It makes sense—carrying gear around your waist, which is your center of gravity, can actually feel like you’re not carrying anything at all. Comfortable belts meant for running make taking things with you like car keys, a phone, a gel, or a dog poop bag no big deal. We tested a slew of simple waistpacks (that don’t hold hydration) meant for running to hone in on the best for each situation. All of these picks carry gear without bouncing annoyingly…some better than others. Read on to find the perfect waistpack for you. [Side-note: For long runs, consider pairing with a handheld hydration flask or traditional pack-style hydration.]
- BEST FOR HOT CLIMATES: Nathan Sports Zipster Lite $29.99
Made out of lightweight, stretchy mesh, this narrow-profile belt (it’s 3 inches wide) breathes well and feels barely there. Four individual pockets easily stash necessities and distribute weight among them. Two easy access pockets join two weather-resistant, zippered pockets, one with a headphone port.
- BEST FOR EASY ACCESS: Nathan Sports Hipster $19.99
A super-soft, nylon/spandex blend and simple, zipper-less design make this belt uber-comfortable. Like the Zipster Lite, the Hipster has four pockets to distribute gear. But unlike the Zipster, all four pockets on the Hipster are quick-access; simply reach into the envelope-style pockets to access items like your phone mid-run (which we love for easily snapping pics).
- BEST FOR SEEING WHO’S CALLING/TEXTING MID-RUN: Tune Belt Sport Belt IP 7 $19.95
This crafty belt lets you see your phone through a plastic window, and allows you to navigate your apps without taking it out of the pocket. The neoprene, adjustable belt sits comfortably and securely, and an additional, small pocket on the backside securely holds items like a car key. Holds regular-sized smartphones (but they have options that accommodates plus-sized phones). Note: the Velcro closure on the backside works great, but take care not to snag clothes when opening and closing.
- BEST FOR GIANT PHONES: SPI Belt Running Belt with Window $29.99
This belt holds an iPhone Plus, iPhone XS Max, Google Pixel 3XL, or Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus comfortably. A huge bonus with this belt: a plastic window that lets you see who’s calling or texting mid-run—and control your phone through the touch-friendly window. Other great features include a secure key hook, headphone port, and divider with the pocket for smaller items. One knock: the zipper rests body-side.
- BEST FOR SECURING GEAR: Amphipod AirFlow Trail Pack $29.95
Of all the packs in this roundup, this is the most like a traditional fanny pack, with its narrow belt and large pocket styling. The pocket lays flat against the low back, even when filled with a phone, a pair of thin gloves, and more. A separator panel helps keep contents organized, as does a secure key hook. On the outside, small, stretchy loops secure gels and empty gel packets…a nice option instead of having to shove sticky gel wrappers back inside a pack. Bonus: The backside is made of soft, breathable mesh.
- BEST FOR COMFORTABLY CARRYING A LOT: Ultimate Direction Utility Belt $39.95
Joke all you want about the 5-inch in diameter belt feeling like Spanx, but the stretchy, wide, super-breathable mesh waistband sits extremely comfortably against the body. Four pockets are all accessible on the interior of the belt, which keeps items secure against the body while still remaining easy to access and return to pockets. Exterior silicone-printed elastic straps hold a rolled-up jacket, while additional, small gear loops hold items like thin gloves. No zippers keep this super lightweight.
- BEST FOR TRAVEL: RunTasty Ultimate Running Belt 3.0 $24.95
Three zippered pockets sit on a slight, 1.5-inch wide belt, but interestingly expand when in use. The largest fits plus-sized phones, or a passport, and all three are water-resistant with waterproof zippers. The smallest houses a key clip, while the mid-size pocket features RFID-blocking linen to secure credit card info from scanning thieves (ideal while traveling). Dual elastic loops hold energy gels, though it takes some shoving to fit them. Other versatile features include a removable ring for attaching a small dog leash.
- BEST FOR VERSATILITY: Naked Running Band $49.99
This wide band fits comfortably and securely, and its mesh construction makes it breathable and fast-drying. Pockets are large enough to hold gel flasks or hydration flasks, and keep either securely against the body with minimal bounce. With reflective elements and secure race number attachments, this band works great for road running and racing of all sorts. An internal clip secures a key. External loops made of silicone grip and hold items like a rolled up rain shell.