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Back in the day, wearing a bag around your waist was a stigma mainly bestowed upon overzealous tourists. Now, in a time where many are seeking a happy medium between fashionable and practical, belt bags, waist packs, and fanny packs are being received much more warmly. "'Beauty is pain' is an ancient way to see beauty, style, and fashion," explains Fausti, a New York-based stylist. "We have evolved and are continuing to evolve in positive and forward ways and our style choices should reflect that. We need functionality."
Belt bags are the ultimate solution to carrying your essentials hands-free while still keeping them accessible—and they can be stylish, too. "I love wearing [belt bags] because they bring me from set to a day out," Fausti says. "My hands are always filled and I’m very busy—I don’t need the extra struggle with handbags." Plus, they come in a variety of stylish silhouettes, materials, and color options, so you can make them your own, just like your favorite handbag.
We poured over reviews and tried on numerous options to help us hone a list of the best belt bags available right now—read on for the top picks.
Meet the Expert
Fausti is a stylist and fashion collector based in New York City.
Best Overall: Everlane The ReNew Transit Bag
Who else recommends it? Self, GQ, and Prevention all picked the Everlane ReNew Transit Bag.
The ReNew Transit Bag is perhaps the most well-rounded belt bag available right now. It’s spacious, versatile, and eco-friendly with a composition from recycled plastic bottles. It has two external zip pockets, in addition to a spacious main compartment with an internal divider, so you can stay extra organized. Offered in several neutral colors, it can be worn crossbody or at your waist, like a true fanny pack, for maximum wearability.
Material: 100% recycled polyester | Colors: Warm Quartz, Black, Elm | Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.5 x 15 inches
Best Budget: Adidas Originals Waist Bag
Belt bags can range widely in price, but for under $35, Adidas Originals makes one that’s worth a look. It has a slender shape made from recycled materials and an adjustable waist belt, which can hold up to one kilogram, or just over two pounds.
Material: 100% TPU lamination shell; 100% recycled polyester lining | Colors: Black | Dimensions: 2.3 x 8.3 x 1.7 inches
Best Value: Baggu Nylon Belt Bag
Baggu, a brand that’s well known for its reusable tote bags, makes a sizable belt bag that’s made from its signature durable, recycled nylon. It’s very versatile, as you can wear it across your body, over your shoulder, or around your waist, and it offers multiple compartments for organization.
Material: 100% recycled nylon | Colors: Pool, Black, Sour, Rose Jam, Raisin, Indigo Trippy Checker, Pinto, Moss +more | Dimensions: 6.5 x 8 x 2 inches
Best Luxury: Bottega Veneta Belt Cassette
In terms of a belt bag, we feel that there is none more luxurious than that of Bottega Veneta, particularly the Belt Cassette style. It features the Italian brand’s signature intrecciato detail (which translates to “intertwined” in Italian) in sumptuous lambskin, delicate gold hardware, and one interior open pocket so you can keep small essentials separate.
Material: 100% lambskin | Colors: Almond, Black, White, Chili | Dimensions: 3.7 x 6.9 x 2 inches
Best Mini: Prada Nylon Mini-Pouch
Sometimes, the best things come in small packages. In this case, it’s a miniature pouch by Prada. In classic Prada fashion, it’s made from black nylon and stamped with the enameled metal triangle logo. An adjustable elastic band makes it versatile, so you can wear it around the waist, hips, or arm.
Material: Nylon | Colors: Black | Dimensions: 2.5 x 5.1 inches
Best Leather: Bottega Veneta The Pouch Leather Belt Bag
Bottega Veneta’s fashion-forward chain pouch bag is made from one of the finest leathers—Nappa calfskin leather, to be exact—that’s buttery beyond belief. But beyond the leather, the iconic ‘Pouch’ style has an adjustable belt-style chain-link strap with a carabiner (or shackle-like) fastening. It’s worth noting that when we tried this style on, we found the clasp was somewhat difficult to fasten, and with the way this bag rests on the body, wearers shouldn’t pack it full, as items could fall out.
Material: 100% calfskin | Colors: Black, Mallard, Seagrass, Almond, Chalk | Dimensions: 10 x 5.5 x 4 inches
Best Recycled: Girlfriend Collective Please Recycle Fanny Pack
Girlfriend Collective makes a habit of using recycled and recyclable materials to make their products, making its belt bag easily the best sustainable pick right now. Design-wise, it has a large main pocket, a small front pocket, and a “secret” back compartment so you can keep your most valuable items close in a pocket that’s exclusively accessible to you. It also has the words “please recycle” on the strap, to highlight the fact that the bag is recyclable through the brand’s ReGirlfriend program.
Material: 100% recycled plastic bottles (RPET) | Colors: Thorn, Electric Lime | Dimensions: 11.5 x 2.75 x 5.75 inches
Most Innovative: Rothy’s Belt Bag
Rothy’s makes a low-profile belt bag from marine plastic-based knit material to fulfill a promise that sustainability is more than just a buzzword for the shoe and accessory brand, which boasts a goal of achieving a closed-loop manufacturing model by 2023. The style has plenty of compartments for organization and can be worn four ways: across the body, over the shoulder, around the waist, or carried as a clutch. It’s also machine-washable.
Material: Marine plastic and plastic bottles | Colors: Grey Mist, Bay Leaf, Navy Fog, Light Poppy, Biscotti Brown | Dimensions: 5.5 x 7.9 x 1.2 inches
Best Everyday: Pangaia Nylon Belt Bag
Pangaia became a household name in 2020 thanks to their comfortable organic sweatpants, and the brand proves it excels in more than just loungewear with this effortless nylon belt bag. Designed in a handful of colors, it's constructed from biodegradable nylon that naturally decomposes "when disposed of in the proper environments." Featuring a concealed back pocket and over 14-inch length, you can expect to fit all your essentials—and more—into this bag ideal for everyday errands.
