Having been awarded the Product Innovation Award at the 2015 International Travel Show, the Running Buddy has certainly staked its claim as one of the most desirable exercise storage products available today. Although it only hit shelves two years ago, the pouch has already outsold some of the more recognisable brands, as well as earning endorsements from some of the fitness world’s most famous faces. But what exactly is it about this little piece of kit that has established it as such an industry favourite?
There is already a range of similar products out there.
In many respects, the Running Buddy is hardly likely to revolutionise your exercise regime. Like most other belts on the market, it promises to hold everything from your asthma inhaler to your MP3 player, even being sizeable enough to store gadgets as large as an I-phone 6. Certainly, when compared to other exercise belts, the Running buddy does offer significantly more space and never at the expense of your comfort or the niggling thought that the zipper might succumb to the pressure; this extra space ensures that your run is unencumbered by irritating pokes and prods.
The dri-fit material from which it is made has become the industry standard as of late, at least amongst the premier bands, the breathable surface guaranteeing that your belongings remain perspiration-free no matter how hard you push yourself.
So what does the Running Buddy do differently?
Where it does distinguish itself from its competitors is the unique way in which it is attached to your body. The Running Buddy’s patented magnets can be fixed to any waist-band, remaining strong enough to stay in place even if you decide to really pick up the pace. While some may prefer the snug security of a tubular belt, this approach may be appealing to those with a more robust midriff or even to the ladies who, due to their body shape, cannot find an exercise belt that will stay in place during their runs. Add this to the water-resistant inner pocket and the 100% satisfaction money back guarantee and it certainly sound like we’re on to a winner.
That’s all very impressive. But what about the downsides?
Although only the most fashion-conscious of gym-goers will be concerned with the limited range of colours available (two: pink and yellow) there can be no doubt that the Running Buddy is far from the most aesthetically pleasing option out there. Some reviewers have been quick to bemoan its rather bland appearance, comparing it unfavourably to alternatives such as the SPIbelt or the Flipbelt. As a means of rectifying this problem, the company have recently released a flashier (and pricier) substitute in the form of crocodile-skin style pouch although given its discernible handbag overtones, this is perhaps only suitable for ladies.
Bulkier than other belts, it is not easily concealable beneath clothing and despite its claim to be non-bouncing, it is difficult to forget that you are wearing one, even when you are really pushing through that final kilometer.
Most worryingly of all however, are the accusations that the magnets not strong enough to stand up to the test of the most vigorous of workouts, a failing that could result in everything from a broken cell-phone to a lost wallet. This however, the company insists, is nothing more than the inevitable faulty product and they are more than willing to replace the item or offer you a full refund.
Given the huge amount of backing the Running Buddy has received from users, it is difficult to argue that it is a very worthwhile piece of kit. Certainly for those for whom the more traditional exercise belt designs are not suitable, the Running Buddy offers a very viable alternative, almost entirely negating the potential for the pouch to become displaced whilst exercising.
For those too who find it impossible to travel light, the extra space afforded by the pouch can hold significantly more gadgetry that its competitors, meaning that even the most technological jogger can go about their workout armed without having to choose between their i-pod and their camera. Of course, all this extra space comes at the expense of comfort but with a little care fitting the Running Buddy to your waist-belt, even this can largely be nullified.
Whilst concerns about the magnets still persist as well as the less-than-glamourous exterior, as a functional place to store your exercise-time essentials, the Running Buddy is difficult to beat. A simple design done exceptionally well.