If you find yourself going on long runs more frequently, you might find it advantageous to equip yourself with a running belt with water bottle. These belts keep all your important items secured to your person, allowing you to freely swing your hands without having to clutch a water bottle.
To help you buy the best running belt for your next long run, we’ve reviewed 10 of the most popular and highly-rated hydration belts on the market. We’ve also listed a buyer’s guide for you to follow.
Let’s get right into it!
Factors to Consider When Buying a Hydration Belt
Hydration belts are among the most functional items a runner can have. But with hundreds, if not thousands of brands out there, picking the right one can be a challenge.
To make sure you’re buying the right hydration bottle for your runs, here are some factors to consider:
Water Bottle Style
Before hydration belts entered the big picture, they only came in hard water bottles. But as they gained more and more popularity, manufacturers introduced hydration belts with soft flask water bottles.
Belts with hard water bottles are generally bigger than the alternative, making them the suitable choice for long-distance runners. Since they hold their shape, they’re easier to pack and fill. They’re marginally more durable, too.
With that said, hard water bottles are heavier than soft water bottles. Additionally, they take up the same amount of space regardless of when they’re full or not.
Soft water bottle belts are a bit more expensive than hard water bottle belts, but their functionality more than makes up for the cost.
For one, they’re generally more comfortable than hard water belts. There’s also less sloshing and bouncing when you run, especially as you drink more from them. When empty, they collapse and sit snugly around your waist.
Drinking requires a lot less effort with soft water bottles. This may not seem like a big factor at first, but you’ll appreciate how easy they’re to drink from when you’re sweating and panting for breath, barely able to take another step. Simply bite down the valve and squeeze.
Still, they come with their fair share of disadvantages. They’re decidedly more difficult to fill and are less durable than their rigid counterparts. Plus, they carry a lot less water, which may not be ideal for long races.
Generally, hydration belts hold anywhere between 10 to 24 ounces of fluid.
Experts recommend drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water for every hour that passes while running, so closely consider how long your runs will be when purchasing the belt.
If you’re planning to hike or go on a long run, it’s a good idea to buy a bigger water bottle.
Number of Bottles
Hydration belts usually come with one or two bottles, but you’ll occasionally find belts that feature four to six small bottles.
The number of bottles you need comes down to two major factors: how much fluid you want to carry on your runs, and the types of fluid you want to bring.
If you’re planning to go on short runs, a hydration belt with a single water bottle is more than sufficient.
For longer, more intense runs, two or more bottles might be a better choice.
Note that the more bottles you carry, the heavier your load will be. The extra load is sometimes beneficial for speedwork and endurance, but it may also affect your running form and put you at risk for joint injury. It’ll likely tire you out faster, too.
For competitions that involve finishing at a specific time, the added weight might be a disadvantage. But for regular races and hikes, especially long ones that take longer than an hour, two or more bottles are a smart choice.
Hydration belts don’t only carry water bottles.
Some feature extra pockets for your phone, house keys, granola bars, and other bits and bobs you may want to carry on your runs.
Others have removable pouches and attachments that allow a more minimal setup for shorter runs.
If you’re big on long-distance runs, look for a pack with additional storage space so you can carry extra food and items with you.
The running belt should fit snugly around your waist, and stay put with little to no jostling or fuss. It should also be cushioned and comfortable.
Make sure it’s made with breathable material to keep you cool and prevent it from rubbing against your damp skin. Non-breathable material can cause skin irritations and rashes.
Adjustability and Fit
You certainly don’t want your running belt to continuously ride up, slide down, or bounce while you’re on a run. This is not only inconvenient but can also cause significant chafing and rashes.
As such, look for a belt that features an anti-bounce technology so they’re securely fixed on your person.
Likewise, make sure the belt is adjustable so you can loosen or tighten the belt to your liking. Check the dimensions before purchasing the belt.
Insulation is another great addition to consider, especially if you frequently find yourself running under the blazing sun.
