Exercising away from home always presents me with the problem of jingling pockets, when I am lucky enough to have pockets. I carry an inhaler and an Epi-Pen, as well as the usual paraphernalia – a key, a phone and a few coins. The SPIbelt is an elasticated, stretchy waist belt that holds a collection of small personal items. It expands to fit a wallet, smartphone or passport, but it can also carry less without the contents rattling around.
Brilliantly, the SPI belt also has a small, unobtrusive hole in the lining to thread through wired headphones or the tubing of an insulin pump. We received a single pocket original children’s SPI belt for review, but picked up a dual-pocket as well so that she can carry glucotabs in the second pocket. It’s worked very well – one belt lives in her gym bag for P.E. because its the only belt we’ve trialed that prevents the pump from bouncing around uncomfortably during strenuous activity.
The SPI belt comes in a variety of shapes and colours as well as two sizes – adult or child. Large pocket, small pocket, double pocket, front or back fastening and a few more creative options – the H2O carries two proprietary water bottles that clip onto the belt, the shielded SPI has an attachable Anti-RFID/EMF liner and the diabetic version has a keyhole to thread through insulin tubing. It is available in a variety of colours, including some bright designs, a non-logo unobtrusive plain black version as well as black with coloured zips or a reflective pouch.
We tested the original SPIbelt with a single pocket in both adult and child size as well as the dual pocket SPIbelt for both adults and children.
The Ergohacks Verdict
The SPIbelt does not move, slide, bounce, jiggle, ride up or fall down and the contents are secured well, even when it includes a few coins and oddly shaped items like an inhaler. It has a very comfortable fit and it is obviously made to a high standard. The pockets aren’t huge – and they shouldn’t be – just big enough to fit the things runners take along with them – phone, cash and a front door key. As a medical accessory, it’s been excellent for carrying an Epi-Pen and inhaler and it’s a great place to keep Dextrose tablets handy in one pocket whilst securing an insulin pump in the other.
Cass gives it five stars for comfort and doing away with the annoying pump bounce, but doesn’t like that she has to unclip and zip. I don’t think this will be a problem for everyone, but it does take a bit more effort to secure the pump – but that’s why it’s more secure than pockets and other belts, so we can’t justifiably complain. The extra ten seconds of fumble has relegated it from the top choice to the sports choice because she gets her pump out often to glance at her CGM graph and zipping all the time to do this is too much work dozens of times a day.
It’s a belt that fits comfortably over as well as under clothes and on rainy days it stayed nice and dry underneath a waterproof coat. As a travel pouch, fitness belt and medical accessory, we give it a thumbs up. It’s not a budget choice, but neither does it break the bank. As a medical accessory, it’s on the cheaper end and so far the most durable we’ve tested. Six months in and it still functions exactly the same as on Day 1 with no signs of stretch or wear and tear.
We’re bumping it up from recommended to essential, particularly for frequent travel, active days out and as a great sporty choice for insulin pump users. It’s a durable product, priced well that works and keeps on working.
Price: ± £15 – 35
SPIbelt – Small Personal Item Belt – the company was started by runner and entrepreneur Kim Overton to fix her own problem in 2006. She’d gotten tired of jogging with her key tucked into her bra and thought there has to be a better way. They launched with a single belt that held a water bottle and keys and quickly became popular with runners, travellers and those who have to carry medical devices.
The SPIbelt is elastic throughout, both the pockets and the strap and it really does not bounce or shift at all. It is the first waist pouch I have worn that is comfortable to wear when running, hiking, sitting, standing and even lying down. It has dual use as a travel or fitness band, but be aware that the original is not waterproof.
The Original SPIbelt does not have a pass through hole for headset cables or pump tubing, but we tested it with a Medtronic insulin pump and fit the tube through the zip opening which worked fine. I used the dual pocket belt with one pouch for medical supplies – Epi-Pen and a reliever inhaler – and the other for my phone, front door key and cash. We found the single pocket SPIbelt optimal when not carrying medical supplies, whilst the additional pouch was a huge bonus for me.
The metal zips are painted and do not make direct skin contact, making it a good choice for those with a nickel allergy.
The review is based on the Original, Double pocket and Kids’ SPIbelt kindly provided by SPIbelt. This article was first published on 14 October 2016 and last updated on 11 May 2017.