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The Best Running Water Bottles in 2022

 

Staying hydrated is a challenge for most folks on a normal day. We could all stand to drink more water.

For runners, this challenge is even more important. Lack of proper hydration during runs lasting more than 45 minutes will result in a slower pace, discomfort, and generally poor performance.

Of course, it’s not always easy to get water during long runs, unless you are carrying it with you. This is where the best running water bottles come in handy.

Gone are the days of trying to grip a condensation-slicked water bottle in your hand while you run.

The latest generation of handheld running water bottles has come a long way in terms of usability and convenience. These bottles usually carry 10-20 oz, plenty of water for a medium to long run.

For any longer runs, we would suggest a hydration belt or pack.

The newest handheld water bottles are also offered in a soft flask. This makes them easier to carry and collapse down for storage when empty.

We’d choose the Amphipod Hydraform Soft-Tech Handheld bottle for our top pick. It comes with a 20-ounce soft bottle, an expandable zip pocket, and an insulated sleeve with an adjustable handle.

But look through the full list to find the best one for you!

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Amphipod Hydraform Soft-Tech Handheld

 

  • 20 ounces capacity
  • Expandable pocket
  • 4 quick-access slots
Check Price

 

Amphipod Hydraform Ergo Minimalist Handheld

 

  • Minimalist design
  • Ice-cube ready
  • Dishwasher-safe
Check Price

 

Salomon Soft Flask Xa Filter

 

  • Built-in filter
  • 16 ounces capacity
  • Thumb loop
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Amphipod Hydraform Soft-Tech Handheld

This handheld bottle is convenient for both water and other storage, and it’s easy to take with you for short or slightly longer runs.

What We Like

The Amphipod Hydraform Soft-Tech Handheld is an easy-to-use, comfortable carrying water bottle that holds enough liquid to keep you hydrated on a run.

As well as having a capacity of 20 ounces, the bottle is soft, expandable, BPA-free, and PVC-free to keep you as safe as possible.

The entrance to the bottle is 42mm—1.6 inches—wide enough to fill the bottle easily and add ice or powdered energy drinks without a problem.

A high-flow bite valve is easy to use and seals again after every sip so you don’t have to worry about leakage.

The bottle holder is made of insulating material, which keeps your bottle cold and helps keep your water cold for 30 percent longer than other bottles.

It’s adjustable to fit your hand, has an expandable pocket that fits most smartphones, contains card slots, a hidden key fob, uses a Thumb-Lock design to prevent cramping, and 4 quick-access straps on the exterior of the holder to accommodate energy gels and bars.

Of note, getting the bottle out of the holder to clean it can be tricky.

Why We Like It

This bottle is comfortable to carry and has more than enough space to carry valuables and nutrition as well.

PROS:

  • Holds 20 ounces of water to see you through longer runs
  • The expandable pocket allows you to carry your phone and valuables
  • Insulated material keeps your water cool for 30% longer
  • 4 quick-access slots on the holder for energy gels or bars

CONS:

  • It can be tricky to remove the bottle from the holder for cleaning
 

Top Value

2. Amphipod Hydraform Ergo Minimalist Handheld

This water bottle is a minimalist, easy-to-carry design that comes with either a 20-ounce or a 16-ounce bottle.

What We Like

This minimalist water bottle holder is surprisingly effective. A thin ergonomic strap adjusts to accommodate most hand sizes, and the Thumb Lock design means you can run freely without “gripping” the bottle.

The bottle itself is soft and free from BPA and also ergonomically shaped to reduce hand fatigue. It has a wide opening to allow space for you to add ice blocks easily or put powdered sports drinks into it.

On the back of the hand, 2 small slots allow you to slide in an energy gel so you can fuel up easily on the run.

The bottle is also dishwasher-safe so you can keep it clean with minimal fuss.

However, those with small hands may find that the strap can’t be tightened enough to create a snug fit on their hand while running.

