“I started running in cotton grey sweats with iPhone in my hand, so anything feels better than what I used to have…”
Yes, all you need to start running are shoes that work well for you and suitable running clothes. But if you want to carry anything on your run, like a phone and keys, or a water bottle, you’ll need a place to put these things on.
Cell phones are becoming a more-capable fitness and running tool. And when you have a phone with you, emergency service, or a loved one, is only a call away.
There are a vast number of accessories to carry your stuff. You can have a simple pouch or armband. And you can upgrade to running belts and fanny packs. And then you can look for hydration belts and backpacks.
6 Reasons To Bring Your Phone On The Run
Do you need to carry a phone when you go running? Nowadays, it’s tough to separate from our smartphones – even when working out.
Here are 6 reasons to have a phone on your run:
If you get lost or hurt yourself, or in case of an emergency, it is good to have a phone with you.
- Running with music
Music can influence your state of mind, and it can boost your running.
- Listening to podcasts or audiobooks
You can educate or entertain yourself by listening to a podcast or audiobook. Every smartphone has a podcast player (like the podcast app on iPhone). And you can download an app for audiobooks (like Audible or Scribd). You can find podcasts from business to humor and also for running. One example: Podcast from Another Mother Runner in our Best Running Gear post.
- Track your route
You can track the course and distance of your run with a running app.
If you are out there late, you can use your phone’s flashlight app for some extra sparkle.
- Snap a selfie or picture from your run
If you are enjoying the scenery of your route, you can take an image as a memory.
We have lots of good reasons to carry a smartphone while running. The primary reasons for most of us are listening to music and tracking our route. And when you run with music, it’s much more enjoyable.
Music helps a majority of runners enjoy their exercise. Classic running songs like Chariots of Fire or the Rocky theme may set the right tone for your run. Or take a running coach with you as a form of running podcasts?
But it’s not enjoyable to run while holding your phone in hand – or to wear a jacket just to carry your mobile.
That’s why we have these accessories so we can stay hands-free.
So what is the best way to run with a phone?
Here we take a closer look at the differences between armbands and running belts.
Armband or Running Belt – Which One to Choose?
As with any other running gear, armbands and running belts come in different styles and designs.
Is an armband better than a running belt? Or vice versa? It’s more of a personal matter.
Both running belts and armbands have features that put them in an advantageous position. They also have drawbacks that make them a lesser choice.
And it is not that easy to choose the right fit or the right model as you can see from these Twitter conversations:
— Dee Jay (@DallasJ1977) May 28, 2018
I started out with an armband but didn’t find it comfortable. I use a @theflipbeltUK now (probably my favourite bit of running kit) and would struggle to hear anything as far away as my waist! #UKRunChat
— Paul Davidson (@elementalPaul) January 28, 2018
I bought an armband for my phone to use while running but my arm is too skinny so the thing slips off. I’m using it as a leg band now.
— jowariyya patel (@jowariyya) October 23, 2017
Surprisingly, Google Trends search comparison shows a huge difference in what we search online about these topics – and the armband is a clear winner in search.
Now, how would you choose between the two when running with your phone?
Find out as you read more…
First, we take a closer look at armbands, then to waist packs. On both sections, we have chosen the 2 best products to help you get an idea of what kind of products these are.
What Are Armbands?
An armband, a cell phone holder for a runner, is a band that is strapped to your arm, allowing you to listen to music and keep your smartphone in sight. It allows you to carry your phone without too much worry or discomfort.
Most people use arm straps when they work out at the gym, jog, and bike. There are also some waterproof cases and bands for swimmers and surfers.
You can use them also for running if you want to have sweat and rain protection for your phone.
Check that your phone will fit into the pocket of the band. If you have a case on your phone, keep that in mind as well.
There are so many sportbands on the market with different features to suit each activity. Bands for running usually have a clear protective cover so that you can see your phone’s screen.
You can also use your touchscreen through the cover, but how well that actually works can vary a lot.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Running Armband
- Compatibility with your phone
Make sure your phone will fit into the holder. If you use your phone with a large case, keep that in mind as well.
- Right fit and bounciness
Most straps will cover a range of sizes, but you can measure your arm to make sure you’ll find the right size.
- Design and durability
When it comes to design, looks are nice, but functionality is the true winner. Touchscreen usability might vary with different covers and phones, and that is hard to know beforehand.
- Sweat-proof and water-resistance
If you run outside this is an essential factor. Of course, you can put your phone in a plastic pack, but it is easier to have a waterproof band.
