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Best Hands-Free Dog Leash For Runners in 2021

 

Running is often a solitary activity. The rhythm of your feet on the sidewalk or dodging rocks on the trail can become hypnotic, giving the mind time and space to work through things.

But sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of company. You could find a running partner. But sometimes socializing isn’t what you’re after.

If you’re looking for a running buddy who’ll give you your space, let you run in silence, and make your run interesting, try taking your pup along!

Running with a dog requires a a leash, and not surprisingly, there are leashes designed with running in mind. Specifically, running leashes are almost always hands-free, because the movement of your arms back and forth can tug harmfully on your dog’s neck or chest. The best hands-free dog leash for runners is designed to allow you and your furball to run freely. We’ve chosen the Ruffwear Trail Runner System as our top pick!

It’s a belt-and-leash system that absorbs shock and is bounce-free, has a water-resistant pocket, and comes with their Ridgeline leash.

So, whether you’re taking your dog along for company, or you’re only getting out on the road because your fluffy needs his daily run, here are our best hands-free dog leashes!

Top 3 Best and Favourites

 

Ruffwear Trail Runner System

 

  • Water-resistant pocket
  • Stretch mesh pocket
  • Intuitive leash attachment
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One Trail Hands Free Dog Leash

 

  • Detachable 4-foot leash
  • Dual, easily adjustable straps
  • Built-in waste bag dispenser
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YOUTHINK Hands Free Dog Leash

 

  • Collapsible water bowl
  • Two built-in handles
  • Easy-glide belt clip
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Best Overall

1. Ruffwear Trail Runner System

This dog-human running system is our favorite for a variety of reasons. It’s designed in such a way that fluff and person are almost not even attached!

Your dog can run freely without feeling like you’re restraining him, and you can run comfortably without your pooch pulling you here and there.

The human part of the system is a mesh belt, designed to fit comfortably around the waist without chafing. It features a handy mesh stretch pocket, a water bottle holder, and a waterproof pocket for storing your important items.

Now for the leash. Some hands-free systems don’t come with a leash, so the fact that this one does is much appreciated!

It’s their own Ridgeline leash, which is lightweight and made from Wavelength stretch webbing. This material absorbs the shocks involved in running motions. If you don’t want to use the included leash, though, the system is compatible with all other leashes.

The belt features a unique leash attachment. Instead of clipping the leash straight onto your belt, there’s an extra belt-like attachment that allows for a looser attachment. The leash can move freely along this belt-like piece of fabric, allowing your pup a larger range of movement.

It also has a quick-release clasp that allows you to free your pup in a quick second, so you don’t have to fiddle with hard-to-undo clips and toggles.

There are a couple of bonuses, too. You’ll get a free 21-ounce, BPA-free water bottle that fits perfectly in the back pocket. The belt has a handy light loop for attaching a compatible flashlight, and there’s even a loop to run your headphone cable through, to keep it secure while you’re moving.

PROS:

  • Ridgeline leash included
  • Water-resistant pocket
  • Stretch mesh pocket
  • Intuitive leash attachment

CONS:

  • The water bottle falls out easily when running, and can break
 

Top Value

2. One Trail Hands-Free Dog Leash

If you’re looking for a no-fuss, simple-but-effective hands-free dog leash, the One Trail could be right for you. For a very appealing price, you get a whole lot of value.

A fanny pack-style belt features 4 zippered pockets. The large main compartment can hold a cellphone comfortably. There’s a smaller zippered mesh pocket on the front too, perfect for things like keys and energy gels, or better yet, dog treats.

The two side pockets are useful for carrying small things too, but they’re designed for a specific purpose. Each is just the right size to hold a roll of waste bags, and there’s even a small dispenser on the pocket so you don’t have to open it to pull out a bag when you need one.

The belt comes with a 4-foot bungee leash. This is a pro, as the stretchy nature of the leash prevents accidents from sudden pulls.

It’s super easy to attach to your waist and tighten to fit, and it should fit waists from 25 inches to 50 inches in size.

The only con we can think of is that it doesn’t have a designated space for a water bottle.

