7 Best Hands Free Dog Leashes for Runners

Having the best hands free dog leash for you and your dog can make running enjoyable for both of you. I’ve reviewed the 7 best hands free dog leashes for runners with different features and price points. The best overall hands free dog leash is the Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash because it comes with a durable leash with a soft handle and the belt (many are sold separately). The Tuff Mutt also has a lifetime guarantee!

We have two AMAZING dogs, Riley and Rooney. They are our world (sitting next to me as I write this, actually). They are too old to run with us now—fourteen and eleven—but my husband and I used to run a few miles with them daily. And it was hard trying to keep the leashes from tangling and trying not to get pulled away at every squirrel. Then we discovered that the world has a hands free dog leash for runners.

two dogs in front of house
My two dogs are perfect in every way but their running days are behind them. Also, their breeds (golden retriever and golden doodle) do not make the top ten list!

Our first hands free dog leash seemed great in theory but in practice not so much. Our hands were free and we didn’t have to worry about leashes tangling. However, we still felt every dog pull and my husband started having low back problems. We ended up reverting back to regular dog leashes—especially since they offered more control for our pups.

Thankfully, hands-free dog leashes have come a long way since then (about a decade ago).

Today’s hands-free leashes for runners can help make your runs safer and more enjoyable for both human and canine companion. (And I would be remiss to not mention they are safer too in this world where women have to be scared to run alone, especially in the dark).

Related: Best Self Defense Moves for Runners

What is a hands-free dog leash?

A hands-free dog leash for runners makes it possible to run with your pet without having to hold onto their leash. This can be great if you’re training for a personal record, or just want the freedom of running outside without having to worry about holding on to your dog’s leash.

This is especially important for those who have larger dogs or dogs that tend to pull when on a regular leash.

Related: How to Teach Your Dog to Run with You

How I did this review of these hands free dog leash for runners:

There are many different types of hands-free leashes available these days, so it can be hard to know which one is best for you and your dog. We’ve done some research for you and found 7 of the best options available today—including pros and cons for each one. I gathered this list with the help of a researcher, asking my Instagram community for their favorites, and then scouring hundreds of online reviews.

Whitney Heins with her dog
Our  golden is a sweet beast so she needs a super strong leash. These pass the test!

What I looked for in these hands-free leashes include:

  • A strong leash or bungee but not too much bungee
  • Easily adjustable waist belt
  • A waist attachment doesn’t chafe or ride up while you run.
  • Gripping points on the leash such as knots or traffic handles

Please note that dog harnesses are best for running with your dog versus collars, says Joan Hunter Mayer, a certified dog trainer at The Inquisitive Canine.

“A collar can pull on your dog’s neck. Invest in a harness or canicross which looks like a climbing harness, with leg straps to keep the belt in place,” she says.

Related: 10 Best Dog Breeds for Running

The pros and cons of running with a hands-free dog leash for runners are:

BEST HANDS FREE DOG LEASH FOR RUNNERS PIN 1

Pros:

  • You have hands-free convenience because you don’t have to hold on to the leash while you’re running.
  • You can run with a normal running gait. Running with something in your hand, whether a water bottle, leash, or phone alters your gait.
  • Eliminate the risk of shoulder or back injury if your dog pulls suddenly at something. 
  • Running hands-free means that you’re not constantly tugging at your dog’s collar each time you move your arm back and forth. Not only is that annoying to them, but it also can be confusing for dogs who have been taught about pressure/release for loose leash walking.
  • For trail runners, it means that you have better balance and use of your arms over technical terrain.
  • When you run with a dog, they tend to pull less than if you walk them.
  • If you use a canicross harness, your dog can pull you up tough terrain.
  • Cons:

    • If you’re not careful, it’s easy for your pet to get tangled up in their cord if they start pulling on it too much while they’re trying to chase something down (like another animal).
    • Improperly fitted hands-free leashes can mess up your back!
    • Dogs that aren’t under control (like ours were) may pull you and cause injury.
    best hands free leash for runners instagram post
    Here are the best hands free leashes for runners.

    Related: Pro Tip to Go Running with Your Dog

    The below best hands free dog leashes for runners are comfortable, durable, and safe. However, practicing with your dog before going on a run is crucial. Get more tips on how to train your dog to run with you here.