Why We Like It

This well-priced water bottle holder keeps you hydrated, is easy to hold, and offers enough space to carry some gels with you as well.

PROS:

  • Minimalist design isn’t intrusive and doesn’t weigh you down
  • Ergonomically-shaped bottle so you can hold it easily
  • Ice-cube ready bottle mouth is easy to refill
  • Dishwasher-safe and easy to keep clean

CONS:

  • Those with small hands may struggle to tighten the strap enough
 

Best With Filter

3. Salomon Soft Flask Xa Filter

Trail runners who spend time in wild locations and may need to grab some stream water in a pinch will appreciate this bottle with a built-in filter.

What We Like

This rugged flask from Salomon has a water filter built into the cap so that you can filter bacteria, organic matter, and other debris out of natural water and use it to hydrate yourself on long runs.

It carries 16 ounces of water and shrinks as you drink, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space. The thumb loop helps you to carry it more easily as you’re traversing rough terrain. It also helps you to scoop up water from a stream on the trail.

We should point out that the thread of the top cap is not compatible with any other Salomon flasks. So even if you have a Salomon soft flask already, you will need to buy this as a flask and cap combo and can’t switch the lid between different flasks.

Why We Like It

This flask is an excellent addition to any trail runner’s gear, as it allows you to drink water you find on the trail so you don’t have to carry a lot of water with you. Easy to use and safe as well!

PROS:

  • Soft, easy to drink from the bottle with a capacity of 16 ounces
  • Built-in filter removes most bacteria and organisms from water sources
  • Shrinks as you drink, making it easier to carry
  • Thumb loop makes it easy to run with

CONS:

  • The filter lid is not compatible with any other Salomon flasks
 

Top Insulated Bottle

4. Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask

If you live in a hot place, this insulated flask will keep your water cool as you run, even in warm weather. No more sipping on warm water!

What We Like

The Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask carries 18 ounces of water and has a double layer of insulation to keep the contents of the bottle as cool as possible.

The adjustable strap has a large zippered pocket that can fit a phone and things like energy chews or a house key.

There’s a cinch strap on the material which you can easily operate with one hand to tighten the fit so you can run without having to grip the bottle.

However, the cinch strap may slowly loosen as you run, leading to the grip becoming looser. You may need to tighten it multiple times throughout your run.

When you need to drink, the easy-squeeze access allows you to take sips in short bursts to rehydrate yourself.

This water bottle comes in a variety of high-visibility colors so you can also be easily seen if you’re on a night run.

Why We Like It

This flask’s handy double-insulated design keeps your water cool for much longer than regular water bottles, so you can have cool, fresh water available throughout your run.

PROS:

  • Double-wall insulated material keeps your water cold
  • Front zippered pocket allows you to carry your valuables with you
  • Easy-squeeze access offers short bursts of fluid
  • Available in a variety of high-visibility colors

CONS:

  • The strap loosens over time and may need to be tightened again as you run
 

Best Ergonomic Design

5. Nathan QuickSqueeze Lite

This water bottle cradles easily into your palm, with an ergonomic fit that makes it comfortable and easy to use while you’re running.

What We Like

The Nathan QuickSqueeze Lite is designed for the upper part of the bottle to fit right into your hand while you’re running, ready for you to squeeze and drink from at any time.

A high-flow blast valve rebounds easily after you pull on it, keeping your bottle leak-free while ensuring an easy drink.

The bottle is double-layered, which keeps your drink cool for longer than the standard single-layer bottles.

It sits very securely in its harness, with a mesh hand strap for adjustable comfort and tightness, while a sweat-channeling, non-slip insert between your hand and the bottle enhances comfort.

You can also slip your key or a gel into the front pouch of the bottle if you need space to store something small.

The bottle is only 12 ounces in capacity, which may not be enough for runners who want to go longer distances, run in warm climates, or drink a lot. It’s better for short runs in hot weather.

