Best Hands Free Dog Leash for Running for 2019 (23 Tested)

Best Hands Free Dog Leash for Running for 2019 (23 Tested)

  • 21 min read
  • Last Updated: 03/01/2019
  • Author: Jonathan Burton

Running with your dog can be an incredible, exhilarating experience–as long as you have the right equipment to stay safe. From bungees to waist belts, dual handles to D-rings, there are many components to consider when choosing the right running leash for you. We dug into 23 leashes in order to help you find the best possible fit for you and your pup. Our favorite is the no-nonsense, durable, and affordable Mighty Paw Running Leash, which we think it’s an excellent choice for almost every situation. But there are plenty more options, so stay tuned!

Click here to scroll down to see what things we look for
when choosing the best dog running leash

Best Overall

Mighty Paw Running Leash

9/10

2 leash size options

High-quality material

Shock-absorbing bungee

Good fit for all dog sizes

Mid-range price

Leash is heavy

No extra handle for added control

Only 2 color options

Material
Waterproof nylon and metal hardware
Visibility
Reflective stitching
Hands-free
fits waists up to 42”
Leash Clip
Rotating metal D-ring for extra control
Leash Length
2 options: 36” and 48”

Best Quality

Iron Doggy Running Leash

9/10

Designed for a minimum of 215 lbs of breaking force

Dual handle design

Highly durable and perfect for bigger dogs

Dual bungee leash

Pretty heavy for the runner and unnecessary for trained dogs

Limited color choice

High price point

Incomplete waist size information

Material
Military-grade nylon and metal hardware
Visibility
3 seams of reflective stitching through the leash
Handsfree
waist belt up to 42”
Leash Clip
Metal D-ring on the leash and an additional clip connecting the waist belt to the leash.
Leash Length
Extendable from 30” - 54”

Best for Outdoors

Primal Pet Gear Leash

9/10

Dual handle design

Shock-absorbing Bungee

Medium-low price point

Extremely durable

Excellent warranty

1 color option

Bungee can wear out

Material
Nylon and zinc alloy metal clips
Visibility
Dual-sided 3 seams of reflective stitching
Handsfree
fits waists 28” - 48”
Leash Clip
2 fixed D-rings
Leash Length
Expandable from 48” - 60”

Best on a Budget

SparklyPets Leash

9/10

Dual handle design (1 rubber grip handle)

Usable as hands-on or hands-free leash

Comes with a convenient storage bag

Shock-absorbing bungee

Medium-low price point

Comfortable for larger waists

3 color options

Not for small dogs

Doesn’t fit smaller waists

Some complaints of bungee snapping (not many)

Material
Weather-resistant nylon and plastic buckles
Visibility
Reflective strips
Handsfree
fits waists 28” - 47”
Leash Clip
Double metal D-ring
Leash Length
Expandable from 50” - 68”

Stunt Puppy Runner Leash

8/10

6 color options

Wide range of adjustments

Very lightweight

Dual handle design

Shock-absorbing bungee

Plastic buckles aren’t the most durable

Not ideal for pullers

No reflective stitching

Material
High-grade nylon and metal hardware
Visibility

reflective
but bright color options
Handsfree
waist belt from 28” - 49”
Leash Clip
Sliding metal D-ring
Leash Length
Extendable from 35” - 51”

Tuff Mutt Running Leash

8/10

7 colors options

Dual handle design

Easy glide clip

Shock-absorbing bungee

The leash is heavy

The elastic leash will wear out if your dog is puller

Incomplete waist size information

Material
Premium
weather-resistant nylon and metal hardware
Visibility
Reflective stitching
Handsfree
waist belt up to 42”
Leash Clip
Gliding metal D-ring
Leash Length
48 inches long leash that can stretch to 60 inches

Road Runner Dog Leash

4/10

Low price point

4 color selection

Comes with clip-on LED light

Colors vary greatly in price

Gets loose when dogs pull

Plastic buckle known to break due to pulling

No handle design

No shock-absorbing bungee

Material
Nylon
plastic buckles
and metal clip
Visibility

reflective
but comes in bright colors
Handsfree
waist belt from 31.5” - 50”
Leash Clip
Plastic buckle connects to leash plus metal D-ring
Leash Length
Extendable 33.5” to 59”

