When I started thinking about adding weekly long runs in July, I decided that I must have a way in which to carry water "on board". Carrying a bottle in my hand was not an option because I do not like to have things in my hands while running. But any run longer than fifty minutes would require at least a small drink. I thought about stashing water in my yard like I hear some people do, but I thought if I had to come home to get it, I'd probably not leave again. I also didn't want to be restricted on my course selection.
At my 5 mile running event in July I saw lots of different kinds of these belts. Some really fancy, some really cute, most really functional. Some people had the Camelbak backpacks too, but I knew that would not be for me. My parents have those for hiking and they seem like way more trouble than they are worth. Anyway, while I usually prefer my "gear" to be somewhat feminine looking, and cute, I was most interested in the Amphipod belts, mainly because I already had the Amphipod Airflow Microstretch Waistpack which works really well and is well made. Even though this water belt, or hydration belt as they are officially called, was a little spendier than most, I found it to be the most versatile and a solid choice.
It is the Amphipod RunLite AirStretch 2 Hydration Belt - 21 oz which I bought at REI for $45. (I didn't shop around, it might be available for less elsewhere.) What I like most about this belt is that the bottles can either be positioned vertically or horizontally--I prefer horizontal--and the bottles can be positioned at your sides, front, or back. This belt came with two 10.5 oz bottles which is plenty for me, but you can also add up to two more bottles of the same size, or they also have 8 oz bottles. (They also sell belts that come with 4 bottles which is probably the cheapest way to buy it, but right now two bottles is plenty for me. However if I get to that half marathon training, I like that I have the option to add more later. There's other add-on accessories too.) The bottles "snap" into the clips which makes it easy to determine if they're secure, and also easy to remove during a run. These bottles do not leak at all; some reviews on the REI website say they do. Unless they had flawed bottles or didn't close the lids all the way, there should be no leaking.
This belt also has a zippered pouch which holds my iPhone, and also has a convenient slip pocket on the very front of the pouch for my iPod w/Nike+. This pocket is great because it's easy to access the iPod while running, but it would be virtually impossible for the iPod to fall out.
I wear the belt on every scheduled run that is 5-6 miles and it is very comfortable. The belt is wide with a secure velco closure and there is virtually no bounce when you are running. The belt comes in a couple sizes to accomodate different size waists. Other versions of the belt are also adjustable so one size fits all, but I didn't like the bulk of the adjuster and then having the belt basically doubled over on itself when it's made smaller. Hard to explain.
I took some pictures the other day while wearing the belt. I took them myself so it was kind of hard to get a good angle. I wear the belt with the pouch centered in front, while the bottles are slid around to the back. Sorry, I didn't get any photos of the front. But here's a link to how it looks on the REI site. They have the bottles in front and vertical--completely opposite of how I wear it.
Here's sort of a diagonal side/back view.
Here's how we look from the side.
This is how it looks from the back. The bottles are butted up against the velcro closure.
(Note: this opinion is my own, no one paid me to write it.)