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Running product review: SPIbelt Personal Item Belt

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The SPIbelt appears to be a handy solution for toting a smart phone, a driver’s license, a credit card, car keys, gel snacks, or a small stash of cash on the run.

This lightweight elastic web belt boasts a super-stretchy zippered pouch that expands to fit an iPhone, iPod, or similarly sized device. The adjustable waistband is easy to operate, as is the sturdy plastic buckle.

Hand-washable, the SPIbelt is made primarily of elastic and spandex. It weighs less than a pound empty. It comes in lots of colors, including black, blue, olive green, pink, red, turquoise, or even with polka dots.

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The basic SPIbelt currently retails for about $20 from Amazon, Dick’s, Rebel Sport, REI, Running Warehouse, and other sporting goods suppliers.

Plenty of running enthusiasts laud this little belt, which has enjoyed airtime TV talk shows and running programs. This trim-sized pack won’t hold a pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses, or a regular wallet. Still, it can accommodate lots of smaller stuff.

Here’s why my SPIbelt may not be so swift.

The SPIbelt isn’t waterproof, so items carried inside it may become damp, if the runner sweats more than a little or in inclement weather.

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Also, the zipper tends to catch, if it’s not aligned just right, or if a zippered baggie is placed inside (to keep items dry).

Once fully loaded, the SPIbelt doesn’t stay put during a run. It jostles and wiggles and bobs and slips and shifts and thumps with every step. The Texas-made belt is advertised as non-bouncing, but I beg to differ. I half-expected to find an iPhone-sized bruise on my hip after running a recent 5K.

Also, the SPIbelt inches its way upwards (at least on a woman), if it’s not placed exactly at the waistline, which isn’t all that comfortable with most running attire.

Note: This product review was based on a purchased item, not a free sample or promotional request.

Personally, I’ll use my SPIbelt for bike and horseback rides and perhaps for trail hikes. I may wear it to keep valuables secure while traveling. But I’m not using it again for running. I won't run without my smart phone, and I have enough bouncing of my own, without having to endure a pounding phone on my midsection, inside a SPIbelt that won't sit still.