10 best running belts
With marathon season fast approaching, train with a clever bit of kit that will carry all your race-day essentials
If you’re a runner, you’ll know there’s nothing more irritating than having to carry your keys, phone and drink around with you, either shoved into various pockets or clutched in your (sweaty) hands. Which is why a running belt is a vital piece of kit that can free you up to concentrate on your route, rather than worrying about whether your keys have fallen out mid-run.
There are lots of different designs available depending on what sort of run you are doing: from belts with space just for your phone and keys (ideal for shorter runs) to ones designed for longer distances, complete with bottles, bottle holders and even loops for your energy gels.
Nicola Addison, an ambassador for the England athletics national running programme RunTogether, says, “First things first, you need to decide what items you want to take with you on your run – keys, phone, water bottle? It’s important to consider this before buying your belt as you want to ensure everything fits and the belt feels comfortable around your waist.
Another big consideration is the belt fabric and if you want it to be water resistant. Not just for those rainy days, but also for sweaty torsos. Finally on fitting, the belt should be a snug fit around the fullest part of the hips. This will ensure it doesn't ride up.”
Our testers wore a range belts on a variety of road and trail runs and covered almost 100km in the process. Here’s our pick of the best running belts with something to suit everyone, no matter whether you’re a long distance or couch to 5k runner.
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Flipbelt classic: £25, Flipbelt
This was a clear winner among our testers. The belt is made of super stretchy material and stays in place while you run with no bouncing around or riding up. It’s big enough for your phone and keys (there’s a handy hook inside the pocket so there’s no chance you’ll lose your house keys mid-run) and the fabric is sweat-wicking, so no chafing either. You can pay extra for a 150ml drinks bottle that also slots comfortably into the belt. A great all-rounder.
Nathan 5k running belt: £20, Sports Direct
Our testers loved the look of this neon belt – and the fact it stayed in place during road and trail runs. There are two pockets on the front so you can keep your keys separate from your phone, wallet and energy gels. It’s made from neoprene which means not only is it really light (you barely notice you’re wearing it) it also keeps the sweat away from your body.
Clearwell ultimate sports waistpack: £12.65, Amazon
If you want to use your phone while you’re running – to change your music or check you’re going the right way – then this Clearwell belt is ideal. Our testers loved the clear "touch window" on the front which lets you unlock your phone and use it without having to take it out of the pocket. There’s also a little rubber hole for your headphones, so you can listen to your favourite running tracks and still have the pocket firmly zipped up. A firm favourite with all our testers.
Decathlon kalenji running waist band with two water bottles: £13.99, Decathlon
If you like to take on lots of liquids while you run, this Decathlon belt is a great option. This was the cheapest belt we tested and it’s a total bargain, coming with two 250ml bottles which slot either side of the front pocket. The bottles themselves have a rough texture which means they won’t slip out of your hand, no matter how much you’re sweating. The zip pocket at the front is big enough for your phone and there’s an inner pocket for your keys to stop them scratching your screen while you run.
Ronhill stretch waist pocket: From £13, John Lewis & Partners
A similar tube design to the Flipbelt, this Ronhill belt stays in place while you run so was a hit with our testers. The material wicks sweat away from your body, meaning you can comfortably wear it under your running kit if you want with no risk of chafing. There are five openings in the belt to slot in your phone, keys and any other essentials for your run.
Nike slim running waistpack: £17.99, Argos
If you only want to run with the bare essentials, then the Nike waistpack is a great option. The elasticated belt sits snugly around your waist and doesn’t bounce or move while you’re running. There’s only one pocket so it’s a good idea to pop your keys in behind your phone to prevent any danger of scratching the screen. The belt only comes in one size, but has velcro on the strap to stop the extra belt material swinging around if you’re wearing it on the smallest setting. Overall, a good quality belt for shorter runs when you don’t need to bring water or energy gels.
LifeVenture running waist belt: £14.99, LifeVenture
This was one of the cheapest running belts we tried. And with plenty of room for your phone, keys and energy gels, our testers agreed it’s a good buy. It comes in one size but has an adjustable belt with handy loops to keep any extra belt firmly in place. The belt doesn’t ride up while the mesh on the back means no uncomfortable chafing.
Ribble hydration belt: £15.99, Ultimate Performance
This unisex belt includes a 650ml water bottle and an insulated bottle holder, making it good for long distance runs. Definitely one to consider when the weather is warmer and you want your drink to stay cool. It ticks all the practicality boxes thanks to a zip pocket for your phone and another inner pocket and hook for your keys.
Puma classic running waist bag: £25, Puma
The Puma belt has one big pocket on the front which is great for storing all your running essentials. However, the material isn’t stretchy like some of the other belts, so one of our testers found her phone bounced around quite a bit in the pocket. It comes in one size but is really easy to adjust. Mesh on the back of the pocket means it helps keep any sweat away from your waist.
Ronhill marathon waist belt: £19.99, Run4It
Training for a marathon? This Ronhill belt has eight loops for your energy gels (ideal if you’re running long distances) and even has fasteners for your race number. The pocket on the front is big enough for your phone and keys and has a reflective design, helping to keep you visible if you’re running at night. The belt comes in one size but is easily adjusted to fit. With no bouncing around, this is a great belt for serious runners.
The verdict: Running belts
For a great all-rounder that can carry just about everything you’re going to need on your run, you can’t go wrong with the Flipbelt classic. And for those of you that like listening to music when you run, the Clearwell ultimate sports waistpack with its clever "touch window" is a good option.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.