As well as keeping you safe in an emergency, taking your phone with you on a run can provide endless motivation in the form of playlists and podcasts, keep track of your run using one of the best running apps, and allow you to snap that post-run selfie. Therefore, along with finding the best running shoes, finding the best running phone holders to safely carry your tech with you on the move is essential.
Just like cell phones, running phone holders have come a long way. You are no longer limited to an armband that wraps around your bicep, instead, you can get running phone holders that hook onto your sports bra, your shorts, or even sit in a water bottle holder. Running with your phone can damage your running form, as well as increase your chances of dropping or damaging your expensive smartphone, so it’s a good idea to invest, especially if you’re upping your training, or running long distances.
Often, the main requirement when it comes to finding the best running phone holder is a carrier you can set in place, and forget for the entire run. You don’t want to worry about your phone chafing your arm, or bouncing against you as you move. All of the carriers on this list are adjustable, and we tested them on the run, in different weather conditions, using an iPhone 11 in a phone case.
What is the best running phone holder?
The best running phone holder is the Sprigs armband. During testing, we found it to be extremely lightweight and it can hold most phones, with, or without a phone case on. There is also no velcro or plastic fastening, which means the phone armband didn’t chafe or rub, even in warm weather.
The best running phone holder for warmer weather was the Nathan View Quicksqueeze view, which is an 18oz hand-held water bottle, that also has a carrier for your phone. It’s super handy when running in the heat, and for taking with you on long training runs where you might need to refuel.
The best running phone holder for women is the Koala clip phone holder, which hooks into the back of your sports bra or on the side of your shorts. While its design caters more towards women, there’s no reason why men couldn’t hook it onto the waistband of their shorts. There’s also an internal pocket that can hold keys, cash, or a credit card.
When I first saw the Sprig Armband, I wasn’t sure how it was going to keep my phone safe on the move. There is no velcro or plastic to adjust the size of the band, instead, Sprig Armband is simply a piece of thin stretch silicone. It comes in sizes from small to extra-large, and it's important to measure your bicep beforehand to ensure you get the right fit.
I slid my phone into the armband and pulled it up over my arm and was impressed by how much the armband stretched, even when I was wearing layers on colder runs. It easily accommodated my phone when it was in it’s case, which is handy, as I don’t want to waste time removing my phone case before heading out the door.
The Sprig Armband fits more tightly than any other armband on this list, but this means there is absolutely no movement on the run. The lack of straps or velcro also meant there is minimal chafing. I also tested the armband looped around my wrist, which also worked well.
The drawback for this armband is that its case is essentially a pouch and is only big enough to hold your phone, so if you’re marathon training, you’ll still need pockets for your gels. It's also not that easy to access while you are running, so if you're someone who replies to messages, or stops to take photos on the run, you might want to look at some of the others on this list.
Bottom line: If you prefer a lightweight and discreet armband, the Sprig Armband is a great option.
For a free sport, running sure can get expensive. By the time you’ve purchased a pair of running shoes, a sports bra, and some decent kit, you might be wondering why you ever started. If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful running phone holder that won’t break the bank, look no further than the Tribe Fitness Armband.
This is a no-frills armband — it holds your phone, and that’s about it. I liked that it fit both my cell phone and my phone case, and found that getting the phone in and out of the Tribe Armband was easy and that my phone felt secure in the holder. There are two different armband sizes, nine and 16 inches, to accommodate runners of all sizes.
That said, you kind of get what you pay for, and I didn't love the thickness of the armband strap on the Tribe Fitness Armband. I found the thickness of the strap meant the holder moved on my arm while I was running. Plus, the material seemed to soak up sweat more than any of the others on this list, meaning it had started to smell after just a few uses (nice). The phone holder is hand-washable, so I couldn’t chuck it in the washing machine with my kit at the end of my run.
That said, if you’re looking for a phone holder that’ll let you use your phone on the run, this one is a good option, as I found the Tribe Armband to have brilliant touchscreen capabilities. I easily moved between songs, paused, and switched playlists on the move.
Bottom line: While inexpensive, the Tribe Water Resistant Cell Phone Armband Case Running Holder is one of the bulkier options, and will need to be replaced more often than its counterparts.
The Nathan water bottle is great if you’re a runner looking to carry your phone and water. It’s over 100 degrees in the summer months where I live, and I carry hydration on every run, so I was seriously impressed by this all-in-one holder.
