Running, jogging, hiking, training. No matter your choice of exercise, it’s important to choose the right accessories for your workout. For most, that often comes down to one debate: armbands vs. running belts: which is better? With so many types and features for each, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when deciding which one is best for you and your workouts.
While we can’t definitively tell you whether an armband or sports belt is the better choice, we can arm you with a checklist of features you should consider and questions to ask before beginning your search.
Armbands vs. Running Belts: Ask Yourself These Questions
- Do you need waterproof protection?
- What are your hydration requirements?
- Will you be carrying your phone?
- Will you need to use your phone?
- What sort of exercise will you be doing?
- Are you looking for anything specific in your running gear?
- Do you find armbands or running belts to be more comfortable?
Do you need waterproof protection?
Most running belts are only water-resistant to protect your phone and other accessories from moisture like sweat, light rain, and humidity. If your activities expand to more water-intense sports like windsurfing or kayaking, you’ll want to make sure you choose something that’s entirely waterproof. For that, your go-to choice should be a waterproof armband.
Because they’re smaller and designed to hold only your phone, waterproof armbands will have a watertight closure mechanism to prevent you from having to do the dreaded phone-in-a-bowl-of-rice trick (that rarely works).
What are your hydration + fuel requirements?
When deciding between an armband and sports belt, be sure to ask yourself: Do I need to carry water bottles or fuel? If the answer is yes, you’ll likely want to go with a running belt on this one. More specifically, a hydration running belt.
That’s because this type of belt allows you to carry 1-2 eight oz. bottles of fluid with you to stay hydrated while you train. Some running belts, like the Fully Loaded Water and Gel Belt, come with loops to carry energy gels and protein bars for extra fuel.
What’s more, most running belts have inner pouches to store other training essentials, like your wallet, keys, and sunglasses. If you don’t need to carry all of that — no worries! You can also stick to a running belt like the Hydra 12 Hydration Belt that has just enough room for a phone.
Will you be carrying your phone during your exercise?
If the only item you want to carry is your phone — whether it’s for music, podcasts, or guided apps — armbands and running belts are both good options. But before purchasing either, make sure it’s compatible with the phone you want to carry. That’s because a lot of brands don’t have products that can carry larger, plus-sized phones. When doing your search, make sure you look at the dimensions of the belt and whether they accommodate your specific phone.
Do you need to use your phone during exercise?
Carrying your phone while you exercise is one thing, but using it is another. If you plan on pushing play and leaving it be, a running belt would be a good choice. But if you like to change songs often, take phone calls, or use your phone in any other way, an armband might be the way to go. Try to find an armband that has a clear protective cover, allowing you to touch, tap, and control the phone without having to unzip the case to take it out. If you don’t have wireless headphones, make sure your armband also has a port so you can plug them in.
What exercises do you need an armband or running belt for?
The types of workouts and exercises you do may also impact your decision of choosing an armband vs. sports belt. Some activities like lifting weights, cycling, and aerobics can’t be done properly with extra baggage around your waist. In those cases, a lightweight phone band worn on your arm won’t get in the way of your workout while still allowing you to keep your phone close by.
On the other hand, if you’re training for a 5K or go for long-distance runs often, a hydration belt is the better choice. That way, you can carry water bottles, fuel packs, and any other items you may need like sunglasses, sunscreen, and your wallet.
Do you need anything specific from your sports equipment?
If you want a workout accessory that’s a bit more customized to your needs, you’ll likely want to consider a sports belt. With it, you can easily add things like a sunglasses case, an extra water bottle, or a separate phone holder to ensure you’re prepared for your workout. Armbands, on the other hand, are mostly designed to do one thing: be on your arm. For that reason, you may not find a lot of customizable options.
Will an armband or running belt be more comfortable?
It’s the million-dollar question every athlete faces when it comes to choosing an armband or running belt: Which one is more comfortable? You may have already guessed this, but unfortunately, we can’t answer this for you.
At the end of the day, your choice is going to be entirely dependent on the exercises you do and how comfortable you are. Our advice? Trial and error! Through that, you’ll find which one is best for you. Or, if you’re someone who’s active in tons of different ways, you might find you need one of each!
So, which one wins: Armband or running belt? Find Both at Fitletic
Whether you decide to go with an armband or a running belt, you can find both at Fitletic. All of our products are ergonomically designed for comfort while you workout — whether you’re wearing them on your arm or around your waist. Ready to find your perfect armband or belt?
Still undecided? Go here to explore all of our Fitletic products and accessories.