Running vests are taking over TikTok, and it’s not hard to see why. These hydration vest/backpack hybrids are the latest must-have for runners of all levels. Gone are the days of juggling your keys, phone, and water bottle; these sleek vests have pockets for everything, making your runs smoother and more enjoyable. And yes, you can rock one for a 5K!

What makes running vests so great?

Hands-free hydration:  The primary purpose of a running vest is hydration. With built-in bottle holders or space for a bladder pack, staying hydrated on the go has never been easier. This is especially crucial in the heat, where carrying enough water can make or break your run.

Convenient storage: Say goodbye to bulky pockets and awkward armbands. Running vests have multiple compartments to store your essentials – keys, phone, ID, snacks, and even a lightweight jacket. Everything you need is within reach, without the hassle.

Comfort and fit: Designed to hug your body, these vests are lightweight and aerodynamic. They distribute weight evenly, reducing strain and preventing the bouncing that can occur with traditional backpacks. Many models also feature adjustable straps for a customised fit.

Style: Let’s be honest – running vests look cool. Available in various colours and styles, they can complement your running gear and add a professional edge to your ensemble. Whether on a trail or just hitting the streets, you’ll look the part.

Ignore the haters: Wear it for a 5K!

There’s a common misconception that running vests are only for long-distance runners or ultra-marathoners. But let’s set the record straight: you can wear a running vest for a 5K. Here’s why you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise:

Stay prepared: Even for shorter runs, having your essentials at your fingertips is a huge advantage. Need a quick snack or a sip of water? No problem. Your vest has you covered.

Comfort over distance: A comfortable, well-fitted vest can enhance your running experience, regardless of the distance. You won’t have to worry about where to stash your stuff, freeing you to focus on your performance.

Beat the heat: Running in hot weather can be challenging. A hydration vest ensures enough water to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up, even for a 5K.

Confidence boost: Wearing a vest can make you feel more prepared and professional. It’s a confidence booster knowing you have everything you need right there with you.

Tips for choosing your perfect running vest

Size and fit: Look for a vest that fits snugly but comfortably. Adjustable straps are a plus, allowing you to tailor the fit to your body.

Capacity: Consider what you’ll need to carry. If you’re just out for a short run, a smaller vest with minimal pockets will do. For longer runs or trails, opt for more storage space.

Hydration options: Decide whether you prefer a water reservoir (bladder) or water bottles. Some vests accommodate both, giving you flexibility based on your preference.

Breathability: Look for vests made from lightweight, breathable materials to keep you cool and comfortable.

Extra features: Reflective elements, a whistle for safety, and easy-access pockets are all great features to look for in a running vest.

Here are my top picks

If you’re ready to join the running vest trend, here are some top picks. These vests combine style, functionality, and comfort to enhance your running experience:

ASICS Fuji Trail Backpack

This is the one I use and swear by! The ASICS Fujitrail Backpack is designed for comfort and confidence during long ventures. Its bounce-limiting system reduces shaking to keep contents tidy and irritation-free. Magnetic buckles enable quick, one-handed operation, while multiple pockets, including a 20L main compartment, provide ample storage. The vest features a back bungee system for extra gear, front pockets for two 500ml water flasks, and an integrated pole-storage system for added convenience.

  • Comes in different sizes: S/M/L
  • Lots of storage – handy for storing gels, keys, phone, jacket and other accessories
  • Bounce Limiting System – Reduction of bounce across tough terrain.
  • Magnetic Buckle Closures – Easy on and off access, and allowing you to use one hand
  • Plenty of Ergonomic Pockets – Provide lots of storage
  • 20L Main Compartment – Plenty of stroage.
  • Bungee Cords – Allow you to easily attach gear.
  • Stretch Flask Pockets with Two 500ml Soft Water Flasks – For easily accessible hydration.
  • Reflective Detailing – Improvement of visibility during low light conditions


The RunTok girlies fave: Salomon Advanced Skin 12 

  • Features a snug fit, multiple pockets, and a 1.5L hydration bladder.
  • Ideal for both short runs and long-distance training.
  • Lightweight, breathable fabric for maximum comfort.

Purse friendly option: UTOBEST Running Pack

  • 5L; 1 main compartment, 2 water bottle pockets, 3 small pockets.
    Bladder compartment with hanging system, compatible with 1.5L hydration bladder (hydration bladder is not included).
  • Ultra-light stretch fabrics, only 250g, help you go further and higher every time.
  • Front and back reflective strip design, safe for running riding in dark conditions.

Running vests are more than just a trend; they’re a practical, stylish, and versatile addition to your running gear. So, next time you lace up your shoes, throw on that vest and hit the road – you’ve got this!