The 10 Best Hands-Free Dog Leashes (+5 Harnesses) for Running in 2024

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Hands-free dog running leash.

Have there ever been five better words in the English language?

Who doesn’t love running?

And if there’s anything better than running, it’s dogs – arguably the best thing.

So, a product that allows you to enjoy both at the same time – while keeping your hands free, no less – is a huge win in my book.

What to Look for in a Running Leash for Your Dog

A hands-free dog leash is beneficial when jogging with your dog, provided you're certain of maintaining control and ensuring they won't knock you down when tethered to you. This choice is particularly apt for those who frequently run on smooth walkways and even, consistent grounds. If your pup is still young and a bit rambunctious, maybe stick to the traditional leash for now. You don't want to go running with a hands-free dog leash if it means your pup will be able to pull on you whenever it wants to go in a different direction.

Various leash designs and lengths are available in 2024, so you'll want to consider things like your common running environment (i.e,. hills, trails, streets, beach, etc.), your dog's and your own running habits, and overall comfort for you and your pup.

Keep the following key points in mind when shopping for your running leash:

  • Elastic versus non-elastic leashes. Most people like the elastic leash, but again, you have to make sure you're able to control your dog if they decide to pull.
  • Optimal leash length for your dog and how you run
  • Comfortable waistband. The whole point of a hands-free leash is that you don't need to hold onto it, but if your waist is the anchor, it can become uncomfortable if you use one with material that chafes.
  • Durability to ensure you won't need to buy another running leash right away
  • Other needs you might have. For example, there is a range of options that allow for style versatility, enabling you to use a handheld leash one day and transition to hands-free the next. There are also bungee leashes, which we'll cover next.

We took all of these points into consideration when putting together our list of the best running leashes below, so you should have plenty of options for your own unique needs.

 

Should I Get a Bungee Leash for Running with My Dog?

Bungee leashes are one of the best options if you like trail running with your dog. That's because this kind of leash dampens the kinds of sudden jolts that tend to happen when trail running across irregular surfaces and barriers.

Otherwise, bungee leashes are probably not a good fit for running on roads, beaches, or even busy trails where you're likely to come across passersby and other dogs. These leashes gnerally don't give you the kind of control you want during these types of situations.

The 10 Best Hands-Free Dog Leashes for Runners in 2024

Of course, there’s more than one hands-free running dog leash on the market. There are probably hundreds designed specifically for people who want to go running with their dogs. The perfect choice may decide on the size of the dog, the types of walks you take, whether or not you want to loose leash walking, and your own personal preferences.

But you don’t have time to peruse all of the resulting options.

You need to get your hands on one of these hands-free leashes ASAP, so you and your four-legged friend can go for a run.

That’s why I put together what I believe to be the 10 best hands-free dog leashes for runners as of 2024.

The first option is the leash we actually designed ourselves: the Runners Rove Dog Leash. This is a great pick for a hands-free leash to take running with your dog. It is perfect for active people with dogs who like to go on walks or runs but also want a bit of flexibility from their choice.

As a business based in Austin - a city known for its love of dogs - we know all about what it takes to go on runs with your pup, whether it's on trails, paths, sidewalks, streets, or along the river or lakes here.

Recently, Women's Health Magazine even named ours their "Best Hands-Free Dog Running Leash"

We're very proud of that!

Anyway, this 5-in-1 leash can we worn in (you guessed it) 5 different ways: 

  1. In your hand
  2. Around your waist with (no belt) 
  3. Around your wast with belt or fanny pack
  4. Tie around body strap 
  5. Strap to secure object for quick tie up. 

And it comes in six different colors!

Other great built-in features include: 

  • Durable Performance
  • For safe nights reflective detailing
  • Middle ring for length adjustment
  • Secure clip for collar attachment
  • Hands-Free Option by attaching a carabiner to your favorite fanny pack

Runners Rove Leash is a great buy, especially when the price is only $19-$29.

2. SparklyPets Hands-Free Dog Leash - $19.95

The SparklyPets Hands-Free Dog Leash might be the best version on our list if you’re worried about safety when running with your pup.