Material: 100% nylon with enhanced degradation; 50% organic cotton, 50% kapok wadding | Colors: Sand, Black, Apple Red, Flamingo Pink, Beach Blue, Foxglove Pink | Dimensions: 14.2 x 3.7 x 4.3 inches
Best Color Variety: Fjällräven Kånken Hip Pack
Swedish brand Fjällräven makes an ultralight and versatile belt bag that’s perfect for life on the go. It features several compartments for easy organizing, plus a webbed waist strap with clip closure. Reviewers rate it highly overall, and we love that we can snag it in such a wide array of colors to meet our every fashion need.
Material: 100% vinyl | Colors: Black, Clay, Corn, Deep Turquoise, Flamingo Pink, Fog, Frost Green, Graphite, Navy, Ochre, Pink +more | Dimensions: 7 x 2.5 x 4.5 inches
Best Accordion : Osoi Peanut Brot Small Leather Belt Bag
Korean label Osoi has a knack for creating novel silhouettes grounded by traditional influences. This leather belt bag style is crafted with neat, accordion-like folds around its hinge closure. Inside, the canvas-lined bag offers multiple card slots and a roomy main compartment, while the adjustable strap allows for several carrying options.
Material: Leather | Colors: Beige | Dimensions: 5.5 x 6.2 x 3.5 inches
Best Oversized: Balenciaga Oversized XXL Belt Bag
For something super-spacious that still keeps you hands-free, there’s Balenciaga’s oversized belt bag, offered in several colors. Made in Italy from nylon and canvas, the bag has multiple compartments and an adjustable belt for ease of wear. Given its size, we suggest slinging it across the body, like a backpack, rather than trying to wear it around your hips or waist.
Material: Recycled nylon and canvas | Colors: Pink, Black | Dimensions: 20.4 x 11.8 x 7.8 inches
Best Monogram: Dior Saddle Pouch
This saddle belt pouch is a piece of perfection, as interpreted by Dior. It’s covered in the label’s iconic jacquard in elegant navy, black, and beige, and features an adjustable and removable shoulder strap for ultimate versatility. The capacious interior compartment will hold essentials like a phone, keys, and a wallet.
Material: Calfskin and fabric | Colors: Beige and Black Dior Oblique Jacquard | Dimensions: 9.5 x 7 x 2 inches
Best Black: STATE Bennett Fanny Pack
STATE nails basic black with its Bennett belt bag. Crafted from smooth black leather and polyester lining, this bag will effectively store all of your essentials within its three pockets and compartments. Plus, you can adjust the belt to wear the bag several ways, so we feel confident that its classic design will last you a long time.
Material: Leather and polyester | Colors: Black, White | Dimensions: 5 x 7 x 2 inches
Best Utilitarian: Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack
Patagonia makes a travel-ready bag to stow all of your essentials. In terms of construction, it’s made from durable recycled ripstop nylon, and the main compartment and security pocket are each lined with recycled polyester. It’s weatherproof and lightweight, making it convenient for errands and outdoor activities, like nature walks or hikes.
Material: 100% postconsumer recycled nylon body; 100% recycled polyester lining | Colors: Black, Borealis Green, Current Blue, Ink Black, Coriander Brown +more | Dimensions: 8 x 4.75 x 2 inches
What to Look for When Buying a Belt Bag
Belt bags come in all shapes and sizes; the right one for you depends on how you plan to use them. Are you looking for something versatile that transitions well from day to night, or are your needs more niche? Interesting silhouettes, like hexagons or gathered pouches, are very refined choices. Meanwhile, a simple silhouette, like that of a classic fanny pack, could suit you for anything remotely casual, like an afternoon with errands or relaxed dinner with friends.
You can find belt bags made from materials like polyester, nylon, vinyl, and leather. However, each one will have a different look and feel. Polyester, nylon, and vinyl are often the more pragmatic options because they’re durable and, in many cases, very easy to clean. (Look at the care guide to see if it’s machine-washable.) Leather, on the other hand, makes for a very polished look. Nappa leather is very soft and sumptuous, though in holding a prospective leather bag, you can be the judge of what feels the most comfortable and luxurious to you.
What is the purpose of a belt bag?
Belt bags are multi-functional, embodying the characteristics of both a belt and a handbag. They’re traditionally worn as waist belts, to cinch the middle of a loose silhouette. But they’re also designed to hold essential belongings in a small compartment that looks like a small handbag or a fanny pack, a retro accessory that allows wearings to keep their belongings close and diminish the chances of pick-pocketing.
How do you wear a belt bag?
You can wear a belt bag around your waist for cinching, around your hips, like a true fanny pack, or across the chest, the way you would wear a sling. When shopping for a belt bag, be sure to note the ways you can wear it, as some brands simply use the phrase to describe a belt-style shoulder strap.
Why Trust Byrdie
This shopping guide was written by Byrdie contributor Hayley Prokos. A seasoned commerce writer and editor, she’s constantly on the lookout for versatile clothing and accessories. Her work has appeared in SELF Magazine, Newsweek, and the daily Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, and she holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Northwestern University. For this roundup, she spent upwards of 10 hours researching the best belt bags on the market.
23 Fantastic Fanny Packs and Belt Bags for Hands-Free Adventures. Self. https://www.self.com/gallery/best-fanny-packs
The Best Men's Fanny Packs Should Be Worn Proudly. GQ. https://www.gq.com/story/best-fanny-packs-for-men
12 Best Fanny Packs and Belt Bags for Every Type of Activity. Prevention. https://www.prevention.com/fitness/workout-clothes-gear/g37115824/best-fanny-packs/