The website describes the Fleetfoot II as “a comfortable waist belt for women … ergonomically shaped to fit a woman’s hips securely and comfortably,” with no chafing!
It can be used for walking, running or cycling. It has reflective silver panels for safety and whilst it is described as ‘super lightweight’, weighing in at only around 100 grams, the website claims it holds all your running essentials, including keys, phone, coins and MP3, tissues, gels or an inhaler. It has a stretch tunnel pocket designed to carry a 500ml water bottle, hat or gloves, or extra gels, and stretchy loops for carrying a jacket.
Cost: £29.99 plus postage
I have used a few waist belts in my time as an endurance runner, and have never quite found one that is comfortable to wear while running, especially while carrying water. I usually get a wet back as water sloshes everywhere, mostly up my back, my phone is usually in a velcro strap on my arm, which usually falls off as the velcro loses its grip over time, and I normally wear a wrist pack to carry jelly babies which I generally have to open and close using my teeth. In fact, most of my training for the London marathon was done carrying a handheld water bottle, or my route designed around laps past my house so I could stop for a drink.
After speaking to WorkPlayBags about their waist belts specially designed for female runners, I chose a black pack (so it wouldn’t clash with my #teamred running kit) and was excited to try it.
My Fleetfoot II arrived two weeks before the London Marathon, so I didn’t have the opportunity to try it out properly during my taper to the big day, because I wasn’t running far enough to need to carry water or food with me. I tried it on for comfort: there is a video on the website that explains how to fit the Fleetfoot II. It is worn in the small of the back, so you have to put the straps in a very specific place, so that once you have your water bottle in the bag, you shouldn’t be able to feel it. I liked the feel of it, and decided to pack it into my bag for the marathon itself. Now this could have been a very dangerous strategy – the number 1 racing rule is not to do anything on the day that you haven’t practiced in training.
So how did the Fleetfoot II perform during my 26.2 miles?
I found the pack really comfortable to wear and run with. The main thing I noticed while running with so many other people, was how much other runners’ packs were bouncing around. My Fleetfoot II did not move an inch, and I couldn’t really feel I was wearing it. The back of the pocket is padded, so you can’t feel the contents against your back. I did find the part of my back where the pack had been was quite sweaty once I took off the pack, but apart from that, I had no complaints. The website promised that the micro fleece pocket would also reduce irritating rattling noise when running, and I certainly didn’t hear any annoying rattling noises.
The pocket had ample room for my phone in one compartment, and my choice of fuel in the other compartment (in my case, jelly babies, bee pollen tablets and chocolate covered coffee beans). I have found in the past that my running sweets have melted in some waist belts, but this didn’t happen with the Fleetfoot II. The compartments are also anti-scratch, so great for carrying my phone. I also liked the ‘In case of emergency’ label included in the pocket – a nice nod to running safety I thought.
The Fleetfoot II also has an elastic loop to hold one gel. I don’t personally use gels normally, so the fact that there was only one loop didn’t bother me. During the marathon I did collect a couple of gels from fuel stations (just in case) which sadly fell out of the elastic band. This band could be smaller in my opinion, to have a better grip on gels, but really, this bag is not a gel belt, it’s a great all rounder. I did store some gels I collected later inside the stretch tunnel, which secured them really well.
While the pocket is worn on the back, it is really easy to turn the belt around easily to access the contents of the pocket from the front.
Now for its big benefits – the ability to carry a water bottle, and a jacket. This is my favourite benefit of the bag, especially its ability to hold a rain jacket, and I really wish I’d had this throughout all my training. Having to tie a jacket around your waist makes for uncomfortable running, but the FleetFoot II pack enables you to carry it comfortably, out of sight. It also fits a surprisingly large water bottle in the mesh compartment. You can feel it’s there when you run, but it’s not uncomfortable, and the water doesn’t slosh about as it sometimes does with upright carriers, and nor is there a risk of the water bottle falling out.
I can also comfortably carry the dog’s extendable lead and a tennis ball in there when out running with the dog.
Look of the product
As it’s worn in the small of the back, you simply have a strap around the front. From the back it’s small enough not to be too noticeable.
Very comfortable to wear. Delivers absolutely what it promises.
Comes in two colours; black, and a more feminine vibrant pink.
Very versatile. It can carry a lot of small essentials.
Only one gel holder, and this proved a bit too big.
I couldn’t hear my phone ring when it was in the padded pocket, and the padding on the pocket made my back a little sweaty.
Will I continue to use it? YES, I use it for most of my runs now. I also use it at most of my coaching sessions, as it’s useful for carrying my phone, a whistle and a pen and some paper. It’s a massive thumbs up from me. Thank you WorkPlayBags for asking me to trial it.