This review is of the SPIbelt running belt – a brilliant piece of kit for not just runners but cyclists, hikers, backpackers or anyone leaving the house or car without the luxury of handbags, copious pocket space for personal items or who needs to discreetly store personal items such as mobile phones and wallets.
The Original SPIbelt was designed by founder Kim Overton who was bored of going running with her keys tucked into the top of her bra! The belt is a small, unobtrusive stretchy pocket on a belt fitting which goes around your waist and has room to store small items such as keys, a phone and a wallet – all without causing the belt to bounce around when you move and exercise.
The basic SPIbelt comes in one size that can be adjusted to fit waists from 25″ to 50″. SPIbelt also offer a children’s belt for under 8’s – so now they have somewhere secure to store that pocket money, ticket or important emergency contact number.
Wearability and comfort
The SPIbelt is super easy to wear. The belt is stretchy and easy to adjust to fit to any waist size or to go under or over clothing. Fitted correctly it doesn’t bounce when you move – even with quite vigorous cross-country running although it does need to be fitted correctly before you run. I have found that wearing it over a thin layer of clothes makes it fit more snugly than under all clothes or just pop it on over the top of all your layers and make sure to position it below your waistband for the best fit. See the SPIbelt website for guides to how to position it correctly. Even with a phone and wallet in the SPIbelt it doesn’t seem to bounce around or knock or rub against you, which when I bought mine I suspected it might do despite all the good reviews! This is a 10/10 for comfort.
The SPIbelt features a pocket 6.5″ in length and which expands to 3″ deep by 4.5″ high. The SPIbelt is large enough to fit a phone, keys and card wallet in, as well as small personal items such as a lip balm, inhaler, pack of mints, tissues or ticket for the car park etc. The website states it can fit a Blackberry, Iphone or Android smart phone – a must for most of us these days. It is also big enough to fit in a small digital camera but depending on its size and what else you have in there, you may have to take out the phone or wallet to make room. The SPIbelt is made from machine washable (on a cool wash) stretchy material meaning you can freshen it up after a long sweaty run or hike. Don’t tumble-dry it though – just hang out to dry and it will air out pretty fast. The SPIbelt is tiny when empty but stretches to easily accommodate personal items without having to force the zip closed. One consideration is that the basic SPIbelt is not waterproof so if you are going on a long run or outing or its likely to be wet, water, sweat or humidity can get into the pocket and potentially affect technical kit or paper. SPIbelt do offer an upgraded waterproof belt for those who this may be a problem for although for most of us the basic belt will be more than sufficient for most eventualities.
The only major drawback of the belt is for those who use it for tracking a run/hike or for music and need to take a phone in and out whilst out exercising. The basic belt gives quite a tight fit so if your smartphone is just one of several items in your belt then slipping it in and out quickly to adjust music or check a location on a map can be tricky when on the move without you having to stop and put it back in again. Likewise, the basic belt doesn’t come with a special hole for headphones to go through and whilst it is perfectly possible to just put your ipod or smartphone in the pocket so that the headphones can exit via the zip end, the lack of a dedicated hole to trail them through can mean they get jumbled up when retrieving other items whilst on the go.
These are minor issues however with the overall impressive performance of the SPIbelt making up for this and there are other SPIbelt products such as armbands, that may be better suited to your needs if you are needing something specifically for carrying a personal stereo or similar. SPIbelt is designed as a simple means of carrying personal items and this is does brilliantly.
For those wanting extra features, SPIbelt also offer the belt in reflective and waterproof finishes and have a model with an extra inside pocket to help organise your personal items.
The SPIbelt is small, discreet and sleek. Despite being unobtrusive the SPIbelt comes in plenty of colours so there is something to match every personality.
The basic SPIbelt costs around £20 new although you can get them for up to £5 cheaper on some websites or through special deals. Upgraded versions such as the waterproof or reflective models sell for slightly more.
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