Want to get more out of your runs? Weighted vests are one of the best ways you can increase your overall performance without having to add distance or change up your routine.
In this guide and review, we will briefly explore some of the key benefits of running with a weighted vest, and what you should look for when selecting your vest. We also found and reviewed the best weighted vest for running in multiple categories (men, women and both) so you can save yourself from shopping, and start running!
Points We Will Be Covering
- What Are The Benefits Of Running With A Weight Vest?
- Does Running With A Weight Vest Build Muscle?
- Does Running With A Weight Vest Make You Faster?
- How To Pick The Best Weight Vest For Running
- The Best Weighted Vests For Men (reviews)
- The Best Weighted Vests For Women (reviews)
- The Best Weighted Vests For Men And Women (reviews)
- Our Top Picks For Men And Women, And Why
Our Top Weighted Vests At A Glance
OUR TOP PICK FOR MEN
#1 For Men
4.5 out of 5
#1 of our top mens weighted vest review
OUR TOP PICK FOR WOMEN
#1 For Women
4.9 out of 5
#1 of our top women’s weighted vest review
BEST FOR MEN AND WOMEN
Our favourite weighted vest for men
What Are The Benefits Of Running With A Weight Vest?
Helps Improve Cardiovascular Function
Wearing a weighted vest while running simply forces you to work harder, and as the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!
Adding resistance to your runs will push your body to exert more force and helps you overcome higher resistance of gravity, therefore building your leg muscles and improving overall cardiovascular health. Research has also shown that a weighted vest can improve both heart and lung efficiency.
When running with a vest for a consistent amount of time, you will notice a significant improvement in your ability to run without a vest. This is because of the greater resistance of wearing weight pushes your body to a higher level of gravity tolerance, therefore enabling you to perform at a greater level.
One study has shown that wearing a weighted vest can improve balance up to 15%, and may play a role in rehabilitation in those with paraplegia, a condition where there is lack of motor function caused by spinal cord injury.
Running with a weighted vest also helps to correct posture, and can add extra resistance to your core muscles such as your abbs and obliques. Since your body relies on these core muscles for stability, you may notice an overall improvement in balance when performing activities that require stability, such as walking, jumping or running.
Improves Musculoskeletal Structure
Running with a weighted vest has shown to improve bone density in older adults with obesity in a study involving 37 adults during a 22-week dietary weight loss program.
Wearing a weighted vest while running can also help prevent bone loss in older postmenopausal women. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men because they have less bone density to begin with. This is also why making better lifestyle choices such as healthy dieting and sleep is essential in order to maintain good skeletal health and function.
Does Running With A Weight Vest Build Muscle?
Muscle mass increases when your muscle fibers are torn from the tension that is caused by exercise. They are then rebuilt by forming new layers of muscle tissue over top, therefore slowly increasing your overall muscle mass over time.
When you wear a weighted vest while running, there is more resistance and tension being added to your leg muscles when striding because there is more gravity working against you. Because of this, more blood will flow to your leg muscles, therefore causing the small muscle fibers to tear.
Running with a vest primarily targets your legs since those muscles are doing the majority of the work while running. However, because your body relies on your core for balance and stability when running, you can also expect your abdominal muscles to get a decent work out as well.
Consuming sufficient amounts of protein, nutrition, staying hydrated and getting quality sleep, all play a large role in repairing your muscles and forming new tissue. You can also supplement by taking bodybuilding vitamins, which will contain all your essentials for maximizing muscle growth.
Does Running With A Weight Vest Make You Faster?
The Journal Of Science And Medicine In Sport has shown that a weighted vest can improve overall running performance, including speed and endurance. The study they conducted involved 11 well-trained distance runners who were trialed to perform a 10-minute self-paced jog with weights. The results showed that the running speed in the participants had improved by 2.9 percent.
When you start running again without a weighted vest on, you will find a significant improvement of overall performance in speed. Many professional runners say that wearing a vest is one of the best ways to cut down the number of strides you take while running as it improves your ability to launch off the ground more effectively when running.
How To Pick The Best Weight Vest For Running
It is important to pick a vest that is comfortable to wear.
Running with a vest can cause it to bounce slightly. Look out for smooth and cushioned edges, especially around the shoulder straps. This will help prevent rubbing and irritation.
Making sure you have as much mobility as possible is also important. Try to go with the most compact design you can find and where the weights won’t get in the way of you swinging your arms while you run. Having too much clutter such as pockets, and even weights that stick out too much in the front may be irritating during your runs.
Most weighted vests are made from materials such as nylon and lycra and other soft and robust materials that won’t wear over time. Keep an eye out for the warranty, and also whether or not the vest can be machine washed without ruining the material.
Extra features such as zip pockets and even water pouches are all helpful add-ons that can make your runs a better overall experience. We all pretty much listen to music while we run, so having a place to put your phone or music player security can be a bonus.
You may also want to consider safety features such as glow tape or clip-on lights for safety if you are going to be running on the road. The last thing you want is for someone who is driving to not see you and cause an accident.
As cliche as it is…safety first!
Of course, the key component to weighted vests are the weights. These can come in many shapes and sizes. Some weights will be solids, and some will have sand-like material inside a pouch.
We recommend the sandbags because they conform to the shape of your body and are much more comfortable. However, these are known to cause bad odor over time if not cleaned regularly.
