In the world of distance running, especially long distances where carrying fuel is critical to success, there are just a few ways for runners to do so. Those options are vests, backpacks and belts, and the selection for any of these choices is fairly robust. However, even with so many options to choose from, there are certain features that every runner looks for, which include fit, function and fashion. As a long distance trail runner, I had only ever tried running with either a backpack with a bladder or a vest with a bladder. In both instances, I began to discover that the added weight of liquid on my back was causing some unwanted stress in my upper back. Assuming this was just the way it had to be, I had never considered a belt because I didn’t feel that a belt could adequately hold enough liquid. That’s when I discovered Naked Sports.
To be fair, when I first thought of a running belt, the image that flashed across my mind
was that of a fanny pack. I realized that if I ever checked one of these things out, I was doomed to hear old person jokes for the rest of my life. When I saw the Naked Running Band on their website, I remained a little skeptical, but I was intrigued none the less. The idea of being able to carry liquid at the hip level, along with protein and carb chews, left me extremely curious. After reaching out to a few other runners who had tried it, I decided it was at least worth a shot. And with a 50K looming large on my schedule, I also knew that I wanted to find another alternative to my vest or my pack.
In researching the Naked Running Band, I had been told that it came in 12 different sizes. While that might seem extreme, the important thing to remember about this belt is that it pulls on like shorts, meaning it does not have a buckle. The entire band is about 4” high and once it’s on, you will notice that it should fit snuggly but comfortably around your hips or your lower abdomen, depending on where you choose to wear it. In my case, I wanted it on my hips if possible, and was able to have it be over the top of my shorts, but right at the top of the elastic band. The initial fit was perfect, but I knew that I had to get it out on the trail to be sure. Besides the fit was the immediate recognition of function. The entire inside of the band is a pocket, or more appropriately, a series of 3 pockets; 1 long and 2 half size. I wore it so the long pocket was at my back and the 2 shorter pockets were in front. Additionally, there is an amazing feature built in to the belt that lets you attach your race bib without pins. There are 2 squeezable buttons that attach to 2 pieces of paracord. Release the buttons, slip the bib over the paracord, put the buttons back on and off you go!!
So, after filling a 21oz soft bottle full of water, stuffing it into the back pocket, grabbing a couple protein packets and a couple of carb chew packages and shoving those into the front pockets, I headed out for a few miles to test the real claim to fame of this belt. Namely, that it does not bounce at all.
The verdict? It does not bounce at all. After a short 4 mile, off-road jaunt in which I jumped off of large rocks and purposely tried to create a fail point, the band was performing admirably and not riding up, which was surprising but encouraging. All I needed now was to really test it in my race.
Race day arrived and with it, I was ready to put the band through some tough paces. I loaded the back pocket with the aforementioned 21oz soft bottle and filled the front 2 pockets wtih 3 protein pouches, 3 carb chew packs and a thing of chapstick. I quickly and easily attached my bib to the front. I chose to carry a second soft bottle with the intention that I would drain one and then switch them out. About 5 miles into the race I found myself adjusting the belt a little because it seemed to want to creep up. But after that initial adjustment, I never had to do it again. Through the course of the race, I swapped out bottles at least 6 times, went through my proteins and carb chews and even stuffed my neck gaiter into the handy straps on the back, which have a really amazing rubberized grip on the inside of them to hold stuff there.
At the end of the day, I just can’t say enough good things about this product. While I have only run in it 3 times so far, it has already travelled over 50 miles. For me, it wears over the top band of my shorts, so it’s not riding on my skin, therefore not creating any sort of chafing issue. Because I kept my shirt on the entire race, it was nearly impossible to tell I was wearing it until I showed it to someone. The band is extremely light weight and dare I say, even fashionable. Had I taken my shirt off, I think I might have even avoided the old guy jokes!
Cost & Where to buy: On the Naked website for $45.99
Thank you to Naked for providing us with a sample item. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.