Ultimate Performance Running Belt Review
The ultimate performance running belt is for those of us who can’t even go for a short run without a few ‘essential’ bits. For me, it’s necessary because even in the middle of winter I like a pair of short shorts with no room for pockets. So, the keys and the phone need to go somewhere, yes? Especially the phone. Just in case of, erm, a What’s App emergency? Now we’ve established its paramount uses, let’s look at it a bit more closely…
Looks aren’t everything
The belt comes in various colours, so for those of you who like to dress like a parrot for a light jog (most of us!), you can choose between half a dozen bright tones to complement the generally black kit. It’s not sexy, but then neither am I after even a quarter mile. It’s not waterproof either. Very few affordable belts are, though, so if you’re happy in the rain, this might not solve all your problems. Likewise the hole for earphones is largely redundant these days – I am one of the last converts to earbuds, surely.
The belt is, however, a robust piece of kit, much thicker than your Decathlon alternatives. This gives it the edge when you’re on longer runs and I suspect it provides better cushioning than the cheaper, thinner ones. It’s a view shared by the majority of other reviews I’d read online, so worth bearing in mind if you undertake high mileage.
Taking the kitchen sink?
The belt itself comprises two pockets, the front behind a thin fabric where I choose to keep my key, tissue and nut butter for longer runs. The main pocket comfortably holds a phone though not much more, if you want to make sure it doesn’t bulge too much. Sadly the first time I pulled the front zip, it came off in my hand, though it’s a quick fix with a pair of pliers. The zips certainly aren’t particularly tough though. Built for comfort?
While I’m running, the belt naturally finds its position at my thinnest point, which for me is quite high, though it’s comfortable in situ. I have an iPhone 7 which I feel but not so much so that it is distracting, however, I suspect those of you with heavier phones might find it cumbersome. It also causes running vests to ride up, which is only a problem after a mile or two on bare skin. Come the summer months I don’t think I’d enjoy having it rub against my sweaty skin for too long!
I’m not even sure whether there’s a correct way to wear a run belt – I seem to switch between having the pack at the front or bac., I can’t even decide 60 miles into our partnership! Still, it’s nice to have options. I haven’t yet worn it like an ammo belt, but I’m sorely tempted…
The bottom line
The belt is built to last, it’s easy to clean and it’s pretty adjustable, though if you’re a skinny minnie you’ll have to put up with the ends of each of the straps flapping about at your sides.
At this year’s first race, I noticed with only minutes to spare that the belt would have to go underneath my race number, meaning I couldn’t easily take any layers off during the run. Disaster if it’s sunny and you’re perimenopausal like me! Next time I may well stick the number on the belt too…
Quite simply, the Ultimate Performance Running Belt does what it needs to do and it’s pretty affordable. No bells, no whistles. It just does what’s necessary. And since when was there anything wrong with that?
A keen bean, Jenny-Anne has embraced the outdoors during lockdown, with plenty of walks, runs, cycles and now also rollerblading. In fact, it might be time to take up an exercise that focusses on something other than her tired legs!
Fancy having a go at reviewing gear for us? Subscribe to join our test team!