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The 15 Best Belt Bags of 2023

Apr 07, 2023Apr 07, 2023

Can't say we’re ever going back to a simple shoulder purse.

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InStyle / David Hattan

Belt bags have been creeping into the fashion scene over the last few years — and for good reason. Unlike a classic shoulder purse or tote, the hands-free pouch can be worn to casual, formal, and athletic ventures all the same. It's no surprise, therefore, that blogger and style consultant Lauren Parry converted to mostly using the belt bag over any other bag in recent times. "Whether I’m headed out for errands, traveling, going to a concert venue or sporting event, belt bags are a game changer."

The versatile piece comes in a wide range of styles and materials, however, so finding the best belt bag came with a little more R & D than usual. We individually tried almost all of the listed belt bags, so that we could see what perk each option offered — be it ample amounts of pockets or hidden water bottle pouches. We also relied on the influences of the internet, finding highly rated products that shoppers can't seem to get enough of. Together, we were able to find the top belt bags for any occasion, below.

Dagne Dover

What We Love: Out of all the belt bags we tested, we found ourselves reaching for this one the most thanks to its effortless style, long belt, and comfortable wear.

What We Don't Love: There isn't an extra slot for you to hide your phone away.

We fell in love with the Dagne Dover fanny pack the second we pulled it out of its pouch. Everything from the size, material, and ergonomics appealed to us. Unlike your typical cotton or leather belt bag, this one is made of premium neoprene, Dagne Dover's signature tear-resistant fabric, which feels thick, plush, and high-end. There are two zipped pockets — a little one at the front and another for the main pocket — with a little credit card slot, key hook, and chapstick strap inside. None of these slits were big enough to compartmentalize our phones away, so that needed to sit in the main cabin along with our wallet, snacks, hair clip, and notebook.

The strap also felt substantial — thick, sturdy, and easily adjustable. It can extend up to 36 inches long, which made it easy to sling across our bodies and change up the style a little. It even fit flawlessly over our thick coat — one that has hide sleeves.

Price at time of publish: $95

Colors: 7 | Material: Premium neoprene, recycled repreve | Size: W 9.25" x H 5.5" x D 2.75

Bianca Kratky


What We Love: Despite the small size, we found that we can fit a lot of items into the pouch.

What We Don't Love: The stichting doesn't feel extremely sturdy.

There's a certain very popular belt bag, namely the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag (more on that below), and we found this Ododos Mini Belt Bag to be the perfect dupe. We found it extremely practical, because although it's quite small in size, it still fit all our essentials. The strap adjusts easily, allowing us to alternate between carrying it around our waist and as a sling depending on the activity we were engaged in. We’ve taken it on hikes, to run errands, to festivals, and on travels, as it can be easily incorporated into any outfit and holds almost anything we put in it, from wallets to phones to granola bars and keys. We could even stuff a small Fiji water bottle in it. The mesh divider inside the pouch also helped compartmentalize some items. As an affordable item, the stitching is not always extremely sturdy, we found. At times we worried that the zipper might rip, but if it ever did, it wouldn't hurt to repurchase the item at this price.

Price at time of publish: $17

Colors: 20 | Material: Nylon | Size: W 8" x H 5" x D 2"

Chloe Caldwell


What We Love: You can customize the strap.

What We Don't Love: The leather wont weather great against friction or sweat, so it's only reserved for more elevated events

In keeping with Senreve's luxurious style, the Aria belt bag has to be one of the brand's most practical bags. Coming with a stylish front flap (with a magnetic snap closure), an extra exterior pouch, and a stain-resistant micro-suede interior, the bag will fit all your essentials, including a small notebook, pens, wallet, and phone. The leather belt portion isn't sewn onto the bag, though, so it can be removed and swapped with something else if you so wish. For example, you can swap the belt for the link chain instead to use as a crossbody bag. We wouldn't recommend this for a hike or any physical activity, but we definitely suggest it for the stylish visits to the city.

Price at time of publish: $495

Colors: 22 | Material: Italian leather | Size: W 8" x H 5" x D 2"


What We Love: It seems to expand internally, holding all of our essentials with ease.

What We Don't Love: You cannot wash this bag.

Hikers, runners, and ballers, if you don't already have the Lululemon belt bag, allow us a minute of your time to convert you. The bag somehow expanded internally to fit whatever we wanted, not unlike the bag Mary Poppins had, even though the exterior seems small and compact (and thereby never getting in the way of our activities). We were able to fit our phones, keys, airpods, lip balms, and even the ball we then used to play tennis with. For us trail blazers, this bag holds trail mix and a bottle of facial sunscreen as well. In the back pocket, we were able to stash our phones and keep it flush against the body. The water-repellent fabric makes it ideal for outdoor use, too. The only con here is that you cannot wash it. If we want to give it a little refresh, we have to spot clean it carefully.

