Tuesday, June 18, 2013

iFitness Running Belt Review

Recently, I decided that I could not stand the armband I was using to hold my iPhone while running any longer.  The one that I owned was incredibly cheap, which was very likely the problem. It kept chaffing and cutting my upper arm. Also, it would slide down my arm while I ran and I found myself spending way too much time adjusting it. I decided to see what other options were available for carrying my iPhone on a run.

After searching online for a few weeks, I narrowed it down to three choices: the iFitness Belt, the Flip Belt, and the SPIbelt. After reading reviews online, I decided that the iFitness Belt was the best for me. It was touted as being bounce-free by multiple bloggers and I liked the option of adding and removing water bottles as needed. The fact that the website was offering a free iPhone add-on pocket for purchases over $50 sealed the deal.  

I purchased: 
Neoprene Single Pouch with Race Number Holder (black) 
8oz Hydration Add-on (pair)
Replacement 8 oz hydration bottles (pair)
iPhone Add-on Pocket (black with green zipper)

I apologize for the terrible picture. Photography is not my forte, but I wanted to get a picture of the belt with the lights off to show the reflectors. 

I didn't really need the replacement hydration bottles, but it was actually cheaper to get them than it would have been not to since I definitely wanted the iPhone add-on and the bottles pushed my total just over the minimum $50 purchase required for the deal. 

I have used the iFitness Belt in both of my 10K races and I now use it on every run.  For the most part, I am fairly satisfied with this purchase, but I also have some concerns.

  • The belt sits comfortably on my waist.  When the hydration add-ons are not in place, it adds very little weight to a run and is hardly noticeable. I don't have to fidget with it like I did my armband. It doesn't chaff at all. 
  • I love the freedom of being able to decide whether or not to use the water bottles for any given run.  I had considered a hydration belt originally, and I think that would be too much. I tend to use the belt without any hydration add-ons for any run under 3 miles.  For 3-6 miles I use on add-on and anything longer I like to use both bottles.  
  • I can fit a lot in the pouch. I use it to carry my keys, ID, and energy chews.  I could easily fit a camera in as well.  The pouch has 2 pockets inside so that I can open the zipper while running and nothing falls out. 
  • The iPhone add-on is nice because it means I have a little more space in the Neoprene pouch if I wanted to carry additional items.  
  • I love the race number holder. It is such a small feature, but I love, love, love it.  I hate fussing with safety pins before a race.  It takes about 5 seconds to put on a bib, which leaves me with more time to focus on warming up or getting my head straight before a race. 
  • The pouch has 2 reflectors and each hydration add-on has a reflector for nighttime safety. 
  • When I run with both hydration add-ons in place, the belt bounces more and moves around a bit on my waist.  It is not really a big problem and I usually get used to it after the first quarter mile, but it is noticeable at the beginning of each run.  
  • There are no holes in the iPhone add-on for headphones.  As a result, the cord of my headphones had to stick out the side of the zipper and I ruined 2 pairs of headphones.  Basically, the cost of replacing these headphones negated the fact that the add-on was free.  I actually sent a comment to the company about the iPhone add-on destroying my headphone cord, but they never responded.  However, I am satisfied enough with the iFitness Belt that I have decided to replace the headphones with bluetooth headphones (which I will review later) rather than replace the belt.  
  • The plastic screen on the iPhone add-on is not as good as the one on my armband.  As a result, I find myself taking the phone out of the pocket to change the music or start my GPS. 
  • I feel like a massive dork when I use it.  My husband affectionately refers to it as my utility belt. My sister calls it my fanny pack.  Either way, it is not an attractive look.  However, as far as i am concerned, comfort trumps appearance.  Plus, if I am not using the hydration add-ons, I can usually stick it under my shirt and it stays hidden fairly well. 
  • The water bottles occasionally squirt me in the arm when I run.  This is fairly annoying, but it is only one small squirt and then done, so I can cope with it.  Plus, it might actually feel good when it is 10,000 degrees outside later this summer. 
  • During long runs, the add-ons occasionally slide around my waist. This is a bit annoying, but it is very easy to push them back in place. In my most recent 10K, I probably had to adjust the belt about 5 times. Not too bad, considering I used to have to fix my armband every 5 minutes or so. 

Overall, I would recommend the iFitness Belt to other runners who are considering a hydration belt, but also want to be able to run occasionally without being weighed down by water bottles. 

*The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I purchased my own iFitness belt and the accessories. 

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