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The 3 best running vests

Whether you're a casual jogger or a full-on marathon runner, a vest is a handy way to carry a few essentials and keep hydrated while you train. The best running vests have a breathable, low-profile design combined with a snug but comfortable fit that won't distract or slow you down.

Of course, one of the main reasons to wear a running vest is to have a place to store water. Opt for a vest that has a sleeve to hold your hydration bladder — even better if it comes equipped with its own bladder or flasks. And it doesn't hurt to have additional pockets to store extra flasks of water, in case you need it. Zippered pockets will also come in handy for items you don't want to worry about losing, like your phone, cash, keys, or ID.

Aside from that, the design should be soft, airy, and non-obstructive. If your vest makes you sweaty and uncomfortable, you'll never want to wear it. The ideal choice will have mesh fabric or other breathable material that allows air to circulate. Buckles and straps are also essential so you can secure your vest properly and prevent it from bouncing around while you move.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for, check out the best running vests below to find the one that's right for you.

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1. The basic one

Hydration capacity: 2.15 liters

‌Storage capacity: 4 liters

Constructed with ultra-breathable, moisture-wicking mesh, this lightweight running vest is a solid choice all around. Unlike a lot of options out there, it's specifically made for runners, so its design allows you to move your arms freely without any rubbing or chaffing. It's equipped with a 1.5-liter hydration sleeve that slides into the back, along with two zippered pockets for items you want to keep extra secure. The vest also has adjustable straps plus reflective strips to keep you visible at night.

One reviewer says: "Absolutely love this pack. Bought one for myself for long training runs, it’s light, holds a good amount and is extremely comfortable and adjustable. Loved it so much I bought another for my husband. Highly recommend it for long runs or races.

2. The minimalist one

Hydration capacity: 2.2 liters

Storage capacity: 4 liters

This top-of-the-line running hydration vest features a slimmer profile with a slightly less bulky design. The vest is built with adjustable straps, and it's available in five different sizes so you can get just the right fit. It comes with two 12-ounce water flasks that slide into each of the front pockets, with straw-like tubes so you don't have to remove them to take a sip.

Even with the minimalist design, it still has multiple storage pockets, and the material is soft, lightweight, and breathable. It's compatible with a 1.5-liter hydration bladder (which isn't included). Just note that some reviewers found it runs small so you may want to order a size up.

One reviewer says: "LOVE THIS!!!! It’s so comfortable you don’t even realize it’s on while running. It doesn’t jostle or shake at all. And there’s so many hidden pockets to put stuff."

This cushioned one

Hydration capacity: 1.5 liters

Storage capacity: Not specified

Made with durable yet lightweight "3D Micro Mesh," this smooth Camelbak running hydration pack is both comfortable and breathable. The vest is designed to allow for plenty of ventilation and it's well-cushioned, too. Buckles let you adjust the vest so it's snug and secure, and the material has reflective strips to help keep you visible if you jog early in the morning or after dusk.

The included hydration bladder fits 1.5 liters of water and, in addition to the two front pouches for water flasks (which aren't included), there's a zippered pocket that's big enough for a phone. Although this is touted as a men's vest, reviewers noted it works great for all genders.

One reviewer says: "I am currently training for a marathon that is fast approaching and this pack is exactly what I’ve been looking for - it’s a game changer. I was looking for something lightweight (unnoticeable really) that can carry a decent size bladder and that wouldn’t irritate me during runs. [...] I found this, and today I used it for the first time and knocked out a 20 miler like it was 10. [...] I highly recommend this vest for distances up to a marathon."