It’s rare that I depart empty-handed from the house for a run. Often I have a cell phone, water bottle(s), calories, headlamp, toilet paper, and spare clothing like a windshirt, headband, and liner gloves.
For longer runs I like tight shorts like the UA HeatGear Sonic Compression Shorts, since they cause me less chafing than lined shorts, and in their waist band I can secure unused clothing. For more or other items, though, I need a pack.
On recent training runs I’ve increasingly reached for the Naked Running Band, which I was sent 18 months ago for review. In hindsight, I think I should have been using it more all along.
Review: Naked Running Band
The Naked Running Band (NRB) is a low-profile, ultralight, semi-stretchy, and non-adjustable waistband. Its double-layer construction is compartmentalized into four pockets with 3 liters of total capacity.
The limiting factor of the NRB is volume, and more specifically its water capacity. It is well suited for runs when I need just a half-liter of water plus some odds-and-ends. But if I need more water, multiple layers of clothing, and a workday’s worth of calories, I’ll reach for a larger and more supportive running vest.
- Six sizes: 25 to 36 inches, in two-inch increments
- 2.1 oz (size IV, 31-32 inches)
- Made entirely of four-way stretch mesh
- 3-liter capacity
- Four pockets: two small pockets on each hip, and two main pockets in the front and rear
- Made in USA
- $46 + $6 shipping
- Buy now directly from Naked Sports Innovations
The Naked Running Band is non-adjustable. It is available in six sizes, each optimized for a two-inch range in girth. Because it is made of four-way stretch mesh, it can accommodate slightly smaller and larger girths beyond the optimal two-inch range, but at some point it will become saggy or uncomfortably tight.
To determine your size, measure the girth of your body at your navel, where the top edge of the NRB will sit. It is best to use a tape measure, and to be wearing your typical running attire.
I appreciate the simplicity of the NRB, and believe that its non-adjustability leads to a more custom fit. However, this feature can also be a liability: ordering sight unseen is risky; and it cannot be adjusted for atypical attire or seasonal fluctuations in body weight.
The NRB is double-layered, and its bottom edges were stitched together to create a 360-degree pocket. This pocket was then divided into four smaller compartments: two small pockets at each hip, and two large pockets at the front and back.
In the NRB I have carried my wallet, 5-inch phone, gels and bars, and spare clothing. I have also carried the Ultimate Direction 17-oz Body Bottle Plus (which importantly has a valve lock-out feature) as well as the Ultimate Direction 4-oz Gel Flask. Overall, the NRB is less discriminate in its contents than conventional waist packs and running vests that have custom-sized bottles and more sub-divided capacity.
On the backside, the NRB has two external loops that supposedly can be used to carry a jacket or maybe even a large water bottle. I’m skeptical of this feature: I think a jacket is likely to fall out (unless it is rolled and packed perfectly, which I won’t take the time to do during a run) and a water bottle would bounce around to an unacceptable degree.
As with all packs, ease of access improves with product familiarity. But I found that I adjusted more quickly to the NRB, because its pockets are easy to see — as opposed to, say, pockets on a shoulder strap that are barely within peripheral vision.
The NRB can be spun to more easily access the side or back pockets. This is more difficult to do with a sweaty torso, however.
Each pocket features a brightly colored pull tab, to help open it. But I prefer to simply push one hand into the pocket to retrieve or drop off an item.
The NRB fits snugly, distributes its pressure over a wide area, and keeps close to the body the items that are in it. This combination of factors leads to a very comfortable carry, with a minimum of (or no) bouncing or shuffling.
Shortly after publishing this review (and sharing it with Naked) I received an update from Lindsay, one of the founders and owners:
Since you received yours we have added a cool feature in that of a dedicated race number attachment. As well, regarding your point on the rear loops, those were designed for a rain shell and trekking poles (and again, through athletes’ comments we moved those further apart). I can tell you, with the elastics having silicone backing the contents, once in the loops won’t budge. I have sent a picture illustrating this. As we move into the new year I can tell you we will now be offering an even more customizable fit with 12 sizes being available.
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I was sent the Naked Running Band for review, but have no financial interest in its promotion or sales.