I’ve logged thousands of miles running and cycling, which is not only a good way to counteract my love for carbs, but also to evaluate how I can comfortably carry all the stuff I need while I’m out. I’m talking about my phone, my keys, my earbuds, and a snack or two. They’d fit perfectly in a cute clutch, but who wants to carry a handbag on a run?

And don’t even suggest a fanny pack.

Lately I’ve preferred sport belts to armbands for a few reasons. One, I can carry more stuff with a belt. Now that the weather is cooling off, I can wear my jacket over my belt, or take it off mid-run without rearranging my gear. I also feel more balanced wearing a belt, rather than a bulky pack on just one arm. Finally, I wear a belt during races to hold my bib, so I like to wear the same belt while training.

So I’ve rounded up the three coolest sport belts I’ve found out there. None of them are chic, exactly, if that’s what you’re going for. But then again, the goal is to look fabulous after training, not during it. Unless you’ve got the abs of some of these people.


Fitness gift ideas: SPIbelt fitness gear belt


Best sports belts: SPIbelt Fitness Belt
The SPIbelt we featured earlier this year is my current sport belt of choice for triathlon, thanks to the expandable pocket and add-on toggles to hold my race bib. (SPI stands for “small personal item,” not “covert operations.”) It’s so versatile: while I’m training, it holds my phone and keys, and when I’m racing I pack it full of snacks. That’s a big advantage of the SPIbelt’s one-size-fits-lots pocket — it’s ready for anything, so you can take it anywhere. All the different color combos are fun, and you can get a high visibility version. Which is especially helpful for running at dusk and dawn. ($19.99 and up)


Tune Belt

Best sports belts: Tunebelt Sports Belt
On the other hand, I also really like the Tune Belt neoprene fitness belt for running. I’ve used mine recently in races and on hikes, and it’s super comfortable, with a separate pocket perfectly sized for your ID, cash, and keys. Tune Belt offers a really specialized fit guide based on the model of your phone and your case, whether it’s LifeProofOtterboxSpeck or SpiGen. Of course this feature isn’t so attractive if you switch cases often, but it could make Tune Belt ideal for guys, who don’t usually swap cases with the seasons. Tune Belt has been around for a long time, so they’ve really perfected their design. ($22.95 and up)

How long is a long time? They actually still offer a belt to hold your cassette player. Maybe a good gift for a very fit Grandma?


Fitletic Ultimate Running Belt

Best sports belts: Fitletic sport belts and hydration belts


Fitness gifts: Fitletic Ultimate ii Running Belt
Finally, the Fitletic ultimate running belt is kind of a cross between the SPIbelt and Tune Belt. The pocket has more structure than the SPIbelt, but the fit isn’t as specialized as with the Tune Belt. The Fitletic ultimate ii running belt includes an additional pouch, loops to hold gels, and race bib toggles too so it means business. You can also upgrade to one of their hydration belts, which includes a BPA-free race bottle for each hip. Both are especially smart options for when you’ve got miles to go before you sleep. ($18.50 and up)