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The Best Armbands for Carrying Your Phone on a Run

Strap all of your gear on your arm in one of these secure cases.

Phone Armbands
Trevor Raab

Many of us run with our phones—whether for mapping, streaming podcasts and music, or for safety reasons—but who wants to actually think about their phone while running? We’re all looking to get lost in our miles and enjoy the sense of freedom that comes with a sport that (allegedly) doesn’t require a lot of gear. A good armband helps you do that—it holds your phone without pinching, chafing, overheating, shifting, or bouncing—so you can focus on your form, or the road, or the pizza you’re going to destroy at the end of your run. We put a box of running armbands to the test to find which do the best job of staying in place and holding our phones securely—while also being comfortable and easy to ignore.

What to Consider

Some armbands have space to carry extra items like cash, cards, and a key, while others are so minimalist in their design the only thing they’re meant to carry is your phone. Depending on how often you find yourself accessing your phone during a run, you might choose an armband that uses a mount that attaches your phone directly to the band rather than one with a pocket that you slip your phone into. With the latter design, however, keep in mind that this often means you have to attach the included adaptor directly to your case, which you may not want to do (one solution is to buy a second phone case to be used only with the armband). And some bands, like the VUP below, use a rubber web that stretches over your phone to hold it in place, meaning the only protection between your phone and the sidewalk is whatever your phone case has to offer. Most running armbands attach via a stretchy strap with a Velcro closure, but some, like the Sprigs Banjees Armband and E Tronic Edge, simply slip over your arm. The Koala Clip Original forgoes the band altogether and uses a magnetic clasp that hooks over the back of your sports bra.

How We Tested

Every armband on this list has been evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and designers, and use our own experience running with our phones strapped to our arms (over shirts and jackets and right against our skin) to determine the best. We called in a pile of armbands, strapped them to our testers, and put in the miles to evaluate them on comfort, reliability, ease-of-use, sweat-wicking ability, fabric quality, aesthetics, how well they stay put, bonus features, and value. These are the ones we love.

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Best for Touchscreen Use
LifeProof LifeActive Armband with Quickmount

  • Easy to access your phone on the go
  • Lightweight and comfortable

  • No storage space
  • Need to affix a mount to use

Lifeproof has a unique design in that your phone doesn’t tuck into a clear compartment—it holsters to a universal mount attached to an armband. The biggest advantage of this is that you can still use your touchscreen while it’s on the mount. It’s also a less bulky and lighter system than with other armbands, Runner’s World photographer Lakota Gambill reported. The downside is that you won’t have any extra storage space for your keys and cash—though that might not be much of a drawback if you’re traveling light or using other pockets. Here’s how it works: Following the brand’s recommendations, you affix the adhesive adapter to the back of your phone case, where, after 24 hours, it miraculously stays put and locks into the mount on the armband. Gambill was surprised by the system’s efficiency. “The sticker is worth the commitment—my phone was secure and easily accessible,” she says. If you don’t want to permanently marry your phone case to Lifeproof’s adhesive mount, Gambill has a tip for that: “Buy a cheap extra case for the sticker.” Note: Comes with three bands that fit arms between 8.5 and 19 inches.

Best for No-Slip Comfort
Armpocket Racer Plus

  • Feels soft against your skin
  • Doesn’t slide or shift

  • Takes up a lot of arm space

One of my favorite features of an Armpocket band is the sheer power of the Velcro on its bicep strap. Not to overstate the situation, but I would trust one or two of these Velcro armbands to hold me to the side of a cliff. I would drive directly behind a logging truck on the highway if I knew all the logs were held down by Armpocket Velcro. This is some powerful stuff—once the band is on your arm, that sucker is not going anywhere. For runners who don’t have a lot to carry, the Racer Plus is a top pick, thanks to its durable, shift-free design that fits an iPhone 6, 7, or 8, plus cash and an ID. You won’t get any extra storage here, but what you will get is a light, comfortable, sweat-fighting band that holds fast to your arm like your life depends on it.

