Robbe: No doubt if you’ve been running for any time at all, you’ve seen a SPIbelt somewhere. Either on another runner at your local running group, on a ton of runners during a race, or at their booth during a race expo.
While there’s a number of companies continually trying to solve the problem of carrying stuff while running, SPIbelt is the original running belt. They’ve been around since 2007, and throughout it all, they’ve kept most of their manufacturing in the U.S. at their Austin, Tex. headquarters.
No doubt if I had a headquarters in Austin, I’d have issues with my belt growing larger by the day ‘cause I’d be smashing some barbecue on the reg.
To be completely honest, I had never run with a running belt. I still rock an iPhone SE (basically an iPhone 5 ‘cause I fear change), so it still fits in that little side pocket on my running shorts. When running with gels, I only use my North Face Better Than Naked shorts with gel holsters, so I’ve never “needed” a running belt.
However, clearly a lot of people like them, so I was interested in trying out SPIbelt. After experiencing it? I gotta say, I actually use one pretty often now.
They sent us three versions for a product roundup, which I’ll walk through below. For reference, all of these will fit waist sizes from 25” – 47”.
Large Pocket – Limited Edition Vail
Robbe: No doubt, this was the most eye-catching and appealing SPIbelt I used. The pattern is pretty cool and stands out from the rest of the basic color patterns that comprise most of SPIbelt’s line.
It holds a lot. I mean, the soft elastic pocket holds an iPhone 11 plus, which is basically an IMAX screen. To be exact, the pocket expands to 8” x 4” x 2”. For those of you who dropped out of math, that’s 64 cubic inches (somebody check me on that). This is more than I would really need, so it wasn’t as useful to me as the smaller sized belts.
However, if you’re going to be out on a marathon course for 5 days, this would easily get you through it. Honestly, this works well for running, but is also great for a summer urban hike or for carrying whatever quasi-legal things you may need for a day at Coachella or ACL Fest.Shop SPIbelt Vail
Robbe: This is the one I found to be most useful to me, at least for running. This belt’s pocket is actually even larger than the Large SPIbelt. At 9” x 4” x 2”, it holds most small pets, or whatever other race fuel you use. It offers weather-resistant pocket and zippers, which is really what separates this belt from the rest.
I don’t have a waterproof case for my phone or anything, so in the summer, the other SPIbelts would get pretty moist (sorry) with sweat, creating condensation on whatever I had inside.
However, the performance belt kept everything dry, so I didn’t have to have that awkward Larry David exchange with the cashier at the bagel place post-run.
The performance belt also has six gel holders, essentially elastic loops on the sides of the belt that make them very accessible. If you need more than six gels you should probably be wearing a backpack.Shop Performance SPIbelt
Robbe: Of all the belts, this was my favorite size. I don’t like to carry a lot of stuff, and my phone is small, so this pocket’s size was perfect at 6.5” x 3” x 2”. It’s also only $19.99, which seems pretty reasonable to me for something made in the USA.
The only downside is that it does lack that water-resistance of the Performance series, so if there’s a chance of foul weather, act like you would on any other run.Shop Original SPIbelt
Robbe: I mean, you can pretty much carry whatever you want with you. I would honestly love to do a video documenting how much I could actually fit into a SPIbelt, because I’m pretty sure I could fit a large value meal from Burger King.
I thought for sure this thing was going to bounce, even though SPIbelt claims “no-bounce.” Hey—they were right. I didn’t have any issues with bounce, and honestly, I usually forget the belt is even there.
I also really liked the design of the Limited Edition Vail and wish they’d go more in that direction. I get that as a small company, they can’t exactly bulk order large fabric rolls that may sit in inventory if the design doesn’t hit. However, I think they’re sitting on a great product that can go beyond running, especially since waist and shoulder slings are peaking right now. It’ll probably require some rebranding and risk-taking, but there’s certainly some room for expansion, especially with their experience.
Also, it’d damn good to wear something actually manufactured in the USA, ‘cause I’m sure SPIbelt could save a ton of money by moving production to Vietnam, but they haven’t.Shop SPIbelt
Robbe: It’s just one more thing on your body. I really don’t like carrying things on my runs. I don’t wear earbuds so don’t need my phone. That said, I do worry about something happening and not having my phone on me, so it is nice to have it with.
But man, sometimes I’d go out the door with sunglasses, heart rate strap, GPS watch, headlamp, water bottle, and then a SPIbelt. I’m so geared-up I feel like I’d give Batman a panic attack.
Also, you do have to make some adjustments to get the right fit, and look– it’s not perfect. It can slide up or pull your shorts up sometimes (guys especially), but it should kind of be expected. After all, you’re wearing an extra f-ing belt.
Robbe: I came into this review with some skepticism, but I gotta say— SPIbelt has won me over. Am I going to take this on every run? Probably not. But on longer runs, or runs where I need a wallet, phone, and keys? No doubt it’s coming along.
You can pick up the Limited Edition Vail using the shop link above, or pick up the Original or Performance SPIbelt at Running Warehouse using the shop link below.Shop SPIbelt
Robbe is the Senior Editor/Review Manager for BITR. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two sons and runs with the Faster Bastards when he’s not MAF training. His favorite race distance is the marathon and his favorite beer is anything but Blue Moon.