By Casey Clark Kelley
Over the years, I’ve found myself making multiple purchases of running armbands always hopeful that I’d finally found the one that would work perfectly for me. As someone who likes to cover the miles with as little weighing me down as possible, I would often leave my phone at home rather than have it bouncing around in a pocket and worrying about losing or breaking it somehow. After a seized hamstring left me limping on a back road one day, I decided to change my no-phone-carrying habit. An armband seemed like the best storage option, so I started my search.
My first mistake was assuming all armbands were created equal. I found a low-priced option online and within less than a mile, I realized why it was cheap. Even though I repeatedly tried to secure it tighter on my arm, the band would continuously loosen, slipping down and requiring adjustment, while my ear-buds cord would snag and pull from my ears. I have little patience for annoyances like this, so on to another option.
Next, I decided to upgrade to a sports brand that I knew and trusted. While the fit was better and stayed on snugly, after about 7 miles I started to notice that familiar irritating feeling that comes from chafing. While the armband was tight, there was a little bit of bounce of the phone causing friction against my arm. A little bit of chafing won’t turn me off something, I’m used to it, but at mile 9 when it started to rain, I was reminded of another important factor I needed in my choice of an armband. Phones are an investment these days, so I wasn’t pleased to realize moisture was indeed getting inside this one.
After that, I thought I’d give it one more try with another well-known name-brand product and while the fit was okay again and it had a plastic cover, the plastic overlay was loose and bubbled up, so that my phone’s screen was virtually unresponsive to touch while in the case, meaning I could only set it and forget it, instead of adjusting my playlist or checking my mileage mid-run.
Alas, I didn’t give up and finally came across the Vertex iPhone Armband from SportPort™, www.SportPortActive.com, an activewear company that offers sports apparel as well as workout accessory gear, like their iPhone running armband. What caught my eye about this armband was that it was the only one that offered an added feature no others had, which was protection against the EMF radiation from my phone. This had been a concern of mine ever since I heard on the news that cell phone use may contribute to the development of cancer cells. The SportPort™ phone pocket acts as a shield between the phone and body with their own patented design and technology. Regular fabric doesn’t offer such protection. The armband product description also looked good, including an anti-chafe promise and other qualities I knew I had liked in other brands I had tried, so I gave it a try. I had planned a short run in case it didn’t work out, but the first three miles passed without issue, so I kept going. The armband itself was very lightweight with ultra-soft material and adjusted with a hook-and-loop, Velcro closure for a perfect fit on my arm. The pocket is sized for a custom fit so there wasn’t any room for my phone to bounce around once it was in place. The transparent window offered protection for my screen, but still allowed me to use the phone on the go, which is a function I consider a must-have. I finished with 8 miles, as opposed to the shorter run I had planned and didn’t have any chafe marks or strap rubbing. Although I didn’t encounter any rain that first day, a subsequent wet run revealed the storage pocket was indeed water-resistant and my phone stayed dry throughout. This was the first armband I found that I had no complaints about and I consider the added health safety EMF protective feature a huge bonus, so I would highly recommend this option to any athlete who has undergone their own armband trial and error process without success.
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Casey Clark Kelley is a writer, certified lifestyle coach, and fitness instructor. She enjoys staying active with long distance running, cycling and cross-country skiing as New England weather allows. Info@caseyclarkkelley.com