Back in 2013, we polled our team and created The Runkeeper Guide to Running Armbands. And it was a hit! But lots has changed since 2013. The Harlem Shake has gone the way of the dinosaurs (but is admittedly still pretty awesome). House Stark has risen again. Your smartphones have gotten smarter, thinner, and bigger. And since 2013, 24.4 million of you have joined our community! Because so much has changed, we’ve decided to give our running armband post another run. Although Mike, (formerly our Lead iOS Engineer, now our VP of Product Engineering) still swears by shorts pockets as the best phone-carrier, there are a lot of great new armbands out there. So we’ve done the research to bring you The Best Running Armbands of 2016.
Ideal for: The runner with a rock-solid routine and effortless style.
Price: $19.99, but keep an eye out in the Runkeeper app for special discounts and promotions!
Special Features: This armband is part of Sporteer’s Classic Series for good reason. But don’t be fooled – the armband’s sleek design presents a minimalist package for some high-tech features. The Edge™ clear window offers protection while retaining touch screen functionality, and the sweat resistant liner keeps your phone safe from water damage. Your phone fits snuggly into the sleeve, so you should remove your case before use (a good thing if you’re trying to minimize bulk!). Feeling vulnerable without that case? No worries—a flap top ensures that your phone stays secure inside the pouch.
The pockets at the back of the band are ideal for storing the necessities, like keys, ID, and credit cards. You can choose between two differently sized velcro bands for a customized fit. And if you’re partial to night running, reflective material on the strap and around the device will help keep you safe. Like a little black dress, or Taylor Swift and a certain member of One Direction, the Sporteer armband will never go out of style.
Ideal for: The reformed bag lady who enjoys getting lost on long, meandering runs.
Phones it Fits: Compatible with all iOS and Android smartphones up to 150 mm x 78 mm, the V150 is impressibly versatile. But if you have a mega-phone, like the iPhone 6 Plus and large screen Androids, check out the Velocity V7, also sold in the Runkeeper Store!
Special Features: The Sporteer V150 Armband retains the sleekness high-tech features of the Classic Series while adding some room for activities! For extra protection and convenience, there’s no need to remove your case before zipping your phone into the pouch. Like the Classic, there are pockets on the back, but the V150 has extra storage on the interior of the zipped compartment for keys, cash, and fuel. Its interior elastic strap is perfect for holding a gel pack, headphones, or an extra battery pack for going on particularly long outings. An interior moisture barrier works to keep out sweat, while the Strap-Lok™ design holds the band in place even during mid-activity adjustment.
The only catch we could find with these models is that there is no hole for your headphones to go through; the case must be partially unzipped at the headphone port to allow for listening.
Lifeproof Armband with QuickMount
Ideal for: The cross-training runner who doesn’t have time for zippers.
Phones it Fits: All the phones!
Special Features: If you’re looking to splurge, Lifeproof’s Armband’s QuickMount feature offers a unique and effective method of securing your phone. The adapter adheres to the back of most cases with flat, plastic or metal surfaces, so you don’t need to remove your current one to cram your phone into a tight-fitting sleeve. This ease of access opens up a world of possibility (take a look at this snazzy video to get some ideas). Have the pressing need to go from surfing to selfie? Me neither—but with the Lifeproof Armband you’d totally be able to. Both Quad Lock and SonicMount have similar models.
Lifeproof gained its fame for its damage protection technology. By locking your phone into a secure position, their armband lives up to the brand’s promise by preventing the jostling that is often unavoidable in other pouch-style bands.
However, if your current case isn’t waterproof and you’re looking for an armband that does the double duty of holding your phone and protecting it from water, consider Cascade Designs’ E-Case Armband. It doesn’t quite give off the same James Bond vibes as Lifeproof’s, but it’s a practical alternative for triathletes and secret agents alike.
Belkin Sport-Fit Plus Armband
Ideal for: The music loving runner who appreciates the simple things, like a crisp morning or a surprise Beyoncé album drop.
Phones it Fits: iPhone 5/5S/5C, SE, 6/6S; Galaxy S6
Price: $26.99 – $29.99
Special Features: The fit is snug to your phone, so if you want to keep on a thicker case, consider sizing up. Belkin hits all the markers of a quality running band. Its velcro straps assure a secure and customized fit; its clear screen cover is protective and functional with touchscreen; its neoprene material is flexible, hand washable, and sweat resistant; and its back pocket is the ideal place for keys, cards, or cash. We particularly like the the armband’s easy access to headphone and charging ports.