Best for Hauling It All
Amphipod ArmPod SmartView Sumo

  • Storage capacity

  • On the pricey side
  • Can feel bulky

This is an armband for those who want to carry it all. The generous, easy-access window compartment holds your phone and case lovingly in place, while the rear pocket stows a sleeve of shot blocks and whatever else you want to bring on your long run. The Velcro band is stretchy, easy to adjust, and stays securely in place thanks to a simple design we wish was replicated by the Amphipod Luxe (another armband we tested from this brand). A mesh layer behind the phone compartment allows for a little sweat ventilation. The only potential drawback to this otherwise-comfortable phone carrier is that it feels a bit overbuilt for when you’re carrying only a case-free phone compared with sleeker cases like the Armpocket Racer Plus and inCase Active Armband.

Best for Hot Weather
Sprigs Banjees Armband

  • Simple and inexpensive

  • Sizing needs to be exact or it'll bounce

The Sprigs armband could not be more simple—it’s just a lightweight wrap with a stretchy compartment to tuck your phone inside, secured by a Velcro strap. But as it turns out, that’s really all you need in most cases, particularly in short-sleeve weather with no chance of electronics-killing precipitation in the forecast. From my first run with the band, I was pleasantly surprised by how safely and comfortably it held my phone and its case. The small-sized armband initially felt a little loose on my arm, despite my bicep measuring near the upper end of the 7- to 9-inch size range (the band also comes in M, L, and XL for arms up to 19.5 inches). But within the first minute of running, I became sweaty enough that the band clung securely to my arm with no budging or bouncing. The stretchy performance fabric with gripper dots held fast but never felt constrictive, obtrusive, or hot. And the whole thing was easy to throw in the wash when I was done—just one more reason this armband is ideal for summer wear. Check it out in an array of colors and patterns.

Best for a Snug Fit
TuneBelt Sport Armband

  • Durable
  • Holds fast against your arm

  • Fabric can feel scratchy

The TuneBelt is a straightforward, no-nonsense band that gets the job done, with bonus points for durability and overall value. Made of stretchy neoprene fabric, the band holds your phone securely and keeps it from bouncing, no matter what kind of intense workouts you subject it to. That security comes courtesy of a wide size range meant to give your phone the best fit possible. The band comes in six sizes designed to accommodate every type of phone and phone case, from the smallest iPhones carried precariously without a case all the way up to an iPhone plus or Note 10+ inside a bomb-proof Otterbox. (There’s a handy chart to help you figure out which one is best for you.) I found the band, which fits 9- to 16-inch biceps—or more, when paired with the armband extender—to be comfortable but slightly on the long side. But the Velcro is secure, and when worn over a long-sleeve shirt, both the band and my phone didn’t budge.

Best for Ignoring Your Phone
Koala Clip Original
Trevor Raab

  • Keeps your arms free
  • Stays in place

  • Hard to access phone on the go

For women who want the security of having a phone on board but would prefer it stayed out of sight and out of mind while running, the Koala clip is a convenient option. You simply tuck the phone pouch into the back of your sports bra and secure it to the outside with its magnetic clip. A zipper enclosure keeps your phone from bouncing out of the pouch, while the pouch’s sweat-resistant fabric protects your screen. We were pleasantly surprised with both the look and performance of the clip. “I’ll admit I thought the clip would look too obvious and create a distinctive bump on my back,” said Runner’s World test editor Amanda Furrer. “However, I was surprised by how little it showed under my shirt. The best part about wearing the clip was that there was no shifting or movement as I ran.” The clip comes in several colors and sizes, accommodating small phones and those in larger OtterBox and LifeProof cases. One caveat: If you’d like to access your phone mid-run, you’ll probably do better with a standard armband—less flexible testers had difficulty reaching it.

