7 Great Ways To Carry Keys And Phone While Running

Running with our phones gives most of us peace of mind that we can get hold of emergency services if we run into any trouble. The phone also helps you keep track of your run by giving you vital information. It also provides music and audiobooks, but how do you carry your keys and phone while running?

Besides carrying the phone in their hand, one of the most common ways people carry their phone and keys while running is to use a running belt or an armband. These help you discreetly carry your personal belongings while also giving you quick access to the device or your keys when you need them.

In this article, I will go over my seven favorite ways of carrying my phone and my keys while running. Whether you run on roads, trails, or even a beach, all the methods in this article will apply to you. So, for everything that you need to know, I recommend that you keep reading.

By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.

runner's belt with water, fitbit, smartphone, headphones

This quick YouTube short gives several examples of options:

How to CARRY KEYS When Running #Shorts

Most Popular Way People Carry Their Phone While Running

I asked over 181 runners how they carry their phones while they run, and the most popular method is to wear a sports belt, also called a running belt.

Carrying MethodPercentage
I keep it in my pants pocket16%
I wear an armband10%
I wear a runner’s belt40%
I don’t carry my phone while I run19%
I run with my phone in my hand4%
I run with a backpack or vest6%
Out of 291 people surveyed

Original survey:

Popular brands of running belts are:

  • FlipBelt
  • SPIBelt

How To Run With A Phone Without Pockets?

One of the best inventions for people who run is the smartwatch. It has made it possible to have everything you need, including a GPS and entertainment, right on your wrist. However, so many people don’t have the right smartwatch and still carry their phone, but how do you do it without pockets?

Here are four main ways to carry your phone and keys without pockets:

  • Sports Belt
  • Armband
  • Hydration Backpack
  • In Your Hand

With all of that said, I highly recommend getting a smartwatch that allows you to store your Spotify songs and has a GPS. This makes carrying your phone unnecessary, and some smartwatches have safety features built-in, so you don’t have to worry about that either.

We write more about sports watches here if you want more details.

7 Best Ways To Carry Your Phone And Keys While Running

In this section, not only am I going to list the best methods of carrying your phone and keys while running, but I also want to explain these methods a little bit. I will try my best to give a list of benefits for each method.

I will also list a product recommendation for some of the methods. So, here are seven of the best ways to carry your phone, keys, and perhaps other valuables while running. Let’s jump into it.

Running Belt

There are tons of different styles of running belts that can work with many different runners.

A running belt is the most popular option out of the 180+ we polled. 40% of those polled run with a running belt. The FlipBelt brand is trending right now.

The reason why running belts are so popular is that they are inconspicuous, it’s not like you’re carrying one of those neon green fanny packs of the ’80s. Instead, they are small and stretch to their contents.

  • Very convenient
  • Some belts are waterproof, while others are “weather-resistant”
  • Your phone can be zipped or tucked in and won’t fall out
  • The belts are discreet and not bulky.
  • It makes your phone and keys hard to snatch.

Most runner belts are one size fits all, making choosing one that much simpler. They also come in many different shapes and colors so that you can find one that suits your style.

One downside is that some of these belts aren’t super wired-headphone friendly. The SPIBelt, for example, has to be oriented just right so that the headphone jack is right next to the zipper. So you can catch your headphone wire in the zipper, which can be annoying.

The FlipBelt, on the other hand, tucks your stuff in, so you don’t have to worry about zippers, which makes it more convenient for wired headphones. Although, FlipBelt does have a zipper edition for maximum carrying security.

FlipBelt (see on Amazon)

SPIBelt (see on Amazon)


A few years back, the armband was so popular you could not go for a run without seeing someone wearing one. Some people would have their phones in the armband, while others would use it for their iPods. It became somewhat of an aesthetic. With that said, armbands are still used today.

There are so many benefits to using an armband to carry your phone and your keys while running. These include:

  • Armbands are also convenient and easy to use.
  • With most armbands, you have constant access to your phone.
  • Your phone will be secure.
  • There are waterproof options available.
  • Armbands are typically wired headphone friendly. (That was much more common back then)

It is hard to write about running belts and armbands without making them sound extremely similar. That is because even though they go on different parts of your body and look very different, they work almost exactly the same.

Getting your keys and your phone in an armband is near impossible, and you might end up with scratches on your phone if you try and do it however, with the right type of keyring, you can always attach your keys to the armband. With that said, this might mean that people will always hear you coming.

Additionally, I know it’s a small thing, but having something in your arm (or hand) feels imbalanced as you run. It’s something you get used to, certainly, but there is that.

woman tapping her mobile device on her armband


Newppon Phone Holder for Running (see on Amazon)

Running Vest

There are a lot of advantages to using a running vest.

A running vest can have pockets as well as slots for adding weight.

The advantages, summarized, are:

  • Racing vests have ample space for your keys and your phone.
  • A well-fitted vest can feel more comfortable than other options.
  • A vest can feel as if its weight is evenly distributed.
  • You can add weights to many vests if you are looking for a challenge.