Hertzko Running Leash

6/10

Comes with an extra handle near leash clip

Mid-range price point

Shock-absorbing bungee

Dual handle design

Only 1 color option

Bungee is very stiff

Plastic buckle is flimsy

Material
Premium nylon
plastic buckle
and metal hardware
Visibility
Reflective stitching
Handsfree
waist belt up to 48”
Leash Clip
Metal clip
Leash Length
2 options: 36” and 48”

Petter Running Dog Leash

7/10

Shock-absorbing bungee

Dual handle design

30-day guarantee

Only 1 color option

Not great for pullers

Incomplete waist size information

Material
High-grade nylon material
metal hardware
and a plastic buckle
Visibility
Reflective stitching
Handsfree
waist belt up to 42”
Leash Clip
Metal leash clip and 2 fixed metal D-rings
Leash Length
Extendable from 48” - 72”

Riddick’s Running Leash

7/10

Accessories included

3 color options

Designed for 2 dogs to be attached at once

Dual handle design

Shock-absorbing bungee

Adjustment buckles are plastic and don’t stay very well

Incomplete waist size information

Material
Durable nylon material
plastic clip
and metal hardware
Visibility
3 seams of reflective stitching
Handsfree
waist belt up to 48”
Leash Clip
2 fixed metal D-rings
Leash Length
48”

Ruffwear Flat Out Leash

3/10

Modular design to be used for everyday walks and runs

Has a spot for poop bags

11 color selection

No bungee cord in the leash

Recent changes in the leash have lead to lower quality

No longer has the Talon Clip and the nylon is thinner

Material
Reinforced stitched nylon and metal hardware
Visibility

reflective
but comes in bright colors
Handsfree
adjustable waist belt can be resized to hand leash (no sizing information)
Leash Clip
Leash is one piece of reinforced nylon
Leash Length
72”

Ruffwear Roamer Leash

4/10

8 color options

Handle near the leash clip for added control

Bungee leash

Bungee is not very durable

High price point

No sizing specifics for waist belt given

Material
Premium nylon
Visibility

reflective
but comes in bright colors
Handsfree
adjustable waist belt can be resized to hand leash(no sizing information)
Leash Clip
Leash is one piece and connected with nylon
Leash Length
2 sizes: 7.3’ - 11’ and 5.5’ - 7’

The Buddy System Leash

7/10

4 color options

Good alternative to bungee leashes

Highly recommend by trainers

No reflective stitching

No metal connection between the waist belt and the leash

Material
Nylon
metal clip
and plastic buckles
Visibility

reflective
but comes in bright colors
Handsfree
waist from 33”-60”
Leash Clip
Connected with nylon and a plastic clip
Leash Length
Expandable from 22”-40”

Clickgofit Hands Free Leash

6/10

Mid-low price point

Comes with two additional handles in the leash for added control

Bungee leash

Only one color option

Plastic buckle for waist belt adjustments

Isn’t specific with waist sizes

Material
Premium nylon and metal hardware
Visibility
reflective stitching throughout the leash
Handsfree
adjustable waist belt (no sizing information)
Leash Clip
D-ring and metal clip
Leash Length
48”

Neewa Tug Line

8/10

Made for skijoring with dogs

Meets the standards for safety and regulation for the dog sledding federation

Very strong and lightweight

Comes with a strong bungee for shock absorption

High price point

Only includes the leash (no waist belt)

Only 1 color option

Material
High-grade
reinforced nylon
Visibility

Handsfree
only the leash (but can be attached to a trekking belt)
Leash Clip
Metal carabiner for easy and secure attachments
Leash Length
Expandable from 60” - 72”

Kurgo 6-In-1 Leash

5/10

7 color options

6-in-1 leash

Does not specify size for the waist belt

Spring clip is rather weak

Padding on waist belt does properly line up

No shock-absorbing bungee

No handles

Material
High-grade nylon with reinforced stitching and metal hardware
Visibility
Reflective stitching and bright color options
Handsfree
adjustable waist belt (no sizing information)
Leash Clip
Spring load clip that attaches directly to the waist belt
Leash Length
Expandable from 36” - 72”

