Last Updated on March 2, 2023
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EDITOR’S NOTE: See update toward the end of this post with information about how the waist pack performed over time.
Running is one of the easier sports to get started with. All you really need is a good pair of shoes (the most important thing by far, if you want to prevent injuries) and some comfortable clothes, and you’re good to go.
If you want to run unencumbered, though, you’ll probably need a place to stash your house or car keys (and driver’s license) and maybe your phone. Pockets used to be almost nonexistent in many exercise clothes, especially for women. That situation has improved in recent years. Women’s active wear leggings now often come with pockets large enough to hold a smartphone. If you’re wearing shorts, though, most only feature a tiny (often flimsy) pocket in the waistband that can hold a house key.
For storing phones, driver’s licenses, or keys while running, your best option might be a case or pouch specifically designed to be worn while running. These pouches usually are worn around your waist like a belt (think of it as a more streamlined fanny pack), or they’re strapped around your upper arm.
I took up running this year, including running in some 5Ks, so I’ve had opportunities to try a few different waistband packs. (I prefer the waist packs, while my husband likes the armbands.) My favorite waist pack if I need a lot of space is a large $25 All in Motion belt fanny pack I bought from Target. It holds everything (phone, keys, cards, chap stick, etc.) with room to spare and doesn’t flop around. My least favorite waist pack was a more streamlined $13 New Balance pack I also purchased at Target, and I had problems with it flopping and kept having to retighten the elastic belt while running a 5K.
When my husband needed a new phone storage armband prior to the most recent 5K we ran this fall, I noticed someone on a message board had said positive things about an armband they bought at Five Below. I never would have thought to check a $5 store for running bands and belts, but I remembered that Five Below does have a small but decent fitness section with weights, etc. So I visited my local Five Below store before race day and found both an armband and a waistband, and I bought both to try. You can read about the armband at this link. In this post, I’m taking at look at the waistband.
The Series 8 Fitness Universal Active Waistband cost $5, as most things at Five Below do. That’s a lot cheaper than similar waistbands. As mentioned above, I paid nearly $13 for a name-brand New Balance waistband at Target, and I paid $25 for a larger waist pack from Target. You’ll also pay a lot more for FlipBelts or other popular brands on Amazon. The cheapest running belts I found on Amazon still cost twice as much as this Five Below waistband.
Series 8 Fitness is a Five Below private label that includes various exercise gear, including fitness balls, step platforms, resistance tubes, yoga mats, kettlebells, dumbbell hand weights, and more.
Here’s more information about the waistband, according to the package:
- Fits large and extra large devices up to 6 inches
- Compatible with all iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S, and Samsung Galaxy Note
- Sweat resistant
- Ideal for any workout
- Reflective strip helps keep you visible at night
- Allows for full touchscreen functionality
- Includes earbud holder
- Made in China
My local store only had this waistband in a heather purple color, and I’m not sure if there are other color options.
I have a 6.2-inch Android phone, so I knew this case might be a little on the small side, but it has some stretch to it and I was able to make it work. My phone doesn’t slip in and out quickly since it’s a snug fit, but I do have some phone functionality through the clear cover on the front of the pack.
This waistband has two separate sections inside: one to store your phone and another to store keys, cards, or whatever else you need to carry with you. It also has a little hole to run an earbud cord through.
It’s sometimes a little hard to get the zipper started when I need to zip this up, and I’m not sure how long it will last. I also found the small zipper to be a little hard to grip with sweaty fingers after a run, but that wasn’t a big deal to me.
The belt itself has stretch and can be adjusted to fit your waist. I wear a size medium in ladies’ pants and it fit fine with plenty of room to adjust it tighter or looser if desired.
I initially wore this waistband on a short run of about 2.5 miles in my neighborhood. I was impressed at how well this waistband worked for me. It didn’t flop around, and it pretty much stayed right where I put it. I’ve run a 5K with another waistband pack brand that required retightening several times each mile from being bounced around, but this Five Below waistband pack seemed to stay where I adjusted it before starting my run.
One of the best markers of a good waist pack is whether you forget you are wearing it during a run. So far, that is the case for me with this Five Below waistband. This is a nice waistband for when I need to take a few essentials along on a run. It’s not as large as some running waist packs I own, but I don’t always need a large waist pack. For times when I want to keep it simple, this should work great. I’ll update this post as necessary as I continue to use this pack.
UPDATE (1/20/2023) — I’ve worn this waist pack several times now on runs in my neighborhood. It stays in place fine, but the last time I used it, the zipper worked its way open. The zipper didn’t just unzip; it actually pulled apart from the middle. It’s possible that my larger phone strained the zipper and that might be what caused it to separate, but I don’t know for certain. My house key was still inside, but I don’t want to carry it in this pack anymore and risk losing it. I’ve gone back to using my All in Motion pack from Target instead.
The Series 8 Fitness Universal Active Waistband from Five Below is a little $5 pack that holds your phone, keys, cards, or other necessities while you’re running, walking, or doing other kinds of workouts. It claims to hold phones up to 6 inches, but I was able to squeeze my 6.2-inch phone inside. It is easy to use and stays in place even while getting jostled during a run. We had trouble with the zipper failing after several uses, but we’re not sure if that’s because we strained the seams putting a slightly larger phone inside.