Review – SPIbelt Running / Sport belt, Large Pocket Version

This posting will be a somewhat short review, because I want to post about something that is small and relatively simple but works quite well and serves its purposes just perfectly.

Ready for a run, with the SPIBelt Running Belt Large Pocket Version.

When I run I like having my phone with me (as well as when I bike, and walk, and hike, etc); for emergencies and peace of mind.  Additionally sometimes I am running somewhere where I need to carry my car keys or something else small.  I definitely do not like to carry anything in my pockets while running, even in running clothes with those zip-up pockets that are made for keys and phones – I don’t like flopping around and banging around when I’m running, or pressing against me while I’m in movement.

Some people carry nothing with them, but I like to be prepared.

So when I got my new phone (a relatively good-sized Samsung Galaxy Alpha) I found that my old running belt was way too small to carry a larger phone.  My old one was a cheapo well-used Wal-Mart running belt, and it served me well though it was many-times resewed when the seams started pulling out.  It had been the perfect size for me, large enough to carry a few things but small enough to place in the small of my back and be unnoticeable under my shirt.  Unnoticeable to me, unnoticeable to others – it fit me snugly enough not to move around as I ran.

So I set out to buy a new one, trying various ones on at local stores, but none seemed just right.  Some were too large, others were noticeably pressing against my back or sides, other bulky, and many too small.  Of course there are literally hundreds of models online but it was hard to tell if it was going to be right for me without trying it out, in person.

I tried on a regular sized SPIbelt at some point, into Dick’s Sporting Goods.  There were not a lot of choices at Dick’s but the SPIbelt was one of them.  Both my wife and I had previously run across multiple positive reviews about the SPIbelt online so were were somewhat familiar with it.  We had both perused a lot of recommendations for running belts, and the SPIbelt seemed to always come up, usually in a positive way.

Unfortunately while my phone did fit fine in the regular-sized original SPIbelt model at Dicks’s, it was a bit of a tight fit and hard to get out.  I didn’t plan on tugging the phone out every few minutes while I was running but if I got an important call I wanted to be able to get it out without messing around with the running belt too much.

So we took a chance and ordered the large-pocket SPIbelt, I went for the plain black one.  The company says that the original’s pocket expands to 6.5″ x 3″ x 2″ while the larger version goes up to 8″ x 4″ x 2″.

As I took it out of the shipping box from Amazon it was pretty clear right away that it was a quality item, with nice stitching throughout the whole belt and an amazingly stretchiness.  And just as amazingly it (so far) holds that stretchiness both in the belt as well as throughout the pocket part.

The elastic belt expands a LOT, but also can be adjusted via a pair of adjustments that can be used to tighten or loosen the belt if its really too large or small.  The belt has a snap-clip bucket like you see on so many things, relatively heavy-duty.  You want it tight enough that it has to stretch a bit to buckle around you but not so tight that it is cutting into your skin, of course.  That way it stays secure without bouncing against you as you run.  When it’s adjusted correctly you don’t even know that it is there, it’s like a piece of your body.  In fact, a couple of times I have finished a run; dropped my running shoes and plugged in my watch and forgot I had the belt on.

The pocket itself is made of an elastic Lycra/spandex blend while the belt itself is just elastic.  This larger version fits my phone just fine, holding it securely against me without bounce but without having to stuff it in or make an effort to get it back out against.  Definitely glad I went for the larger version, especially so that when I put my car keys in it also, as well as other things, there’s plenty of room for anything I want to carry in it in the future.  I’ve even found myself using it for doing things besides running when I wanted to carry something that I didn’t want flopping around in a pair of loose shorts or something.

As you can see in the pictures below the pocket expands dramatically.  But it doesn’t in any way feel like it’s stretched to the limit.  With the right positioning and adjustment it holds you phone and whatever is in the pocket snugly against you, no movement while running or walking yet it’s not so tight and obtrusive as to be noticeable.  Just the opposite, it feels like it’s not even there.

And the belt comes in a variety of colors, they even come in camo and such.

There are also a number of belt models and versions and accessories that SPIBelt sells including the original SPIbelt, wrist and ankle pockets, dual-pocket versions, large messenger bags ones, plus size versions (though SPIbelt sells an extender strap also), pet leashes (yes, it still has the pocket), kid’s sizes, as well as no logo ones, and accessories like race number clips, etc – these latter things you might have to get directly off the SPIbelt company site.

Waterproofing phone in simple freezer bag for water/sweat proofing.

Also available is a water-resistant one.  With the non-water resistant one like I got you can easily stick your phone or other item in a waterproof bag if you are worried about it, say from sweating or immersion.  I worry about this with my phone as I sweat a lot while running, but a simple plastic freezer bag solves this, and I can still hear the phone and use the touchscreen.  You can also buy waterproof accessory bags specifically made for this purpose.  But my wife also has a SPIbelt and never puts her phone in a plastic bag and it is just fine.

It’s also good if you are in extreme cold temps because you can put the belt, with your phone in it, under your layers but above the inner layer that is against your skin so as to keep the phone from freezing.

Below you will find a few more pics to give you an idea of the belt’s size and stretchability.

What else can I say about the SPIbelt?  It does its job, it does its job very well, and it seems to be of a very good quality and durability.

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