Why We Like It

This bottle is easy to carry and easy to squeeze on the go, thanks to its ergonomic design with a sweat-channeled insert.

PROS:

  • Lightweight with an ergonomic, easily-squeezable design
  • High-flow, push-pull blast valve allows you to drink without thinking
  • Double-wall construction helps to keep water cooler than others
  • Non-slip, sweat-channeled insert keeps your hand cooler and drier

CONS:

  • Only available in 12-ounce, which may not be enough for some runners
 

Easiest to Hold

6. Nathan ExoShot 2.0

This soft flask water bottle and holder combination is comfortable and easy to hold, featuring an ergonomic design that reduces fatigue in the hand.

What We Like

The Nathan ExoShot 2.0 is ergonomic and fits the hand very well, creating a fatigue-free design that makes it easy to carry around with you.

It can hold 14 ounces of water and the bottle can be removed from the strap and used with Nathan vests and belts as well.

A rigid ExoSpine helps to keep the bottle upright so it doesn’t collapse when it gets emptier. It also helps to support the hand.

The mesh construction makes it breathable and moisture-wicking, so even if your hand sweats, it won’t compromise your grip.

The bottle is also BPA-free and has an easy bite valve. Small pockets on the front and back allow you to store things that you might need to carry on your run.

The Velcro on the strap may wear away quickly with repeated use. But it can easily be replaced by a new Velcro strip.

Why We Like It

This bottle and holder are very easy to use and comfortable to carry around with you when you’re running.

What’s New

The design of both the flask and the holder has been changed significantly from the original ExoShot.

It’s increased in capacity from 12 ounces to 14 ounces, and the hand strap has become more ergonomic.

The sleeve is more robust and allows more space for storage of small items. The bottle also has a more ergonomic shape and an easier-to-use bite valve.

PROS:

  • Ergonomically-designed hand strap makes it easy to hold without fatigue
  • ExoSpine prevents the holder from collapsing as the bottle gets lighter
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking mesh helps to keep your hand from sweating
  • Stash pockets for storing other items

CONS:

  • The Velcro may wear away quickly with repeated use
 

Best for a Hydration Pack

7. HydraPak UltraFlask Speed 500 ML Soft Flask

If you use a hydration pack and need to add a new bottle or replace an old one, we recommend this bottle. It’s a great replacement for a variety of hydration vest brands.

What We Like

The HydraPak UltraFlask Speed 500 ml Soft Flask is designed to fit into a hydration pack and allow you to drink on the go without having to carry a cumbersome bottle around with you.

It shrinks as it empties, to minimize sloshing as you move. The long straw is adjustable and uses a bite valve just like the shorter straw. You can remove it and use just the short straw if you wish.

A Speedfill cap pops up and locks closed so you can refill the bottle quickly without having to remove the entire lid.

However, the flip-top lid may make it difficult to add powders or ice cubes without unscrewing the entire lid.

Why We Like It

This bottle fits almost perfectly in most hydration vests and makes an ideal replacement bottle, and the long straw is incredibly handy.

PROS:

  • Fits comfortably into most hydration vests
  • The long straw makes it easy to drink water hands-free and is removable
  • Speedfill cap snaps open for quick and easy refills or additions
  • Shrinks in size as it empties to reduce water sloshing as you run

CONS:

  • It may be difficult to add powders or ice cubes with the flip top
 

Top With a Phone Case

8. Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 500

If you use your phone when you run or just need to glance at it every now and then, this water bottle holder features a handy see-through phone case.

What We Like

This water bottle is lightweight and designed to fit easily into your hand. The strap is wide, breathable, and has a chafe-free binding to ensure comfort when wearing it.

A good-sized, clear phone pocket can hold most phones and allows you to see what’s happening on your screen if necessary, although you may not be able to use the touchscreen without taking the phone out.

There’s also a stretch mesh storage pouch for other items that you want to keep separate from your phone, like keys.