    The 7 Best Hands Free Leash for Runners in this review include:

    Now, let’s get to the details of best hands-free dog leashes for runners!

    7 Best Hands-Free Dog Leash for Runners

    Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash – Best Overall

    $23-28

    Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash
    Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash

    This leash comes with a lifetime guarantee (which is important for dog owners like us who have dogs that destroy their leashes!). The company also offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all orders, so you can try it out risk-free!

    This leash is made from nylon webbing that has been reinforced at both ends with polyester threading. The reinforced stitching makes this leash extra durable and helps prevent fraying over time. It’s also soft and comfortable for your pup to wear. And since it doesn’t have a clip or collar attachment, it won’t get tangled in anything or hurt your pup when they’re playing hard.

    This hands-free leash also has reflective stitching on the inside of each strap to help keep your dog safe while running at night or early morning hours when visibility might be low due to poor weather conditions such as fog or heavy rain showers.

    Related: How Do I Keep My Toddler in the Stroller?

    Pros:

    • Built for runners and shown to reduce neck pain
  • Soft and comfortable for both dogs and owners
  • best hands free dog leashes for runners pin 2
    Pin these best hands free dog leashes for runners for laters!
  • Comes in seven bright colors
  • High quality materials with a moneyback guarantee
  • Cons:

    • Best for medium to large sized dogs but not smaller dogs
    • It’s also not great if you have multiple dogs because it’s only meant for one dog at a time
    • Does not include harness for dog

    Related: How to Run with Your Kids

    Kurgo K9 Excursion Running Belt – Best for Large Dogs

    $45 for belt & $30 for leash

    This product is a great option for those who are looking for a way to carry their dog’s poop bags and other things. The belt doubles as a running fanny pack (which are cool now, by the way!) and is made out of durable nylon. The outer pocket is made from water-resistant material that protects your cell phone from getting wet when it rains or if your dog happens to be swimming in the river near where you’re running.

    Kurgo K9 Excursion Running Belt
    Kurgo K9 Excursion Running Belt

    This belt has enough room to hold up to 6 bags, and they are securely held in place with snap closures, and a water bottle holder (and comes with a small bottle). It also comes with reflective trim so that you can be seen when you’re out running. This belt can be adjustable so you can find the right fit for you.

    Note that this is just a running belt. You’ll need to buy a leash separately. Kurgo has durable leashes. If you want a leash made of climbing rope material that is indestructible, the WilderDog rope leash is the best dog leash for you.

    Pros:

    • Weather-proof pack with lots of storage for necessities
    • Water bottle and water bottle holder
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Available in many colors
    • Great for longer runs due to its storage and wider waist band

    Cons:

    • Price does not include leash or dog harness
    • Not suitable for small dogs

    Related: How to Start Running

    Ruffwear Trail Running System – Best for Trail Runners

    $52

    Ruffwear Trail Running System
    Ruffwear Trail Running System

    The Ruffwear Trail Running System is a great option for any dog (and human!) that loves to run. It has great features including a belt with storage and a leash.

    The belt is adjustable (25 to 45 inches), lightweight and breathable, and made from 100 percent cruelty-free material. The nylon Ridgeline leash is expandable (3.3-5.9 feet) and comes with shock-absorption with  its Wavelength™ stretch webbing so you and your dog can have a more comfortable stride (no matter the amount of squirrels). This hands-free leash system also features a low-profile and strong lockable Crux Clip™ leash hardware for a confident connection.

    The Ruffwear Trail Running System comes with 21-ounce BPA-free water bottle for you and your pup that fits securely in a holster in the back of your belt.

    Pros:

    • Lightweight and compact design makes it easy to carry with you everywhere
    • Shock absorption in leash with durable construction
    • Water bottle holster and pocket

    Cons:

    • One reviewer said the leash system didn’t absorb the shock
    • Another user said it was hard to unclip the leash buckle (practice before going out!)
    • Not a lot of color options

    EveryYay Settin’ the Pace Teal Running Belt & Leash Set for Dogs – Best Basic System

    $40

    EveryYay Settin’ the Pace Running Belt and Leash Set is a standard one-size-fits-all hands-free leash set that

    pretty much gives you all you need. This hands-free leash with reflective materials has an adjustable clip buckle closure for a custom git, front zipper pouches for phones, keys, energy gels, or dog treats. It also has a waste bag dispenser pocket with refill rolls and a water bottle holder. The cord is a bungee cored to help shock absorption should you have a pup that pulls.

