Freetrain Vest – V1 & VR
In essence, the Freetrain is a harness to wear whilst running that stores your phone at the centre of your chest. It is designed to enhance the ease of carrying and using your essentials whilst you train without them hindering your results. Part of the logic to the Freetrain is that uneven weight distribution can affect how you train, and can even lead to injuries: by placing your phone over your sternum instead of on your arm or in your pocket, this avoids that risk and keeps your training balanced.
A really run feature of the Freetrain is that, as well as being able to access your phone from the top of the chest pocket, you can pull down a hinge that allows you to see your phone on the go. This clever pocket has a transparent, water-resistant screen that you can view and use your phone through. I wasn’t sure how responsive my phone screen would be through the plastic, but it worked great! It was an effort to make the home button work, but the screen itself responded without issue.
We received both the V1 and the VR vests from Freetrain, which offer identical features, but come in black and silver respectively. The silver option is highly reflective, making the harness a safety feature on night runs; the black option has a few high-vis details, but if you run at night often, I would recommend going with the VR. That said, the company also sells attachable lights that you can use to make either harness extra bright and safe during winter training.
The material has a similar stretch and feel to a sports bra, meaning that whilst it does stretch to let you get into it, so it’s a close and secure fit once it’s on. This aids in keeping the harness streamlined and preventing it from affecting your movement, but as a female runner, I did find that wearing this plus a sports bra felt a little restrictive. One sports bra is already not much fun; you don’t want to put a second one on top of that.
That said, the harness IS extremely comfortable. It’s soft, it doesn’t dig, and it has been designed to be breathable. Its minimal design means it isn’t adding more heat or layers than it needs to, and it leaves your limbs free to move.
Sizing-wise, these products are unisex and one-size-fits-most, but I wouldn’t say ‘all’. One of our review team found that his rode up too high for comfort: whilst the main body stretches a little, most of the adjustability is in the sides. If there was a way to make the harness longer in the shoulders, he would have had a better time of it. So, if you’re looking to buy the Freetrain, do check out the range of sizes it is appropriate first.
The phone pocket benefit of this harness is brilliant, but I wasn’t overly impressed by its other pockets. It comes with two, one on each shoulder, supposedly for storing “energy gels, bars or even an inhaler”. You could store an energy bar or gel in the Velcro pocket at a pinch, but there’s no way my inhaler could fit into either pocket. The zip pocket in particular only really has room for a house key or something similar, and so much of the pocket is taken up by the zip that I didn’t feel safe opening it whilst running.
However, these pockets are side-details – bigger ones would have affected the cut of the vest, and it’s more important that you’re able to move. The point of this product is the phone pouch, and this worked well. The placement even has the added advantage of meaning you can listen to your music out loud instead of needing headphones, which means you’re far safer, as you’re able to stay alert to traffic noise. This central pouch even has a divided-off section for storing cash and cards safely, which is a great detail that made life much easier.
This may seem an extravagant purchase to some, but if you’re looking for a more convenient way to use your phone on the go, it’s worth checking out. Just read the sizes first and make sure it is right for you.
Balanced phone storage
Phone flips down for use on the go
Doesn’t hinder movement
One size fits most
Doesn’t fit everyone
Small side pockets