Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hands Free Hipster Leash Review and Giveaway. And Brrr Baby It's Cold Outside: Not the Best Day to Attempt a Family Run!

It's freezing outside.
Literally. Ok, below freezing now.
It looks like the typical sunny blue sky of a day in Bend, OR so the cold was unexpected. Bend is warning us all that WINTER is COMING.  Probably not the best day to get pictures for this hands-free Hipster Leash that I've been meaning to review.  I've run with it several times but just hadn't had any pictures yet so I attempted (and mostly succeeded) in doing that today.  A couple of things made this run less than ideal for photos:

1.  I only have one glove because I lost the other.  Note to self:  must replace! My hand was so cold!

2.  The kids are off school so we attempted a "family run" where the girls were on a bike and our five-year-old son was bundled up in the stroller.  Um, this did not go so well.  First of all, my son couldn't get over the fact that we asked him to wear a coat with a hood even though he had a new hat on. What?! You can't wear a hooded coat WITH a hat.  His rules.  Since we didn't want him to freeze, we made him wear the coat anyway.  This only made him really mad that he had to go on this stupid run in the first place. Then he was really annoyed that we stopped before the trail to have his dad snap a few staged pictures of a leash...of mom running with a leash...for a blog review...all ridiculous stuff that was spoiling his fun play time in a warm house.  I explained that he had a choice to run himself, ride his bike, or sit in the stroller bundled up.  Giving choices wasn't working.  Then the whining started.  All of them.  Including me.  A chorus of whining.  A half mile into the run and my husband and I gave up and  split up. The plan:  I would take the dog for the first run and then I'd pass the baton and he'd head out when I got home.  That worked for a minute until the dog started tracking his master's (I'm second master) scent and heading home even though I was running the other way.  I'd call...he'd come...we'd run a few strides...and he'd be back to hunting my husband down.  I gave up. I'll run long tomorrow.  Freezing or not.  I can wear a sock on my hand.

Yes, totally staged photo.  A "let's get this shot so I can write this review and start our run already!"   Oh, and I also tried out my Nuun Hydration race shirt today.  You might notice the rather annoyed look on my face.  On the other side of this picture is my husband with the camera and one mad five-year-old (see above).

This brings to me to the running with my dog and Hipster Leash review.

If you would have asked me a year ago if I wanted a dog, I would have said: NOPE.  Nada.  No.  No thank you. I grew up with dogs (that was plenty), love to travel, and just didn't want the added responsibility of a dog to care for.  However, I knew the time was coming where we'd be in our mostly forever house and then we'd have to keep our promise to the kids and get a dog.  We found the PERFECT fit for our family.  I had no idea I'd love a dog this much.  He's bigger than I thought I wanted but he's amazing in every way:
  • Great runner!  He loves running as much as we do...probably more.  A true runner dog.  He will run miles and mile and miles.  His favorite is on the trails where he can be off leash.  He runs laps around us...sprinting in and out of trees, tracking trails, cooling off in the waters, and yet still close enough to listen for our call.  And when we need him to run right next to us, he is quick to listen.
  • Endurance!  
  • Loving.  So so good with the kids!  My middle daughter uses him as a pillow. 
  • So well-trained (he was like that when we got him!)
  • A fun dog.  He loves to swim, play fetch/catch with balls and pine cones.  
  • Faithful and funny.  
  • Loves car rides and rides with his kids to and from school on most days.  
  • Easy to train...smart!  
  • Protective but not mean.  He will bark at the things that are legit and he is loyal loyal!  
Okay, before I start sounding like one of those crazy dog people (at least to those that don't have a dog), I'll skip to the leash part.  For the most part, I prefer to run leash-free but that's not always something that can happen.  For one, if we aren't on trails, it is just plain illegal.  It's not polite IMO...I think unless you're in an area where unleashed dogs are expected and allowed, you should have your dog leashed.  A big black dog running free down the sidewalks of the neighborhood isn't cool.  And even though my dog is a great running partner and good listener, if a squirrel dashes across the street, you bet he will fly after that thing and up the tree after it!  This is no good when there is traffic to run into.  A LEASH is necessary!  

A few things about leashes and running:
  1. They make running awkward .
  2. If you have a big dog who can run three times as fast as you, a leash can be even more awkward if the dog is excited and not wanting to go slow enough for you (this takes training).  
  3. Running is much better HANDS-FREE!  
When I was asked if I wanted to try out and review this hands-free Hipster Leash I was all about it!  Not only am I a new dog owner and excited about new dog gear, but I was really annoyed by my leash.  My only concern with my dog and this leash was that I might get pulled on my face if I used it at the start of a run where he was really excited.  But worth the try.  

