UPDATE 6/5/2016: Check out our updated post on The Best Running Armbands of 2016!
Having your phone with you on a run brings you lots of awesome insights and encouragement (hello, upbeat playlist and Runkeeper audio cues!), but it does require a bit of planning. Where to put the phone to make sure that it’s safe, but also comfortable, accessible, and not slowing you down? That’s the million-dollar question.
There are lots of opinions and answers to it right here at the Runkeeper office, so we thought we’d open up the discussion to you all. Here’s a list of our favorite options for armbands (and other more minimalist alternatives):
Award: Best for Tiny Biceps
iGadgitz Sports Gym Jogging Arm Band ($14.99)
A search for a reasonable armband that fits small arms led our Content DJ Erin to this one, which rings up at under $15. “It wasn’t a million dollars, and the reviews said it fits small arms, so this was an immediate draw. It held up great in my most recent half marathon, so I’m happy,” she says. Phil, our resident breaker and fixer of features, likes the “cheapest one I can find” approach. “I’m really cheap when it comes to armbands and I always regret it because I run enough where I should buy myself a nice one but can never pull it off.”
Award: Least Bouncy and Annoying
Belkin EaseFit ($19.99)
Jake, aka Diter, is more of a phone-in-the-pocket type now (more on that crew later), but he was a fan of this Belkin EaseFit, because it “didn’t bounce around.”
Award: Best Cheap Alternative to an Armband
Nathan 5k Belt ($19.95 – $24.99)
This one is a “fancy fanny pack,” says Billy, one of our engineers. Don’t judge. “I feel unbalanced when I wear an armband, and I don’t use headphones, so this works really well for me. I like that I can tuck a key and a credit card in there too if I am going for a long run. It’s also not very expensive,” he says.
Award: Best Tiny Waist Belt Carrier
The SPIbelt ($19.99 – $22.99)
Also arguably a fanny pack, this one is loved for less treacherous runs. The SPibelt is “tiny, stays tight, doesn’t bounce, and holds my phone while staying out of the way,” one Runkeeper says.
Award: Best for Battling Whatever Nature Throws Your Way
Camelbak Octane 18X ($89.99 – $154.48)
We switch up the gear for when the trails, and opts for this rugged carrier. It helps with transporting water, a rain jacket, or anything else needed in unpredictable conditions.
Award: Best Armband for Internet Addicts / Best Arm Workout
My hand (free!)
Sam, a.k.a. our globalization guru, is a big advocate of the social media potential this approach offers. “I run with my phone in my hand: so I can tweet and text and take photos while running. I’ll let you decide if I’m joking or not. The only upgrade is my foolproof waterproofing… a.k.a. a Ziplock bag for overcast weather,” she says. Very high tech, Sam.
Jim, Runkeeper’s support super jacked guy, also carries his (Android) phone…and iPod. Yes, both. “Not necessarily my ‘favorite,’ but hey, I get a bicep workout while I run!” he says.
Award: Most Likely to Succeed
My pocket (also free!)
This one received a surprising popular and passionate response. It dates way back for Mike, our lead iOS engineer and advocate of pockets. “I played a lot of tennis in high school, so all my athletic shorts had pockets (gotta hold extra tennis balls). I continue to only buy shorts with pockets out of habit, so it all just kind of fit together,” he says. Our product manager Jon Gilman is in the pockets camp too. “Don’t give me a ‘Really???’ It’s not that bad…don’t knock it until you try it!” he says.
Need more convincing? “Have you ever gotten all ready for a run, you’re totally amped up to go, you get outside and then… ‘Oh no! I forgot my pocket!!!’ Didn’t think so. They’re always there. Or how about ‘oops, I forgot my pockets at the gym.’ Never a problem for me.”
What’s your preferred phone-toting method? Feel free to tell us in the comments or via this survey!