Black Rhino running leash

6/10

4 color options

Dual handle design

Handles are padded with neoprene

Comes with a mesh accessory

Shock-absorbing bungee

Short leash

Not great for 2 dogs at once

Material
Nylon and metal hardware
Visibility
Reflective stitching and bright color options
Handsfree
comes with waist belt but does not specify sizes
Leash Clip
2 metal D-rings (one is fixed and the other slides)
Leash Length
Expandable from 48” - 60"

Paw Lifestyles leash

7/10

Low price point (with medium price point option to add a pouch)

3 color options

Dual handle design

Good for dogs up to 150lbs

Extra metal ring for keys or accessories

Good for pullers

Actual waist size is not specified

Not all colors come with pouch / smartphone holder!

Faulty zipper on the pouch

Material
Weather-resistant nylon
Visibility
Reflective stitching
Handsfree
waist fits ~48”
Leash Clip
Fixed metal D-ring
Leash Length
Expandable from 48” - 70”

Hurtta Hands-Free

6/10

Medium price point

Good for small dogs

2 leash thickness options (¾” for <50lbs; 1 ¼” for <75lbs)

Padded, ergonomic handle makes it easy to hold water bottle, keys, etc.

5 color options

Not good for large dogs

Unhelpful for pullers

Mislabeled as “hands-free” but it is not

Material
Nylon with neoprene handle
Visibility
3M Reflectors sewn in
Handsfree

Leash Clip
n/a (grip is woven directly to the leash)
Leash Length
2 sizes (2’-3’ and 3.5’ - 6’)

Taotronics leash

6/10

Dual handle design

Dual bungees

Good for dogs up to 150lbs

“Retractable” leash

Medium-low price point

Only 2 color options

Not good for small dogs

Waist size not specified

No padding on the waist belt

Leash a little long for city running

Material
Nylon and metal buckles
Visibility
Reflective stitching
Handsfree
waist not specified (likely up to 42”)
Leash Clip
Sliding metal D-ring and fixed metal D-ring options
Leash Length
Expandable from 28” - 63”

Lanney Leash

6/10

Dual handles

Medium-low price point

5 color options

Shock-absorbing bungee

Detachable waist pouch

Pouch slides around as running

Leash may be too long for city running

Metal is noisy as running

Pouch too small for larger phone models

Material
Nylon with premium metal clips
Visibility
3 seams of reflective stitching
Handsfree
fits waists 27” - 46”
Leash Clip
2 options--sliding metal D-ring and fixed metal D-ring
Leash Length
Extendable 49” - 69”

YOUTHINK leash

8/10

6-piece set

Dual bungees built into the leash

Dual handle for emergency control

Padded waist belt

Effective for dogs up to 150lbs

Mid-range price point

1 color option

1 size option

Some inconsistency on waist-size

Few complaints of buckles or D-ring failing after use

Material
Nylon
Visibility
Reflective stitching on belt
Handsfree

--fits waists 26” - 48”
Leash Clip
Sliding metal D-ring
Leash Length
Expandable from 37” - 64”

MaxiLeash

7/10

Low price point

Comes with dual handles in the leash

Cheap material

Material
Made of premium nylon
Visibility
reflective stitching
Handsfree
fits around waists between 27’’-48’’
Leash Clip
Metal ring that slides along the waist belt and two fixed D-rings on either side
Leash Length
48’’ and stretches to 61’’

How To Choose

When assessing hands-free running leashes, we want to find an option that will allow you to have comfortable runs without losing control over your dog. Below are the criteria we considered, starting with what we believed to be the most important factors.

Material
On daily walks, you want to know your leash isn’t going to give out on you–and this only becomes more paramount when you add in some speed.

Nylon is the most common material for running leashes, but it’s important to read the details: not all nylon is created equal. Some of the leashes will sport a high-quality waterproof nylon with reinforced stitching, while others will just feature basic nylon, which isn’t ideal for long-term wear and tear.

Since we’re looking at hands-free leashes, many times the leash will connect to a belt around your waist. The material here matters for making sure adjustments stay in place (metal or plastic buckles) and that the leash stays connected.