However, the loop around the bottle’s neck seems to be less durable than others, although you can fix it or reinforce it if necessary.

Why We Like It

This is an ideal water bottle holder and phone case combo for those who use their phones for exercise tracking or listening to music while running.

PROS:

  • Clear phone pocket is compatible with most sized smartphones
  • Wide, breathable mesh hand strap with chafe-free binding ensures comfort
  • Stretch mesh storage pouch for non-phone essentials
  • Lightweight, ergonomically-designed water bottle

CONS:

  • The loop around the bottle’s neck may be less durable than others
 

Best Soft Flask

9. Amphipod Hydraform Soft-Tech Insulluxe Handheld

This soft flask can hold 16 ounces of liquid and has a unique hand-hold design to make it comfortable when running. It has a retractable design that keeps the flask performing as if it were full.

What We Like

This water bottle is actually a soft flask and is more like a bag than a bottle. It has an unusual retractable design, in which the bottle holder can retract as the flask empties, preventing sloshing as you run.

As well as the usual hand strap, the holder also features both thumb and forefinger straps, which allow you to get an excellent grip that reduces fatigue the longer you run.

On the back of the hand strap, there are two useful gel loops, which you can utilize to carry extra nutrition with you for your run.

Of note, the retractable strap can be difficult to operate with just one hand while you’re busy running.

You can remove the bottle from the sleeve and place it in the dishwasher to be cleaned.

Why We Like It

This soft flask won’t get floppy when it’s empty. The unique retractable design helps to keep the flask secure and behaving like it’s still full.

PROS:

  • Thumb and forefinger straps for getting a secure grip
  • Gel loops on hand strap for extra carrying space
  • Retractable design using an integrated strap system
  • The bottle is removable from the sleeve and dishwasher-safe

CONS:

  • It may be tricky to adjust the retracting strap with one hand
 

Top Handheld for Women

10. Osprey Dyna Handheld

This handheld water bottle and holder is designed specifically for women. It can also be used with Osprey’s Dyna vest packs.

What We Like

The Osprey Dyna Handheld bottle and holder features women-specific sizing and fit, as well as an ambidextrous design that allows you to use it with either hand.

The small, soft pouch and hand strap also act as a stabilizer for the water bottle, which crumples as it empties. This provides support and keeps it upright.

It also features a small pocket and a mesh pouch which can be filled with nutrition items or hold a house key or bank card.

However, this bottle only has a capacity of 8 ounces, which is smaller than most others on this list and some women may find it to be too small for their needs.

Why We Like It

This women-specific flask has been designed to fit a lady’s hand. The pouch is soft and feels great to carry, and it’s extremely easy to use.

PROS:

  • Ambidextrous fit allows for switching between hands
  • Pocket and pouch for storing items like keys or nutrition
  • Women-specific sizing and fit design
  • Soft, adjustable pouch stabilizes the flask as it empties

CONS:

  • A smaller size of 8 ounces may not be enough for some women
 

Running Water Bottle Buying Guide

As we all know, it’s important to stay hydrated while we’re running. A good rule of thumb is to drink 4-6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your run, and 6-8 ounces if you’re running faster than an 8-minute mile. It’s important to find a running water bottle that is going to meet your needs and give you the hydration you need!

Hard Bottle versus Soft Flask

If you’re looking for a basic water bottle, a hard bottle may be just fine. They are great for short runs if you decide to carry them, and long runs if you need a lot of hydration. You’ll get plenty of water with a hard bottle, and at a fairly inexpensive cost. Plus, you have a variety of options, from fancier bottles that are molded to fit the curve of your hand, or (if you’re a female!) sports bras that allow you to stash normal-sized water bottles between your shoulder blades.

By contrast, if you hate the noise of sloshing water or find hard bottles to be too bulky, you might want to consider a soft flask. They are more comfortable and pack down for storage, but they hold less water while being more expensive.