Price at time of publish: $48

Colors: 4 | Material: Recycled polyester, recycled nylon | Size: W 8.3" x H 5.7" x D 2.2"


What We Love: It has a UPF 50+ protection and is water-repellent.

What We Don't Love: The ecru version shows dirt and stains easily.

For a little more sporty and casual look, take a look at this belt bag from Athleta, which entrepreneur and fashion consultant Katie Sturino wears on power walks. We found this one to be smaller and more compact compared to the other options, like the Dagne Dover or Calpak bags, which made the bag much more discreet and practical for grabbing our essentials and running out the house. The smaller size also makes it easier to wear underneath a jacket without looking too bulky. And while most exterior pockets usually come in a tiny slit, big enough for maybe some keys, this one is big enough to fit a 1.52 ounce hand cream. And as a little cherry on top, it's both water-repellent and UPF 50+ protected, making this ideal for everyday adventures out and about. We tried the ecru color, however, and already noticed that it picks up stains rather easily, especially in the interior. The brand recommends spot cleaning with a wipe, so if you know yourself to be a little careless with what you throw in your bag, then we recommend going for a different color.

Price at time of publish: $35

Colors: 3 | Material: Polyester, recycled polyester | Size: W 7" x H 4.5" x D 2"


What We Love: It's extremely spacious without being too bulky.

What We Don't Love: The strap feels a little flimsy.

The luggage specialists at Calpak knew what they were doing when they designed this Luka belt bag. The bag is deceivingly spacious, fitting our large hair claw, wallet, phone, dog treats, and even a ball. But while most bags that fit that many things look and feel bulky, this one remains rather flat against the hip. It's definitely bigger than the Athelta option, or even the Dagne Dover one, but we didn't find it heavy or taking too much space. Most notable, however, was the hidden back pocket. It's quite large, and even fit our phone sans-problem. We imagine this would become a huge help while on the go, when you want to keep your passport as secure and close to you as possible. And as a little extra bonus, the water-resistant exterior will keep everything nice and dry while you’re sightseeing, in case you get caught in the rain. The only thing we didn't love was the strap. While it is very gracious in length, its softness lacks structure and width, making it feel a little flimsy.

Price at time of publish: $48

Colors: 7 | Material: Polyester | Size: W 8.5" x H 5.25" x D 1.5"

Bianca Kratky


What We Love: It fits an impressive amount of items in the pouch.

What We Don't Love: We wish it had outer pockets.

People of all genders and ages have something to love about the Uniqlo mini shoulder bag. While it isn't labeled as a belt bag, it holds many of the same functions as one — and you can wear it as such. The simple demi-circle design might not seem like much at first, but it holds an impressive amount of items while on the go, including airpods, wallets, keys, and even a 16 ounce water bottle. The unisex appeal made it easy to share with our significant other, with whom we now alternate usage of the bag. Unfortunately, there aren't many compartments inside the bag, nor is there an outer pocket. You will have to be okay with throwing everything into one big pouch.

Price at time of publish: $20

Colors: 8 | Material: Polyester | Size: W 11" x H 6.7" x D 3.9"

Silver and Riley

What We Love: The calfskin leather will only become better with time.

What We Don't Love: It comes with complicated care instructions.

Few belt bags on this list are designed specifically to be worn at your waist — most fit around your hips or are intended to be worn as a sling — so if that's how you intend on wearing it, we’d love to introduce you to the Silver and Riley bag. The belt on this one was sized to wrap around your waist, so it sits higher than your standard belt bag. It offers you the ability to wear it with different styles, like a dress, instead of just some jeans. Made with structured calf leather from Italy, the little pouch has a minimalist appeal, with only a single extra pocket in the interior, big enough to hold some cards or loose change. Otherwise, the sleek design feels very mature, and is available in light brown and pink as well.

It does come with a few complicated care instructions, however. The brand recommends avoiding direct sunlight, rain, or heat. They also recommend keeping a tissue paper in the interior when not in use, to maintain the shape and absorb any moisture. If you hope to maintain its pristine condition, take heed of these precautions.

Price at time of publish: $365

Colors: 3 | Material: Calf skin leather | Size: W 6" x H 5" x D 2.4"

Bottega Veneta

What We Love: The criss cross pattern is easy to dress up or down.

What We Don't Love: It's not very big, so you won't be able to fit all your essentials in it.

The Bottega cassette bag took the world by storm, so of course, we had to mention it. Aside from being visibly very cute, the leather used by Bottega feels substantial, even more so than other designers. Writer Bianca Kratky has a similar bag from them, and can confirm that the 100 percent lambskin leather is softer, yet sturdier than anything she's handled before. On top of that, the simple criss cross pattern can be incorporated into any outfit, be it sporty or classy. At 6.9 inches in width, it will fit less essentials than the Dagne Dover option, but it looks more elevated. And you can still fit most needs, like a phone, card holder, keys and some lipstick. But anything more might require you to fit it in your pants pockets or to leave home.