Visibility
Staying visible is one of the key factors to being safe while running with your dog. Many running leashes feature reflective stitching throughout the entire leash and waist belt, but there are some options that come in bright non-reflective colors. When deciding what is best for you, we recommend you carefully consider the environment in which you’ll be running.

Hands-free
It’s difficult to run and keep a grip on a leash at the same time, which is why we are specifically looking at leashes that are hands-free. As we said before, most hands-free running leashes use a waist belt–but not all. For this criteria, we’re looking at the specific hands-free design (waist belt or other?) and the size of the waist belt.

Leash Clip
Keeping your leash safely secured to your waist belt (or other hands-free device) is a priority. For this criteria, we evaluated how the leash attached. Is it reinforced? Additionally, some running leashes will “glide” along the waist belt to give you and your dog more freedom and ease stress, while others are secured in place for added control.

Leash Length
This may seem generic, but it’s extremely important. If you run in a crowded city, you likely want a leash that’s shorter to maintain control. But, if most of your running is in a less densely populated area, a longer leash may give you and your dog a bit more freedom.

How Running Leashes Work

Running leashes are all about making sure that your dog is secure and comfortable, and your hands are free to move without fear of losing control. Typically, this comes from a 2-part design: an adjustable belt that slips around your waist and a leash that connects to your dog’s harness.

Please note: all of the leashes we reviewed should be used with a dog harness. A dog harness will give you more control over your dog and help prevent stress injuries. If you’re looking for a quick and easy pick for running, we love the Embark Adventure Harness. It’s padded, very secure, and sports an additional handle on the back for added safety.

There are a few features that come standard in most running leashes. Often, running leashes have shock-absorbing bungee built in, which helps to reduce pulling. Effective bungee is particularly important if you or your dog have any sort of back problems. Additionally, most running leashes come with at least one handle (many have two) to offer you immediate control in emergency situations.

When it comes to the waist belt, size and thickness are two extremely important factors. You want a waist belt size that gives you flexibility, so you can adjust as you figure out if you prefer a tighter or looser fit. Additionally, a thin waist belt can be lighter weight, but can also increase back pain if your dog is a puller. Lastly, some waist belts come with added padding for extra comfort and impact absorption.

If you’re used to conventional leashes, it may take a little bit of time for you and your dog to adjust to a running leash. The number one hurdle is overcoming the fear of losing control over your dog. If you’re used to gripping a leash with your hand, it can be difficult to trust that your dog is safe when the leash is tethered to your waist.

With that being said, we hope that these reviews can ease the transition by giving you peace of mind that the leash is an excellent, sturdy pick.

Building Up To The Run

Before you and your dog embark on your first run, it’s important to assess whether your dog is ready. There are some serious health concerns if you push your four-legged running companion too far too soon. So, be sure to work them gradually and understand what their limits are.

First and foremost, be sure you have a breed that’s fit for running. As unfortunate as it may be that you can’t take your Frenchie on a multi-mile run, it just isn’t safe. Your dog should be trained and healthy enough for it. For obvious reasons, dogs cannot tell you if they aren’t feeling well, and it’s unwise to suddenly take a couch potato dog out on a 10-mile run.

Additionally, veterinarians and trainers recommend waiting until your dog is at least 6 months old before running–some larger breeds need to wait even longer. This is because their bones and joints aren’t ready for the repetitive impact. Even once your dog is old enough, it’s important to consider what type of ground you and your dog are running on–your running shoes may have built-in support, cushion, and heat protection, but your dog’s pads don’t. For this reason, it can be best to stay off the asphalt and on more natural ground when possible.

Lastly, when in doubt, think about the kinds of things you’d do for yourself on a run and be sure you consider the same for your dog: don’t run them right after a big meal, bring plenty of water and stay hydrated, ensure adequate rest time, and take any injuries seriously.

The Cool Down

Running with your dog can be an amazing bonding experience, as well as an extremely healthy and relaxing routine. In order to create the overall best experience for you and your dog, it’s absolutely essential that you choose the right leash to fit your needs.

There are tons of options out there, some affordable and others worth every single penny, some with lots of give and others with lots of control, some rugged and durable and others lightweight and comfortable. We hope this guide helped you to navigate the incredibly varied landscape and choose the perfect hands-free running leash for you and your dog.

Please let us know which leash you went with, and happy running!