A racing vest is something you will want to use now and then. So, it is good to have other options available because you don’t always want to put the vest on when you go for a run.

The best part about a running vest is that it can double as a phone and key holder and a weighted vest. It can do all of this seamlessly, and if you use it often enough, you won’t feel it as much, especially because the weight is typically evenly distributed


MVRK Water Resistant Chest Pack (see on Amazon)

A Small Backpack

When it comes to backpacks, you have a few options. You can go for your typical backpack with a few storage compartments or go for a hydration backpack. In my experience, hydration packs are the best for runners whether you are running on a trail or the road.

Here are a few benefits of using a small backpack or hydration pack:

  • Usually has lots of storage space.
  • Hydration backpacks are an easy way to have liquid with you on your runs.
  • You can store your phone, keys, and even a small medkit.
  • As long as the backpack is not too heavy, the weight is easy to carry on your back.
  • The weight often feels evenly distributed.

Hydration backpacks are amazing, and I have quite a lot of experience running with them. With a little bit of tweaking, you can make it as if you don’t even notice the backpack there, even if you have two liters of liquid in the bladder. This is the best way to carry water while running.

I highly recommend ensuring that the backpack presses against your back and is not too loose. If it is loose, it will bounce around and take a lot more energy from you. Also, if you store your phone in a backpack, I advise you to get a pair of wireless headphones as it makes everything a lot easier–however, many packs have a headphone cable port just for this purpose.


Sojourner Rave Hydration Pack Backpack – 2L (See on Amazon)

Belt Bag

Belt bags are similar to running belts. However, in my experience, they are not as good. With that said, they still do the job of holding your phone wallet and keys when you are out exercising.

Comparing a belt bag and a running belt, the belt bag has more storage. With that said, more storage does not always mean better unless you have a bulky wallet.

Because a belt bag has more storage, it also means that your items are typically not secured down. So, there is a lot of room for the phone and your keys to move around, and eventually, it can feel clunky to use a belt bag.

Unlike a running belt, a belt bag is not as discreet. On top of that, they are not very fashionable, which means for any self-conscious runner, I would say stick with getting a running belt rather than a belt bag, but if you have one of these lying around, it will work well to carry your phone and keys while running.

In Your Hand

From our survey, 4% of runners choose to run with their phone in their hand.

It is convenient because you don’t need any extra equipment, and you can do it if you have wired or wireless headphones.

It does become tricky if you are running long distances, for example, 5 to 10 miles. Not only do you have no protection against the elements, but your hands can get sweaty and that can make it tricky to hold your phone unless you have a grippy phone case.

The most significant upside to running with your phone in your hand is you have instant access to your GPS, entertainment, and emergency services if needed.

For me, the pros do not outweigh the cons, and if you still run with your phone in your hand, I recommend looking at one of the other methods mentioned in this article. You’re only $25 or so away from a much better option.

One option is to use a hand pouch. There are some brands where you can carry a water bottle and your phone in a protective pouch so you still have immediate access to your phone.

Check out the Nathan hand pouch for details here on Amazon.

Running Shorts

Last on this list is running shorts. Running shorts can actually mean a lot of different things… I’ll share with you some different options:

Standard Gym Shorts

This is honestly how I’ve carried my phone for all my running. There are advantages in that it’s easy, but there are a lot of disadvantages:

  • Your phone can bounce around a lot depending on the pocket. This can be super distracting and make you hate your run.
  • Your phone can fall out! This has happened to me with certain gym shorts.

You’re really subject to the cut of the pocket–some gym shorts are great, and will keep your stuff without falling out and moving around too much, while others are cut in a way that will throw your phone out at any opportunity.

Running Shorts

Running shorts can be amazing! They are designed in such a way that the pockets stay close to your body and can be in places that are less annoying.

  • Some running shorts are meant to be worn high-waisted and have a pocket that goes in the small of your lower back, an extremely unobtrusive option to not get in the way of your run.
  • Running shorts are tight and so don’t billow and get in the way.
  • Since the pockets are tight it means that your phone doesn’t feel as heavy. Trust me, if your pockets are sagging, your phone is more distracting and feels like it weighs more.
  • Easy access to your phone.
  • Your phone and keys do not bounce around so much.
  • Pockets are generally suitable for wired or wireless headphones.

There is a lot more that you can expect from having a good pair of running shorts. It does not matter whether you put your phone and your keys in them.

Here are some running shorts for men and women:

Examples (on Amazon)

Gym People High Waisted Running Shorts for Women

These have a pocket on the lower back.

Surenow Men’s Running Shorts

These have a tight pocket on the side that can be tucked in securely

Should You Run With Your Phone Or A Smartwatch?

If you can get a smartwatch that can track your runs accurately while playing your Spotify playlist, then I guess the only question is safety. Is the watch able to get ahold of emergency services?

Smartwatches have come a long way in the last few years, and I do see a future where carrying your phone on your runs is a thing of the past. For now, I think a phone does too much to leave it behind. Instead, try pairing a smartwatch with a phone so that you never have to look at your phone while running, but you still have it on you.


Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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