PROS:

  • Detachable 4-foot leash
  • Dual, easily adjustable straps
  • Built-in waste bag dispenser
  • Made from water-resistant fabric

CONS:

  • No space for a water bottle
 

Best with Pocket and Water Bowl

3. YOUTHINK Hands Free Dog Leash

This handy leash system can be used in a variety of ways, including as a normal dog leash, a double dog leash, and attached to a stroller. It can be used on dogs up to 150 pounds (although perhaps not on the stroller!).

The belt itself is thin, so you won’t have a wide piece of material sitting against your waist. It includes a nifty little pouch that can fit a large phone with no problems, and has multiple pockets for whatever you need to take with you.

There’s even a pocket designed specifically for waste bags, with a dispenser on the side. You’ll get a roll of bags with your purchase.

Runners are used to thinking about their own hydration needs during a workout. But if you’re running with your dog, they are going to need water as well. This system comes with a collapsible water bowl just for this purpose. It clips easily onto the belt and you can hardly feel it there. But it is super useful when out on longer excursions with your pup.

The leash is a 37-inch bungee that can extend up to 64 inches to allow your pooch some space to roam without throwing you off balance.

There are also two handles built into the leash, so if you do need to rein your dog in quickly, you can simply reach forward and grab one to pull him closer.

PROS:

  • Comes with a collapsible water bowl
  • The leash has two built-in handles
  • Comes with a treat pouch
  • Easy-glide belt clip

CONS:

  • The treat bag may move around on your waist as you run
 

Most Durable

4. Iron Doggy Runner’s Choice Hands-Free Dog Leash

Durability is important in a hands-free leash, especially if you have a big, heavy dog. This one is made with a breaking strength of 215 pounds, so any breed should be able to use it safely.

There’s nothing fancy about this dog leash. The belt is thin but sturdy, and can be adjusted from 28 to 48 inches.

The leash is a bungee type, made from marine grade material, so it won’t break from wear and tear anytime soon. It has some interesting and helpful features to make it easy to control.

Two “control handles” give you an easy way to guide your dog where you need them to go. And two strategically-placed knots in the leash prevent damage to your hands if your dog does bolt while you’re holding it.

The snap hook clips onto the belt effortlessly and slides along with it without you even feeling it, so your dog can move around freely without disturbing your running form.

PROS:

  • Two raised control handles
  • Three unique adjustable leash settings
  • Strategically placed hold-knots
  • Sliding swivel snap-hook

CONS:

  • No storage space
 

Best with Bottle Holder

5. Kurgo K9 Excursion Belt

This uniquely shaped running belt is both comfy and practical. With an adjustable waist size of 25 to 45 inches, and the ability to accommodate any leash, your pup should be safe and you should be comfortable.

Two sliding clips let you choose whether to have your dog run on your right or left side. There’s a two-pocket pouch for storing your essentials, and as a bonus, a handy water bottle pouch (which comes with a compatible 12-ounce water bottle).

There’s also a small portal in the pouch that can be used as a dispenser for poop bags, or, if you like to run with music, as a holder for your earphone cable.

The belt is made of a light, mesh material, so it’s not restricting, heavy, or hot around your waist. When it needs a wash, you can simply throw it in the washing machine and let it air dry.

The only fault we find with this belt is that it doesn’t come with a leash. If you already have a leash, that’s not an issue. But considering most of these come as a system, with belt and leash, we find this to be a slight drawback.

They also recommend training your dog to run with you and not to pull. If you have a dog that’s bigger than 50 pounds and untrained, they suggest training your dog first, as the leash clips may not withstand strong pulls from a heavy pooch.

PROS:

  • 2 sliding leash clips
  • Secure, zippered pouch
  • Dog-friendly water bottle
  • Small port waste bag dispenser

CONS:

  • Leash not included
 

Top with Adjustable Handles

6. EzyDog Road Runner

This isn’t a belt and leash system. It’s just a leash – but you can turn it into a belt if you want to run hands-free. That’s a useful option!

The handle of the leash is made with ultimate adjustability in mind. Wrap it around your wrist if you’re just taking a little stroll, or fasten it around your waist if you want to run all-out and need your hands free.

