For 2019 I was selected as an ambassador for Naked Sports Innovations. It wasn't until recently that I became familiar with their products so I wanted to provide a brief overview of the company and their gear. With time I plan on writing more in depth reviews of each individual product they offer. Since they aren't as well known as some other running vest/band products out there I wanted to share my experience of how I came to discover them.
For the marathon distance especially, I have found that the running band is the perfect item for me. Vests can get hot and heavy and when you're trying to run for time every ounce counts. I was searching for the perfect running belt for my marathons.
I've tried a variety of running bands. First I started with a pink running waist band that had a small zip pocket in the back and a buckle in the front. This was a one-size fits most belt with long excess strings that I had to wrap around several times so they weren't hitting my arms or flying around in the wind. You could stuff a few gels in the zip pocket and that was it - forget about running with your phone, ID, or wanting any more than 3-4 gels. It didn't leave you with many options of what you could bring. Another issue I had was that I would often end up getting a bruise on my backside after the race from the little zip pocket hitting my back ever so slightly, repeatedly for 26+ miles. So that one was out, what was initally a gift served me well, but I knew I needed to keep searching.
Then I ended up with a water belt, one of the rigid ones that has a few small bottles around the belt. This gave me the flexibility to carry water on my runs, but it was heavy, and didn't offer much additional storage space. I ended up realizing that when I want to carry water I'd rather just have a full pack where the bulk of the water weight is further up my back.
Then I ended up with the Tube running belt. This solved a lot of the issues I was looking for. I had tons of storage options to fit gels, snacks, phone, ID, etc. and no longer had the issue of having bruises on my back from the belt actually staying in place. I used this solution for quite some time and thought I was satisfied until I ran the Detroit marathon with it. The race had light rain that turned to high humidity. This must have been the first "hot" marathon I wore the belt to because I quickly realized that this belt didn't breathe AT ALL. It was miserable, and I didn't have the option to take it off in that setting so I was stuck with it for 26.2 miles. Another no.
From here I started looking into options of running bottoms that have built in waist packs and pockets. I generally really like two of the items I found for this purpose but the major drawback is that they are expensive and you have to wash the clothing after each use, so it's really not ideal for when you're wanting to carry basic gear like a phone on every run. This solution worked fine for races but I wasn't willing to shell out hundreds to buy enough for everyday use.
Jump to me finding the Naked Running Belt and I immediately knew this was exactly what I had been searching for. It's light, breathable, AND allows for the option of carrying a lot, or just a few essentials on your daily run. So far I would say I've spent the most time using the running belt that they offer just because of how versatile it is. I've worn it on several runs where all I'm carrying is my phone, to races where I'm storing fuel, phone, ID, car keys, sunglasses, salt tabs, even clothing when I've decided to remove layers on the go. And when you're not carrying anything, you can't even tell it's there.
The size options are a bit intimidating at first, so be sure to actually measure. I wouldn't guess and put it to chance. With 12 different sizes you'll be sure to find your best fit, whether you prefer to wear your band lower on your hips or higher on your waist. Just keep in mind that the stretch offered is minimal, so I found it works better for me to wear it lower on my hips.
Naked Sports also offers running vests (and bras for women) that offer even more storage. Collapsible bottles can be found on their website, or try to fit your own. I've done minimal running with my vest, but I tend to carry more when it's hotter (in terms of water and electrolytes) so I expect I'll be using the vest option more as summer arrives.