Best for Stay-Put Comfort
Nathan Super 5k Electronics Armband

  • No extra bulk or heft

  • Dwarfs smaller arms

The best part about this armband is that it actually stays in place, reported Runner’s World photo editor Kristen Parker, who admits she finds armbands in general to be “inherently a little bulky and annoying.” This one, however, ranked a 7 out of 10 in terms of comfort on her self-styled critical scale. The material was soft and flexible, and didn’t dig in or pinch her skin. Her phone didn’t move at all within the window pocket, despite being on the smaller side. She did report finding the band to be more comfortable over clothes than against bare skin, but once tightened in place she found that the band stayed put without adjustment and was fairly lightweight and unobtrusive. Although she felt the Super 5K’s window pocket had enough space to accommodate bigger phones, there wasn’t extra room for much more than a key or credit card. Note: This water-resistant armband is designed to fit 9- to 15-inch arms.

Best for Color Options and Storage Space
Armpocket Mega i-40

  • Room for long run extras, like gels and chapstick
  • Comfortable band

  • Pricey

If all you’re looking to do is carry your phone on a run, hands-free, this is not the armband for you. But if you want to carry your phone, the contents of your wallet, and other small bonus essentials, the Mega i-40 has the storage space to meet your needs in a comfortable, sweat-proof package. Made from durable, recycled fabric with a memory foam back that feels absorbent and soft against your skin, the armband hugs your arm securely without shifting or chafing. The band itself is easy to tighten and holds fast, thanks to a Velcro so powerful it could pin your phone to the ceiling, if needed. On a trial run, our tester reported that her phone didn’t bounce inside the armband without adjustment, and she was still able to use the touchscreen through the plastic window. Overall the band felt on the bulky side compared to more streamlined models, but for longer runs, she found the cargo space handy for stowing an extra gel. Just note before buying: The Armpocket Mega i-40 fits devices up to 6.5 inches; those with smaller phones who want this armband should seek out the Ultra i-35.

Best for Corded Headphones
Nathan Sports StrideSport Smartphone Carrier
Nathan Sports

  • Gets the job done

  • No real standout features

The Stridesport has a few similar design features to Nathan’s Super 5K armband, including a 9- to 15-inch armband length, but also includes a slightly larger window pocket (6.5 x 3.4 inches compared to the 5K’s 6 x 3 inches) and a sleeker band. Photo director Amy Wolff found it to be comfortable and snug, with a budge-free fit over clothes and bare skin; lightweight, grippy fabric; a large, easy-to-use Velcro closure; and just enough space to hold her phone inside an Otterbox with no wiggle room. However, she did feel the overall size of the armband swallowed her arm, and the touchscreen inaccessible while the phone was in the pocket. As with many sports armbands, the Stridesport has a “cord management system” that consists of a small anchor you can wrap your cord around so it won’t snag, but all of our testers used wireless headphones and didn’t need this feature.

Best for Bargain Hunters
Tribe Fitness Premium Running Armband
Tribe Fitness

  • Inexpensive
  • Allows you to access the touchscreen

Although it was the cheapest among the bands we tested—and the last to be chosen, possibly due to some flashy graphics—this frill-free running armband from Tribe surprised us with its luxuriously soft, stretchy comfort and unobtrusive, low-profile fit. There’s not a lot of storage space for much beyond a phone and a credit card here, but that wasn’t an issue for Runner’s World Associate Test Director Jen Sherry, who found that the band didn’t budge at all when worn on bare skin or over a medium-weight jacket. Sherry also praised the band for being one of the only armbands she’s tried that allowed her to use (with a little effort) the phone’s touchscreen while tucked inside. Ultimately, she appreciated how simple, practical, and comfortable the Tribe Fitness armband was to use—a no-brainer for anyone looking for a cheap way to carry their phone on the run. Note: If the splashy red graphics are too much for you, no problem. This armband comes in more understated options.

