Top 6 Best Weighted Vests For Running

Running is one of the best ways to achieve and maintain good cardio fitness. The only issue is that you can very easily plateau. In these instances, one way to spice things up is to add more resistance to your workout by wearing a weighted vest.

Today we are going to show you our picks for the top 6 best weighted vests for running. Some of these are among the best weighted vests you can find right now. As we go over these models, we will discuss what defines a good running weighted vest, what to look for and more.

Top 6 Best Weighted Vests For Running:

One of the main requirements a good running vest has to meet is comfort. Especially if you don’t really want to feel the vest as you run. Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite is pretty much as good as it gets in this regard. There are more minimalist designs out there, but those don’t often allow the same freedom of movement so to speak. The vest itself is pretty simple yet quite ingenious.

The front and the back of the vest are covered in load bearing surfaces which are lined up with small cast iron weights. The sides are laced up, which is also the main system used to adjust fit and comfort. This whole lacing system also makes the vest a one size fits most. Male or female, chances are that you’ll be able to find the right fit and lacing setup.

What really sets this model apart from most is the build quality, the use of durable materials and a very streamlined nature. Hyperwear Elite vest is all about performance. There are no unnecessary pockets or anything else that might impede your movement or impact the near perfect balance it offers. Slim weighted vest don’t get much better than this.

Different vest designs offer different fit, features and advantages. Mir Air Flow Adjustable Weighted Vest stand apart from most of the models out there. If you take a quick look at it, you’ll notice that it’s sitting pretty high up on the torso. Taking this approach does two things. For one it keeps everything tight around your chest. Weight in this area tends to move less when you are running. 

The other thing it achieves is more comfort. You can do compound movements in addition to running without having the vest cut into your body when you bend over. As far as sizes go, this is a one size fits most vest. Mir took things a step further by making this vest perfectly suitable for machine washing as well as drying. There is nothing worse than having no way of cleaning a vest that has seen dozens of sweat cycles. 

The vest is available in a number of weight options. You can choose the 20lb, 30lb, 40lb and 50lb variants. One thing worth mentioning is the healthy amount of padding that is sewn into every surface of the vest that matters. Despite looking fairly rigid, it’s a very comfortable rig.

Minimalist running vests are becoming more or less the norm in the runner’s community. The idea being that a minimalist design offers better freedom of movement, better ventilation which especially comes in handy on those hot summer days. Aduro Sport Weighted Vest takes the whole minimalist approach to a whole new level. 

At this point it is questionable whether we can even call it a vest rather than a harness. Either way, it is getting the job done. There is a downside to this very slim design. The max weight option available is 20lbs and there are no upgrade paths available. In other words you can’t just get a few more cast iron ingots and add them to your setup. With these, what you get is what you are stuck with until you decide to spring for a new model. 

As far as fit goes, Aduro Sport has relied mainly on a simple system of straps which are easy to adjust. The general shape of the rigid portions is pretty ergonomic, which ensures good fit at any size. Aduro has also added two sternum straps that are used to lock the entire thing down. Overall, this is a great setup.

As we go into more affordable setups, we run into some of the more standard weighted vest designs. RUNFast/Max Pro weighted vest utilizes a very simple design which isn’t necessarily made to be super minimalist or low profile. RUNFast’s main intent here was to give you a robust load bearing platform you could customize to match your needs. 

In that regard, they have created a very solid piece of kit. What we have here is a vest made out of durable nylon materials, which is reinforced in all the right places. Weight is distributed between the front and the back of the vest. Since they didn’t pay too much attention to streamlining the vest, you get creature comfort features such as a media pocket at the top of the vest and a bottle holder built into the waist flaps. 

Speaking of which, the main reason why this vest stays in place despite its somewhat robust size are the large velcro waist flaps. Unlike belts, waist flaps really lock the entire rig down and prevent excessive movement as you run. This is one of the many details that were borrowed from plate carriers. This vest is a decent value option.

Those who are on a strict budget definitely aren’t left with limited options. On the contrary, there are many awesome models in this segment of the market, however there are some compromises you will have to accept. ZFOsports Weighted Vest is by far one of the best budget options on the market. We are looking at a well padded, well designed option that features 20 lbs of weights distributed fairly evenly. 

The downside to this vest is the obvious lack of upgrade paths. You can’t add more weight to it as there are no additional slots for more iron ingots. Weight limitations aside, there are many redeeming features that are worth the praise. We can always start with materials and padding. At this price, we definitely didn’t expect to get such a good amount of padding all over the contact surfaces, especially the shoulder straps. 

Velcro straps are also pretty chunky. This in turn allows for a rather snug fit. Best of all, the entire vest is covered in a mesh fabric. The significance of this feature become obvious come summer. Getting any kind of ventilation under hot weather conditions is always welcome. Overall, this is a great budget rig.

Last but not the least we have one solution that was designed with ladies in mind. Many women have found that standard unisex vests simply don’t work for them for one reason or another. That is why Empower and other brands have created vests which are dedicated to female physiology. The vest that we are looking at today is particularly aimed at those who need ultimate comfort. 

Its X pattern makes it a much more acceptable choice than the standard vest design. There are some drawbacks to it, though. The major one that we can pin point right off the bat is weight. These come in 4lb and 8lb variants. Truth be told the design itself doesn’t allow for much more than that. However, if you are after heavier weights and more resistance in your daily jog, this vest may not be enough. 

Despite the basic adjustment straps, Empower offers these vests in two sizes, which makes it fairly easy to find the right fit. In practice, the X patter design of the vest ensures complete freedom of motion. Full range of motion is a must if you are doing compound exercises making this a very flexible setup to have.

Why Use a Weighted Vest For Running?

Weighted vests bring a tonne of benefits to the table, especially if you are a seasoned athlete who is looking for a challenge. The most basic breakdown of the benefits can be reduced to increased resistance. It is quite simple. 

When you put on the vest, you are heavier and thus need to exert more effort to move and even more to move at and maintain speed. However not all weighted vests are created equal. Different body shapes may find different designs to be more comfortable. 

On the same note, women have a whole category of their own since what’s comfortable for men isn’t necessarily comfortable for women despite all of the unisex models. If you are interested in some great weighted vests for women, take a look at our dedicated guide for that category. 

Either way, as a runner you will need to have a vest that is both comfortable and easy to lock down. There is nothing worse than running and having the weighs in the vest just fly around. Because of this, we have done our best to find vests with robust adjustment systems.

What Weight To Start With?

The answer to this question will depend solely on your level of physical fitness. Runners with a high VO2 Max will have no issues packing 20+ lbs on the regular. 

However, if you are just beginning and are following programs such as C5k or similar, you should definitely consider lighter loads. As always, if you are in doubt, consult your physician and they will point you in the right direction.

Different Designs

One awesome thing about weighted vest designs which are available these days is that they excel at different applications. With that said, most of them are multifunctional to say the least. If you are only into running, a more comfortable, streamlined vest would probably fit your needs the best. 

However, if you want to throw in weighted body weight exercise, you might want to check out some of the great weighted vests suitable for calisthenics. At the end of the day it all comes down to your personal needs and preferences.

The Verdict

Using weighted vests for running brings obvious cardiovascular benefits and is simply the logical progression for those who have reached their body weight potential. The models listed above are by far some of the best you can find at the moment. 

We wanted to present you with a diverse cross section of the market so that you are more or less guaranteed to find something that fits your needs, your budget and your style. No matter which one of these you go with, you won’t be disappointed. 

The only thing you need to pay attention to are weights you’re selecting.

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