Insulated hydration belts feature insulated pouches and insulated bottles to keep water (and other fluids) cold during the summer. They also prevent the liquid from freezing in the winter.
Insulated hydration belts cost more than non-insulated belts, but the extra few dollars are worth it if you don’t like drinking warm water. Otherwise, you can add ice cubes to the bottle to keep them cool on especially hot days.
As much as possible, look for a belt with safety features. Some belts feature reflective stitching to keep you visible at night, while others have removable reflectors to reposition for optimal visibility.
Reasons Why You Need a Hydration Running Belt on Your Runs
Here are some reasons why you should buy a hydration running belt for your runs:
Keeps You Hydrated
The biggest and most obvious advantage of a hydration belt is that it keeps you well-hydrated on your runs.
If you don’t get enough water while you run, you’re putting yourself at risk for dehydration and heat injuries, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
You might not find a hydration belt quite as necessary if you usually go on short, 10 to 15 minute runs. But if you tend to run for more than an hour at a time, having easy access to water anytime, anywhere is immensely convenient.
Remember: you need to drink around four to six ounces of fluid every 20 minutes to avoid over-exhaustion and heat-related injuries.
Unless you want to constantly run back to your starting point every 20 minutes for a drink, getting a hydration bottle is the best option.
Keeps Your Personal Items Secure
Hydration running belts don’t only store water bottles; they also keep your personal items close to you. They’re basically fanny packs but for runners.
Depending on the design, these belts can hold anything from your phone to your wallet. They can also hold other miscellaneous items, such as energy bars, inhalers, portable chargers, and other items you may need in case of emergencies.
Keeps You Going
Hydration belts help runners maintain their tempo on their runs.
Instead of stopping every half-hour for a drink or changing your route to stop by a store for a quick snack, hydration belts keep runners self-sufficient.
With these belts, you have all you need for your runs on your person. You’ll be in the “zone” for longer durations as they meet all your refueling needs while on your run.
They don’t slow you down, either; at least not significantly. Larger, heavier packs may add a bit of additional weight on you, but the extra water weight around the waist doesn’t change the kinematics of your running motion, nor the rate of your oxygen use.
It also doesn’t impact energy expenditure over short durations.
Doesn’t Get In the Way
Some people avoid hydration belts because they think they’re clumsy and get in the way.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, running belts are one of the most convenient ways to carry supplies on your runs. They definitely beat backpacks and regular fanny packs.
Plus, they don’t add extra weight to your shoulders or back and don’t force you to carry an empty bottle with your hand.
High-quality hydration belts feature silicone grippers to eliminate bounce while you run, keeping your stuff secure even when you’re sprinting at high speed.
Furthermore, their ergonomic fit reduces the typical back discomfort associated with heavier packs. They’re purposely designed to evenly distribute large quantities of liquid, resulting in a more pleasant, smoother experience.
Hip, knee, and other joint injuries are often caused by upper body alterations.
By adding additional weight around your hips, you can effectively avoid some of these alterations. It also keeps your hands free, which allows you to maintain a more natural stride and catch yourself if you stumble.
Likewise, hydration belts prevent long-term shoulder and forearm strain and soreness that usually comes with handheld bottles. And again, they reduce the risk of dehydration, since they’re equipped with easy-access water bottles.
Top 10 Hydration Running Belts to Keep You on the Move
Now that we’ve discussed everything you need to know about running belts, here are our top 10 picks based on quality, functionality, and overall performance!
1. Ultimate Direction Race Belt – Best Overall
The Ultimate Direction Race Belt is a traditional-style waist pack that carries a 6.8-ounce soft bottle. The soft bottle is hidden from plain view, so other people won’t realize you’re carrying a water bottle until you pull it from the pouch.
Unlike most hydration belts made with buckle clasps, the Ultimate Direction belt is secured with a velcro layover. The velcro straps make adjustments easy and straightforward.
Aside from the water bottle pocket, this belt features two additional pockets. The first pocket is located on the front of the belt, which is specifically designed to hold your keys.
