14 September 2014

The SPIbelt - A belt for small personal items.

What do you run with? When you hit the road, are you suited up with all of the latest gear and technology? Do you have a phone strapped to your arm, a drink belt with water and gels, a GPS watch, ID tag, and sweat resistant headphones? Perhaps you're on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, hitting the trails "blind" with nothing but a few light layers of moisture-wicking clothing and shoes. These days, even shoes are becoming excessive for runners. The fact of the matter is, if you're truly a runner, you've put plenty of care into what you carry with you and how you carry it.

For me, it's my phone and keys. That's it, and at least for the phone, it's non negotiable. I often run when it's dark and should anything happen, having my phone would make a big difference. Injuries are inherent with runners and there have been many spills, cramps and blisters, and as I knock on wood now, having the ability to make a call in an emergency is essential. I have seen and heard of many people that run with nothing at all, but really, not having my phone while I'm out is honestly something I'm just not comfortable with.

The problem then becomes how to properly carry these items. The common solution seems to be arm straps. These are the pouches, usually with transparent plastic windows that allow you to view and control your phone while running. Odds are you've noticed how popular these are, they're everywhere. The big problem I've always had with these is stability. I've never been able to find one that stayed in place. My arm movement and sweat always lead me to constantly adjust and tighten the band. I suppose they come in handy if you want to easily glance at your phone for music options or tracking your pace, but with the added weight on your arm and the awkward strap, there is definitely a better option. If the most important factor for you is comfortably carrying a few small personal items with you while you run, what you need is the Small Personal Items belt. This is the SPIbelt.


The SPIbelt is an American made small elastic belt. That's really all it is, at least in it's original version. The belt is a fully adjustable press-clip elastic waistband with a single zipper-pouch made of a very stretchy spandex like material. It's so simple. It's a waistband and pouch that's incredibly well designed and manufactured. The SPIbelt is designed to "expand to hold any smart phone, keys, cash, credit cards and even a passport in a sleek, secure pack that does not bounce." There are plenty of variations according to colour and size, but this is about the original.


The photos here show off what I usually carry on my runs -- my phone and my keys. As you can see, the pouch is about 17cm in length and maybe 3cm wide. It may not look like it, but it expands a great deal to fit what I need. My Nexus 4 is probably considered a larger phone than average, and there’s still room for some cards or cash if I need them, but of course, the more you carry, the less secure the fit is. I can say with total confidence that if you only have your phone, keys and a card or some cash, the fit is so secure and comfortable you’ll forget it’s there.


This is really all it does. It's the epitome of a one-trick pony but it does this so effectively it makes a world of difference in comparison to common alternatives. Pants pockets are almost useless when running, the average running belt adds a fair bit of heft and therefore bounces around, and armbands are unnatural. Accessibility is the other amazing thing. Sometimes I need to take a call, other times, I am a bit pedantic with monitoring my pace. In these situations going into the pouch and grabbing my phone, then securing it back up is no problem. There's no need to stop, slow down or take my eyes off the road.


Like with most things I care a lot about simplicity, convenience and comfort. Those that know me understand I have a growing affinity for minimalism. Running is no different.If anything, this is stronger with my running because of the importance in comfort and lightness. I carry my phone and if I needed to drive to my route, I have my keys. Sometimes I take headphones, but usually I don't. I love running because of how pure it is. There's no machinery, other people, infrastructure, or technology that is needed to do it. I would argue that running is the minimalist form of exercise. All that's really needed is yourself and (arguably) shoes. However, in this day and age, there are a few small personal items most of us need to carry for a wide range of reasons. Whatever they may be, with the SPIbelt, these are less of a distraction, allowing for a more pure and enjoyable run.


1. There's another problem I have with armbands. It's completely subjective, but I think they look stupid. This isn't exactly the most accurate adjective I can think of. You know how people look with bluetooth earpieces in their ears? That's how people with armbands look to me.

2. There are a few books that turned me on to "meditative running". Eat and Run by Scott Jurek, Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham, and What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami. I highly recommend them, as well as training yourself to run without sound. Having only your thoughts, breathing, footstrikes, and surroundings to listen to, running becomes as therapeutic mentally as it is physically. We all love that "zone", the absence of audio, for me, gets me there quicker and keeps me there longer.

3. The direct website doesn’t seem to ship to Australia, but the first one I’ve owned, lost, and recently replaced (hence this article of appreciation) was purchased on eBay. The one I own now was found at a local REBEL Sport - a major sporting goods store chain out here. The fact that they have them in Australian stores indicates their ubiquity. Either way, for $20-$30 depending on your country and currency, this is a must buy.

The SPIbelt™ will expand to hold any smart phone, keys, cash, credit cards, and even a passport. The SPIbelt™ is ideal for fitness, travel, medical needs, and so much more. The SPIbelt™ is sleek, secure, and does not bounce.
Product Features:
  • Will not bounce.
  • Expandable, secure, low-profile pocket.
  • Comfortable, soft elastic prevents chaffing.
  • Sturdy buckle and glides for even the most active users.
  • Pocket expands to 6" x 3" x 2"
Fits waist size 25" through 50".

Proudly made in Austin, Texas.