Running Belt Vs Armband – Which One to Choose to Carry Your Phone on a Run?

Running Belt Vs Armband

“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 phone and keys, or water bottle, you’ll need a place to put these things on.

Cell phones are becoming a more-capable fitness and running tools. 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 packbacks.

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.

Tracking the route with running app and listening to music are the reasons for most of us to take the phone on our run.

Here are 6 reasons to have a phone on your run:

  1. Safety
    If you get lost or hurt yourself, or in case of an emergency, it is good to have a phone with you.
  2. Running with music
    Music can influence our state of mind, and it can boost your running.
  3. Listening to podcasts or audiobooks
    You can educate or entertain yourself listening to a podcast or audiobook. Every smartphone has a podcast player (like Podcasts 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.
  4. Track your route
    You can track your course and distance of your run with a running app.
  5. Light
    If you out there late, you can use your phones flashlight app for some extra sparkle.
  6. 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. 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 a right tone for your run. Or take a running coach with you as a form of running podcast?

But it’s not enjoyable to run while holding your phone in hand – or to wear a jacket just for 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 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 design.

Is armband better than 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 right fit, or the right model:

Surprisingly, Google Trends search comparison shows a huge difference on 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.

1) 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 on sight. It allows you to carry your phone without too much worry or discomfort.

Phones get bigger, so running with one strapped to your arm is becoming less pleasant…

Most of the people use arm straps when they workout at the gym, jog, and bike. There are also some waterproof 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 phones 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Sweat-proof and water-resistance
    If you run outside this is an essential factor. Of course, you can put your phone to plastic pack, but it is easier to have a water-proof band.


Cons of using 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, asthma inhalator, or water bottle, you need to look for the running belt.
  • If you have ever tried to strap on 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 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

#1. Trianium ArmTrek Pro

This armband fits small and big arms, and it is one of the cheapest ones you can find on the market today. Pro-model works for larger phones up to 6.75 inches (another model is suitable for phones up to 5.5″).

This band is specially designed with added space to easily fit most large phones, including iPhone 7 Plus/8/x and Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+/ S8 Plus/S7 Edge/Note 2 3 5. And those phones fit with some of their own protective cases, like Otterbox/Lifeproof.

It’s made of stretch resistant neoprene, and headphone and charger cutouts allow direct access to the phone through the band. It also provides access to all of your controls and the touchscreen. It is water resistant, so it protects against rain and sweat.

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 Run Kit

For runners and bikers, the Annex Quad Lock Run Kit might be a favorite. Kit includes armband and a case for your iPhone or Samsung 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 certain attachment “hole” on its back so that you easily clip it onto 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.

Note! Most bands take a pocket-that-fits-most-phones approach, however there are also bands that are meant for a certain phone model, like Grantwood TuneBand for iPhone 8 plus. And while pocket style is the most popular, there are also models that come as a kit with specific case and clip-in strap. You can just clip the phone to your band, and the phone is easy to reach.

2) 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 between a running belt and 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.

Hydration belt

One particular kind of a 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 Pack

The Nathan Hipster Running Belt Pack 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 traditional fanny pack at all, it is really sleek!

#2. Running Hydration Belt by Camden Gear

For running enthusiasts and active marathon runners, this water belt by Camden Gear is a must-have. It is fully adjustable to 43 inches with the help of the Velcro strap. 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 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 review of it from here.

More reading: Best ways to wear a hydration belt