Peeking at the back, you’ll notice two other pockets; one to carry the soft flask, which closes with a snap, and another to carry your mobile phone and other small items.
The bungees on the back of the belt are fully adjustable, meaning you can attach accessories or add an extra pocket if you so desire.
- One-size-fits-all velcro straps
- Collapsible soft water bottle
- No hanging straps
- Zero bounce
- Customizable pockets
- Velcro sometimes catches on clothing materials
2. CamelBak Flash Belt – Runner Up
The CamelBak Flash Belt is made by professionals for professionals. It has a simple yet effective design and comes with a triangular bottle that fits comfortably in the hand. With this, you can put the bottle out while running without it slipping off your hand.
The bottle also has a high-flow, self-sealing cap jet valve, an easy-to-clean drink interface, and a carry loop so you can quickly grab the bottle while running. Since it’s made of soft plastic, you can squeeze the bottle when drinking.
With a water capacity of 17 ounces, the CamelBak Flash Belt is a good choice for hour-long runs and hikes. It’s great for summer, too, because the bottle features double-walled insulation to keep your water cold during especially warm days.
That said, the CamelBak Flash Belt doesn’t have the best storage capacity. It does have a zippered pouch, but it isn’t big enough to hold anything more than your house keys and credit cards. Unless you’re using an iPhone mini (and even then it’s a tight fit), you can’t fit a phone in there.
- Insulated water bottle
- Ergonomic, easy-to-grip bottle design
- Loop for easy access
- Bottle is easy to remove and replace while on the move
- Reflective stitching for added visibility
- Pocket isn’t large enough to hold multiple items
3. G-Run Hydration Running Belt – Honorable Mention
Available in small (15 to 25 inches), medium (25 to 33 inches), and large (34 to 50 inches), the G-Run Hydration Running Belt is one of the best-selling hydration belts in the market—and for good reason.
For one, it’s large enough to fit your phone, credit cards, IDs, and other miscellaneous items you want to carry on your runs. It also comes with two 10-ounce water bottles, both of which are BPA-FREE and leak-proof.
It’s equipped with upgraded pockets to make it easy to take the bottles out on the run. Said pockets also come with earphone holes, which are convenient for headphone and non-AirPod users.
To prevent the belt from bouncing and slipping up or down, it’s designed with an anti-slip technology with micro silicone beads.
It doesn’t disappoint with its adjustability, either. It’s made with ultra-elastic bands that you can easily adjust to fit around your waist.
But that’s not all. The G-Run Hydration Running Belt is made with soft, breathable material to prevent chafing and the accumulation of sweat. The material is reflective, too, making it a great choice for night runners!
- Six different color options
- Reflective material
- Large pockets
- Marathon-friendly with two side strings for number tags
- Elastic is fairly thin
- Bottles are oddly shaped, and hence difficult to slip back in while running
4. LotFancy Running Belt with Bottles – Best Budget-Friendly Pick
For the budget-conscious, we highly recommend the LotFancy Running Belt. Not only because it comes at a great price, but also because it has everything you need in a hydration belt. BPA-free water bottles? Check. Spacious pockets? You got it. Non-slip design? Absolutely.
Equipped with a 7.5 x 4 inches waterproof zipper pouch, this hydration belt is big enough to fit most of your valuables—including a phone of up to 6.5 inches. It’s waterproof, too, so accidental slashes and unexpected rain isn’t an issue with this one!
The included water bottles are made of plastic, meaning they’re soft and squeezable.
The bottles are fairly small, only 6 ounces each, so they’re not the best for long runs and hikes. Still, they do well in most situations.
Available in three colors, LotFancy fits a waistline of between 29 to 41 inches.
- Reflective tags and strips
- Made from soft neoprene material
- Comes with separate nylon and rubber compartments to prevent keys from scratching the phone
- Limited waistline options
- Small bottles; only 12 ounces total
5. Nathan TrailMix Plus – Best Insulated Hydration Belt
Tired of drinking warm water on a sweltering hot day? The Nathan TrailMix Plus Hydration Belt got you covered.
