Best hands-free leashes for running with your dog

Keep your dog fit while your dog keeps you fit. If you’re an active pooch owner, consider investing in a hands-free leash to enjoy new, active adventures with your four-legged friend.

Are you sick of your running partner dropping out at the last minute, or do you want to start putting one foot in front of the other but need some help? We could help with looking at the best hands free leashes.

If you’re fortunate enough to own a puppy, your canine friend could be the perfect cardiovascular-flavored tonic, with a wagging tail and uncontrollable tongue replacing the moans and groans of a fellow pavement stomper.

Pet accessories are all the rage. If you’re like us, there’s no shame when purchasing the latest viral dog accessory to grace the market or TikTok. Mainly TikTok. Collars, strollers, sunglasses, apparel, and boots are in high demand in an era where dogs boast the same amount of wardrobe space as their owners.

There has been a significant increase in pet owners’ snapping up the latest, primarily down to the availability of a wide range of fashionable and multifunctional accessories on the market. In fact, according to Technavio, the pet accessories market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% between 2022 and 2027. It is forecast to increase by USD 13,243.92 million in the same period.

That rapid increase is similar to the waistline of millions of dogs across the globe. Pet Keen reported that as many as 59% of all pets are obese and that over the past ten years, there has been a 158% increase in overweight dogs.

It’s no surprise that owners are looking to invest in their pets’ health to lose a few pounds. Introducing jogging dog leads. While traditional lock and release leads do the trick for your standard stroll, something a little more heavy-duty and much less handheld is for a good old gander.

If you’re really going to perfect that running technique, you’ll need both hands for some true aerodynamic sprinting. This is where the hands-free dog lead comes in.

What is a hands-free jogging dog lead? 

Traditionally clipping around your waist, hips, or over your shoulder, hands-free dog leads take the pressure out of dog walks, allowing you a more comprehensive range of movement and a more effective way to control your potential live-wire pup.

The hands-free nature of these leads fits perfectly into the lives of the socially active and work-consumed generation of 2023. Need to take a sip of your Oat Milk Flat White? Go for it. Taking a work call? Not a problem. Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram? Be our guest! All of this is safe with your pup at your side, no doubt pulling you along and demanding you take a much-needed screen time detox.

Because most hands-free dogs leads fasten around your waist, the strength of your eager dog – no matter how big and heavy they are – is being counteracted by your entire body weight. Plus, it’s great for core engagement. You could actually get abs from walking your dog; it’s a win-win we are here for. 

The key features to look out for

The best harnesses for running with your dog have a few things in common. Some of the key features to look for in a dog running harness are:

Fit and shape – does the harness allow your dog a good range of motion for running without rubbing on their legs or shoulders? Is it comfortable with good padding? Can your dog breathe comfortably when wearing the harness?

Sizing and adjustability – is the running harness adjustable to fit your dog’s shape comfortably? A good dog running harness must fit securely so the dog can’t slip out.

A variety of leash attachment points on the harness – some dog running harnesses offer chest attachments and back attachment points.

Reflective details for visibility – your dog needs to be seen in low light and dark conditions, and reflective details are essential, especially if you have a dark-colored dog.

Durability – it almost goes without saying that a good dog running harness should be sufficiently durable to stand up to intensive use, especially if you’ll be hiking and trail running with your dog over trail obstacles and through terrain where the harness may brush up against obstacles such as trees and scrub.

Is your dog a suitable candidate for jogging?

Most dogs love to run—some more than others, and not all for long distances. Some do better in warm weather, others in cold weather. Of course, expectations will remain with some breeds, much preferring a spot on the sofa. Those dogs will need a bit of extra motivation.

Some breeds, such as Huskies and Greyhounds, were bred to run, and most working dogs are naturally suited to running. By contrast, squishy-nosed dogs, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, don’t always make reasonable distance athletes because they’re prone to overheating.

That’s all to say that just as running is individualized for humans, it can be that way with your dog. However, with the proper training, patience, and tips from the experts in this story, you, too, can hit the roads with your pup.

For long and steady runs, breeds such as Weimaraners, Vizslas, German Shorthaired Pointers, Parson Russell Terriers, Dalmatians and Labradors all have bundles of energy and are willing to go the extra mile.

Regarding shorter and more brisk runs, Greyhounds, Pitbulls, English Setters and Beagles fit the bill. These breeds are more attuned to sprints and don’t need to run an ultra-marathon distance to be satisfied with their efforts.

