Running water bottles are a part of every runner’s life. They’re essential if you’re running long-distance events, and they’re also good for everyday use. As you have probably noticed, there are tons of different water bottles on the market, and it can sometimes be hard to pick between them.
I’ve put together the best list of running water bottles available on the market. Whether you need to stay hydrated for your next marathon or just want to keep yourself healthy, these are all great options.
You can find everything from insulated stainless steel bottles to collapsible silicone ones that will fit in your pocket.
1. Amphipod Hydroform Ergo-Lite Ultra Handheld
The Amphipod Hydroform Ergo-Lite Ultra Handheld is the perfect accessory for all runners. It features a Jett Squeeze cap that delivers hydration quickly and easily without having to pull on the cap, an ergonomic bottle shape with an internal pocket divider for ID or keys, and is fully insulated to keep your drinks cold or warm.
This handheld water bottle will make running more enjoyable than ever before!
- Keeps drinks cold or warm for hours
- Ergonomic shape and design
- Jett Squeeze cap delivers hydration quickly and easily without having to pull on the cap
2. Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 500
There are very few things more frustrating than running out of water on a hot day. With the Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 500, you can be sure that never happens again. The Fastdraw 500 is ergonomically designed for comfort and convenience, with a shape that makes it easier to angle the nozzle into your mouth for quick sips on the run. You’ll also experience less bounce and chafing during your long runs with this bottle because of its wider non-slip hand strap. If you need to carry your phone, this bottle has you covered as well: It features an iPhone-compatible pocket.
- Ergonomically designed for comfort and convenience
- Shape of the bottle makes it easy to angle the nozzle into your mouth for quick sips on the run
- Wider non-slip hand strap helps reduce bounce and chafing during long runs
- iPhone compatible pocket allows you to carry your phone with you without worrying about it bouncing around in a bag or armband
3. Amphipod Hydraform Handheld
The Amphipod Hydraform is not another Camelbak copycat. The Hydraform was designed because the designer had run into a common, yet frustrating problem: most handheld water bottles are simply too big. The weight of those bottles causes hand cramps and places unnecessary tension and strain on your upper body throughout long runs, rides, hikes, or other endurance events.
This bottle itself is made of BPA-free material so it can be safely used over long periods of time.
The low profile design is another feature that many users find particularly appealing about the Amphipod Hydraform Handheld. In addition to a full 40% lower profile than other bottles on the market, this one has a unique look and feel with its protrusion at the top that creates an ergonomic grip when your hand wraps around it.
- 40% lower profile than other models
- Unique ergonomic grip that creates a comfortable fit in your hand
- BPA-free material for safe use over long periods of time
4. Nathan Speedshot Plus Insulated Flask
The Nathan Speedshot Plus Flask is a handheld bottle with double-wall flask construction to keep liquids cool for up to 20% longer. It also features a no-slip grip insert and thumb hole that enables grip-free carrying.
This 12-ounce bottle comes in black, sports yellow accents, and has the business logo on both sides. The push-pull blast valve cap allows you to access your drink quickly. The mouthpiece is soft silicone so it doesn’t irritate your lips if you’re drinking water or other drinks like milk or protein shakes (what I use this for).
- Insulated to keep liquids cooler for up to 20% longer
- Thumb hole enables grip-free carrying
- No slip grip insert for easy carrying
5. Ultimate Direction Clutch
This running water bottle is an incredible combination of style and function. It’s made of very light material, so you barely notice it in your hands when you’re running.
The Ultimate Direction Clutch was specifically designed for women, so you’ll have a snug fit that reduces bounce and eliminates chafing. The Clutch features multiple hand positions to give you ultimate comfort while running or working out.
The reflective accents are an important safety feature, particularly for nighttime running. They will help you to be seen by other runners or drivers.
The Clutch is designed with a zippered pocket on the front to securely carry your valuable items but it is not big enough for a phone.
- Soft and breathable Air-Wall Mesh for comfort
- Zippered pocket on the front securely carries valuable items
- Comes with reflective accents to keep you safe when running at night
6. Camelbak Ultra Handheld
This water bottle from Camelbak is one of the first on our list to feature a collapsible handheld bottle. The design of the Ultra Handheld focuses on the bottle being soft so that it molds to the shape of your hand. This will provide a secure fit that feels natural while you are running.
The Ultra Handheld is made from 3D ventilated mesh to make sure your hand stays cool and comfortable while carrying water. This design also keeps the liquid inside cool by keeping air circulating around it.
To ensure your drink stays cold, this flask is insulated with a double-walled polyurethane construction.
