Whether you're looking for a way to kick your fitness routine up a notch or you feel like your running performance has plateaued, a weight vest can make all the difference. Filled with sand, iron or weight plates, these vests are worn just like a normal vest but can add anywhere from a couple of pounds to over 100 pounds of weight. Since that extra weight is spread over your entire torso and back, it's not as clunky or dangerous as trying to run while carrying, say, 100 pounds of dumbbells.
Weight vests are not recommended for beginners who still need to build baseline strength and endurance to support their own body weight while running. But eventually, most people reach a point in their training where it feels like they hit a plateau and stop making progress toward their goals.
That's what a weighted vest is for. It can help you break through that plateau by adding a new challenge to your workout. The result: a stronger core, better endurance, improved cardio conditioning and faster race times. According to one systemic review of research on weight vest training, wearing a vest with between about 6% to 19% of your current body weight on your runs for at least three weeks can improve your finish time by about 9%.
So grab one of these top-rated weight vests built for runners, lace up a pair of trustyand head outside -- or onto your -- for a challenging workout that helps you level up your old routine.
Most comfortable weight vest: Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro
For runners, a snug-yet-comfortable fit is key. So it's hard to beat the Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro. It's built to fit like a regular vest, but with elastic drawstring laces on each side so you can get a fit that's perfectly tailored to the exact size and shape of your torso. The steel weights that slide into the pockets on this adjustable weight vest are super thin, so it still feels snug even after you load it up with weight.
The 4.5-star rated vest comes with 10 pounds of weights already included but you can buy extra weights ($36) to fill it up to its max capacity of 30 pounds. Get your breathable, comfortable Hyper Vest Pro on Amazon for $210.
Top features of the Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro:
- The stretchy, breathable fabric and snug fit prevent chafing as you run.
- The side laces allow you to get a perfectly contoured fit from top to bottom for a more comfortable vest that doesn't slide or bounce while you run.
- The adjustable weight vest can hold up to 30 pounds.
Best multi-purpose weight vest: Runmax Adjustable Weight Vest
For the hardcore trainers out there, the Runmax weight vest can carry up to 150 pounds of additional weight -- and still leave room to stash a water bottle and your phone. A thick Velcro strap makes it easy to adjust the fit so it's snug while you run.
Each vest comes with all the removable weights you need to reach its maximum weight capacity, so select the max weight you want when you order. You can remove weights or add them back in as needed to achieve your training goal for that day.
The 4.6-star rated, 20-pound vest is 40% off at Amazon, so you can get it for just $36 (reduced from $60). Prices increase with additional weight.
Top features of the Runmax Adjustable Weight Vest:
- A secure and easy-to-use Velcro strap help you get a snug fit.
- A convenient water bottle sleeve and phone pocket securely store your essentials while you run.
- The adjustable weight vest comes in various sizes ranging from 20 pounds up to 150 pounds of maximum capacity.
Best budget weight vest: Aduro Sport Weighted Vest
The Aduro Sport weighted vest boasts a minimalist design for runners who want added weight, but don't want to feel front-heavy or restrict their range of motion. The padded and weighted straps loop over your shoulders but don't cover your chest.
Two adjustable buckle straps across the chest help you get a secure fit that won't slide or bounce while you run. And the soft, cushy neoprene material is breathable and prevents chafing.
The vest includes a handy mesh pocket that can fit your phone, keys or wallet. Its weight is not adjustable, so you'll have to buy the exact size (or range of sizes) you need for your training. The vest is available in weights ranging from four pounds up to 30 pounds.
The comfy, minimalist weight vest has earned more than 6,900 5-star ratings on Amazon. Prices start at just $30 (reduced from $35) for the four-pound vest.
Top features of the Aduro Sport Weighted Vest:
- The neoprene material is soft, cushioned and breathable.
- The minimalist strap design distributes weight evenly without making you feel restricted.
- Two adjustable buckle straps ensure you get a snug fit.
- The mesh pocket on the back can fit a phone, wallet or keys.
Shop more top-rated weight vests on Amazon:
- Lightweight weight vest that holds up to 46 pounds: Aduro Sport adjustable weighted vest, $140 with onsite coupon (reduced from $170)
- Weight vest that comes with ankle/wrist weights: Pacearth weighted vest, $40 with onsite coupon (reduced from $60)
- Soft, stretchy weight vest that holds up to 25 pounds: Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite, $198 with onsite coupon (reduced from $231)