Keeping light and comfortable during a run and carrying a bunch of personal belongings are diametrically opposed concepts. Even small items like keys and cash can quickly overwhelm the tiny amount of pocket space on running shorts and shirts. There are already plenty of solutions for this problem, but hydration armbands, running waist packs and bottle-securing gloves aren't right for every runner. Italian startup Runtimate uses the power of magnets to create a gear-carrying belt it believes is a better fit for those keeping fit.
In seeking to create a more balanced, bounce-free solution for runners, Runtimate found its proverbial lightbulb in magnets, which it integrates into its belt to spread the load around the waist and provide quick attachment and detachment. It's not the first to think of magnets for running accessories, but its belt is different from the magnetic pouches and pockets we've seen.
Since common essentials like water bottles and smartphones aren't magnetic, Runtimate complements the belt with purpose-built magnetic accessories and holders. It currently has a magnetic 8.5-oz (250-ml) Hydrapak SoftFlask water bottle, a smartphone holder (fits various phones from Apple, Samsung and HTC), a towel, and a small pouch. Beyond those, Runtimate also shows the possibility of attaching things like a magnetic action cam mount and light.
To use the system, the runner simply secures the belt around the waist with the magnetic closure, slaps any needed items onto it and gets going. Out on the road or trail, he or she has immediate access to those items with no fuss. While backpacks and waist packs can bounce around uncomfortably during runs, Runtimate says each of the six magnets can keep items up to 8.8 lb (4 kg) stable and bounce-free.
Runtimate claims its neodymium magnets are safe for both the runner and his or her smartphone. It does admit, however, that the magnets are not yet credit card-compatible. It claims to be working out a solution but says runners should not use the belt to carry cards in the meantime.
Runtimate is still developing the belt, a separate dual-magnet smartphone-holding armband and, of course, the requisite smartphone app (performance tracking, games, social features, etc). It launched a Kickstarter campaign this week with the goal of raising the money it believes it will need to finish development and start production by June 2016. It's offering a variety of pledge levels, including the belt and smartphone holder starting at €45 (US$49), the armband and smartphone holder starting at €25 ($27) and the belt plus all four attachments starting at €85 ($93).
The one-minute video below shows the Runtimate belt running and training.