Hi everyone! It feels like forever since I’ve written a post! I decided to take a week of down time to recuperate after the Wineglass Half, but ended up having to make that two weeks when Brooke came down with a pretty bad virus and ear infection last week. It’s amazing how a sick baby can make it feel like everything has turned upside down. Anyway, she’s doing much better now, and I’m finally coming up for air 🙂
This post will be my first “Gear Review” on the blog. Since I plan on doing more of these in the future, I’m going to use a rating system: gear can receive up to five “medals” 🥇 based on my experience of how useful it is and how well it performs and/or supports your running goals.
Please know that I’m *not* receiving any money or any other form of compensation for this review – as you’ll see from my review below, I really like the FlipBelt and wanted to share my thoughts about it with others who might be considering adding it to their running gear collection.
FlipBelt: What is It?
The simplest way to describe FlipBelt is that it is a wide elastic band you wear around your waist to hold your phone, keys, and other items while you’re running, exercising, or even just going about your daily activities. The elastic band has small slits cut into it, which is how you place your items inside the band. FlipBelt gives you a way to comfortably and securely hold your items when you may not have pockets to carry everything you need, or as in the case of exercising, when things may fall out of your pockets.
Here is FlipBelt’s description from the company’s Facebook page: “A belt with a tubular design that has multiple openings to slide everything you need inside without bouncing or chafing.”
Review: 🥇🥇🥇🥇 (4 out of 5 Medals)
I’m not sure how long FlipBelt has been around (a quick survey of their website and Facebook page didn’t give me a year that they were founded), but I’ve been aware of its existence for quite some time. Although I know several people who use them, I had always been skeptical of FlipBelt, mainly because of a misconception I had about the product, but also because I just didn’t believe that it would actually work the way the company (and those I knew) said it did. Because of the name, I thought you tucked your belongings into the belt, and then folded it in half (i.e, “flipped” the belt up) in order to keep everything in. I feel a little silly admitting this now, but it’s true.
I am also wary of any item that you wear around your waist. When I started marathon training, I bought a hydration belt from a well-known and highly-recommended company, and for the life of me, I could not figure out how to run without the thing bouncing all over the place (that is, without tightening it so much I could barely breathe). It drove me absolutely nuts, I hated it, and swore of ever buying anything that went around my waist ever again.
Now, I like to listen to music when I run. I know there are purists out there who think you should never listen to music when running – that only the sound of your feet hitting the pavement, your breathing, and your surroundings should be heard – and that’s fine. Sometimes I will go out for a run with no music and it’s’ totally enjoyable, but a lot of the time I look forward to listening to my running playlist and the music motivates me while I’m running. You do you. My point here, though, is this: I’ve always carried my phone in an armband while running – even when I’m not listening to music, for safety’s sake. But, when I upgraded my iPhone last year, the new phone was quite a bit larger than my previous iPhone…and ended up weighing my arm down a lot more during my runs. So much so that I felt like it was throwing off my balance and actually hurting my pace and focus. However, this was also toward the middle of my pregnancy, I knew I wouldn’t be running much longer anyway, and so I didn’t think much more about it.
Fast forward to this past summer, as I’m training for the Wineglass Half, and still struggling with this heavy phone and uncomfortable armband. The last weekend before the race, I stopped by my local running store to pick up some gels and caught sight of a FlipBelt nearby. After investigating it for a few minutes, I decided to go ahead and try it. I took it home and used it for my 12 mile long run that weekend.
FlipBelt was instantly a game changer for me.
I set out on my 12 mile run at 5:30AM. It was still dark out, so I stuck my pepper spray in the belt, along with my phone and two gels. After doing a little bit of reorganizing of the items to get everything in places where I could easily access them and they felt comfortable, I was ready to go. I cannot tell you how good it felt to run with no armband. And even with a decent amount of “stuff” inside the belt, I barely noticed that it was there, and everything stayed securely inside the belt. Most importantly, there was *no* bouncing – FlipBelt stayed in place for the entire 12 miles.
The following week, FlipBelt got its race debut at the Wineglass Half, and I really believe some of the credit for my ability to break 2:00 in that race is due to the FlipBelt. This is the first race I’d ever run without my phone on my arm, and it was so much more comfortable – I felt free to run “normally” but still was able to listen to my music and keep my gels in a secure place. I’ve used the FlipBelt on nearly every run since then – no more sticking my car key into my sports bra when I run on the trail and don’t have a pocket for it, no more obnoxious arm band, no more trying to figure out where to stash gels on long runs. It truly has been one of my favorite running gear “finds”.
So Why Only Four Medals?
You would think with all this raving about the FlipBelt that I would give it 5 medals, right? There are two relatively minor issues that I’ve come across that made me feel it necessary to take away one medal.
First of all, while the FlipBelt doesn’t bounce around on your waist while you run, it does sometimes slide up a bit. This doesn’t happen every time – it seems to depend on what bottoms I’m wearing and how “slippery” the material is. I’m not sure if I’m particularly sensitive about my waist, or if this is something that bothers a lot of people, but there is one spot on my waist where I want a belt to stay and when it moves up (or down) it annoys me and feels uncomfortable. Luckily, I’ve been able to pull the FlipBelt back down into place on the occasions when it’s slid up, and it has stayed put after that. Sometimes, I’ll have to turn it around so that my phone is on my back rather than my front to make this work – I like having my phone in front, though, so while this is a fix, it’s less than ideal for me.
Second, it can be hard to quickly get something out of the FlipBelt when you need it. This may just be something that I need to work on, but I’ve found it a little tricky to get gels out of the belt while I’m running. I try to situate them so they are close to the openings – and this has worked, to a degree – but it still seems to take a bit of practice to get things out once they’re in the belt. I’m not sure how the makers of FlipBelt could address this without dramatically altering the design, but it’s something to consider if you’re thinking of purchasing one. Gels are one thing, but if I needed to quickly grab my pepper spray, that could be a problem. It’s definitely something that I’ll need to continue to work on and practice – I think with more use, this problem will become much less of an issue over time.
Overall, I really love my FlipBelt and wish I had gotten one a long time ago. I haven’t used any other belt on the market, so I can’t compare it to other products with a similar purpose. FlipBelt does exactly what it’s designed to do – it’s comfortable, keeps your items securely on you while you exercise, and allows you to exercise without the feeling of being weighed down.
Have you used FlipBelt, or another belt to carry items while you run? What are your thoughts? Would you consider trying FlipBelt?
Happy Running! ~Sara