Cons of using a phone holder in your arm:
- It can basically carry only your phone, keys, credit card, and ID. If you want to have more stuff, like energy gels, an asthma inhalator, or a water bottle, you need to look for the running belt.
- If you have ever tried to strap on a phone arm holder, you might have found out that it’s not easy. You might need to hold it in place with your chin while at the same time trying to find the Velcro.
- With phones getting bigger and bigger, it is hard to find a comfortable holder. And a big phone on a thin arm might look strange.
- If you buy a new phone, or a new case for your existing phone, you might find out that it doesn’t fit into your old holder.
Top 2 Best Armbands
Most armbands take a pocket-that-fits-most-phones approach, however, there are also bands that are meant just for a certain phone model.
And while pocket style is the most popular, there are also models that come as a kit with a specific case and clip-in strap. You can just clip the phone to your band, and the phone is easy to reach.
#1. TRIBE Cell Phone Armband
This armband fits small and big arms, all arms sizes from 9 to 17 inches. It is one of the cheapest ones you can find on the market today. You can choose one of the three sizes according to your phone.
This band is specially designed with added space to easily fit most large phones. If you are using a thick phone case (Otterbox, Lifeproof), choose the next size up.
It’s not waterproof, so you can get your phone wet from the rain.
If you have a large phone, and especially if you use it with a case, take a look at this spacious design.
#2. Annex Quad Lock Case
For runners and bikers, the Annex Quad Lock system might be a favorite. You can purchase an armband and a case for your phone. There is also a universal case that adheres to most phones. This means that you can’t use another case with this run kit.
Quad Lock Case has a certain attachment “hole” on its back so that you easily clip it onto its counterpart in the armband. That makes it extremely handy to attach and detach your phone.
Mount is very secure. Once your phone is clipped in, you remove it by pushing down on the collar or tab and rotating the case. So it shouldn’t be accidentally released from bumps and hits.
The company boasts an array of mounts that allows you to attach your smartphone to your band or mount it to your bike, car, desk, or any flat surface. The case is actually surprisingly slim and good-looking, something you can use every day.
If you want to occasionally take the phone in your hand for a quick selfie or panorama while on a trail, this is a perfect solution because of the quick release mechanism.
What Is a Running Belt?
Running belts function like an armband. It’s just that you have to wear them around your waist. Which is better – a running belt or an armband – in terms of functionality?
Of course, the answer is the running belt. Aside from what was already mentioned, a running belt also has more space or pockets for your belongings, allowing you to keep your wallet, credit cards, energy bars, and smartphone handy while running.
This is why a running belt is also a good travel belt for hiking, trekking, or any trip.
A belt has more room for your wallet, keys, cards, supplemental bars, inhalator, phone, and even water bottle
You can read more about benefits of Running Belt here.
One particular kind of belt is a hydration running belt, where bottle holders are integrated into the belt.
This way, you do not have to carry your bottles during a race or workout in your hand.
Top 2 Best Running Belt
Most running belts have a strap with a buckle and an expandable pocket. There are also models made of soft material with a tubular design, which you step into and pull up to your waist.
The capacity of the pouches varies a lot, and some models can easily carry a water bottle or two.
#1. Nathan Hipster Running Belt
The Nathan Hipster Running Belt is a comfortable and stylish waist pack for men and women.
It is tubular in design. No buckles, snaps, or belts, and you just step right through it and pull it up on your waist.
It is available in multiple colors and sizes to suit every style.
As being made from stretchy material, this athletic belt adjusts to your hips. Meanwhile, the four pockets offer plenty of space for everything you will need for your workout or travels.
One important thing to remember – it’s made of moisture wick type athletic material which isn’t waterproof.
It is a slim design, so it can discreetly hide beneath your clothes. So it’s not like a traditional fanny pack at all, it is really sleek!
#2. Fitletic Hydration Belt
For running enthusiasts and active marathon runners, this water belt by Fitletic is a must-have. It is fully adjustable from 24 up to 42 inches with the help of the Velcro strap. Just choose the right size from the two choices. A lot of buyers also like it for being snug and lightweight and not bouncy at all.
Aside from this, it also has pockets that will fit even the largest smartphones. Lastly, it also comes complete with two perfectly sized water bottles (2 x 8 ounces) to keep you hydrated throughout a race.
Another one with a similar design that also works as a fuel belt is URPower Running Belt. You can find our URPower review here.
More reading: Best ways to wear a running belt