I haven’t really done a lot of product reviews–I publish this blog because I enjoy writing about the ups and downs of my running experiences, especially the camaraderie I’ve come to love about running. But after I finished my review of SLS3’s compression sleeves, they contacted me again to ask if I’d like to try their dual-pocket run belt for free in exchange for a review. I got an all-black one, but they also come with blue, purple, and light yellow pockets.
I didn’t receive it in time to try it out at the 3M half marathon
last Sunday, but I’ve worn it on most of my runs since then, comparing it to the Spi Belt and Flip Belt, and already I’ve found a couple of positives that stand out to me.
One, I really like the two-pocket thing. When I run with my Flip Belt, I don’t flip it over because that makes it difficult to get my chapstick or whatever on the run. As a result, I’ve lost two prescription inhalers and several chapstick tubes when I failed to notice that they’ve slid out. The chapstick isn’t a huge deal, but I’ve started zipping my inhaler into the back pocket of my pants to avoid losing another one. With the SLS3 belt, I can put chapstick and inhaler in one pocket, and phone in another.
Both zippers close from the outside in, rather than opening the same direction on both sides, so I can easily open either one without fumbling around since they both start in roughly the same spot on the belt. Also, since the news reported that a runner was sexually assaulted in the neighborhood where we train, I’ve also tried to figure out how to add a canister of pepper spray to my provisions. I wasn’t sure how to get it into the slots of the Flip Belt without potentially sliding the safety cap to “on” and gassing myself by accident, but it looks like it will fit easily and safely with my chapstick.
Side note about the pocket size: the product description says an iPhone 6+ will fit–my iPhone 6 (with an average-sized case) leaves room left over width-wise, but anything longer might be a challenge. The material is somewhat stretchy, though, so I guess it’s possible that the 6+ would make it. But I can’t verify that. Certainly a larger device would be a tight fit, and all your other stuff would have to go in the other side.
Another cool feature? It’s got a water-resistant lining inside both pockets and around the zipper. I almost always put my phone in a ziplock bag when I run, either to protect it because I know I’m going to get rained on, or it’s hot and I don’t want to drown it in sweat. Both options are possible year-round in Central Texas. I haven’t tried it in the rain, but temps have been in the 60s when I’ve run with it this week–warm enough to create the sweat problem–and when I’ve retrieved my phone, it’s dry.
One of the reasons I’ve mostly run with the Flip Belt over the Spi Belt is width. The Flip Belt is wide and flat, and it doesn’t bounce around like the Spi Belt sometimes does. It also holds my Simple Hydration water bottle more effectively than the Spi Belt. The SLS3 belt combines the two: zippers to keep from losing my stuff and width so it doesn’t bounce. It’s adjustable, and at least at this point the slider thing seems to stay where I put it rather than loosening throughout my run. The SLS3 belt fits snugly–so far I haven’t had any issues with it moving or bouncing, and it’s comfortable enough that I don’t really notice it’s there. As far as holding my water bottle, this time of year I don’t often carry water, so I’ve only run with it this way once. I had to rotate the belt a little so that the buckles weren’t directly at the small of my back, where the water bottle goes, but once I got it arranged it felt fine. It didn’t bounce around at all.
I can’t yet gauge its longevity, especially of the water-resistant lining or whether the adjustability will weaken or stretch out (thus compromising how well it will hold my water bottle down the road). And because it’s still mostly cool out, I don’t know how well it will protect my phone from sweat when the weather gets hot. But so far, after about two weeks of testing, I really like it.
If you’d like to try the SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt, you can sign up to win a raffle here. To buy one for $12.90 (57% discount + free shipping!) go to SLS3’s Amazon store.
Updated May 2016:
I have been using this belt for all of my runs since I got it, only carrying an inhaler and chapstick in one pocket and my iphone 6 in the other (no water bottle), and while I still love it, I’ve noticed the elastic on both sides is fraying a bit where it meets the pouch. I checked out amazon’s reviews and didn’t see any other mention of this, so I emailed the contact person I’d been working with to see if others had been having similar issues. He replied right away that it’s the first he’d heard of it, and he’s been kind enough to send me another one. I’m hoping this one had some kind of flaw rather than a quality issue. So I want to emphasize that even though I got one for free to review it and I didn’t ask for a replacement, they were really quick to offer to replace it anyway. Great customer service, and I’ll keep you posted on the replacement. Thanks, SLS3!