Price at time of publish: $1,800

Colors: 10 | Material: Lambskin leather | Size: W 6.9" x H 3.7" x D 2"

Banana Republic

What We Love: Despite the lack of zippers, this all-leather belt bag remains securely shut at all times.

What We Don't Love: The one inch depth is a little too slim to fit a phone and a wallet side by side.

This belt bag truly looks and feels like it was handmade by an Italian craftsman in a remote city — it even smells of fresh leather when you unbox it at first. The beautiful and minimalist style comes without any metal detailings (except on the belt closure), magnets, or hidden pockets. It's a very straightforward leather piece that you close by inserting the little front strap through the loop. Despite the lack of zippers or fasteners, we were pleasantly surprised to find it remaining closed the entire time. There are also enough belt loops to tie it snug against the waist, which increased the number of ways we could style this bag. But the one-inch depth was too slim to fit both a phone and a wallet side by side. We had to swap some cards and coins into a card holder in order to make it all fit.

Price at time of publish: $100

Colors: 1 | Material: Leather | Size: W 6" x H 3.5" x D 1.0"


What We Love: There's a whole wallet inside the bag.

What We Don't Love: The magnetic closure doesn't feel very secure to us.

Time and time again, Polène's leather goods, which we’ve written about before, have impressed us. The quality of their bags is not unlike some designer brands, but for a fraction of the price. This option, made of textured leather in Spain, is more than just a belt bag — it has an entire wallet stitched into the interior as well, with eight card slots and a zipped coin compartment. You’ll still find plenty of space for a smartphone, some keys, and a lipstick on top of that. You can adjust the belt portion with a whopping ten belt holes, but it can be completely removed as well to use it as a standalone wallet or clutch. You can sling it around your body or tie it closely around the waist. It can only be closed via a magnet, though, which doesn't seem too secure in our opinion.

Price at time of publish: $250

Colors: 6 | Material: Leather | Size: W 7.4" x H 4.5" x D 0.8"


What We Love: The faux leather almost looks like real leather.

What We Don't Love: The two side zippers on the front are just for decoration.

Offered in various sizes, colors, and textures, this leather bag (also available in vegan leather) works for pretty much all situations. It's quite large in size, so it's ideal for anyone who needs a little more room than many of these other stylish bags offer, like mothers or avid travelers who like to keep their hands free. We were able to stuff snacks (yes, snacks plural, as in you can fit granola bars, a pack of cheez-its, and more in here), a passport, a handkerchief, multiple beauty products, and of course, a wallet and a phone. We did find it a little odd, however, that the two zippers on the sides of the outer pocket don't really lead to anything. While there is very tiny space inside, it's only good enough for perhaps a few quarters. We believe this serves more as a design element than anything else.

Price at time of publish: $118

Colors: 8 | Material: Leather, antique gold, nylon | Size: W 10.5" x H 4.5" x D 3.6"

Beis Travel

What We Love: There is a separate pouch to hold an entire water bottle, and can be packed away when not in use.

What We Don't Love: It can't be worn around the waist.

To set expectations right, this Beis bag is theoretically a sling, not a belt bag. With its impressive amount of pockets (we counted nine compartments), and an entire water bottle holder, it was too good not to include. It's been especially useful on our long hikes in Los Angeles (where it's extra hot) and tennis adventures, where frequent hydration is required. It's been a dream to simply expand out the little pouch that's otherwise neatly packed away in the back pocket, and place our extra large water bottles in it. When not in use, the pouch stays hidden, keeping the overall look of the sling clean. On top of the front slit where we kept our iPhones for easy access, there's a zipped pocket that conceals three card holders. The main pocket is very large — large enough to even hide a book — and features a separate zippered mesh pocket as well, where we kept our sunglasses. In short, we continue to be amazed at all the functions of this bag, as if we never stop discovering new features and pockets. The key leash allowed us to further organize our belongings. Needless to say, it's almost impossible to lose anything in this bag.

Price at time of publish: $58

Colors: 3 | Material: Nylon, faux leather, recycled polyester | Size: W 6.7" x H 8.2" x D 2.7"

Emily Cieslak

MZ Wallace

What We Love: The quilted details continue up the strap a little as well.

What We Don't Love: We wish the zipper detail wasn't red.

We wanted to switch up the style a little, and a quilted belt bag felt very current and trendy. It allowed us to pair it with more than just athleisure, but a nice coat into town as well. Although we have to say, the red detailings on the zipper threw off the clean aesthetic a little, but that's a personal preference. Otherwise, we loved that the quilting goes beyond just the bag, but into the belt a little as well. There are four compartments — a little zipped pocket in the front, and a main pocket that features another zip closure on one side and an open pocket on the other. While it might not be enough for an adventure on the mountain, it's ideal for everyday needs and casual outings into town.

