I have tried a fair few running belts over the last four years and have never been completely satisfied. There always seemed to be some major flaw that I found. Some bounced around too much. Others were too small to fit my phone; although I do have a big phone (Galaxy Note 10+ 5G). One claimed to be water-resistant but really wasn’t! Then came the issue of carrying a drink… there’s just a lot to consider when it comes to running belts.
For my birthday last year, I treated myself to yet another running belt. To be honest, I had wanted a double walled bottle for a while and stumbled across the Hyena Running Belt. This conveniently included a 500ml stainless steel bottle. I managed to get the belt and bottle on offer for £20 as it was a new product launch in January 2020.
Ok, so the packaging did impress me. It wasn’t just a standard cardboard box with a printed logo or writing. Instead, it was a black and orange branded box. Instantly, this made the product feel more premium than belts I had tried before. Others had just arrived in a brown cardboard box or white / grey bag.
As I had been wanting a double walled stainless-steel bottle for a while, my attention was drawn immediately to that. I had ordered one from eBay but it arrived dented and just wasn’t great quality. The Hyena bottle was a different story. It looked premium with the black finish and gloss orange Hyena logo. There was no chipped paint or dents and the bottle felt sturdy without feeling too heavy or cumbersome. According to the manufacturer, the bottle is able to keep drinks ice cold for 24 hours or piping hot for 12 hours. I haven’t used it for hot drinks, but it does keep drinks cold for a long time.
For the belt itself, I really liked the black and orange contrast. The branding felt strong and not gimmicky or cheap. There are also two reflective elements – one on each side, which are a nice touch. I was also quite surprised by how well made the Hyena Running Belt appeared. The materials felt of good quality and had a few nice touches. One of them being the anti-slip silica pads which are designed to prevent movement. They’re like a bobbled area on the inside of the belt at each side.
The zip also has an extra-long piece of material attached to make opening it much easier. This is especially handy in the dark or wet. The main pocket is also constructed of water-resistant neoprene to protect your phone and valuables from the rain. In order to keep the pocket dry, but still allow you to listen to music, there is a small area to put your headphones through. I personally won’t make use of this as I run with a Bluetooth pair of Aftershokz Aeropex (review), but it is definitely useful for a lot of people.
The bottle holder compartment also impressed me as it can be used with different sized bottles. I assumed that it would have been designed to just fit the included bottle. However, it actually has an adjustable toggle which allows you to alter the size of the compartment. This also gives it more longevity as the material may loosen naturally over time, but you have the ability to tighten it.
The Hyena Running Belt also had more features than I realized. I hadn’t really read the full product description properly. I had been sold on the fact that it came with a bottle and was big enough to hold my large phone! When I noticed that it had three individual gel holders, I was quite impressed. Usually, I put my gels in the main pouch with my phone. Whilst this worked okay, getting them back out during an event could be a bit of a challenge. Having them held separately to the side was a nice bonus. I was initially slightly concerned about them slipping and falling out during a race.
It also has a inside clip, which allows you to attach your key so that you can locate it easily after a run. Previously, I would put my key in the main compartment with my phone, but then the key would be prone to moving around and it was never where I left it. Plus, that also ran the risk of having the key move and scratching my phone screen. Using the clip means that I know where my key will be after every run, and allows me to keep the key at the back of my phone, rather than risk it touching the screen.
Another nice feature of the belt, although one I probably won’t use, is the ability to attach a race number using the clips. I have magnets that I use to attach my race number to my shirt, but for those who prefer to wear their number lower or don’t want to use pins or magnets, this may be a good option.
The Hyena Running Belt is really adjustable as it opens up completely and uses a Velcro fastening. It can be adjusted from 22 to 40 inches. The Velcro fastening makes it really easy to adjust the tightness. As it’s so easy to adjust, you can position it at exactly the right height that you need on your waist to get a comfortable fit. The excess strap can then be folded on itself and Velcro attached so that there are no loose straps bouncing around.
Running with the Hyena Running Belt is very different to belts that I had used in the past. The profile of the pouch is very flat and close to the body, so it doesn’t bounce around when you run. In fact, I can forget that I’m wearing it most of the time! The anti-slip silica does a good job at holding the belt in place. I never felt like I had to adjust the belt or pull it down due to it riding up. The only time I had to adjust the belt was if I had originally put it on in a place that I didn’t like or had fastened it too tight. Even then, it was easy to adjust on the run as I didn’t have to mess around with fastenings or straps, it was just a case of peeling the Velcro and re-attaching.
I had been a little concerned about running with a bottle. For the most part, I didn’t run with a drink as I don’t like holding things whilst I run. I had used hydration packs in the past, but they can be a bit overkill for shorter runs. As expected, the included bottle fits perfectly in the Hyena Running Belt. It also wasn’t annoying or uncomfortable to run with. Drinking from the bottle whilst running was also straightforward as it uses a straw mechanism. The straw prevents spillages and is a lot easier to drink from than an open lid style bottle. I have also used the bottle with an electrolyte powder mixture with no issues. The bottle kept my drink cold for the duration of my five-hour marathon. Although I didn’t keep track of the time, I have left a drink overnight in the bottle and it was still ice cold in the morning.
As mentioned in the first impressions, the Hyena Running Belt can accommodate different size bottles. I have used the belt with standard 500ml bottles of water and had no issues. This can be a good option in races as you can then discard the bottle once you have finished with it so you have less to carry.
Another concern of mine had been the elasticated gel holder slots. Whilst I thought they were a nice feature, I was concerned about losing my gels. I did take a risk here as the first time that I trialled the gel holder slots was during the Warwick Half Marathon. It turns out, I did actually drop a gel along the way, which wasn’t ideal as I had opted not to carry a spare (I usually do so not sure what I was thinking!). I was a little disappointed, and it did throw my fuelling strategy out of the window. To be honest, it was probably more of a mental setback. I had planned at which miles I was going to take each gel, and then had to adjust to having one less. Moving forward, I realized that I could have avoided this issue by squeezing the gel to the top of the packet and then putting the gel into the holder.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the Hyena Running Belt. It has far exceeded my expectations. It has now become my go-to running belt for training runs and events. I like the black and orange contrast as it’s quite minimal. The branding is strong without being too “in your face” or distracting. It is constructed of quality materials, such as waterproof neoprene for the main compartment and has anti-slip silica pads to prevent movement. The added reflective elements on each side at the back are a nice touch for darker runs.
As for features, the three-slot elasticated gel holder is useful to stop you having to search for your gels mid-run. The internal key holder is also useful as you no longer have to rummage around with cold hands or in the rain to try and find your key; as well as providing protection with the reduced risk of scratching your phone. There is also a space to put your headphones through if you listen to music using wired headphones from your phone or MP3 player. The inclusion of the race bib clips is an added bonus, but not something that I will personally make use of.
Being able to use the belt with other sized bottles is a really useful feature. The included bottle is of really good quality though. Stainless-steel double walled bottles can cost a fair amount on their own, so to get one which can hold cold or hot drinks included with a running belt at this price point is super impressive.
The Hyena Running Belt is really well priced. It seems to pack everything you would need into one handy bundle. Although it may seem like a flat profile running belt, it can fit a Samsung Note 10+ 5G with space to spare. Even when I have ran with my phone, energy gels, Cliff Bloks, keys, bank card, and face mask, the belt hasn’t bounced around or rode up. It’s nice to be able to run with a belt and forget that you are wearing it! Other belts have bounced around, rode up, or twisted so that the pouch ends up at the side or front.
I would definitely recommend the Hyena Running Belt and can’t see what else it could really offer.
You can check these out on Amazon here.