Belt & Braces – How to Choose a Canicross Belt

I’ve been asked a lot about canicross waistbelts recently, which one do I think is most suitable and which one is the best? There are so many new options coming onto the market, it’s hard to know just from the descriptions which belt does what.

My answer is the same as with the dog harnesses, because everyone is an individual, I believe that certain canicross belts will suit certain people but not others. This makes it difficult to advise people on the perfect belt for them, however I can offer a few things to think about when choosing a belt that may help you decide for yourself which will be the right option for you.

1 – Where do you want the pull to come from?

Some people prefer a canicross belt to fit high up around the waist and others (myself included) prefer the belts to direct the pull from much lower down on the hips. Most belts can be adjusted so the pull is either from the waist or the hips but for higher up I would recommend the more padded belts (Zero DC Canicross Waist Belt, Neewa Trekking Belt and Howling Dog Alaska Canicross Belt are a few of the options) Related to this is:

2 – Do you want leg straps?

Closely connected with – does your dog pull you very hard? If your dog pulls hard out in front of you, the chances are that any belt you will try, will ride up on your waist and into the small of your back unless you have leg straps. The exception to this seems to be in people who have a less defined waistline and (without being rude!) a more ‘H’ shaped body than an ‘A’ shaped body, the belts seem to ride up more where the waist tapers in.

The Canadog Deluxe Canicross/Walking Belt in action, as you can see it does rise up with two dogs attached!
This canicross/walking belt (no leg straps) as you can see does rise up on me with two dogs attached, which is why I prefer leg straps and wear the belts lower down on the hips.

If you’re dog doesn’t pull particularly hard then you are in the lucky position of being able to chose any belt and it will probably be suitable, as  it will stay comfortably wherever you adjust it to fit. If you’re still not sure if you need leg straps or not, then some of the belts have detachable leg straps so you can make up your mind whether you need the straps or not based on your individual situation. For example you might run one dog without the leg straps but add them back on to run two. The Zero DC Canicross Belt is one of these canicross belts with the option to remove leg straps:

The Zero DC Canicross Belt, with detachable leg straps seems to offer the best of everything
The Zero DC Canicross Belt, with detachable leg straps seems to offer the best of everything

3. How much padding do you want?

Another thing you may want to consider is the amount of padding you would like in the waistband of your belt. More padding can make the belt much more comfortable but can also add to the weight of the belt and when you are running in the spring and summer months or longer distances, this might be something to think about carefully.

The Skijor Deluxe Padded Belt in action
A more padded waist belt in action, but pulled low on the hips this time.

Alternative belts with similar padding are the Non-stop Trekking Belt

or the Dragrattan Ergo Belt

the Neewa Trekking Belt, the Howling Dog Alaska Belt and Zero DC Canicross Waist Belt

4. Will you be racing in the belt?

If you are going to be racing in your canicross belt then you might want to consider less padding and a lighter weight option of belt. Many of the belts that K9 Trail Time stock are designed with this in mind and have little padding, but spread the force of the pull through the strapping and / or mesh. The Neewa Canicross Belt is an example of one of these, Neewa have designed a canicross belt to distribute pull across your behind and with integral leg straps you hardly notice it is there

One of the lightest belts on the market is the Running Belt from Non-stop, which has been designed by the top professional canicrossers in Europe to provide a lightweight racing belt that can comfortably cope with the pull of a very strong dog. I have switched to this belt for racing as it is exceptional in it’s ability to distribute pull and has even managed to incorporate a pocket!

The Non-stop Running Belt - the innovative new waist belt from Non-stop
The Non-stop Running Belt – the innovative new waist belt from Non-stop

The other lightweight style of belts are the ‘nappy’ belts, designed in Europe to be extremely lightweight but very effective at absorbing the forward motion of a heavy hound. The pull is dispersed across the hips and bum and offers the canicrosser a great deal of comfort considering there is no padding. The two I sell are the Non-stop Comfort Belt as pictured below

and the Zero DC Euro ‘Speedy’ Belt

The Non-stop Comfort Belt
The Non-stop Comfort Belt

5. Do you need pockets?

Another consideration is if you need storage in your belt for keys, a mobile phone or poo bags when you’re running. The belts with pockets are the Non-Stop Running & Comfort Belts, The Zero DC Canicross & ‘Speedy’ Belts and the Neewa Canicross & Trekking Belts.

I hope this short guide gives you a few things to think about when choosing or upgrading your belt but if you do have any more questions please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail:

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