When focusing on the phone holder part of this product, it easily fits my iPhone 11 in its case, and it was easy to slide the phone inside and secure it. This is one of the only handheld cases on this list, and it fits nicely around your hand, so you don’t feel like you have to grip it on the run. Once the cell phone is secured, you can still view your phone thanks to the clear film phone pocket, but I did find it quite difficult to use my phone while moving, although this wasn’t much of an issue, as I usually ignore my phone on the run.
The thing that makes this running phone holder stand out from the crowd is the 18-inch insulated water bottle, which was easy to sip from on the move. According to Nathan, the insulation helps the water stay 20% cooler than other bottles. There are also reflective elements to the design of the running phone holder, which is handy when running in low light.
Both the armband and the bottle are easy to clean. You can stick the water bottle in the top rack of your dishwasher at the end of a run, and since the cell phone holder is nylon-polyester, it can go easily into the washing machine on a cold wash.
Bottom Line: If you don't mind holding something on your run, the Nathan is a great choice, especially if you need to carry water with you. That said, in the winter months, or on shorter runs when you don’t need water, you’ll probably prefer having something strapped to your arm, rather than your hand.
I don't love that I had to remove my regular case to fit my phone into the Nike Armband. Once the case is removed, it's easy to slide the phone into it and the armband itself is easy to secure around the arm. It does feature a zippered pocket, so your phone is held securely in place while you run and has some protection from really bad weather.
The material for the Nike Armband is thinner and more comfortable than that used in some of the other running phone holders on this list. It doesn't feel heavy or bulky on your arm, and can easily be adjusted when you’re wearing layers in colder conditions.
The clear plastic on the front of the phone holder is thin enough to allow you to control music or pause your running app while moving. Washing the Nike Armband is also simple, and during testing, I found washing it on the cold setting on my washing machine and air drying the phone holder worked well — the phone holder didn’t shrink or bobble in the wash.
Bottom Line: This is a basic, no-frills armband that fits most phones. Don’t let its simplicity put you off — this is one of the most comfortable armbands on this list.
The Sporteer Velocity V7 running armband is one of the bulkier options on this list, but it holds a lot. At first glance, I thought this would be way too hefty for my liking, but there is room for everything, and I was able to carry my phone, a gel, a credit card, and a face mask in the holder with ease It even has a secure key holder.
Of course, while there are obvious benefits to being able to carry so much on the run, there’s also an obvious drawback — the phone holder feels heavy when running more than a few miles.
Getting my phone into the Sporteer Velocity V7 was confusing at first — it opens up like a binder, and you strap your phone in. There are spots for a credit card and keys, and there are two different-sized armbands, each with reflective elements to help you stay seen when running in low light. After securing the phone, it's easy to touch the screen through the thick plastic.
While running, the armband is was one of the best in test in terms of staying tight against the arm and minimizing movement. It features a memory foam backing that makes it more comfortable against the skin when wearing a vest, and I found while running I didn’t need to readjust it. I never had any issues with the armband chafing on the run, even when it was full, and I was pleasantly surprised with how little it moved.
Bottom line: This is one of the best armbands available and it holds a lot of extras.
The ArmPocket Mega i-40 is designed to carry almost everything you need for a run, and more. As well as holding your phone, it comes with a pouch for your ID card, as well as a place to tuck your headphone cords in. It’s also certified weatherproof, sweatproof, mud and dirt-proof, and Drop Test certified.
That said, like the Sporteer Velocity V7 armband, all that storage came at a price, and out of all the cases on this list, this one felt the bulkiest. From the straps to the cell phone holder, every part of the case felt clunky. On the run, when the phone holder was full, it felt like I had an ankle weight strapped to my arm, and I struggled to feel comfortable. I also had to stop and adjust the armband a few times.
On the positive side, the touch screen of my iPhone was easy to activate through the plastic protection, and I could easily skip songs, or pause my running app from my arm. That said, I am much more likely to use the ArmPocket Mega I-40 for a long walk or hike in the future.
Bottom line: There are lighter cases available for the price.
Unlike a lot of the other phone holders on this list, the Freetrain V1 vest positions your phone against your chest in a pouch. With reflective details all over the vest, it’s one of the best at helping you stay seen when running in low light.
During testing, I found the Freetrain V1 Vest to be extremely tight-fitting. The product comes in one size, with an adjustable waistband for a snug fit, but I found it was tight when wearing layers, and it did take me a few runs to find a comfortable fit. During these experiments, the Freetrain V1 chafed against my shoulders and neck.