Maybe your dog is easily excitable and equally strong.

Or maybe you sometimes run in cold weather and worry about slipping on the ice – especially when going downhill.

Whatever the case, SparklyPets designed this leash with a quick-release button that means you can let your dog go if you run (literally) into trouble, so you don’t pull them with you.

At the same time, this leash also comes with dual stainless-steel clasps, which ensures that even the most powerful pooch isn’t going to be able to break free on their own.

And despite these great features, it’s still one of the most affordable dog leashes on our list, which makes this even more of a no-brainer if your dog, terrain, or both sometimes make for trecherous treks.

3. Paw Lifestyles Retractable Hands-Free Dog Leash - $21.95

The Paw Lifestyles Retractable Hands-Free Dog Leash brings a lot to the table.

One great feature that sets it apart from the other leashes on this list is that it comes with a pouch for your phone. That makes it perfect for those of us who wear leggings or running shorts that don’t always have enough room for this all-important device.

But that’s definitely not the only reason to love this hands-free running leash.

Although the bungy feature gives it plenty of stretch, so your dog can roam a bit during your jog, it also comes with two handles, which will make it easy to control them if necessary (great for large dogs).

4. Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash - $24.97

The Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash is a great value for any owner whose dog is more than 30 pounds thanks to a bungee that lets it stretch from four feet – already a great length – to five.

This is another hands-free leash that also comes with two handles, which is a fantastic feature if you have a slightly larger dog who might try to pull you off the trail every now and then.

So, again, this is an amazing option if safety is a concern.

And speaking of pups who like to move around, this leash also has one of the better clips for attaching the leash to the belt. The metal clip slides smoothly, so your dog can move side-to-side without the belt causing chafing as it tries to keep up.

5. Howling Dog Distance Harness - $35.00

If you have an even larger dog, there’ a lot to love about Howling Dog Distance Harness.

The woman who designed it, Ivana Nolke, is a veteran of Alaskan sled dog racing and partnered with four-time Iditarod champion, Jeff King, to make this one-of-a-kind running dog leash.

So, right off the bat, you can rest assured that this leash can handle a dog that likes to run hard - even if you prefer to keep them on a leash hands-free.

The leash connects to a harness, which many owners prefer for their dogs over the traditional collar-leash connection. Its harness is also made out of webbing that’s 1.24 inches thing, which is another great feature if you have a powerful pet who loves to pull hard when running. Plenty of padding ensures the harness can easily rotate freely around your buddy’s body no matter which direction they decide to head.

And, best of all, this harness is perfectly safe for dogs with lower back problems or who prefer to crab (run sideways). It’s even recommended by a top canine physical therapist, Wes Rau.

6. Pet Dreamland Hands-Free Dog Leash for Two Dogs - $37.99

Few challenges compare to trying to walk two dogs at once. Without fail, you will constantly get pulled in two separate directions. And maybe the only exception will come when they both decide it’s time to take you for a ride because they just saw a squirrel.

That’s why I wanted to be sure to include a hands-free dog leash designed for walking two dogs at once.

The Pet Dreamland Hands-Free Dog Leash for Two Large Dogs is the best option I’ve found for going on a run with more than one pooch.

There are a lot of “dog leash couplers” out there that you can add to the end of a typical leash to split it in two, but that adds a lot of distance between you and your pals. And if you have large dogs, that space gives them a lot of room to build up momentum if they decide to go running after something.

This leash can be adjusted from 43" to 55", which is much better, and you get a handle on each of them in case you need to pull back one of your pups and readjust the length to keep them a bit closer.

The 360-degree-swivel splitter is also a genius decision. Otherwise, it’s inevitable that your dogs will twist up the leashes. Nothing will bring your run to a screeching halt quicker. And if you’ve ever faced this predicament, you know that dogs have absolutely no interest in helping you solve it.

7. Ezy Dog Road Runner Leash - $42.00

The Ezy Dog Road Runner Leash is another really basic leash but an option that has still managed to become extremely popular, nonetheless.