- Soft construction so the bottle will mold to your hand
- Fully insulated to keep the water cold
- 3D printed design that makes the bottle fully collapsible
7. Osprey Duro Hand
If you wanted a water bottle that did not bounce while you were running, this is the bottle for you. It is designed to stay put during high-speed activities and can also be used as a small clip in water bottle pocket.
This will allow you to carry your water with your other essentials like nutrition or valuables like your phone.
- Bounces free stability
- Can be used with other Osprey products
- Designed with the minimalists in mind
- Provides ultimate comfort when you’re running
8. Nathan Exo-shot Handheld
This running water bottle from Nathan Sports is designed specifically for the runner who wants to lighten their load by cutting down on the gear they carry. Its main design purpose is for hydration, but it can also be used with Nathan’s line of hydration vests.
The strap uses Exo-Spine technology which distributes weight evenly throughout your hand while still giving you a comfortable grip. This handheld bottle can also be used for multiple purposes and works well as a small water bottle or even for carrying other items such as your keys during short runs.
- Easy-grip design for hydration on the go
- Ergonomic strap design to evenly distribute weight and provide comfort
Related: Best Rain Running Gear
9. Nathan Speed View Quick Grip
For those of us that absolutely need to have our phones with us at all times, no matter where we are, the Speed View Plus from Nathan Sports is a great choice for when you are out on runs. It is perfect for those long training runs or races and keeps your phone protected and accessible throughout your run.
The carrying pouch can fit smartphones up to iPhone 7 size so it will accommodate most smartphones out there. The pouch is also water-resistant and has an audio jack so you can plug in your headphones while on the move. This feature is great if you need music to keep you motivated during a longer run, but don’t want to be distracted by holding onto your phone at the same time as running.
- Carry pouch allows you to access your phone to control music and apps
- Ergonomically shaped bottle for convenience and comfort
- Insulated flask to keep fluids colder longer
- Internal and external stash pockets for smaller items, like gels
10. Nathan Speed draw Plus Insulated Flask
The Speed draw Plus water bottle from Nathan Sports is one of the most complete all-in-one options in terms of hydration.
It’s an insulated water bottle, so your drink stays cold for hours on end, and it has a handy pocket that can hold your phone (or gels), keys, and anything else you need while you run.
The rubber grip makes running with this thing a breeze.
- Insulated to keep your water cold for long runs
- Pocket for phone, keys, and gels
- Adjustable hand strap with thumb hole
As you can see from the list of best running water bottles in 2021, there are a number of options to choose from.
As with anything you buy, it’s important for you to do your research before deciding which running water bottle to buy. Hopefully, this article helped you choose the right water bottle for your specific needs.
Hard bottle vs Soft flask. Which one should you choose?
It depends on what you prefer and which one you can afford. Hard bottles are more durable, so if you are planning to use your bottle on a daily basis, it’s wise to invest in a good hard plastic running water bottle.
However, if you are planning to use it only occasionally or for special occasions (like long races), soft flasks may be better suited to your needs.
What about collapsible water bottles/soft flasks?
Collapsible water bottles/soft flasks are convenient because they don’t take up too much space as hard water bottles do. However, they aren’t as strong as hard water bottles; some people report having used them once or twice and then the body of the flask starts leaking.
It’s worth considering what you need before buying a collapsible water bottle.
How often should you replace your running water bottle?
Personal preference plays a role in this, but the industry advice is to replace them every two years. This usually depends on how much you use it and where (running in the hot sun can destroy plastic).
The general idea is that if there are any cracks or breaks, or if the plastic starts to look old and worn out, then it’s time for an upgrade. What can I do about dirty water bottles after using them during races?
After using your water bottle at races/races, make sure that you clean it well with hot soapy water or by washing it in the dishwasher. Then, you can dry it properly (ideally in an airy spot). By leaving the bottle exposed to the open air, it will help prevent any mold or mildew from developing.
Insulated running water bottles vs non-insulated bottles
Insulated water bottles are generally better if you want to keep your water cold. If that’s not a big deal, then an insulated bottle will be the more expensive option.
Non-insulated bottles tend to be cheaper and lighter than their insulated counterparts, so they are often popular as everyday carry options.
Should you go for higher water capacity even if it will be heavier?
Before you decide which water bottle to buy, you should think about how often you know that you’ll need to refill it. If you travel a lot or like to run, then having the option of a large capacity water bottle is ideal.
Running with an empty water bottle and not having anywhere to fill it up can be a hassle, so if there are regular stops where your bottle will be easy to refill (for example, at home), then opt for a smaller one.
What material should I get?
Plastic is generally cheaper than stainless steel, but some recent studies suggest that it may leach chemicals into the water if used regularly.
For this reason, many runners choose stainless steel as their go-to running water bottle material. Plastic is lighter, though – which makes sense for some athletes who just want to carry a small amount with them.