How To Properly Choose Running Belts

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

If you often run, especially if you train for a longer race such as the marathon, odds are a running belt will help you. Choosing a proper running belt is just as crucial as good running shoes.

Fortunately, there’s a belt for every type of runner, and with some research, you’ll be able to find a proper belt that doesn’t chafe or bounce while logging the miles.

In today’s post, I’ll explain the importance of running a hydration belt and a few things you need to consider when choosing one.

What Are Hydration Belts?

A running belt is a must-have item for runners who need something to keep their bits and pieces. Most running belts are specifically designed for the activity by reducing the risk of bouncing and chafing, which often comes with high-impact activity.

Runners belts are a convenient, comfortable, and hands-free way to carry your running essentials.

These belts strap onto your waist with the capacity to hold one to four water bottles, depending on the brand.

In addition, these belts allow you to carry your keys, phone, and even water one run while keeping your hands and pockets free.

Although the running market is flooded with these belts, most are similar. They’re made of various materials, have several compartments, and come in various sizes depending on the runner’s needs.

And don’t worry. You can find lots of styles and storage options that fit your need.

Now that you know a thing or two about running belts, let’s learn how to choose a good one.

Additional resource – Strava for runners

Tips For Choosing A Running Belt

Choosing a new running may seem overwhelming, thanks to the abundance of choices on the market. So with hundreds and hundreds of models and brands, how do you know which running belt is best for you? Which features should you look for?

Worry no more.

Consider the following points before buying your next (or first) running belt.

The Right Fit

To get the right fit, the belt has to be positioned low with the pouch at the front at the widest part of your hips. Start by measuring your hips before making sure you find the right-sized belt.

I’d recommend a belt with an adjustable strap. This allows you to adjust the belt.

Choose a belt that can be pulled firmly around your waist so it lies flat against your lower back. This helps limit the amount if moves during running.

You should also choose one with a stretchable elastic band so it can be adjusted for a comfortable and snug fit.

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Grippers and Bounce

Another feature to seek is silicone grippers. Why? Running belts that feature silicone grippers on the inside are less bouncy.

What’s more?

Check if the belt’s design is evenly distributed, so there is zero to little interference while you run.  When the belt is ergonomically designed, it’s less likely to cause chafing.

Additional Resource – Your Guide To Runners Nipples

Water Capacity

Depending on how long you plan to run, you may need more water. Overall, the longer you run, the more water you’ll need. Endurance athletes will need more water than recreational 5K runners.

Different running belts have different water-holding capacities. Some allow one big bottle, some allow for 2 to 4 bottles, some allow just one small one to be held, and some brands feature tailed water bladder.

Additional resource – Here’s how much water a runner should drink

Hydration Capacity

Taking enough water to drink while running will reduce your risk of dehydration, fatigue, and heat stroke.

How much fluid you need during a run depends on how long you plan to run and your hydration needs, but overall, you may need more or less space for water bottles on your running belt.

The water bottle can be divided into three types:

  • A water pouch with just one bottle
  • A fully loaded running belt with one or two bottles of 12 and 16 ounces capacity, respectively.
  • A running belt with a holster for your own water bottle of up to 20 ounces capacity.

Regardless of your choice, ensure the water bottle is easy to access and use. It should also come with a silicone mouthpiece and a quick-flow spout. You should also make sure that you can slide the bottle in and out of the holsters in a way that won’t interfere with your run or spill water on yourself.

Additional Resource – Prevent chafing when running

Weight of The Running Belt

This shouldn’t be a surprise, but carrying a heavy load, especially when running for an extended period, can impact your running performance.

Instead, choose the lightest running belt—as long it meets your need. Less load improves running efficiency. Thus, you’ll be able to comfortably run farther and faster. That’s a good thing if you ask me.

Need a lot of water on the run? Then a heavy belt could drastically change your running pattern.

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Another thing to look for is the right material. Make sure to that material is comfortable while strapped onto you. This is important to ensure no excessive build-up of sweat.

Overall, I’d recommend Neoprene fabric as it is elastic, lightweight, and less bulky than other options.

Training in rainy weather? Go for fabrics that are water-resistance to protect your valuables. Keep in mind that belts with stitches or zippers can be water-proof.

Choose a belt designed from a water-resistant material.  Neoprene is a good option since it’s water-resistant and breathable, stretchy, lightweight, and durable.

Though you might tuck your t-shirt under your running belt, if the fabric isn’t breathable, it can still cause chafing and discomfort.

Pay Attention To Pouch Size

The pouch is a key feature to consider when choosing a running belt.

Consider the size of your essentials, too. For example, you might carry a bigger smartphone than the standard size. Therefore, you’ll need a bigger size or one with an extra phone pocket.

In other words, the pouch size depends on what you intend to carry with you. But, whatever you choose, ensure that that belt can sit comfortably against your back.

Running Belt and Gender

Most running belts are unisex—men and women can use them.

However, some running bets may offer gender-specific features that can help you along the mile more comfortably. Some are designed to be better suited for female runners and more male-specific.

Consider The Extra

Some running belt features are added extra to fit your running needs. Others let you personalize them to your own needs.

Some of the things to consider include the following:

  • Integrated bib toggles for racing
  • Sunglasses pouch
  • Bottle holster add-on
  • Reflective details for extra visibility
  • Luminous color options
  • Loops for energy gel packets
  • Interior pocket
  • Separate case for a phone

Choose Running Belts – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re looking for the complete guide to running belts then today’s post has you covered. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Thank you for dropping by.

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