Best all-around dog running leash and harness

Best all rounder: Ruffwear Roamer Leash

Best affordable all-rounder: Hands-Free Dog Running Lead with Wide Back Support Belt

Best for short distances: PetKit Dog Free Running Belt

Best for trails and hiking: Ruffwear Hitch Hiker Dog Leash

Best lightweight harness: NATHAN Sports K9 Series Dog Running Gear

Best for extra control: Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Dog Leash

With the size and weight of your dog in mind, you should make sure you’re purchasing a lead that can handle the entirety of your hound – whether they’re a Pomeranian or a Bernese.

Muscle and Health have sniffed out the best dog running leash and harness combos to help you make the right choice when investing in new dog running gear.

Best all rounder: Ruffwear Roamer Leash

Price: $49.95


179 x 2.5 x 2.5 centimetres


Handheld or hands-free

Stretch webbing

Strong connection

Climbing-inspired design for long-lasting wear and security

Accessory loop

This Ruffwear bungee leash is designed specifically for epic runs with your dog, with its hands-free dog leash popular among both road and trail runners. Plus, it also easily converts from a handheld dog leash to be able to clip around your waist to go running with your dog hands-free. The best of both worlds.

Its clip style is very secure and less prone to getting caught and accidentally opened, which can happen with the more traditional leash clips, especially when your dog is running like a wild banshee, and the clasp is moving around a lot.

Best affordable all-rounder: Hands-Free Dog Running Lead with Wide Back Support Belt

Price: $24.04


Dimensions: ‎24.4 x 20.2 x 7.9 cm; 350 Grams

It can be used with dogs up to 60kg / 132lb, extending from 165cm / 64.96 inches to 250cm / 98.4 inches.


Wide back support belt

Weatherproof and safe for nighttime use

Double, shock-absorbing bungee

Multiple compartments

Suitable for dogs up to 60kg, this extendable, hands-free running lead features a Mary Poppins-esque utility belt. That’s right, fitted onto the adjustable and breathable mesh waistband is a handy, multi-compartment bumbag attachment.

The double-bungee lead is shock-absorbing and supportive for you and your pet, while the dual handles allow you to keep your dog close when necessary. Plus, the lead can be extended to a whopping 165cm once you’ve really got into the rhythm of running with your furry friend.

Best for short distances: PetKit Dog Free Running Belt

Price: £23.99


24 x 12 x 8 cm

24cm bungee cord


Control handle

Zip pocket

Fully reflective

This hands-free running lead by PetKit is the perfect starter belt for those embarking on runs alongside their furry friend for the first time. The belt features a zip pocket for all your essentials: keys, wallet, phone, and doggy bags, while the reflective material makes it the perfect choice for evening joggers.

The 24cm bungee cord is flexible but non-extendable, so it is excellent for those who want to keep their pup close at all times on shorter runs.

Best for trails and hiking: Ruffwear Hitch Hiker Dog Leash

Price: $100.17


35 x 10 x 5.1 centimetres


12 feet of strong, supple, reflective kernmantle rope

Wearable with storage pouch

Ergonomic HitchLock rope adjuster with safety brake


High-end technical fabric

Inspired by professional climbing gear, this adjustable-length lead features a fabulous 365cm of rope, and the unique and easy-to-use HitchLock adjuster gives you the fluidity and versatility to move in tandem with your dog. Its highly durable stow bag keeps those pesky rope tails out of the way, so fully expect your dog to become the next Alex Honnold.

Though on the slightly more expensive end of the spectrum, this high-performance lead by Ruffwear will enhance your outdoor activities with your dog tenfold.

Best lightweight harness: NATHAN Sports K9 Series Dog Running Gear

Price: $41.97


35.56 x 33.02 x 5.08 cm; 243 Grams


Breathable and comfortable material

No pull/teaching attachment


Leader in runner’s technology

Running brand NATHAN has moved into the dog running gear market with a lightweight and breathable dog harness designed to be worn with smaller breeds. Ideally, ones who don’t pull too much and go with the flow.

It’s also an excellent choice for summer runs where you want to keep the bulk and padding down to help keep your dog cool on warmer days. We like that the waist belt includes plenty of secure storage for essentials such as your phone, keys, a packable water bowl, and the most important thing of all… poo bags!

Best for extra control: Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Dog Leash

Price: $24.97


19.1 x 5.1 x 14 centimetres


Expands from 48 inches to 60 inches

Lightweight belt with leash clip

Two control handles

Reflective fabric

The moveable belt clip slides back and forth

Tuff Mutt has your back for a simple, strong, and supportive dog lead without any bells and whistles. The 116cm bungee lead is adjustable and durable, boasting two control handles and reflective fabric on both the belt and the rope.

One feature that makes this hands-free lead stand out for us is the moveable belt clip, which slides back and forth so that your pup can change direction as much as they please without either of you tripping up. You can’t go wrong with this value-for-money model with the perfect combination of control and freedom with a bolt snap closure.

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