What it lacks in fancy bells and whistles, it makes up for in ease-of-use. Clipping the running belt around your waist couldn’t be easier. Then just attach the simple bungee and you and your pup are ready to run.

If you decide to use the tether as a traditional hand leash, it’s 6.5 feet, which is the perfect length for dogs of all sizes. There’s also a D-ring with a barrel lock for any accessories you want to carry hands-free during your runs. This is great for carrying your waste bags or treats if you want to do some training.

8. High Sierra Walk-A-Belt Heavy Duty with Carabineer - $42.95

A great choice for larger breeds, the High Sierra Walk-A-Belt™ Heavy Duty with Carabineer definitely sports the thickest belt on our list – complete with a padded fleece that increases the belt’s width to 3".

Unfortunately, this also means you probably won’t want to wear this belt unless you’re running in cold weather. Otherwise, that fleece may become a bit uncomfortable.

The good news is that if you decide to wear it in warmer weather and work up a bit of a sweat, the material is machine washable.

This belt also sports a welded stainless-steel O-ring with a 1-1/2" diameter and a bolt snap that’s solid brass. So, again, if you plan on jogging outside during cold weather, you’ll find these features extremely easy to open and close, even with your gloves on.

9. Iron Doggy’s Hands-Free Dog Leash - $59.95

The Iron Doggy Hands-Free Dog Leash is another choice for dogs of all sizes. Its minimum breaking strength is an impressive 215 pounds, so if your favorite four-legged friend has a mind of their own, this leash is up to the challenge. Aside from being a great hands-free leash for large dogs, it’s also extremely comfortable.

It features two hold knots, as well, so if you do end up having to pull on the leash to bring your dog back to the sidewalk, there are specific spots to get a grip and no need to worry about “leash burn.”

This leash is 54" long but can be adjusted to 46" and 30". And again, shortening the leash down is a great way to keep your pup from straying on your runs, even when you’re using a hands-free leash.

10. Ruffwear Trail Runner - $69.95

Finally, the Ruffwear Trail Runner is really your quintessential hands-free dog leash for runners. It’s designed with a belt that goes around your waist, which you connect the leash to – hence “hands free.”

It’s a pretty simple design, but you really don’t need a whole lot more than this setup to enjoy runs with your pup.

Ruffwear designed their belt to be bounce-resistant and load-dispersing, so you can run as fast as you want without worrying about chafing or other types of discomfort. The leash itself can be adjusted from 3.3 to 5.9 feet.

I also love that it comes with a water-resistant pocket, which every dog owner needs for their bags. There’s also a stretch mesh pocket – perfect for your phone – and it comes with a 21-oz BPA-free water bottle so you can stay hydrated on those longer runs.

The 5 Best Dog Harnesses for Running in 2024

Harnesses have become increasingly popular, especially among runners, for a whole host of reasons - many of which we'll review in just a moment. However, if you're already sold on the idea of putting your dog in a harness when you go on runs together, you can simply click below to jump to the five best running harnesses for dogs in 2024.

Should You Run with a Dog Harness?

Deciding between a dog harness for running, walking, or hiking OR simply using a leash connected to your dog's collar largely depends on what feels best for you and, of course, what feels best to your four-legged friend.

Despite what you may have heard, some dogs actually tend to pull MORE when linked through a harness than a collar.

If your pup suddenly pulls towards a passerby or nearby object during your outtings, managing them can become a challenge, especially if they're a bigger breed.

In those cases, it might make more sense to opt for a running leash that connects to a collar and taking the time to teach them not to tug excessively.

Using a bungee leash may work, too, particularly when connected to a collar, as it offers flexibility if either of you halts abruptly, minimizing potential neck injuries compared to a rigid standard leash.

That being said, it's worth testing out a harness if your dog generally doesn't have trouble pulling or tugging during walks. For many dogs, a harness will work best for giving you more control over them during walks and runs. They can be much more comfortable for your little buddy, too - especially if your dog has exhibited problems with their throats and necks.

