Music makes everything better, especially that challenging five-mile run you subject yourself to every other morning. Fortunately, Apple’s iPhone makes taking your music with you easier than ever before, whether you want to listen to your favorite pump-up playlist, or stream the latest tracks through Spotify.
It also feeds our obsession with quantifying everything we do, so all those important exercise metrics — distance, calories burned, elevation gain, and all the rest — will be tracked using your choice of the many popular fitness apps available. Plus, if pushing through the pain barrier turns out to be a step too far, you won’t have to rely on the kindness of strangers if you need to call for help.
However, running with an expensive, delicate iPhone isn’t all that sensible. Smartphones bounce to and fro in your pocket, and if you run with your device in your hand, you also run the risk of it crashing upon the pavement in a shower of glass and metal. A dedicated arm band offers a practical solution, providing your precious device with stability and safety.
Below are a few of our favorites available for the iPhone 4 and beyond.
Whether you’re at the gym or out running, few arm bands beat the TuneBand in terms of simple convenience. The lightweight wearable is comfortable and versatile, fitting arms ranging between 7 and 18 inches in size with a pair of elastic straps, while simultaneously retaining access to various ports and buttons. It’s comprised of a durable silicone skin, available in one of seven colors, and even features a basic built-in screen protector. Best of all, its flexibility allows you to quickly slide your smartphone in and out.
Belkin is a household name, and there’s a very good reason for it – it makes decent, affordable products. The Sport-Fit band is made from a stretchy, breathable, and washable neoprene material so it’s hard-wearing and comfortable. The arm band’s streamlined design also incorporates a small carrying pouch, so you can conveniently stow keys, cash, or any other small items you’ll need. The adjustable strap has a snugger fit than others on our list, but the build reduces bulk and gives you full access to the home button and headphone port.
The MiniSuit SPORTY shares many of the same characteristics as Belkin’s Sport-Fit. It’s made of soft neoprene, for greater flexibility and breathability, and fits most biceps up to 14 inches in size. There are precise cutouts for the ports and buttons, and the arm band offers a built-in keyholder too. It’s available in either a black or hot-pink model, each of which features a reflective strip and an optional band extender designed for really massive arms.
The aptly-titled Athletic Armband may resemble most arm bands on our list, but it has a secret. The silicone case is separate and can be used on your phone everyday, or in conjunction with the velcro-lined band. No more messing around with different cases. It accommodates biceps ranging between 9 and 21 inches in size, and provides full access to the phone’s various ports and controls in either mode. It’s washable as well, but keep in mind the non-slip case offers little in the way of screen protection other than a raised lip along the edges.
The merits of the ShockSock are revealed in the name. A built-in screen protector protects your phone’s display from harm, and although it entirely encases the device for safety’s sake, it still has quick access to the Home button, ports, and controls. The sleek, washable armband features dual arm size slots for the maximum adjustability and comes in one of five distinct color offerings, each of which showcases a swath of reflective material for nighttime use. The integrated key holder is also a plus, even if the armband is likely tighter than normal.
Incipio’s Performance Armband is a no-frills offering, made of heat-sealed, breathable and water-resistant neoprene. It’s outfitted with a convenient side pocket for storing keys and cards, and is one of the few armbands on our list that’s also available for older iPhone 4 models. It’s lightweight and comfortable as well, and features reflective accents that go hand-in-hand with the vibrant choice of available colors, including neon blue, coral, lime, and hot pink.
Understandably, Nike knows a thing or two about sportswear. Although the weather-resistant Diamond Arm Band is only available for the iPhone 5 and 5S, it still offers lightweight comfort and stability thanks to its fused construction and double D-rings. It’s available in two colors, either black-and-red or two-tone pink, and embellished with the iconic Nike Swoosh and some clever channels designed to increase air flow. The touch-compatible display cover rounds out the protection, while maintaining full access to all the ports.