8 best running armbands that will keep your valuables safe and dry
Store your most treasured tech in a carrier that will stay put during exercise
It remains a failing of most sportswear brands that they have yet to create a pair of running tights or shorts with a secure, non-jangly phone pocket.
Until they do, you have three options for your phone: don’t take it (don’t be ridiculous), wear a belt (a bit bouncy) or put it in an armband.
Early incarnations of the latter, with their ill-fitting straps, gave them a bad rep. But the game has been upped: today’s running armbands don’t fall down or chafe and allow you easy access.
We’ve put the miles in to test a range of armbands: every product featured here stayed put, kept our phone secure and felt comfortable when running.
Some also offer other features like waterproofing and touchscreen windows to help you keep track of your run in all weathers.
Here are our favourite running accessories that will help you store your most treasured tech while on the move.
Kalenji smartphone running armband: £6.99, Decathlon
Kalenji is Decathlon’s brilliant line of stylish technical kit for trail, road and track runners. Case in point: its running armband, which features a touchscreen window, three headphone points and fits most Samsung models and iPhones. It’s not billed as water-resistant, but the plastic zip seal – much like the sort you’ll find on a freezer bag – kept our phone bone dry on multiple rainy runs. We’d argue that this is as good as any higher-priced armband and it comes in four colours, too.
Ronhill phone armband: £22, Ronhill
You can always look to Ronhill for consistently reliable and durable kit, so it’s little surprise that its phone armband also stands up to the job. Encased in neoprene, with a responsive touchscreen window on the front, it has headphone points at the top and bottom. Some advice for using armbands with touchscreens: turn off your phone’s orientation lock to make it easier to navigate it while it’s fixed to your arm. Suitable for most smartphones.
Quad Lock universal fit run kit: £41.90, Quad Lock
This universal two-part system secures your phone to an armband via an adhesive lock stuck to the back of your device. It doesn’t offer water protection and it leaves your phone on obvious display, but it is by far the quickest and easiest way to gain access to your phone when training. The strap comfortably fits an arm circumference of 17-38cm, and as the phone sits slightly raised, there’s no rubbing against your skin. For a more tailored fit, Quad Lock also sells model-specific armbands.
Armpocket aqua: £33.74, Armpocket
Media armbands are Armpocket’s MO so you can expect quality and durability across the board for all devices. If you’re training for a multi-sport race, this 100 per cent waterproof case – up to a depth of 1.2m for 3 hours – is your kit bag essential. From rainy running and open-water swimming, to kayaking and paddle boarding, your phone will stay dry. Padded with flotation foam, it will bob back to the surface if you drop it in water, and there’s just enough space for a credit card, keys and a few notes. Suitable for iPhone 7 and 8, and Galaxy S8.
Nudic fitness running armband: £8.99, Amazon
Amazon’s third-party sellers can be useful for niche fitness accessories. Nudic is one such company, doing a strong trade in colourful water-resistant running armbands that fit most smartphones, with an extra pocket for keys, cards and money. There’s a headphone port at the top but you’ll need to remove your device from the pouch to access its screen – a small niggle for such a cheap and multi-tasking product.
Belkin fitness armband: £34.99, Belkin
Belkin has several styles of phone holder but for a quick-to-fit, immediately accessible iPhone X cradle, you can’t beat this one. It’s a simple set up: an adjustable lightweight, breathable strap, with an exposed iPhone holder attached to it. Clip your phone in and off you trot. It leaves your device open to the elements but the snug fit meant we could just about fit it under loose tops and jackets.
Adidas sport armband 4.7: £29.95, Adidas
There are a few fitness armbands in Adidas’s armoury but this seamless version takes top spot for comfort and access. The strap is soft and flexible, with hardy Velcro that stood up to a lot of sweaty, high-mileage training. The case holds most smartphones, with space for a bank card and small key, and the touchscreen window is reliably responsive. The weatherproof (but not waterproof) membrane held up in stormy weather.
Nike lean armband: £17.95, Nike
Just as you’d expect from Nike, this is a smart and ergonomic piece of kit. The neoprene strap and case sit smoothly against skin, the touchscreen window works consistently and the phone is kept secure in a fold-over pocket. There are also two headphone points at the bottom. It works with most smartphones and is available in four colours, including the millennial pink shown here.
The verdict: running armbands
All these armbands will see you through miles of training without sliding down your arm or chafing skin but for reliability, value for money and weather resistance, first place goes to Decathlon’s Kalenji armband. For multi-stage racers, the Armpocket aqua is well worth the investment.
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