastic window in the pocket for easy touchscreen control in the drizzle, but that aside, this is a fantastic piece of kit that we struggle to fault.