Ideal for: The socially conscious runner without much baggage.
Phones it Fits: iPhone 5/5S,6/6S
Special Features: A darling amongst critics, TuneBand’s products were Wirecutter’s top pick in 2015 for iPhone 5/5S and 6/6S armbands. Its most notable feature is its silicone case, which grips your phone firmly and has a slit through which the two-inch strap of soft, woven material slides through. This design keeps your phone raised slightly above your skin, preventing sweat from accumulating—important, because the band isn’t sweat resistant. It’s one of the only armbands without a protective, touchscreen-compatible cover to make the list, which testifies to TuneBand’s faith in its snugness. Hey, nothing wrong with a little confidence! TrueBand also comes with two different strap lengths, ensuring a perfect fit. But our favorite part about TuneBand? A portion of the proceeds from the sale of special edition colors are donated to awesome causes like Clinica Verde, The One Fund Boston, and The Wounded Warrior Project.
Chase, one of our UX Designers, is a fan of TuneBand’s Glow in the Dark model, adding that “You can pull the strap off and just use it as a phone case too.” For a similar design, check out the Nathan SonicBoom for iPhone 6, which Julia, our Growth Manager, loves the fit and minimalist design of.
Tribe Water Resistant Sports Armband
Ideal for: The practical runner who loves cheap thrills.
Phones it Fits: iPhone 6/6s, 5/5s/5c; Samsung S4/S3/S2/HTC
Price: On sale for $9.98!
Special Features: A fan favorite, Tribe’s Water Resistant Sports Armband is Amazon’s #1 best-selling cell phone armband, and for good reason! The band comes with a screen protector, an adjustable velcro strap, a key holder, and a reflective strip that makes it ideal for night running. Its neoprene fabric is soft and flexible, but not the best at wicking sweat. However, with an 100% money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty, why not test it out for yourself?
Still not convinced an armband is for you? There’s much to be said for fanny packs (well, running belts if we’re being technical), beyond their being a product of ‘80s nostalgia or a bomb LA dance crew on ABDC back in 2008. Running belts evenly distribute weight and offer more storage capacity than traditional armbands do. Although Phil, our Director of Software Engineering, sees running belts as an “assault on (his) masculinity,” many members of the Runkeeper team think they’re pretty hip.
Ideal for: The tech-savvy runner with an affinity for the vintage.
Sporteer Kinetic K1 Running Belt (pictured above)
Phones it Fits: all iOS and Android phones/ cases with dimensions up to 160 mm X 85 mm X 15 mm
Price: $29.99, but keep an eye out in the Runkeeper app for special discounts and promotions!
Special Features: The touchscreen functionality on Sporteer’s design is rare to find on a running belt, and an excellent feature for keeping your music accessible without compromising your phone’s security. Check it out in the Runkeeper Store.
FlipBelt Classic Running Belt
Phones it Fits: All the phones!
Special Features: The FlipBelt’s wrap-around tubular belt has multiple openings for easy access to your phone and stored items. It comes with an internal clip to keep track of valuables like jewelry or keys, and you can choose from nine different colors and seven sizes! Our VP of Marketing, Sandrine, is a FlipBelt advocate, because it doesn’t add bulk and is super light: “I don’t feel my phone while running.”
Phones it Fits: Phones up to 6.5” long including iPhone 6, Galaxy S5/S6/Note 3
Special Features: The SPIbelt keeps it simple and old school. You can opt for neon pink or turquoise if you’re not feeling classic black. Our team at Runkeeper is all about this no frills design, and were eager to share their experiences; “I feel like the armbands bounce around too much and I never truly feel secure,” said Hannah, our Sales Planner. “I like that I often forget I even have the belt on while I’m running.” Steve, Runkeeper’s Site Reliability Engineer, added, “I am a great partisan of the SPIBelt, in particular the large pocket SPIBelt for my ridiculously large phone. It does a good job of keeping the phone from bouncing around while I run.” The SPIbelt is available for purchase in the Runkeeper Store!
Whether you try out an armband or belt, we hope you find the gear that’s best for you! Do you have a favorite running armband? Let us know in the comments below!