10 best running belts for everything from park runs to marathons

Fergus Scholes
·7 min read
Buy one that fits snugly around the widest part of your hips and doesn't ride up  (iStock/The Independent)
Buy one that fits snugly around the widest part of your hips and doesn't ride up (iStock/The Independent)

Running belts are the perfect companion if you want to keep hands free while running yet don’t have the need or desire to wear a heavier and more cumbersome running backpack.

They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes to suit many requirements, ranging from whether you want to safely keep your keys and phone while doing a park run, to ones that have space for bottles and energy gels designed for longer distance, to something suitable for a day of running on remote trails, capable of storing a spare jacket, poles and more.

As we approach marathon season, we know they’re extremely useful for all the things you need to attempt a marathon personal best: stash your favourite race snack (jelly babies?!), keep Vaseline handy, or a pair of sunglasses, or gloves and a hat for changeable weather.

Don’t forget to think about the fabric either and if you need it to be waterproof – not just from unpredictable British weather but from sweat too.

And make sure when you buy one that yours fits snugly around the widest part of your hips and doesn't ride up.

We have selected a range of belts suited to a multitude of different types of event, and also different styles of runner.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

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Montane VIA bite 1

A brilliantly executed belt that’ll house all you need for a morning or afternoon’s running. Super lightweight with a simple yet effective design, the belt is secured in place by a wide stretch fabric Velcro waistband, affixed quickly and effectively where it sits very snugly. The mesh fabric in contact with the skin is really light and breathable and the outer is a hard wearing nylon. It’s treated with Polygiene too, so should remain smell-free for longer. The main zip pocket has 1l of room, and then there’s two additional stretch pockets either side for quick grab items. A great little touch is having a hang loop – if you’ve packed it the night before, safely hang it from a hook so you’re all set.

Buy now £35.99, Amazon

Kalenji waistband

It doesn’t get simpler and more affordable than this no messing belt. if you’re looking for something to stash your house keys and phone, this is just the job. With one small yet very stretchy zippered pocket (which does happily fit a larger smartphone), mounted on a stretchy and adjustable strap, it’s good for pretty much every waist size.

Buy now £6.99, Decathlon

Norrona bitihorn 6L hip pack

With a whopping 6l capacity, this isn’t far off having the same storage capacity as some of the smaller running backpacks. Yet despite being on the larger side, it’s certainly still possible to run with this around your waist, and you’ll have all you need for a full day on the trail. Albeit it’s the most expensive option, it oozes quality both in terms of design details and build. With a light mesh padding against your body, it’s comfortable and airy, even if it doesn’t have any stretch. There are two zippered quick-stow pockets on either side, with the main zipper compartment on the back, with a further external zipped compartment and handy stretchy pocket for extra gear or a water bottle.

Buy now £59.00, Norrona

Inov8 race elite waist

A great pack aimed at the runner with an eye for capable and lightweight kit, it has ample carrying capacity and is durably built. It features a good sized main zippered 3l storage compartment, which is also water resistant and made from a tough fabric. On the outside of the main compartment, there is a 0.5l stretch pouch intended for a soft flask water bottle (not included). With elasticated bungees on the top, extra items can be crimped firmly in place, and it doubles up well to be able to stash a jacket too. The inner part (next to your body) is lined with a breathable stretchy mesh so it sits comfortably next to skin.

Buy now £35.00, Inov8

Camelbak ultra belt

This great option from Camelbak comes replete with a 500ml soft flask and a main zippered pocket, plus extra stretch expandable ones all around to stow extra gear and gels Also, it can hold trekking poles on the side of it too which is handy. It comes in three different sizes, as this particular belt is one complete loop which fits snugly and securely just above your waist. A nice mid-sized and lightweight option with expandable storage that incorporates hydration too.

Buy now £31.80, Amazon

Salomon aigle 500 belt set

A really well-fitted and elasticated belt (affixed with Velcro tabs), it features two good-sized pockets; one to the back that houses a 500ml soft flask (which is included) even with spare space for other bits left over. The second, which sits at the front, is a super stretchy one to stash your gels, phone, windproof jacket or spare top. It’s adjustable to nearly every waist size and made from waterproof fabric too, which is handy. It feels really well built and is comfortable and secure in place during your run.

Buy now £31.50, Wiggle

Asics waistpack

This belt speaks for itself; it’s simple with a single stretch pouch, good for phone and keys, mounted on an adjustable and stretchy waistband. Ideal for those looking for a minimal and lightweight option for short runs.

Buy now £18.00, Asics

Ultimate Direction utility belt

A belt for those looking for simplicity and real versatility to allow you to stash most items you’d need on the trail. Two large elasticated straps double up to secure objects (such as a jacket) to the outside of the belt, or a even a pair of foldable poles. The entirety of the inside of the belt is comprised of four expandable pockets, good for 500ml soft flasks (not included), spare T-shirt, phone etc. Because it’s non-adjustable, this belt comes in five different sizes and is put on by stepping in it and pulling it up, or over your head. A well made, highly breathable and durable piece of kit for the enthusiast.

Buy now £35.00, Wiggle

Flipbelt zipper

Made from a nice stretchy fabric (with a touch of lycra giving it real comfort), you step into this belt and pull it up around your waist or hips where it sits securely. However, do be sure to choose the correct size (it comes in small, medium and large). It has one zip pocket for valuables (phone and keys) and then around the remainder of the belt are three stash-type pockets accessed by their own two-inch stretchy slit, which are good for larger items. A belt that’ll stay in place and has a good amount of storage and versatility.

Buy now £35.00, Runner’s Need

Ultimate Performance titan runner’s pack

If you’re on a budget and looking for something simple yet effective to pop your phone and keys into, you can’t go wrong with this. The main compartment is made from neoprene – wetsuit material – which has a lovely bit of stretch and feels comfortable next to your body. It has a smaller front zip for a gel and set of keys, then a main zip from the top for your phone, which also has a handy hole for headphone wire to be placed.

Buy now £14.99, 1000mile

The verdict: Running belts

We think the Montane Via bite 1 is affordable, well made, durable, lightweight and fits a fair amount of gear good for most runs. If you’re looking for a minimalist belt for just phone and keys, the Kalenji waistband is perfect. Perhaps you’re heading out on the trails for the full day, in which case the Norrona bitihorn hip pack is the one for you.