my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Running Accessories Review!

Karrimor running accessories review

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, and I’ve been encouraged to post it now because of an item I really like using!

The order of this review is based on chronological order of when I bought the item. I bought them all from the same, local store, Sports Direct, which is a chain of sports discount stores around the country. First up, the Karrimor arm wallet!

Karrimor arm wallet, £3.00 from Sports Direct (other suppliers available I’m sure!)

Karrimor arm wallet - small biceps required!

Karrimor arm wallet – small biceps required!

I’ve had this for about a year now. It has been useful as a means of keeping my smartphone out of my hand while running and I’ve found it easy to use, with its Velcro fastening strap. It houses my Samsung smartphone well, so I imagine it would be compatible with most smartphones.


1. If you have a runner’s figure (i.e. you are quite slim and have miniscule biceps like me), then you’ll really need to wrap it tightly round your arm to fasten it. These arm wallets are made for people with wider upper arms than I have!

2. I wouldn’t say that I am a particularly frequent runner (usually 3 times a week), but I managed to wear out the Velcro on the arm strap within the space of a year. Sure, it only cost me £3.00, but I’d still expect the Velcro not to wear out within a year. So, sadly this can now no longer be used (unless I develop bigger biceps so I can fasten the arm wallet on a different section of the Velcro fastening). With this product no longer working, I invested eventually in a running belt – see the review below.

3. For the image conscious (as I’m becoming, slowly, and as money allows!), ANY arm wallet is a no-no and it is for this final reason I’m not too bothered that I can’t use this any more. It may just be me, but I do think that runners or joggers that wear an arm wallet give off the message that they are so unfit they need to monitor their heart-rate constantly in case they suffer a heart attack. As I was a wearer of one for a year, I’m acutely aware of the dichotomy of this statement, and am now happy to consign my wearing of arm wallets to history.

Karrimor hand-held water bottle £2.49 for a 300ml bottle (I bought the 500ml version though)

Karrimor hand-held water your lips!

Karrimor hand-held water bottle…watch your lips!

I bought this just before I entered my first half marathon last September (September 2012) as I wasn’t confident I wanted to rely on water stations along the course. I really wanted to be able to manage my own water intake regularly along the route.

The water bottle fulfilled its purpose and I have only one complaint about it. The nozzle seems cheaply made, meaning it doesn’t open or close smoothly and you are therefore perennially risking trapping your lips in the mechanism! Not something that I wanted to distract me in my race! The nozzle also didn’t allow for easy intake of water. I had to really suck hard to get anything out, and as I was panting hard anyway, I got tired and out of breath quickly when taking a drink and it took me some time to recover back into a ‘normal’ breathing pattern.

Before the end of the race, the hand held water bottle was annoying the heck out of me and if I hadn’t bought it myself, I probably would have ditched it along the route. I don’t like carrying anything when I’m running and I have to admit that I haven’t used this water bottle since the half marathon. Not even on a training run.

Karrimor x-lite running bum belt, £7.99 from Sports Direct

BIG bum belt

BIG bum belt

I bought this with an off-road race in mind that I took part in, back in February of this year, the Belvoir Challenge. It seemed to have everything I needed – a compartment that held a water bottle at the front (or back, if you did wear it behind you on the bum, but I wore it at the front), zipped compartments for my car key, a folded map of the route and jelly babies to chew on round the course. However, this thing annoyed the heck out of me too!! The actual belt itself was really quite wide at the front, so it made my stomach warm. The water bottle it holds was small, but when filled with water, it made the belt jostle up and down WAY too much, which felt like it upset my running rhythm as it bounced along in contrary motion to how my body was bouncing up and down with each stride. Again I had the same problem with gaining access to water from the water bottle as I did with the hand held model, but at least the drawstring compartment that held the water bottle in place on the belt was easy to use and it slotted away easily.

I think I would use this again on longer trail/off-road runs, but it hasn’t made a reappearance on the roads since that race.

Karrimor running belt, £4.99 from Sports Direct

It works! Great product :-)

It works! Great product 🙂

This is my most recent running accessory purchase and you may be wondering at this point why I keep buying Karrimor running accessories! Well, it’s for two reasons: one is that they’re cheap, and two is because I wanted to persevere with the brand – surely they’re going to get one of their accessories right?!

And my perseverance paid off! I only bought this running belt a couple of weeks ago, but it has been awesome so far! I know it doesn’t look much from the image above, but that’s one of the great things about it. It is an unassuming, subtle and very useful accessory that does everything it is meant to and more! It fits comfortably around even my little waist and the main stretchy pocket comfortably fits my smartphone and front door key in it (PLUS jelly babies too for a longer run!). It is a very minimal belt, and has various loops on it in which I could attach other gizmos, gadgets, snacks, etc. A friend of mine planted the seed in my mind to buy something like this a month or so ago, when he showed me the one he bought (twice the price, from a more upmarket sports chain store!). I’d never entirely been comfortable with the arm wallet, given the reasons above, so this running belt was the solution I’d been looking for!

Have you used any of these specific accessories? If so, what did you think of them?

What is your favourite running accessory, and why do you like it so much?

It’s been a while since I mentioned any of my actual runs, so in my next post I’ll be sharing my initial thoughts on my latest pair of running shoes, the Saucony Hattori LCs. Here is the first and currently only run I’ve done in them so far:

Until next time,



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