Still Calling

Product Review: Flip Belt

I’m taking a day from work, so I have an opportunity to do a quick product review for the Flip Belt. Here’s how the company describes their product:

The FlipBelt fitness belt is an alternative to bulky running armbands and running pouches. Unlike these old solutions, the FlipBelt is lightweight, doesn’t bounce and comfortably fits ALL your personal must-have items with you. It’s the perfect solution for a multitude of uses, including fitness, medical, travel, lifestyle and more. Carry your phone and keys while running or working out and always have your your inhaler, EpiPen and diabetic supplies safely within reach.

In way of backstory, the little hand-held phone case I use when I go running finally expired, my SPIBelt had gone missing, and my local running store had neither in stock. So I dropped nearly $30.00 (!!!) on the FlipBelt last week, and I’ve been on two short runs and one half-marathon training run since.

The Flip Belt largely lives up to the hype, but it has a couple of critical flaws which motivated me to get on Amazon and buy a new hand-held case.

The belt is indeed “lightweight, doesn’t bounce and comfortably fits ALL your personal must-have items with you.” Basically, it works like a money belt, without the zippers (well, the “classic” version that I purchased anyway). It’s got a great minimalist design that hugs you tight and stays out of the way. It does not bounce, which s great.

The posterior of the FlipBelt has four or five well placed slits and space for SO MUCH stuff. I run light, and there was more than enough room for my ID, debit card, 3 packets of Gu, my inhaler, and my phone. It even has a little clip for my house key. The FlipBelt is made of lycra, so it clings securely to your waist. There is no question about the space (like the TARDIS, it’s almost bigger on the inside than on the outside).

But if you’re like me, and I know I am, you like to have some music when you’re running. And this is where the FlipBelt is an epic fail. Because of the material, the close cut of the pocket slits, and the way earbuds couple to a phone, the jack seemed to always come unplugged as I put the phone into the belt. Then, when running, the wire would inevitably become crimped, making the music cut in and out. When you try to straighten the cord, it invariably unplugs again, and then you’re back to trying to get the phone into the belt without unplugging the earbuds. I must have stopped and started my run three or four times as a result to deal with my phone. I finally figured out a hack, putting the phone in first, then feeding in the cord, while blindly feeling for the jack. Even then half the time it came unplugged.

Another flaw is that while the FlipBelt has plenty of space for your stuff, it doesn’t actually hold that stuff in place. So when I needed to access my credit card to buy some water, I literally had to take off the FlipBelt, and sift around through the thing til I found what I was looking for. That’s a real disadvantage when you just want to hydrate and get moving again. And if, like me, you carry an inhaler on your run, good luck finding THAT in an emergency.

Now don’t get me wrong. If you need space to carry a lot of stuff on your bike ride or run, the FlipBelt is a great option. But for someone like me, who listens to music while running, it’s more frustrating than ideal. Frankly, I’m going to keep using the belt, but only for the purposes of carrying energy gels and my inhaler. The rest will fit nicely in my HB Tune.

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