Keep in mind that when you’re holding the leash in your hand, it’s 6 feet long. If you place it around your waist, you lose some of the length.

Whether it’s in-hand or around the waist, the handle is lined with neoprene to make it comfier. The rest of it is made from soft-touch webbing with reflective detailing, so it’s both comfortable and has an added safety element.

Although there are no storage pockets on this belt, D-ring let you attach a set of keys, cell phone pouch, or collapsible water bowl.

Built into the leash is EzyDog’s Zero Shock technology. A section of the leash is expandable, so if your pup does take off running, you’ll have time to react and adjust before they pull you over.

PROS:

  • Zero Shock technology
  • Multiple ways to wear it
  • Adjustable leash length
  • Barrel lock and D-ring

CONS:

  • Some may find that the traffic handle is too far down the leash to be grabbed quickly or easily
 

Best Reflective

7. Kruz Jogging Belt & Hands-Free Dog Leash

Safety is important when you’re out on the road, and when running with your dog, you need to look out for their safety as well as your own.

A belt and leash is a great tool, but if you’re running in low light conditions, it’s essential to find one that’s reflective so you and your pup can be easily seen.

This running belt and dog leash combo is bright and visibile from a good way off. One reflective strip lines the zipper on the belt, and another is attached below the zipper. The leash itself has reflective stitching.

So wherever you are, whichever angle the light hits you from, you and your pup should be quite visible on the road.

As well as being easy to see, the belt and leash have some useful features. There’s plenty of storage space on the belt, with two large zippered pockets and a water bottle holder.

The leash is 62 inches in length and has a bungee-like material that absorbs shock and prevents accidents if your dog takes off running after a squirrel or the milkman.

There’s an easy-grip handle near the top of the leash if you do need a bit more control. It’s lined with neoprene to make it easy on the hands.

PROS:

  • Reflective detailing on belt and leash
  • Wide waist belt for comfort
  • Padded leash handles
  • Two durable snap hooks with 360-degree rotation

CONS:

  • May not be durable enough for untrained or boisterous dogs
 

Top Leash for 2 Dogs

8. LANNEY Hands-Free Dog Leash

The more the merrier! If you want to take 2 dogs running together, this belt and leash system would work well for you and your menagerie.

The belt is thin and you’ll hardly feel it around your waist while you run. It features two sliding D ring attachment hooks, and comes with 2 leashes so you can take both your fluffs out for a fun time without feeling overwhelmed.

Each leash has a bungee cord section, allowing your dogs to run freely without being a threat to your center of balance.

There are also two padded handles on each leash if you need to get a better grip to guide your dogs where you need them to go.

You also get a detachable pouch. If you need to take valuables with you, they’ll be safe inside the zippered compartment. The bag may slide around the belt while you’re running, though, which could be annoying.

PROS:

  • Comes with two sliding D-rings
  • Detachable pouch
  • Built-in shock absorbing component
  • 2 handles with soft neoprene padding

CONS:

  • The pouch may move while you’re running
 

Best with Expandable Waste Pouch

9. TAKSIN The Ultimate Hands-Free Dog Leash

This is the ultimate dog walking kit. It’s not just a belt and leash. It’s a storage bag, safety leash, and trash can, all in one.

Whether you’re taking your dog to the park or the mountains, you need to clean up after them. It can be annoying to have to carry poop bags in your pocket, and what do you do with the full bag when your dog does need to go?

This leash system has you covered. There’s a useful front pouch to hold your cell phone or keys. There’s also a large compartment with a dispenser so you have quick, easy access to poop bags.

In addition to that, there’s a very useful waste pouch that’s designed to store full waste bags so you don’t need to carry them in your hand. Just remove the other pouch and give it a good wash if you happen to get it dirty.

Other useful properties include a bungee leash for safety and puppy freedom, and reflective elements for extra visibility on night or evening runs.

