Friday, May 27, 2011

iFitness Belt Review

I was asked to do a review of my iFitness belt (which I seem to be wearing more and more these days).

I started out my workout belt life with a SPIBelt. It worked pretty well, but since the pouch has no form of its own and takes the form of whatever item you put in, the belt tended to roll on my body and it was hard to get things in and out.

My rinky SPIbelt which hasn't seen fresh air in years

I also disliked that I was always afraid my keys/ID would fall out when I reached in to grab something I needed during the run.

I heard awesome things about the iFitness belt and thought I'd give it a shot.

One awesome selling-point for me was that the iFitness belt has a little internal pocket you can tuck your key or ID into so it doesn't fall out while on the run.

View of internal pocket

My first iFitness belt purchase a few years ago was the single pouch model:

I was told by the sales rep at the expo that you had to wear it low on your hips (I usually place the band right below my hip bones) in order to ensure it wouldn't bounce or ride-up.

I'm not sure electronics would survive a dip in the ocean, but the pouch is made of neoprene which offers a fairly high level of water/sweat protection.

I've run with my phone in the single pouch and it doesn't bounce or ride up at all. I literally forget I am wearing it. Since I'm wearing the pouch low on my hips I don't get that uncomfortable feeling that comes when I wear something higher up on my natural waist. I also used this pouch when I was horseback riding to keep my phone and keys handy. I also liked that the neoprene was tough and would provide a layer of protection between my body and my car key in the event of a horse fall.

This past January I won an iFitness belt giveaway on Twitter and was treated to any belt of my choice at the Walt Disney Marathon expo. I chose the Ultimate II belt. I had actually been interested in trying one of their belts that have elastic loops you can stick your gels through.

Cropped for a peek at my snazzy Oiselle orange armwarmers

I tried it out for the first time at Big Sur (above). I stashed my camera in the pouch and my gels in two of the loops and the one velcro pouch on the side of the regular neoprene pouch. You can also see the cap of my lip balm sticking up behind the gels (there is an elastic loop for that).

I use eGels which are pretty huge compared to Gu or Hammer packaging. I almost lost a fingernail trying to slide those gels through the loops. But they were really easy to get out and were held very snugly.

It took Boyfriend and I twenty minutes total to get two gels in the belt loops pre-Big Sur. For the above photo-op I got the gel pack through on the first try. Live and learn.

I was a little afraid that the belt would chafe my shorts, but they came out unscathed after 26.2 miles. I have to say that during Big Sur I did have to readjust the position of the belt every now and then. I think this is because I was taking my camera in and out a lot which changed the tension a bit.

Another thing I recently picked up are the hydration add-ons. Since I already had two belts I am glad I went this route vs. buying a hydration belt. For one, I can decide how many and where to put the bottle holders. Two, I can have all my nifty Ultimate II features or not, depending on my mood.

The hydration add-ons have a little clip inside which clips onto the belt. They attach very securely.

The one downside to the add-ons are that the bottles are tiny. I generally run with a 22 oz handheld and will refill it once or even twice on long runs. The hydration add-on bottles are 6 oz and on a hot day I could probably drink the whole thing in one gulp. There is no way that amount of water would hold me from water fountain to water fountain. However, for race situations where I plan to utilize the aid stations, they are perfect. I have some water with me inbetween aid stations to sip but I can drink more at a station or refill the bottle along the way.

I tend to like to use a belt hydration carrier when running races with my camera so I have two hands free to get my camera out and take photos. Generally a race where I am taking photos I am not caring too much about the time so won't mind stopping to refill so often. And what do you know, there is also a pocket to hold said camera. So the belt set up like this is perfect for me.

True to iFitness form the belt doesn't bounce with the added liquid and it is easy to get the bottles in and out (I haven't run yet with two bottles of liquid -- at Big Sur the second bottle-holder was filled with a pack of Peeps and during Bay to Breakers I had my camera in the second bottle holder).

My camera in the hydration holder.

Peeps in the hydration holder. So many uses!

Another thing I really like about the Ultimate II is the race bib clips in the front. I used it for my last two races and I didn't even notice the bib was there. Newsflash! They also have race bib toggles you can add on to single pouch belts. Hurrah!

The belt is fastened with a secure clip. No more messing with velcro & snagging your delicate tech clothes.

I also purchased the double pouch model for Bay to Breakers. My intent was to put my camera in one pouch and my phone in the other. As I mentioned above, I ended up putting the phone in the pouch and my camera in a bottle holder for easy access. I think I prefer this since it is super easy to get the camera out quickly and the belt didn't have to be readjusted at all since I wasn't taking something in and out of the pouch all the time. However, I decided to keep the double pouch model since I figure it may come in handy one day.

Double pouch model

One interesting thing about the double pouch is that it only has an internal pocket in one of the pouches. I think having the internal pouch in both sides would have been a nice feature.

So there you have it! I definitely recommend iFitness belts for carrying all your stuff on the run and other active activities. There are tons of different models to meet your individual needs and you can mix and match accessories to create your dream belt.

Update, 08/16/13:  iFitness has rebranded to Fitletic


audgepodge said...

A very well done and thorough review, miss Roadbunner!

Still need to order the hydration add-ons...

Chic Runner said...

This is my favorite belt as well. It just doesn't compare to anything else and I run with the two water bottles and love them! I have heard rumors that larger bottles are on their way :)

Keely said...

Thanks for the nice review, Sandra. I ended up with the double pouch. I will have to check out adding the bib toggles.

Rachel said...

i LOVE iFitness! we sell the spibelt at work and i always tell people to check out iFitness instead. i may have to look into the ultimate II now, i like the idea of easily carrying both phone and camera. great review!

naomi said...

I wish I knew about the hydration add-ons before I splurged on the hydration belt itself.

Q: Are you supposed to wear it with the pockets in the front?

Rabbits' Guy said...

I believe you could pack for a mission up Everest in that thing!

Great review.

cliff said...

you're like batgirl!

Average A said...

It took you guys 20 minutes to put the gels in? That's funny. :)

I'm impressed that your camera stayed in the add-on... this actually might be worth the investment, just for that alone.

Great review!

Emily @ Sweating Sugar said...

I am convinced....I think I need to invest in an iFitness belt.....maybe lil' guy could use one to hold his carrots!

Melissa said...

I'm very disappointed in this belt. I bought it to hold gels during a long race & was hoping it would hold at least 4. I use high 5 isogels & I can only get one in.

Gerard Butler Workout said...

Wow!dear this is great blog, keep it up dude......

Vancouver Chiropractor said...

Interesting and important information. It is really beneficial for us. Thanks

tontan said...

I am just searching the waist belt and race belt. Your review was so helpful for me. I am confusing to choose a Ultimate or arm holder with running belt.

Thanks a lot!