Here is my review of the SPI belt performance series. I have to say I don’t normally use belts to run with and normally use my Adidas Arm band. Therefore when I was asked to review the SPI Belt (Small Personalised Item) performance series I was curious to see the difference in comfort with the belt. I have to mention that I was asked to review this product and while I was not paid for the review did receive the SPI Performance belt free of charge. However I am not biased in this review and have given my honest opinion of the product from my personal standpoint. This is the only compensation I have ever been given and haven’t been swayed into writing a positive review or trying to sell you any product. I have been for a run with belt on two 5km and one 12km runs.
The look of the SPI Belt:
I actually like the look of the belt and think it is quite attractive. I got it in blue, which just means that the belt is black in colour with a blue zip. Yes its simple but I have no problem with that at all I quite prefer it. Personally I wouldn’t really want an out there belt but that’s my personal opinion, you can get other styles in different series from their website including polka dot or more block colours. However one two of my runs while it did pretty much remain dry a few drops maybe I simply put the belt under my waterproof which obviously made no difference to what the belt looked like and you couldn’t even tell that I was wearing the belt.
It does fit everything I need when I go for a run snuggly and comfortable, its not too tight but compacted enough for the belt to remain small in size. The actual belt with nothing in it is relatively small which is great as it means it’s not bulgy at all if you only take some ID and your keys with you. The material of the belt is dry natural rubber, which I found beneficial as it meant the belt was lightweight but easily able to mould and stretch around the items I put in the belt. I have an Iphone 5C so my phone isn’t the biggest you can now get on the market but the pocket is big enough for larger phones including the iphone6plus and the Galaxy S, which is much bigger than my phone. Normally when I go for runs I tend not too take too much with me as normally I don’t have the option to carry anything with my armband, I can just about squeeze my front door key in. The option with the SPI belt is that you can take a lot more with you and its no issue at all, you could take some money, ID, all your keys with you if you wanted to and the belt would just mould around it. The fact that the belt mould around the item does mean it may look an odd shape dependant on what you put in it but that honestly doesn’t make any difference to be personally especially as I would rather it be more compact and lightweight rather than have lots of extra material. Also the material allows the belt to remain extremely lightweight.
The band and the buckle of the belt seem to be of good quality and the width of the band seems just about right. The band is not too wide but wide enough to get a good grip around you waist/ hip.
The belt also has 4 loops for gels, which seem more than adequate for any ultra distance runner and the gels fit in snuggly. The loops are positioned with 2 on each side of the pouch so it easier to access the gels when you are running and you wouldn’t have to faff around too much to get them out.
Comfort of the SPI Belt:
So this is where I ran into some issues personally however in retrospect the belt did a lot better than it properly should. The belt does move around and bounce a little when I run not massively but enough to notice particularly in the first 1km. However certainly by about 2.5km I hardly noticed the movement of the belt. The more you tend to put in the belt it naturally does seem to make it bounce slightly more with the extra weight. To counteract the movement/bouncing you can wear the belt on the hips, which does seem to prevent to the point where I actually was relatively comfortable and forgot it was there. I found that the belt does ride up a little from the hips but its pretty good. I am also not used to wearing a belt which may come into account aswell in terms of getting used to it. Overall I am pretty impressed with the fit of the belt and it was actually a lot more comfortable than I had thought it would be.
The main point to take into account with my review in terms of fit is that I have a small waist and having checked the features of the belt it does say that it fits waists between 29” – 52”. I have a 24” waist so the fact that it doesn’t bounce massively and I am still able to use the belt with relative comfort says quite a lot about the fit of the belt. I have no doubt that on a person with a 29” waist that it was actually targeted for would be no problem with the bounce or movement of the belt at all.
However a 29” waist is the waist of someone that is equivalent to a UK size 12:US 8:euro:40 which does rule out a decent proportion of runners. I do hope in future that SPI bring out an updated version of the performance belt in a smaller size especially as the SPI original, SPI energy running belt with 6 gel loops, belts are designed for smaller waists from 24”-40”. Furthermore the SPI Diabetic belt is also designed for smaller waists from 25” – 50”. If you do have a smaller waist then performance belt while adequate may not be the best SPI product for you.
Practicality of the SPI Belt:
It is meant to be weather resistance but not water resistance and they do sell plastic inserts for your electronics on their website. I placed the belt under my waterproof jacket, as there was a slight drizzle on several of my runs and I had no problem. I also had no problem with sweat however it isn’t scorching weather at the moment in Wales its rather on the cool side so I wasn’t sweating buckets. However due to the position of the belt round my waist compared to an arm band it this respect I would give it a better rating in sweat protection than my usual arm belt. Personally I think that the belt would be fine for sweat and minor drizzle but wouldn’t stand up in heavier condition having said that even when running with my waterproof/windproof jacket I have still be soaked through my base layer and long sleeve top.
Overall I was impressed with the SPI performance belt, it was able to allow me to carry as much as I wanted on my runs with ease and comfort. It has been created for a simple job and it does well. I would recommend the belt to any runner as it is comfortable and doesn’t really move around. I would like to see SPI adapt the performance belt in the future to have the same size range as the original SPI belt opening up the belt to small waist sizes.
You can check out the SPI performance belt from their website on: http://www.spibelt.co.uk/running-belt-performance-black-blue-c2x18384167
Features and Price of the SPI Belt:
Price: $25.99 or £22.99
- A large weather resistant pocket and zipper
- 4 gel loops
- Able to fit iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung Galaxy
- SPIbelt doesn’t bounce
- Compatible with 175ml water bottles.
- The Perfect Spibelt for Runners and outdoor activities.
- Available in black or with Coloured zippers.
- One size fits waist 29″ – 52″