The Freetrain V1 Vest holds a cell phone, but is not big enough for a case. I didn’t love the idea of running without my case, especially when the phone is in the front of my vest, and was worried the phone might bounce around, or get damaged as I got it in and out. That said, I had no such issues, and my phone stayed securely in the pouch even on several long runs of around 10 miles. The Freetrain V1 Vest has a zipper on the side for keys or a gel, but aside from that, there are no additional storage options.
Because your phone is located in a pouch on your chest, you can't easily glance at it if you are using a running app to track your run. As much as I wanted to like the Free train V1 Vest, it's bulky around the torso and hard to wear with layers. For marathon runners, I also feel like there are a number of hydration vests similar in design that have much more storage.
Bottom Line: This is a decent hands-free option but is not that comfortable.
The Lifeproof LifeActiv armband with QuickMount is unlike any of the other armbands on this list, as it requires some installation time. Unlike the other running phone armbands, with this one, you stick the QuickMount to your phone or case, which you then clip in and out of the band on your arm. Once the adhesive is on your case, it’s not easy to remove, so if you don’t want a permanent mount on your phone, you’ll need to purchase a separate running phone case.
Once you’re set-up, the running phone holder is extremely straightforward. It's just an armband that you can clip your phone onto. It’s super lightweight and easy to run with. As the armband attaches to your phone case, there is no plastic covering over your phone, making it the best phone holder for using your phone while running. Of course, your phone isn’t protected from the weather, but if your smartphone is water-resistant, this shouldn’t be a problem.
It also has one of the lowest profiles of phone holders on test, and while out running, I barely even noticed it.
The Lifeproof range includes a car mount, a bike mount, and a belt clip, making this super handy if you’ve already got, or you’re shopping for, one of the other products in the range.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a low-profile running armband that allows you to use your phone on the run, the Lifeproof LifeActiv armband with QuickMount is a great choice.
The Koala Clip Lux is an innovative running phone holder, designed to allow you to run hands-free. Unlike other cell phone holders, the Koala Clip Lux hooks into the back of your sports bra. While its design definitely caters more towards women, there’s no reason why guys couldn’t hook the Koala Clip onto the side of their shorts.
There’s a fabric, lined pouch for your phone, and an internal pocket designed to hold keys, cash, or a credit card. There are three different sizes available for a snug and secure fit, depending on the size of your cell phone.
Putting my phone into the Koala Case Lux was easy, but attaching it to the back of the sports bra takes a little practice. That said, once you've clipped it into place using the magnetic clip, it lies flat against your back, and you don't have to worry about it at all when running. I've used it on various sports bra backs, from the classic racerback to the more strappy styles, and haven't had an issue with my phone bouncing on the run. I've also attached it on shorts with no problem and was shocked by how discreet it becomes.
The pouch is made from recycled water bottles and has an inner layer that is resistant to sweat, water, and rain, and insulated to protect the phone from battery drainage in cold weather. I had no issue with my phone getting damp on the run, and the pouch is machine washable, which is handy.
The only drawback with the Koala Clip Lux was accessing my phone on the run. When the pouch was attached to my sports bra, I had to stop if I wanted to reach it mid-run. This wasn’t too much of an issue, as I’d run with it attached to my shorts if I need to reach for a gel in the pouch or start a new podcast.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a hands-free phone holder, the Koala Clip Lux is one of the most discreet options available.
How to choose the best running phone holder
Before choosing your phone holder, ask yourself whether you want access to your phone during your run. If you’re happy to set it and forget it for most of the run, using your headphones to skip tracks or stop and pause your music, you’re more likely to prefer a running phone holder that isn’t on your arm or chest. Alternatively, if you’re likely to want to check your stats, you might want to be able to quickly check your phone’s screen on the move.
You’ll also want to think about how sweaty a runner you are, and the types of weather you’ll be running in, as this might affect whether you prefer to buy something that’s machine washable.
Finally, have a think about how much you want to carry on your run, especially if you’re heading out for long runs or training for a marathon. Most phone holders cost between $20 and $40, with the more expensive options having more features or the ability to carry more. You get what you pay for, and some of the less expensive options are thicker, bulkier, and even uncomfortable.
How we tested the best running phone holders
To gain an understanding of the capabilities of each running phone holder on this list, we went on several different runs wearing them. We tried phone holders that could accommodate phones, with and without a protective case. We looked for little things, such as how easy it was to get the phone in and out of the holder on the run, the size of the armband, the price, and the extras. Many armbands have a holder to keep headphone wires out of the way, but we tested all of the phone holders using wireless running headphones.