I’ve used a few waist belt style bottle holders before, some were decent quality and brand, and some were really cheap. The latter performed as expected (or didn’t perform at all), so they weren’t worth buying, and aren’t worth mentioning. The ones that were decent worked ok (sorry, I can’t recall any brands), but were really lacking in intelligent features. A waist bottle holder and water backpacks are really items that can bother an athlete during a run due to the motion created by the athlete (the “bounce” effect), and the inherent friction points on the holder. I think it’s really a hard thing to make one that works effectively. So for years I thought I would never find one I could actually use while training or racing. The irritation was just too much to contest with.
So my wife asked me one day if we could get one, since she’s started taking up running, and wanted to carry some water with her. I decided to try the Nathan Elite 1 holder (http://www.runningfree.com/detail.aspx?ID=12231), since I recalled talking to the product rep about it, and it seemed to have some neat features.
How did it work out? Well, I can honestly say it is by far the best I have tried. I don’t do a lot of running these days, as I tend to be out on the bike most of the time…so I probably won’t see a huge amount of use out of it, but It was certainly comfortable for a couple of long runs this summer. The waist band was partially elastic and partially firm, which gave a great feel, and didn’t seem to bounce in the same way as most of these do. That’s positive number 1, giving less friction and irritation as a result. The bottle resting spot is on an angle with a catching zone, which makes it easier to put in and get out (vertical designs don’t work). I don’t know if the catching zone works, but the angle certainly is effective. Positive #2. And the padded area under the bottle was comfortable against my waist. Positive #3.
There really weren’t any cons I could see, apart from a slight amount of movement when running. I don’t think this can be avoided though. And even the bottle was neatly designed. It had a soft rubber nozzle that’s friendly on teeth when opening, and it has a built in carabiner if you want to hook the bottle to something.All around it quite well designed. I think Nathan put a lot of thought into this. My wife says it works really well too, which is important since she’s the primary user. She’s now hidden it from me so I don’t sweat it up from workouts. Probably another sign she likes it!!