Your vest will have pockets that allow you to put the weights inside, allowing you to increase or decrease the weight as desired. Make sure to look out for the minimum and maximum amount of weight you can add or subtract to best suit your desired fitness goals.
You will want to choose a vest that is breathable. Since you will be getting hot and sweaty. The last thing you want is that drenched feeling during your long-distance runs.
Quality designs will provide moisture-wicking materials and extra ventilation to help cool you off, so be sure to look out for these key features when choosing your weighted vest.
The Best Weighted Vests For Men
Weighted Vest 20lbs – 80lbs
Weight options: 20, 40, 60 and 80lbs
If you want to feel like the warrior you are while running, then this military-style camo pattern vest will do the trick. It comes with weights that can be added or removed, giving you weight options ranging from 20 to 80lbs.
What we liked most about this vest was the optional water bottle holder which makes it convenient for staying hydrated during those long-distance runs.
In terms of comfort, you will find that this vest offers optional extra padding for your shoulders. It also fits snug and securely on almost any size torso, eliminating worry when it comes to fitting.
Mir - MENS
Short Adjustable Weighted Vest
Weight options: 20, 30, 40, 50, 60lbs
The Mir adjustable weight vest can provide between 20 to 60 lbs of weight, which can be added or removed at based on your desired level. The design of this vest provides equal weight distribution all around, providing you with accurate stability.
What we liked most about this vest was the materials used. It is made from heavy-duty reinforced nylon and is vented inside for extra breathability, which helps you to stay cooler during your runs. The shoulders and back are also padded for extra comfort to prevent strain on your muscles while striding.
For easy adjustment, the vest provides straps that fits most sizes using D-rings, as well as velcro enclosures for your weights. It measures 11′ inches in length which is shorter than its competitors, giving it an advantage for better mobility and breathability.
Weight options: 20, 40, 60 and 80lbs
The ZFOsports vest provides bagged weights which better conform to your body and can be added or subtracted individually. The vest is also very breathable and comfortable thanks to its mesh vented airflow design.
What we liked most about this vest is the additional storage. It has a pocket that can hold your phone or music player, and a water bottle holder that can fit bottles 16oz or smaller.
Overall, this vest is great for all types of workouts, from running, jumping and training at the gym. It can also be machine washed without ruining the materials unlike most of its competitors.
The Best Weighted Vests For Women
Mir - Women's
Women’s Adjustable Weighted Vest
Weight options: 10, 20, 30 50 and 50lbs
The Mir weighted vest for women can provide up to 50lbs of even weight distribution. Each weight weighs 10lbs and can be added or removed based on your desired level.
The vest is made of 1200-D nylon, which is a durable material designed for strength and longevity. The fabric is also breathable and helps you stay cool while running in warm conditions.
Weighted Vest For Women
Weight options: 4 and 8lbs
This weighted vest is unique for women using an X-shape design, which adapts to your curves, and helps to distribute weight evenly around the upper body while maximizing mobility.
It’s composed of soft stretch lycra spandex materials which are both light and comfortable. You will also find a separate pouch for holding small accessories, keys or money located in the front of the vest for easy access.
An additional feature that we found important was the reflective accents on the front and back of the vest, which increases overall safety when running in low light conditions.
Sport Weighted Vest For Men And Women
Weight options: 4, 6, 12, 20 and 25lbs
The Aduro weight vest is the only brand we found that contains individually bagged weights with an odorless filling. Most bagged weights will often start to smell after awhile from sweating, whereas this vest eliminates this problem.
This weighted vest is made from durable and comfortable neoprene material which is both lightweight and breathable. It also provides mesh pockets located on the back which maximizes front mobility, so there’s nothing in your way when you are swinging your arms during your runs.
The Best Weighted Vests For Men And Women
TNT Pro Series
11lbs Weighted Vest
Weight options: 11lbs only
Don’t want to buy two separate vests for you and your spouse or significant other? No problem!
The TNT Pro series is our favorite and surprisingly the only weighted vest that made it on our list for men and women. We simply had to find a situation where men and women didn’t have opposing judgment as to whether or not the vest can accommodate both genders.
The design of the vest provides a snug fit all around, as well as complete weight distribution all the way around. The adjustable straps also make it very easy to customize the fit for pretty much any kind of body type, making it sharable between you and your significant other.
This weighted vest also has reflective strips, making it safe for low light conditions such as running in the early morning before the sun rises, or in the night time. Overall, this is a great product that is both breathable and durable for any type of activity.
Our Top Picks For Men And Women, And Why
Our favorite vest for men was the ZFOsports weighted vest. It is by far the most comfortable and offers extra ventilation for breathability. We also liked that it has extra pockets for your phone and music player, including a water bottle holder which makes long-distance running more convenient.
For women, our top pick was the Aduro Weighted Vest. Although it can also be worn by men, it seems to be the best fit for women due to the amount of room it provides in the front for mobility. What we loved about this vest was the soft materials used, and even weight distribution all around.
Last but not least was the only men’s and women’s vest on our list. The TNT Pro Series only comes in an 11lbs option, but for the price and quality, you can’t go wrong. It’s breathable, comfortable and fits most men and women, allowing you to share it with your spouse or significant other without having to purchase two products.
Did you try any of our reviewed and recommended products? We want to know your feedback. Leave us a comment below so we can learn more about your experience!