PROS:

  • Expandable waste pouch
  • Elastic water bottle holder
  • Three D-ring connection points
  • Reflective detailing

CONS:

  • Large dogs who pull may cause the plastic clip to break
 

Largest Storage and Holders

10. TUDEQU 4-IN-1 Hand Free Reflective Dog Leash

If you like to have everything you need with you when you run, this belt system could be a good option for you.

It features an impressive variety of storage compartments, including multiple pockets and two water bottle holders.

A spacious main compartment can hold snacks, energy supplements, or a small towel. There’s also a handy sunglasses pouch inside.

Two front pouches make a safe spot for phones and credit cards, as well as featuring a key hook for keeping your keys well protected. There’s also a useful little headphone slot so you can listen to music even while your phone is locked away safely.

One front pouch has a dispenser function, so you can clean up easily after your pup on the road.

Two mesh water bottle holders make it easy to carry water for you and your pet.

PROS:

  • Invisible water bottle storage holders
  • Variety of storage compartments
  • Made from water repellent material
  • Padded comfortable handle

CONS:

  • The fanny pack can only be worn facing the front

 

FAQs

If you’re trying to choose the best hands-free dog leash for you and your pet, here are some frequently asked questions to help you make the best choice.

What Are The Advantages Of A Hands-Free Dog Leash?

Running with a hands-free dog leash can reduce the risk of injuries to your shoulders and arms, especially if your dog tries to bolt when he sees a squirrel.

The D-rings are positioned to the side of your waist, which lets you run at your normal gait, with your arms in their natural position, with your pup at your side. This position not only makes it easier to run with your dog at your side (and not trip over Fluffy as you’re running), but will prevent your feet from getting tangled up in the leash.

Most hands-free dog leashes come with a pouch or pockets that allow you to easily carry waste bags, keys, cellphone, water bottles, and dog treats. This allows you to reward your dog’s good leash behavior when you stop to take a break!

Most of them use a bungee leash, which prevents constant tugging on the dog’s collar, as it has some flexibility. If you do need to guide your dog a little more effectively, there are padded handles within close reach that you can grab on the go.

Using a hands-free dog leash allows you to bond with your dog while both of you go on your daily run!

What Different Leashes Are Out There?

When you purchase a hands-free dog leash, it should come with a waistband and a leash. If you need to replace the dog’s leash, then there’s a variety to choose from.

One of the best options to use with a hands-free system is a bungee leash. The bungee cord helps to absorb shock and cushions any sudden moves that your dog may make. It’s not uncommon for dogs to bolt after a cat or a squirrel. If your leash is not at least partially elastic, these quick changes of direction can pull you off balance and potentially injured your dog.

The bungee leash will allow for some stretch, before gently pulling the dog back to you. It’s like having your dog on a yo-yo, but with more consistency in a leash!

Some may come with a collar leash or standard leash, which can be braided nylon or a solid piece of nylon. These leashes can come in a range of lengths, from 4 feet to 8 feet, but they don’t have any shock-absorbing properties. They do tend to have reflective detailing, which will make you and your pup visible in low light.

What Do I Need To Consider When Buying One?

One of the first things you should look for when buying a hands-free leash is the weight capacity. You really don’t want to leash a Bull Mastiff that weighs 110 pounds to a hands-free leash that only has a weight capacity of 50 pounds!

Consider where you’ll be running with your dog. This could determine the length of the leash that you’ll need. If you’re running on the sidewalk in the city, you don’t want your pup to be able to drift into the road or run too far ahead of you. If you’re running alone in the mountains, giving your dog a bit more leash and running room makes sense.

Make sure the leash that you get has easily accessible gripping points, so you can guide your dog if necessary. If you run early in the morning or later at night, you may want to consider a hands-free dog leash with reflective detailing, so that both you and your pup are visible.

The waist belt has to be easily adjustable. Your best bet is a waist belt that has easy-to-reach pockets, so you can grab a treat or a waste bag quickly without having to fiddle with it.

The material needs to be durable and should be able to withstand your dog’s pulling without breaking. But it also needs to be soft enough that it won’t cause chafing or skin irritation to either you or your pup. Finally, it should be easy to wash, to prevent any odors and should hold its shape after multiple washes.

The Wired Runner