Price at time of publish: $145

Colors: 1 | Material: Nylon, leather | Size: W 8" x H 5" x D 2"

Monogram Mary

What We Love: The customization capabilities are near endless, with tons of fonts, formats, and colors to choose from.

What We Don't Love: It doesn't have a lot of side pockets and compartments.

This option comes highly recommended by Sturino, who finds the gold accents extra chic and the ability to monogram your initials very unique. While you only have the option to choose between two and three letters, you have 30 styles, twelve fonts, and 32 color options to pick from and have stitched into the bag. You even have the choice to add a little icon, like a mermaid or martini glass, onto the design as well. While the pack itself isn't boasting a lot of pockets and compartments, it is big enough to hold a couple of essentials for a little outing. It's the ideal little gift to get a group of friends on a weekend out together.

Price at time of publish: $58

Colors: 4 | Material: Nylon | Size: W 10" x H 6" x D 3"

In order to write this story, we individually tested almost all of the belt bags mentioned in this story. The writer, Bianca Kratky, tested six of the mentioned belt bags herself, and then tapped into the extensive team at InStyle for personal favorites. We have worn the bags on our daily errands, hikes into mountains, runs, and more, to see how the bags served us in real life. Together, we were able to gather all of our insights and bring forth a recommendation based on first-person experiences.

Before you go ahead and purchase your belt bag, make sure you shop the right material for the right occasion. A leather bag, such as the Silver and Riley Parisian Leather Belt Bag or the Banana Republic Heritage Leather Belt Bag, might look fantastic with elevated outfits for a day in the city, but doesn't weather great against athletic adventures. For such excursions, you want belt bags made of nylon or polyester, preferably with a water-repellent finish. The Athleta All About Belt Bag and the Calpak Travel Luka Mini Belt Bag are such options.

Do you need a belt bag for travel? Something to bring on your hike? Or perhaps a stylish statement? The bag you choose should fit your needs accordingly. For stylist Ashleigh Ashton, a belt bag that has both ample amounts of pockets and still looks elevated is essential while she's on her gigs. "For me the perfect appeal in a belt bag is comfort and functionality. Something basic or neutral in color so I can wear it with almost everything." We loved the sleek look of the Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack, as well as the Senreve Aria Belt Bag for such occasions.

Others might need a little more from their bag. Beis Travel The Sport Pack, which comes with an expandable water bottle holder, is fantastic for long days under the sun. Its many pockets allow you to compartmentalize and never lose a thing.

If you’re about to board a plane, the belt bag frees your hands to take care of the million stressful things around you. You’ll want a zippered section close to your body for your passport, ample amounts of space to store your ticket, and hold close to you some travel skincare like chapstick and moisturizer. We found that the Calpak Travel Luka Mini Belt Bag was perfect for just that. Even the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag did great on trips.

For her daily look at the gym, Parry likes to sling her belt bag across her body, and wear it over a matching workout set, but in less sporty scenarios, like to brunch or running errands, she uses a bag, like the Polene La Petite Wallet No7, over a dress or long skirt. And while most belt bags, including the Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack and the Uniqlo Round Mini Shoulder Bag, look better with sneakers (leather or sporty) and some biker shorts, other options like the Bottega Veneta Cassette Belt Bag or the Banana Republic Heritage Leather Belt Bag could easily be dressed up in some heels. All options, however, can be worn with jeans and a casual shirt. If the bag comes with a longer belt, like the Caraa Sling Bag, you can wear it over a thick coat in the winter as well.

Until we actually began incorporating the belt bag into our daily lives, we didn't realize how practical and game-changing they were. Sturino considers them to be "the most comfortable and convenient rendition of a purse, a true life hack." It's more than just having your hands free — that much a simple shoulder bag can do as well. But the belt bag doesn't infringe in your full range of motion one bit. A shoulder bag might slide off, but a belt bag, whether strapped around your waist or slung across your body, will remain secure at all times. This is precisely why it's so handy during active moments, like exercise or travel. A bag like the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag is ideal for everyday wear (thanks to its sleek and simple design), sports (thanks to its compact and small size) and travel (considering how much can fit and the passport pocket in the back).

Bianca Kratky is commerce writer at InStyle, with over two years of experience covering fashion and beauty. In order to provide an authentic recommendation, she tested over a third of the listed belt bags here. She also tapped into the rich resources of InStyle editors, who each had a favorite belt bag to gush over. Stylists and fashion consultants Ashleigh Ashton, Katie Sturino, and Lauren Parry helped provide further insight on how to style belt bags. She combined all of their recommendations and created a list of best belt bags, based on first person experience.

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