Nathan TrailMix Plus is an insulated hydration belt that carries two 10-ounce insulated flasks. It also has a decently-large pocket to fit all your valuables while running. On top of that, it’s water-resistant, making it a suitable choice for longer off-road races.
To prevent sweating and chaffing, the TrailMix Plus is made with breathable monofilament material. Best of all, it stays slug on your hips. It doesn’t bounce or shift, even when sprinting at full speed.
The TrailMix is available in three colors: black, red, and blue. The water bottles are brightly colored for increased visibility, and the belt itself has reflective stitching for enhanced safety.
- Insulated water bottles
- No bounce; sits low and secure on your bac
- High-quality breathable material
- Contoured bottles so enhanced comfort
- Unsuitable for small waisted individuals
The AiRunTech No-Bounce Hydration Belt is a single-bottle running belt with a 45-degree angle design. The angle is contoured to the curves of your body, which prevents the bottle from shaking or bouncing while running.
Unfortunately, this hydration belt doesn’t come with its own water bottle. However, the bottle carrier is flexible enough to hold bottles of up to 3.2 inches (80 mm) or 20 ounces.
Aside from the bottle carrier, this hydration belt features two zipper pockets with key hooks and inner layers so you can separate your items properly. The main pocket is large enough to hold phones up to 6.6 inches.
If you don’t own a pair of wireless earbuds, you’ll be glad to know that this belt comes with a headphone hole, so you can keep your items secure and zipped up while listening to music. It also has a reflective tab to ensure safety during your night runs.
- Anti-slip technology
- Fits most water bottles
- Contours to the body
- Doesn’t come with its own water bottle
- Doesn’t fit phones over 6.6 inches (iPhone Pro Max series, Samsung Ultra series, etc.)
Available in blue-black and yellow-gray, the FreeToo Running Water Bottle Belt is among the most lightweight packs you can get your hands on. Without a bottle, it weighs only 0.4 pounds. That’s about as light as an apple!
The FreeToo Bottle Belt is suitable for bottles of up to 28 ounces. The bottle itself isn’t included, but FreeToo designed the holder to fit almost every bottle imaginable.
Like most of the single-bottle options on this list, the FreeToo bottle holder is tilted at a 45-degree angle. It also has spacious pockets that can hold your keys, credit cards, energy bars, and a cell phone of up to 6.5 inches.
The FreeToo excels in comfort, as well. As it’s made with breathable UAA material, it keeps your waist dry. Plus, it has a honeycomb mesh pad design that repels and dissipates heat.
The belt’s main clip isn’t the most durable though; while it provides a decent amount of tension, the clip is disappointingly flimsy. If you want the belt to last, you might need to replace the clip entirely.
- Lightweight design
- Spacious pockets
- Large water bottle holder
- Doesn’t come with its own bottle
- Buckle isn’t the most durable
The Runtasty Fuel Belt is one of the most innovative running belts we’ve seen. If placed in a competition of “most functional,” it’ll probably win first place.
Designed with an anti-fit technology, this running belt comes with two 10-ounce BPA-free bottles. The bottles are flat and elongated, so you won’t feel them bouncing around while running. They’ll stay perfectly snug around your hips.
What makes this belt truly unique is its touchscreen-compatible phone pocket. The phone pocket allows you to take calls, check your messages, or change your music without taking your phone out. Also, the pocket is big enough to hold most phones, including extra-large ones like the iPhone Pro Max.
Aside from the phone pocket, the Runtasty has an additional pocket for all your miscellaneous items. Both pockets are water-proof, so you won’t have to worry about water damage if you accidentally spill water on the belt.
