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Running Vest vs Running Belt | What You Need To Know

Running Vest vs Running Belt | What You Need To Know

Imagine yourself in the midst of a picturesque run, your legs churning over rhythmically. Suddenly, the need for an energy boost strikes, and you reach for your essentials.

Here's where the dilemma unfolds – do you rely on the snug embrace of a running vest or the streamlined convenience of a running belt? Each choice has its advantages and disadvantages, and it largely depends on you.

In this comparison of running vests and running belts, we'll try and show you the use cases for both, unravelling their distinctive features, from storage capacities to comfort nuances, to help you decide which one is perfect for your own running adventures.

Purpose and Benefits

Runners enlist the support of vests and belts for specific advantages tailored to their individual preferences and running needs. The running vest, akin to a second skin, offers a secure haven for those embarking on lengthy journeys. Its design allows for even weight distribution across the torso, proving invaluable for long-distance runners or those traversing challenging terrains.

With ample storage capacity, vests accommodate essentials like hydration, nutrition, and additional gear.

In contrast, the running belt presents a streamlined alternative, perfect for runners prioritising speed and minimalism. Ideal for shorter runs or those who prefer carrying only the essentials, belts provide swift access without the added bulk.

It should be noted that running vests come in many forms. There's the hydration vest - which is a larger capacity vest that usually enables you to carry both a water bladder and soft bottles. There's also a non-hydration vest, which usually doesn't have built-in water capabilities, but offers a much more streamlined and minimal carrying solution. These vests such as the Original Runly Vest, is perfect for carrying your phone, gels & key on short-medium length runs.

The choice between vests and belts boils down to the runner's distinct requirements, with each offering a bespoke solution to enhance the running experience.

Differences between Each:

Running vests and belts diverge in design and functionality, catering to contrasting preferences. Vests, designed to envelop the upper body, offer extensive storage and even weight distribution. Belts, situated around the waist, provide a more compact solution, emphasising accessibility and speed. The distinctions lie not only in their physical structures but also in how they align with various running styles and distances.

Why Some Prefer One Over the Other:

Individual preferences steer the choice between vests and belts. Those favouring vests often prioritise longer runs or trail adventures, appreciating the extended storage and balanced weight distribution. On the other hand, runners opting for belts lean towards swifter, shorter journeys where the focus is on unencumbered movement. The decision reflects a runner's unique priorities, whether it be endurance, speed, or a balance of both, shaping their preference for one accessory over the other. Ultimately, the choice adds a personal touch to the running journey, enhancing comfort and efficiency based on individual running styles and objectives.

If there's one thing for certain, most runners find themselves in the running vest camp, or team running belt.

But it doesn't have to be that way. It's highly recommend to have the gear you need for different types of runs.

Storage and Accessibility

When considering storage and accessibility, the choice between running vests and belts hinges on the runner's specific requirements.

Running vests, with their extensive design, offer generous storage capacity suitable for those needing to carry a plethora of essentials. Whether it's hydration bladders, energy gels, or additional gear, vests provide ample space for high-need running scenarios.

For example, if you're heading out for a 4-hour journey on the trails, you're going to want to be prepared. Things like 2L of water, a wind jacket and maybe even a first aid kit can be carried in most vests, but not a belt.

In contrast, running belts are crafted for a more minimalistic approach, catering to low-need running sessions where streamlined access to essentials is prioritised. The ease of reaching items on a belt is unparalleled during swift, short runs, making it the go-to choice for runners valuing simplicity and quick access on the go. The decision between vests and belts in this realm is intricately tied to the runner's preference for either high-touch, frequently accessed items, or a more straightforward, low-need approach to their run.

Weather and Maintenance

Considering the unpredictable elements of the weather, the breathability, weather resistance, and maintenance aspects of running vests and belts play crucial roles in enhancing the overall running experience - and makes your choice harder!

Running vests, with their often lightweight and breathable materials, promote optimal air circulation, preventing discomfort caused by excessive heat and sweat buildup. Additionally, some vests come equipped with weather-resistant features, shielding runners from rain showers and unpredictable weather conditions. Maintenance of vests typically involves simple care routines, making them practical and durable options for various weather scenarios.

On the other hand, running belts, designed with a focus on simplicity, also offer breathability, but their streamlined nature may limit extensive weather resistance. While some belts may have water-resistant features, they might not provide the same level of coverage as vests. In terms of maintenance, belts are generally low-maintenance, requiring minimal care to keep them in top condition.

Ultimately, the choice between running vests and belts in the context of weather and maintenance depends on the runner's preference for additional weather protection and the desired level of maintenance. Whether opting for the breathable versatility of a vest or the straightforward simplicity of a belt, ensuring comfort and adaptability to varying weather conditions is pivotal for an enjoyable running experience.

Cost and Value


As runners weigh their options between vests and belts, the considerations of cost and value come into sharp focus.

Running hydration vests, such as the Runly R700, with their elaborate designs and additional features, often come at a higher initial cost. However, this higher upfront investment may be justified by the extensive storage capacity, advanced breathability, and weather-resistant properties that many vests offer. For runners engaged in frequent, high-need activities, the added features may enhance the overall value and satisfaction derived from the vest.

In contrast, running belts such as the Runly Glide Belt, designed with simplicity in mind, generally present a more budget-friendly option. While belts may lack some of the advanced features found in vests, they cater to the essentials and are more economically accessible. For runners favouring shorter, low-need runs or valuing a minimalist approach, the lower cost of a belt can be an attractive proposition, providing good value for their specific requirements.

Ultimately, the decision on cost and value depends on the runner's individual budget, preferences, and the perceived importance of additional features. Whether opting for the comprehensive features of a vest or the budget-friendly simplicity of a belt, finding the right balance between cost and value ensures a rewarding investment aligned with personal running needs.

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