One of my old running partners always used to complain that woman had all the options in the world for cool workout clothing while he, as a male, was relegated to just a few options: singlet, short-sleeve, or long– black, grey, white. I remember shrugging at the time: maybe it was true, maybe it wasn’t. As a newer runner, I really hadn’t considered the possibility that there could be a world of difference in gear available between the sexes.As time went on and my runs increased in length and time, however, I found myself surprised by what my athletic clothes didn’t have, that I’d never realized were a must– pockets.
When I graduated from a three-mile rec runner to training for my first full marathon, the discovery shocked me. Despite the gobs of options specialty stores like lululemon offered in every imaginable shape, pattern, and weight, the one consistent difference in gear between the sexes that I noticed was the complete dearth of pockets in women’s athletic clothing.
If I didn’t want the pudge of fat that other runners sported when they rocked the skinny SpiBelt, what was I left with? Was I destined to a life of wearing unseasonably warm jackets for the sake of having storage for my phone, cash, and beloved-but-bulky Honey Stinger Energy Chews? Thankfully for this perpetually overheated runner, I found FlipBelt and was able to kiss both my storage and fat pudge issues goodbye.
The number one thing I love about my FlipBelt is its width. At approximately 3.5″ wide, it is substantial enough to sit high on the hips but below the waist without a fat pooch flopping over the belt. The position is very natural, modern, and relaxed– think low rise jeans instead of their high-waisted brethren. Obviously I love the ample storage that the belt has, but let’s be real– I am way too vain to be seen in public wearing something that makes me look even fatter than I already feel when I’m wearing unforgiving spandex, covered in sweat, and huffing and puffing up the trail to Pittock Mansion. As an added plus, this additional fabric surface area gives the belt more of a grip on your body for a no-bounce, stable hold. (Side note: if you prefer for your belt to fit higher, you can obviously choose a smaller size to fit higher on your waist).
When you work out, you’re doing something good for your body. Even if you don’t feel gorgeous while you run, the least you can do for yourself is buy workout clothes and accessories that make you feel happy about all the work you’ve put into carving your– well, not rock hard abs– but you’re probably smaller and happier than you used to be.
In any case, the belt meets the first test– my willingness to actually leave the house wearing it. Now on to the actual function of the product. I received a purple FlipBelt in size large (I’m a women’s size 10). The belts come in seven colors and five sizes, fitting bodies from 22″ to 38″ waists. The belt weighs only 3 ounces, but the fabric is really, REALLY substantial– so much so that some reviewers have complained that their waist gets a little hot. I actually like having fabric that substantial for two reasons. First, it helps me feel like I’m not destroying the belt every time I pack the thing to the gills with my sharp-edged gels. Second, since I run with my iPhone and I have already ruined one phone from sweating profusely on it in an armband, I feel like the extra fabric offers more protection from sweat (but if you’re still super sweaty like me, you might like the $10 Loksak iPhone Drybag, which is water, humidity, sand, and snowproof– an upgrade from your garden variety Ziplock).
In the picture above, you can get an idea for the qualities I’ve described. On Sunday I got a case of the sillies and decided to see if I could stuff every single CLIF Shot that I currently own into the belt, and the above is the result. I was able to fit 12 CLIF Shots and a phone into the belt, and yet the belt still fit, still flattered, did not lose its structure, and did not sag off my hips when I ran around my home. You can literally fill the entire FlipBelt like a jelly doughnut– you just pick the flavor of your run and go for it.
With multiple-access pocket openings throughout the belt and a convenient no buckle, no zipper flip-and-lock mechanism, I can see this being a great belt for many things that might otherwise get left behind– cash, epipens, trail bars, gummies, Nuun tablets– whatever your heart desires. Add to this obvious amenity a 3M reflective logo, and odor-resistant, pilling-resistant, anti-bacterial spandex fabric that is machine washable and tumble-dry ready, and you have an accessory that it the queen of convenience.
Still confused about how a tubular-pocket belt works exactly, and how it can keep all your stuff from falling out despite all the pocket openings/access points? FlipBelt has a teeny tiny 57 second video that will show you quickly what it would take me a couple hundred words to describe. Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTY_D3FukGw