Wednesday, October 13, 2010

review: SPIbelt

When I was in Houston a few weeks ago, buying new sneakers at a fancy running store, I also picked up a SPIbelt which, I only just learned, stands for small personal item belt. I haven't decided yet if it's pronounced "SPY-belt" or "SPEE-belt," but I'm leaning towards "SPY" for the purpose of intrigue.


I decided to spring for the belt for a number of reasons. The first is that on long runs (10+) I like to bring some form of easy-to-digest liquid energy with me. My favorites are Clif Shots, preferably mocha flavored. Since they're in gel form, they don't require any chewing, offer the small bursts of energy necessary for marathon training, and are actually kind of delicious. However, carrying two or three gels in one hand for three hours can get pretty old. Enter: SPIbelt.

 Clearly, these are not my abs.

PROS: Small and discreet. The pouch part expands so you can fit a cell phone, three gels, and your house key inside the zippered area. The strap is stretchy, which minimizes bouncing (though I actually wear it higher, around my middle and over my shirt, because it does ride up a bit and why fight nature?). It comes in a variety of colors, for the fashion-minded. 

CONS: The SPIbelt is little more than a glorified fanny pack. HOWEVER, as someone who is waiting with bated breath for the day when fanny packs are back in style, I am totally okay with this. (What? Like you don't miss the days when you could carry your essentials in a snazzy, hands free pouch around your waist? Do you also hate kangaroos? That's what I thought.) Also, I'm afraid I'm in danger of becoming one of those runners who needs 14 different things in order to run three miles. So far, I have a SPIbelt and a Garmin and I think that's more than enough - for now, anyway.

VERDICT: I am a fan of the SPIbelt. So far, I've worn it on an 11 miler and in the Tyler Half Marathon, and both times it gave me little trouble, except for some adjusting here and there when my shirt started to ride up. A small price to pay for portability and something to hold me over until the fanny pack is back in full force.