Product Review: SPIbelt Endurance Series

Disclaimer: I purchased my SPIbelt Endurance Series two years ago. SPIbelt did not send me this product which means this review is based on my own personal experience; your own personal experiences may vary.

product review

Running shoes, running attire, and a running watch. When I first starting running three years ago, this was the minimum set of requirements I needed to start running. At the time, I wasn’t running very far from home, so I never carried my phone. Once I started to get more comfortable with running further, I knew I needed something to carry my phone in the event my wife needed to get in touch with me. I considered an armband, but really don’t like anything strapped to my arms when I run. I ended up purchasing a hydration belt for runs over 10 kiometres, but the one I opted for had a pocket which was too small for my phone. I was finding I was leaving my phone at home more often than I should. It wasn’t until I ran my first half marathon in October 2014 that I was introduced to the SPIbelt.

SPIbelt stands for Small Personal Item Belt and comes in many varieties. One of my running friends was wearing the SPIbelt Endurance Series which not only carries small items like a phone in the pouch, it has toggles to carry a race bib and loops to carry gels. It looked like something MacGuyver would wear if he were a runner. I compared the Original SPIbelt (same size pouch, but no toggles or loops) and the Endurance Series and opted for the later; even if I didn’t need to carry gels and a race bib, it’s good to have the option when I need it.

SpiBelt_Crop
My SPIbelt Endurance Series and my BlackBerry Leap

Running with the SPIbelt meant I would also need to get more comfortable racing without a hydration belt which is something I always wanted to do; I always felt awkward toeing the line wearing a hydration belt and it’s somewhat frustrating for me to pull out the water bottles and replace them each time I needed a drink. I practiced running a few races with a hydration belt, but focused on hitting aid stations without having to stop. By the middle of 2015, I stopped wearing a hydration belt for races and only wore my SPIbelt. The real breakthrough for me was when I ran my second marathon without the hydration belt. It was liberating!

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My 2016 GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon race kit

The first thing I noticed when I starting running with the SPIbelt is the snug fit and lack of bounce. I was very concerned the weight and size of the phone would cause the pouch to bounce and read a few reviews where this was happening to other runners, but it doesn’t for me! In fact, once I started running, I quickly forget I’m wearing anything on my waist! The trick is to wear the SPIbelt low on your waist and adjust the elastic so it’s snug enough to prevent bouncing. The only issue I do have is my phone is fairly large and while it fits snugly inside, if I don’t open the zipper all the way, I sometimes feel like I’m struggling to get my phone out.

The SPIbelt Endurance has a weather-resistant pouch, but it isn’t waterproof. I sweat a lot when I run and probably should keep my phone in a plastic bag; however, I never do and while the pouch can get wet, I never had a problem with my phone getting wet; maybe I’ve been getting lucky. SPIbelt recommends their waterproof accessory, the aLOKSAK, but I suppose you could also use a zip-lock bag.

I still wear a hydration belt during my really long runs, but recently noticed SPIbelt also makes the SPI H2O Venture Series. I may need to pick one up to I can finally wear a hydration belt AND carry my phone at the same time on really long training runs!

Overall I love my SPIbelt Endurance Series and highly recommend this product to anyone looking for a versatile running accessory that can carry a phone or other small items as well as a race bib and gels. While the SPIbelt Endurance Series may not be the right model for you, there are many other options on their website which may work better.

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