- Comes with a free ebook
- Squeezable water bottles
- Large, waterproof pockets
- Touchscreen pocket for your phone
- Features race bib toggles
- Only fits a waist size of 27 to 37 inches
When it comes to quality, the Fitletic Hydra Belt is difficult to beat. It’s made with patented dura-comfort technology, with anti-slip silicone grippers, dual adjust belt buckles, and water-resistant pockets. It also features reflective accents for night running,
The Fitletic Hydra Belt comes with two 8-ounce bottles, both of which feature a quick-flow race cap and bungee cord loops for hassle-free bottle removal and replacement.
The pockets are spacious enough to hold your keys, credit cards, and other small items. Likewise, it’s big enough to fit phones such as iPhone 12 Pro Max and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
This belt is available in four sizes: small (24 inches), medium (34 inches), large (35 inches), and extra-large (42 inches).
- Lots of cargo space
- Bottles mimic the contours of your body
- Non-skid grippers prevent bounce and slippage
- Belt can get a little warm because of its multiple layers
Designed for serious runners, the Ultimate Direction Ultra Race Belt 5.0 falls in between a running vest and a belt. It has the largest carrying capacity on this list, able to angularly fit two 20-ounce soft flasks on your lower back.
The zippered pocket between the two bottles is fairly sizable, able to fit your phone, snacks, wallet, and even a wind jacket for especially cool days.
Inside the compartment, you’ll find a hidden pocket with a velcro top that’s specifically designed to hold keys and cards.
Like the Ultimate Direction Race Belt, the Ultra 5.0 features an adjustable bungee cord that overlays the zipper pocket. You can use this bungee cord to hold an extra pair of gloves, a hat, or a sweat towel.
- Large carrying capacity
- Secure wrap fit system with velcro adjustments
- Collapsible soft flasks with bite nozzles
- Water bottles don’t easily slide in and out while running
- Non-insulated, which should’ve been a must for a belt this price
Does a running belt with water bottle slow you down?
Running belts don’t necessarily slow you down, but the added weight may prevent you from sprinting full force.
The water bottles may also fall out while you’re running, so they might hold you back for this reason.
If you’re competing in a race where speed is essential, it’s best to forgo the belt.
Do you wear a running belt in the front or back?
While browsing through the selection of running belts, you’ll find some models wearing them on their front and others on the back.
Both are good, but the ideal position is with the pouch in front.
It should be positioned low and at the widest part of your hips.
How do you stop your hydration belt from making sloshing noises?
The sloshing noises coming from the hydration belt are not only annoying, but they can also ruin your focus on the run. Some people even find the sloshing embarrassing. Luckily, there’s an easy way to prevent this.
Whenever you’re drinking out of your bottle, make sure to squeeze out any excess air. You want the bottle to look like it’s been vacuum-sealed.
Unfortunately, this method only works with soft water bottles and plastic water bottles. It doesn’t work on hard water bottles.
Are hydration belts better than hydration vests?
It really depends on personal preference and comfort.
Hydration belts are much more comfortable than hydration vests, mainly because they don’t cover a large portion of your body. Plus, they’re lightweight and quick to put on.
On the other hand, hydration vests are suitable for individuals going on long runs. Think three to four-hour marathons. This is because hydration vests carry double and sometimes even triple the amount of liquid compared to hydration belts.
Vests also have a bigger storage capacity, allowing you to carry extra clothes or gear while you’re on the run.
How do you loosen pressure around the middle when wearing a hydration belt?
If the hydration belt feels compressive around your middle, push the belt lower on your hips, just below your belly button. You can also extend the belt a bit so it doesn’t feel as tight, but make sure it’s not too loose as it might slide up and down while you run.
There you have it, folks; our top 10 list of the best running belts with water bottles!
If we had to choose, we’d say the best is the Ultimate Direction Race Belt. It has a simple, subtle design, and its water bottle collapses after use. Its pockets are durable and large enough to fit items such as your phone, wallet, keys, and energy bars.
For a more budget-friendly pick, we recommend the LotFancy Running Belt. It has spacious pockets, BPA-free bottles, and a non-slip design. The only downside to the LotFancy belt is that the bottles are super small. Still, they’re a good choice for 5K and 10K races.