Fortunately, the options on our list of the best harnesses below include some very affordable options, so it won't cost a fortune to see if it makes sense for your particular pup.

The Best Dog Harness for Running: 5 Factors to Consider

While the right harness will depend on your specific dog and how it feels when you run, walk, or hike with it, there are five characteristics you should generally consider if you're in the market.

  • Design and Fit – Does the harness provide ample freedom for your dog to move without chafing their legs or shoulders? Is it cushioned for comfort? Does it allow your dog to breathe with ease? Any good harness will give measurement information on their site to help you choose the right size of your dog.
  • Chest and Back Attachments – Can the harness be tailored to snugly fit your dog's physique? An ideal jogging harness should sit tight, preventing the dog from escaping. This is why some harnesses come with chest and back attachments that will ensure a nice, snug fit.
  • Multiple Leash Attachment Points – Similarly, some jogging harnesses come with both chest and back leash connectors. This is a popular feature because some dogs will simply do better with one option or the other, but you won't know until you try both.
  • Reflective Materials – It's always wise to make sure it's as easy as possible for drivers to see you and your dog when the light is low. Look for a harness that has reflective materials to make it more visible during nighttime runs.
  • Durability– Finally, the right harness for your dog should be able to stand the test of time, but if your pup is like most, they may also chew on it every now and then, too. Pick a harness that can stand up to your dog's natural curiosity, so you won't have to buy a replacement anytime soon.

All of the options below will fit this profile, but if you decide to go shopping on other sites, just be sure you look for these traits in the harness you choose.

Should You Choose a Cooling Vest for Your Dog?

In recent years, cooling vests have become a popular accessory for dogs whose owners live in warmer areas and with breeds who are simply more susceptible to higher temperatures. These vests can help prevent serious problems like deyhydration or even heatstroke.

The Humane Society has some great advice for keeping your dog cool, but this list of cooling vests is a good place to start, too.

The Best Harnesses for Running with Your Dog

Alright, now let's talk about the actual harnesses you can use to take your dog running with one of the aforementioned hands-free leashes.

1. PUPTECK No Pull Dog Harness - $14.99

The PUPTECK No Pull Dog Harness stands out as an exceptional choice for those seeking a comfortable and efficient solution for running with their dogs. It's one of the most affordable options on our list and definitely the most minimalist, which makes it a great transition harness for dogs who are used to running in collars.

Designed with a unique triangle structure, it ensures no choking, distributing stress across the dog's chest rather than the neck, allowing for unrestricted breathing. Its step-in design ensures quick and hassle-free wear, making your outings more efficient.

Crafted with high-quality nylon and broadened webbings, it promises durability while ensuring utmost comfort for your furry friend. A distinctive feature is the metal ID tag adorned with a cute paw pattern, customizable with engravings, ensuring your dog's safety and style.

Available in a range of sizes, it caters to diverse breeds, ensuring a snug fit with its adjustable straps. However, it's essential to note that while the harness boasts superior quality, it isn't chew-proof. With its blend of functionality and style, this harness is a top pick for dog enthusiasts.

2. Eagloo Dog Harness for Large Dogs - $14.99

The Eagloo Dog Harness is a game-changer for dog owners, offering ease of use and optimal control, especially if you're running with a larger breed.

Designed with quick snap buckles, it ensures a hassle-free wearing experience. Its four adjustable sliders at the chest and neck guarantee a snug fit for your canine companion. The harness features two robust metal leash rings: the front hook, ideal for training as it minimizes pulling, and the back ring, suitable for casual strolls, jogs, and hikes. Prioritizing your dog's comfort, it boasts soft edges and a breathable padded air mesh, ensuring coziness in all weather conditions. The reflective material enhances nighttime visibility, ensuring safety.

Crafted from high-grade nylon with reinforced stitching, it promises durability. Suitable for medium to large breeds, it fits chest girths between 15-35.4 inches. The Eagloo Harness emphasizes even pressure distribution, safeguarding your dog from choking. Whether training or leisurely walking, this harness ensures a joyful experience with your four-legged friend.

