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What's a Triathlon Race Belt and Why Do You Need One

The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, look back on the year's accomplishments, and give thanks for everything we have. But they're also an excellent excuse to stock up on triathlon gear for next season! Obviously, we're partial to our own Switch Aero System, but in this 12-part series we'll highlight and recommend some of the best triathlon gear that will get you to the finish line faster in your next race.

A Race Belt is great piece of gear to have for both racing and training. They range from simple ones that just hold your number (like the one Scott is wearing in the picture above) to ones with lots more features including gear, nutrition, and hydration storage.

Types of Race Belts 

Race number belts - the name says it all, a race number belt is just an adjustable belt that displays your race number during the run. This piece of gear is pretty nice to have during a triathlon because you don't need to worry about changing clothes or riding with your number on. 

Gear storage belts - gear storage race belts are designed to hold your gear while you run, ride, or workout. They typically have a single pocket with a zipper and sometimes the pocket is weather resistant or waterproof. More advanced gear storage belts include race number attachment and places to hold gel packs.

Hydration belts - there are a few different types of hydration belts you can choose from but all of them a focused on carry water in a comfortable way while you run. Some carry 2-4 small water bottles spread around your hips, while others carry a single larger water bottle across the small of your back. Many hydration belts also include gear storage. Most hydration belts do not include race number attachments but some include separate gel storage.

Best Race Belts 

Generic race number belt:

A basic race number belt that includes attachment points for a race number can often be picked up free at a race expo. A few companies like Zoot, Fuelbelt, 2XU, etc. make ones that have reflective straps for increased visibility when out on the road. Price: Free - $15.


Nathan LightSpeed:

The Nathan LightSpeed is a nice race number belt that includes a gear pouch and gel storage. The zip storage pocket is weather resistant. Its ideal for someone who wants a gear belt for training and the ability to carry gel and gear during a race. Price $25.

Spibelt Race Belt:

The Spibelt was one of the first gear belts and features a stretchy zip pocket that accommodates all kinds of gear including phones, keys, gel, etc. It does not feature specific race number clips but its not too hard to attach a number. For anyone who does not like training runs with a big phone or noisy keys in the pocket this is a great option. Price: $20.

Nathan Trail Mix Race Belt:

The Nathan Trial Mix is a hydration belt with gear storage that also includes gel storage straps. It is pretty close to an all-in-one but does not have dedicated race number attachment points. That being said, attaching a race number to the Trail Mix is not hard and if you are looking for a fully featured belt for training and racing this is a great option. Nathan also makes a 4 bottle version for anyone who ventures far from potable water sources when on a long training run. Price: $45.