Best for Mid-Run Calls
VUP Running Armband

  • Easy to use on the go
  • Inexpensive
  • Fits many different phones

  • Not as secure or durable-feeling as the LifeProof Armband

VUP has an interesting design—instead of inserting your phone into a case, you wedge it into a thick rubber web that holds it securely, while mounting to a Velcro-closure strap that wraps around your upper arm. This model has a few advantages over the standard window screen band. For one, it can stretch to fit any size of phone, whether or not that phone is inside a case (though bigger phones might bounce a bit). It also makes it easy to access the phone’s screen, should you need to change up your music or take a call mid-run. And then there’s the fact that the web-mounted design is simply easier than systems like LifeProof’s band, which requires you to attach a mount to your phone. You can still rotate the phone 360 degrees while inside the VUP armband mount, and then easily remove it while still hooked to the mount by pushing it in and twisting. The only potential downside might be the long-term durability of the rubber web holding your phone in—after all, if one of those pieces snaps, the armband is pretty much useless. Some testers have also reported that the strap is too small for them (VUP claims the strap will fit 4.9- to 17.5-inch arms). That aside, the strap feels sturdy without being uncomfortable, the Velcro is grippy, and the overall package is lightweight and unobtrusive. It’s a cheap option for those who like easy access to all their phone’s features throughout the run.

Best for Running in a Deluge
Armpocket Waterproof AQUA Phone Armband

  • Fully waterproof

  • Overkill for dry weather

My solution to the problem of running in the rain with my phone used to be just wrapping it in a sandwich bag. But that fix had at least two drawbacks—the excess plastic tended to stretch out the armband window, and I couldn’t access my phone without minutes of awkward Ziploc disentanglement. The Armpocket Aqua Waterproof Armband keeps your phone completely dry without either of those downsides, which is particularly helpful for those who run in rainy climates. It isn’t purpose-built for running—the armband is designed for legitimate watersports, like surfing and SUP. But that should be an indication of the level of water protection it provides, with the zip-seal and snap-lock closure providing a dual barrier between your phone and the elements. Plus it has that same soft, chafe-free fabric and powerful Velcro closure we loved about the Armpocket Racer Plus. It’s a bit bulky, but far less so than my jerry-rigged bag solution. The armband is compatible with a long list of phone cases and phones, including the iPhone XS, 8, and 7, and Galaxy S7 and more.

Best Universal Fit
Tribe Reflective Running Phone Holder

  • Easy to use on the go
  • Fits many different phones and arms
  • Reflective band

  • Not as durable as the LifeProof armband

In addition to the aforementioned traditional phone pouch with a plastic sleeve, Tribe Fitness also makes this mounted phone holder, which uses a similar silicone webbed design as the VUP. The mount stretches to fit a laundry list of phone brands and sizes, and the band has two settings to fit a range of arms—from 8 to 16 inches—so the armband is the closest thing to one-size-fits-all in this list. To use it, you fit the webbing over the corners of your phone, which secures your phone to a mount. The mount then locks into place on a slim, low-profile armband with reflective patterning in the fabric. The whole system is surprisingly stable-feeling in motion, given how simple and inexpensive the armband is. It’s easy to slide the mount in and out of the armband’s lock to check notifications, take a photo, or answer calls mid-run.

Soft Compression Sleeve
E Tronic Edge Phone Armband
E Tronic Edge

  • Doesn't chafe or scratch
  • No strap to deal with

  • Will slide down if you don't have the right size

Similar to the Sprigs, the E Tronic fits more like a sleeve than a band—which has both pros and cons. On the plus side, the solid band of nylon-spandex fabric is smooth and comfortable against your skin, so you don’t have to worry about a rough armband scratching against your arm, or any possibility of Velcro giving out. It’s also cool, light, and quick-drying, so it doesn’t feel bulky or steamy on hot days. The only potential downside is that your phone is zippered into the sleeve and somewhat inaccessible while you’re in motion, which could actually be a pro or a con depending on whether you like to take mid-run calls or photos. It can also be tricky to get the right fit to keep the sleeve from migrating down your arm, so just be sure to use the size chart and size down, if you’re not sure. The armband comes in four sizes and an array of color and pattern options. It best fits smaller-sized phones.

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