3. PetSafe Easy Walk No-Pull Dog Harness - $22.95

The PetSafe Easy Walk No-Pull Dog Harness is fantastic for pet owners facing challenges with dogs that pull.

Its unique Martingale loop design applies gentle pressure on the dog's shoulders, effectively curbing pulling tendencies, while the front leash attachment offers guidance. Conceived by a veterinary behaviorist in 2004, the Easy Walk harness has garnered the trust and love of millions of pet enthusiasts and trainers. Its design prioritizes comfort, offering minimal coverage, ensuring it's lightweight and breathable. Unlike traditional harnesses that can cause choking, this one rests on the dog's chest, eliminating any risk of gagging.

The harness is user-friendly, with quick-snap shoulder straps and a distinctively colored belly strap for easy wear. PetSafe, a globally recognized brand since 1998, assures quality and offers dedicated U.S.-based customer care for any queries, emphasizing the well-being and happiness of your pet.

4. BARKBAY No Pull Dog Harness - $26.99

The BARKBAY No Pull Dog Harness is another great choice for owners who want to run with larger dogs.

Made from durable, rip-resistant nylon and complemented with anti-chafe padding, it's ideal for dogs that tend to pull, the front-leading ring offers enhanced control, training them to curb this behavior, while the D-ring at the back ensures relaxed strolls.

Its unique design, featuring four adjustment points, ensures a near-perfect fit, making it easy to slip on and secure. Safety is paramount with luminous reflective strips ensuring visibility during nighttime outings. A robust back handle provides added control, and the broad padded vest design ensures comfort, preventing potential neck and spine injuries.

This high-quality dog harness boasts multiple features like a sturdy top handle, reflective stitching, durable buckles, and two metal leash attachment points. Its breathable mesh lining ensures comfort, while the weatherproof material guarantees durability across seasons. With the BARKBAY harness, every outing becomes a comfortable and controlled adventure.

5. rabbitgoo Escape Proof Dog Harness - $27.99

And lastly, there's the rabbitgoo Escape Proof Dog Harness, which stands out with its large top handle, offering enhanced control and support. While it's a great choice for large dogs that may require a bit more control on your runs - especially if you want to try out a hands-free leash when you do - this handle also makes it great for smaller breeds or dogs with disabilities that you may actually want to pick up at times.

With five adjustable straps, this harness also ensures a customized fit, maximizing mobility while ensuring growth space. The harness's breathable padded air mesh guarantees comfort during extended activities, while soft sponges minimize skin friction.

It's also worht noting that all of this extra control doesn't make for a harness that is overly cumbersome or restrictive. Your pup should have no problem running around like htey usually do.

Constructed with heavy-duty polyester webbing, it promises durability and safety. The back metal D-ring ensures effective no-pull control, and the reflective strips enhance visibility during nighttime outings. Unique to this harness is its escape-proof design, with three straps on the chest and belly, making it perfect for larger breeds or particularly active dogs.

Its waterproof fabric ensures adaptability across environments, and the padded chest plate distributes pressure evenly, preventing choking. With features like reflective trims and anti-slipping panels, this harness ensures your dog's safety, whether they're a seasoned adventurer or a master escape artist.

Use a Hands-Free Leash and Harness the Next Time You and Your Dog Go for a Run

If you’re in the market for a hands-free dog running leash, the most important factor to consider is the size of your dog. Generally, the larger they are, the shorter you want the leash. Obviously, you still need some space between you and your pup, but too much of it may mean you have to continuously lead your pooch back on the path, which defeats the purpose of buying a “hands-free” leash.

Otherwise, we included enough affordable options above that you can experiment a bit if necessary.

And the same goes for harnesses, too. There's no reason you can't add one of these to your collection of dog running gear to potentially give your pup a more comfortable feel the next time they wan to join you on a jog.

At the end of the day, that experimentation will be 100% worth it. If you’re a runner who has a dog, being able to run with them hands-free is about as good as it gets.

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