    This hands-free leash set also has reflective material for low light conditions and is made of a breathable, water-resistant material for both you and your pup.

    Pros:

    • Great price with good quality
    • Comfortable wide waist belt
    • Easy to find at Amazon or your local pet store
    • Includes everything you would want in a leash system minus harness
    • Offers little extra storage space for essentials 
    • Great option you have a smaller dog

    Cons:

    • One-size-fits-all may not fit your dog perfectly
    • Not as durable as other brands
    • Some say it feels heavy on

    Related: Best Safety Tech for Runners

    Iron Doggy Hands-Free Dog Leash – Best for Strong Dogs

    $70  

    The Iron Doggy Hands-Free Dog Leash basically takes the EveryYay leash system up a couple of notches in quality. It’s a similar system with a belt and bungee cord, but it has high-quality materials that can hold up to 100 pounds of strong dogs.

    Iron Doggy Hands-Free Dog Leash
    Iron Doggy Hands-Free Dog Leash

    The hands-free leash designed to handle the shock of unpredictable pulls in any direction and abrupt stops (yes, please!). In fact, it features a minimum breaking strength of 215 pounds (which we need when Rooney or Riley see a bunny!). It also features reflective details.

    Designed and built in Denver, Colorado, this leash is built for runners of both the human and canine species!

    Pros:

    • Built for the strongest dogs with the biggest pulls
    • Shock absorber bungee system for wild dogs
    • Durable

    Cons:

    • No storage or frills on the belt
    • Only one color option

    Ruffwear Crag Reflective Leash – Most Versatile

    $30

    The Ruffwear Crag Reflective Leash is an amazing invention that allows you to use it as a traditional dog leash or around your waist as a handsfree leash. It’s a slackline leash that extends up to six feet for relaxed walks or shortened to 3.5 feet for more control. The length is easily adjusted with a metal slider.

    This leash has reflective details, a padded handle and padded waist for comfort, accessory loop for poop bags and clip-on items like keys, and a strong webbing for durability. This hands-free leash set also comes in beautiful color schemes. Complete with the Crag™ Collar or the Trail Runner dog running vest (and let your dog carry your nutrition and essentials for you! Honestly, that is the best combo if you plan to take your dog with you on long runs).

    Ruffwear Crag Reflective Leash
    Ruffwear Crag Reflective Leash

    Pros:

    • Option as a handheld or around your waist with adjustable lengths
    • Lightweight design, which makes it easy to carry around, even when you’re out on a long hike with your dog.
    • Waterproof and tear-resistant
    • Online reviewers rave about its quality and durability and comfort for dogs
    • Different styles with bright color palettes and designs

    Cons:

    • Expensive
    • Best for medium sized dogs, not small dogs (under 20 pounds) or large dogs (over 50 pounds)
    • No storage
    • Need to get harness or collar separately
    • No bungee section if that’s what you want

    Pet Dreamland Double Dog Leash – Best for Multiple Dogs

    $45

    Pet Dreamland means business when they design their leashes, making this leash a perfect choice for runners who have more than one dog. The creators are dog lovers who have their products undergo rigorous testing. They offer a moneyback guarantee and lifetime warranty—so you know their products can withstand the strongest of dogs on the run.

    Pet Dreamland Double Dog Leash
    Pet Dreamland Double Dog Leash

    This product offers a tangle-free 360 swivel splitter so you don’t have to mess with twisted leashes on the run. The lengths of the hands-free leashes ate adjustable by an extra metal riing or knots. You can correct one length at a time ising the handles on the dual leash. There’s no plastic, only high-quality metal. There are reflective details on both sides of the leash, an extra strong bungee, and options to add attachments like a poop bag dispenser.

    Pros:

    • Lifetime warranty and moneyback guarantee
    • Multiple color options
    • Tangle-free with dual handles and optimal control for multiple dogs—including big dogs in excess of 70 pounds

    Cons:

    • One user says the handles on the split leash are too close to the swivel and makes it impossible to take the dogs in hand on either side of me (not enough length between the handles).

    I hope this list helps you have a lifetime of stress-free enjoyable runs with your furry friend or family member.

    If you need guidance with your training and going after your goals in the winter months, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:

     

     

     

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