Many trail runners, however, prefer soft flasks, noting that they slosh less, have a nice, easy-flowing, soft rubber valve, and condense as they empty. They make less noise as the soft sides collapse in when the volume of liquid decreases.

Other runners note the ease of use of a soft flask, plus the fact that you don’t have a bulky bottle digging into your ribs or collar bones. You just have to bite the valve on the soft flask, and you’re hydrating.

Insulated Bottle versus Non-insulated

An insulated bottle is likely going to be the better option for you as a runner, because it will keep your water nice and cold. Plus, it will not sweat, as the outside of the insulated bottle does not get cold enough to allow the water vapor in the air to condense. In sum, insulated bottles are particularly handy on hot days: the water stays cold, and the bottle stays dry.

If keeping your water cold is not as much of a concern, a non-insulated bottle will be the cheaper option. Non-insulated bottles can be great everyday carry options, and you can get them in extremely light versions. Thus, if you don’t need anything fancy, a non-insulated bottle could be a good choice for you.

Only hard bottles come insulated. Soft flasks aren’t insulated, unless you buy a model where the bottle sits in an insulated sleeve.

Size: Capacity versus Weight

When choosing a water bottle for running, you need to know what your needs are. If you’re planning to run longer distances, you likely will want to consider the capacity more than the weight. You might opt for a larger water bottle, waist belt to carry several, or hydration vest so that you have the liquids that you need.

On the other hand, if you’re more interested in speed – or you aren’t running too far – and don’t need as much water capacity, weight is going to be a more important concern for you. Something light will be better than something large.

Bigger bottles will obviously hold more water, but they weigh more and are harder to carry.

Does the strap allow for different ways to hold the bottle?

It’s important that you can stay comfortable as you run. Thus, if you are interested in a handheld bottle with a strap, you should see if it can be held comfortably in several different ways. This way you can adjust as needed during your run.

Extra Storage

If you need some extra space to store your keys, gels, money, or phone, you should see if the water bottle has a pouch or pocket for storage. Some bottles have a small pocket that allow you to store additional items in case you don’t have available pockets in your shorts or leggings. Remember to keep in mind, though, that anything in the pockets will add weight, which is especially pertinent if it is a handheld bottle.

You should also check to see if the pocket is zippered or Velcroed. You might feel safer with something that can zip, as opposed to Velcro, if you’re placing keys or money in that pocket, but it might not be as necessary for extra gels, for example.

Pull Valve versus Bite Valve

When deciding if you are going to select a pull valve versus a bite valve, you should remember that bite valves are generally better as they leak less. But they are also less user-friendly at first. It can take a little while to get used to a bite valve. In the long run, however, they are extremely simple to use, especially with a hydration vest, as you do not have to fumble with a bottle.

Pull valves are what you find on classic water bottles (like a bike bottle). The problem is, if you forget to push the top back in, it will leak all over the place.

FAQs

Should You Carry a Water Bottle When Running?

If you’re going to be running for longer than 45 minutes, you should take at least a small handheld bottle with you on your run.

Also, if you run in a hot or humid climate and you sweat a lot, you should always carry some water with you to avoid dehydration.

If your run is under 45 minutes and in a cooler climate, you may be able to get away with leaving the water bottle at home and rehydrating when you get back.

What Size of Water Bottle Should I Get?

A 16 to 24-ounce water bottle is more than adequate for a 45 to 60 minute run. This size should give you enough water to stay hydrated throughout your run while still being a good enough size to carry with you comfortably.

How Do I Hold a Water Bottle While Running?

You can buy water bottles with an adjustable hand strap that will provide a comfortable and secure grip on your hand. If you have a water bottle without a strap, you should get a secure grip without holding it so tightly that your hand begins to cramp.

What Are the Benefits of Having Water Bottles for Running?

Carrying your own water bottle means you won’t need to stop at a public water fountain or a nearby store to buy bottled water. It’s also better for the environment if you use a reusable water bottle rather than store-bought plastic water bottles.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

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