As with all my reviews, I’m going to take a look at things through the eyes of what I believe is a strong base of this blogs readers. That is to say I want to look at things from the perspective of that person who is relatively new to the whole running/ fitness game and most likely doing this in conjunction with a larger effort to lose some weight at the same time.
People say that running is one of the more accessible sports to get into because all you really need is a pair of shoes and you’re good to go. It’s not like hockey or football or anything where there’s tons of equipment to buy before you can even begin. On the surface, this is true. But as with most things, the more you get into something the more specialized equipment there is to get. Now some of this extra specialized stuff is just “nice to have” gear, and others are really born out of necessity. The item I am going to review for you today I one I those “necessity” items. At least for me it is.
So like I said, on the surface all you need is a good pair of shoes and you are good to go and start running. Once you get into it though, some things pop up that need to be addressed one way or another. One of these things is: where do I put my stuff? What I’m talking about is when I run, I like I keep things minimal, but I’m also not going out without certain items. My car keys and phone for instance. I always carry my ID too. If I’m out on a long run I have a handful of gels to eat during the workout as well. All this little stuff adds up to more that you would think. It’s things like these that are small, but enough that if you put them in the pockets of your running shorts (if your shorts even have pockets) they will flop around and be a total distraction.
You don’t think this is a big deal until you are out in your neighborhood, trail or on the treadmill a feel your phone thudding against the front of your leg, then the back, then the front again, etc. You then realize how big of a deal and non-conductive to working out that the situation really is. On the treadmill, you just take it out if your pocket and put it on the machine. But on the roads, it’s either you deal with it all swinging around wildly, or you run holding it all the whole time. For me, neither of these options was acceptable.
So what to do? What you need my friend, is a fanny pack. There are multiple companies out there that make and market (directly to runners) “Sport Belts” or some other clever name to try and distract you from the fact you are slapping a bad 80′s cliche onto yourself. Granted, they “sport them up” as much as possible, making them out of neoprene and elastic and designing them to be be low profile and such, but where the story ends is that it’s a pouch attached to a belt. By definition, a fanny pack. Say what you will, it solves the problem and does it quite well.
I have been provided one such running belt to use an review for you by Spibelt (www.spibelt.com). Spibelt stands for Small Personal Item Belt. And the name implies exactly what the function is. It’s a very low profile elastic belt that you wear while running that provides a place to keep your phone, keys, and other misc items that you want to have with you while running in a distraction free and out of the way manner. I was especially pleased with the model that I received because it also has 6 integrated elastic loops on the belt to store some energy gels. I could put them in the main pouch but I always get worried about doing that because with my phone stored in there as well, I am always afraid one of the gel packages leaking and then having my phone completely ruined. I know there likelihood of that actually happening is probably 0%, it still freaks me out. So having a separate place for the gels is ideal for me.
So the belt I was provided is comprised of an elastic belt, approx an inch wide with a plastic clip in the front. In the middle, designed to fit in the small of your back (or perhaps right over your belly, I’ve seen them worn both ways) is zippered elastic pouch that is made to stretch and accommodate whatever you put inside it. I routinely put my phone, my car keys (separate keys for the door and ignition), my ID and a few dollars in my Spibelt and it holds everything with no problems. The elastic itself is soft and the entire belt when empty only weighs a few ounces. Literally next to nothing. The pouch itself is very small and designed to stretch around whatever you put in it. Even when full it sits with a very low profile to the point where you would not even know it was there if you were not looking for it. There is a picture of my back below, I have my t-shirt is pulled out (as always), and the Spibelt is on underneath it. You literally cannot tell it’s there. good stuff.
Negatives in this belt are very hard to come by. If I’m nitpicking, I guess I could say that due to the extremely stretchy nature of the pouch it conforms to whatever the contents are and the end result is a slightly odd, shrink wrapped iPhone shaped bulge in the pocket when you have it full, but it is what it is in that respects. My other beef with it would be that the elastic material is very thin and light, so it offers nothing in the way of protection. It’s just there to hold your stuff, period. I don’t know you really need all that much shock protection for something that’s designed to be strapped to your back while you’re running, But the one potential cause for concern is the waterproof (or lack thereof) nature of the very thin stretchy material. There’s no way to dress it up, I’m a big sweaty guy when I run. And that’s fine, but it does make me pause when considering anything that’s made to hold electronics close to my body while running. I know spibelt does offer a waterproofed version of their product as well. That could very well be the answer to this particular issue. I have a feeling ill be putting my iPhone in a snack sized ziplock baggie just to be on the safe side though.
The belt I was provided is all black, but the company makes a myriad of different colors to satisfy even the most attention seeking runner. Everything from Day-Glo neon to polka dots.
So the real question is, what I recommend this thing? Absolutely. It’s low profile, stays out of the way, and stay where you put it on your back. It has a simple job and does it well. It’s a relatively inexpensive but insanely useful piece of equipment, and I’m a big fan of that combo.
I am also happy to announce a discount giveaway. Please either like the Spibelt Facebook page or follow them on twitter (links above) and let me know you did so the comments of this post. You get one entry per Like or Follow. On Friday, 3/22 I’ll select one winner randomly for a 10% discount code to be used on any Spibelt products!
I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.
One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.
**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**
Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.
**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**