After several test runs with this leash, I'd recommend it for:
  • small to medium size dogs.
  • more casual runs where you're main goal is to get out and get you and your dog exercise but not necessarily wanting to go a certain pace or run with the very best form.
  • hikes or brisk walks with your dog.
  • a large dog if the dog is good on a leash and/or older and slower.

Pros and Cons

Pros of the Hipster Leash
  • Hands-Free. It's nice to run, hike, walk, and jog hands-free!
  • Pockets for keys, phone, or other personal items.  The back pocket will fit a phone, gel packs, ID, or other smaller items.
  • An option to pull out a mesh holder for a water bottle or even better with my dog....a ball! Or two!  This is great for when we run a route off trail where there are not pine cones to toss at the dog parks.  
  • Adjustable leash length.
  • Adjustable waist strap.
  • The belt is soft and comfortable and fits nicely around the waist. 
  • Help running up the hills. :)  
The back of the belt.  This pocket olds a phone but not too much more.  The belt is soft and comfortable. looks much like a fanny pack.  Ha!  

Besides the hands-free part, the pouch to hold the ball (two in this picture) or water is my favorite.  This dog and his ball...GAME ON.  I eventually needed to hide the balls so he would actually RUN!  

He says:  "Ok, enough of the stupid pictures...give me my ball!"  

A pocket for keys. Or whatever floats your boat. Notice the one glove.  The other hand froze.   

Where the leash hooks on.  You could even probably turn the leash around and have this on the other side.  

Cons of the Hipster Leash
  • If you want good lean-forward running form, this can be difficult to attain if you have a dog that is pulling you.  For my first few runs with this leash, I found myself digging my heels in a bit and leaning back.  Once we adjusted to the leash, there was less pulling and I was able to have a more relaxed form.  
  • The belt seems to come in one size and I could have used a smaller size to make it tighter.  Also, my oldest daughter wanted to use the leash but it was way too big and wouldn't adjust down any more.  
  • The leash it comes with is rather thin.  I would have liked a thicker leash for my larger dog.  At one point on the trail, he pulled harder to get ahead near another dog and the leash came off the hook where it attaches.  Luckily, my dog just came back when called and I hooked him back up.  
  • The leash is adjustable but it never really gets very long.  
  • I might like to see the attachable leash be made out of a stretchy material that would make for less pulling on the belt.  
  • Having more room in the back pocket might be nice for hikers who want to put a phone AND something else.  

Do you have a dog?  Are you a runner?  Do you have a runner friend who has a dog and you think this would make a good gift??  This might just be a great addition to your Christmas list or birthday ideas. Well, here's a chance to get one to try for free.  Giveaway time!  Gosh, it's been years since I've done a giveaway on this blog.  What's happening?!  

I'll keep it simple.   Goodness knows I hate the song and dance of entering a giveaway.  If you want to enter the giveaway do ONE, SOME or ALL (your choice) of the following and leave a comment so I know you entered. 
  1. Tell me why you want to win a Hipster Leash.  For yourself or someone else.  
  2. Share this review on your blog, fb, twitter, or whatever.  Sharing on social media is obviously better for me as a blogger (for networking, etc.) However, pass the computer across the room to your mom or send to a friend in email even.  Sharing is sharing.  But tell me you did. 
  3. Tell me something funny or interesting.  Like a funny story about your dog.  Or about your dog on a run.  
I'll announce a winner by November 20th! 


  1. I would love to give this leash a try with my running partner, Fred!

  2. I would LOVE to try this! My dog is 80 pounds of love that would prefer to mosey through the neighborhood. She has a thyroid problem and we spend so much money on super healthy food and thyroid meds. I can get her to run about 2-3 miles. My husband took her for a hike and the trails were so perfect for running he took off with her for 8 miles. The next she could barely move and we had to actually put her on pain meds for a week. Lesson learned! Our next dog will hopefully be more of a runner. It's awesome you found your perfect family dog!!

  3. My most faithful running buddy Vera the Half-Vizsla would love to try out this leash if we won this giveaway. My very active pup is equally addicted to running as this dog mom. Never failing to wake me up with a gentle paw to the face reminder to go out and run, she is extremely well behaved and would love to have a place for me to carry her tennis balls while we ran! Vera has trained alongside me on both of my marathon endeavors and we both hope there are more miles to come! Especially if we had a fancy new leash to try out! I am going to share on social media as well!

  4. Definitely going to get myself one of these when I get a dog!

  5. I would love to try this. Heidi does best running with me when I can take her places off leash. I have found running with the leash in my hand really messes up my gait. I'd love to try this one around the hips as I think it would simulate more of a natural running style for me. She is not fast, doesn't pull so I think (?) it could work? Would love to try a different option! Plus I'd like a place for treats, bags, etc. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Anything new for my dogs, while walking/running is great for me.

  7. I run with my kids in a stroller and would love to add our dog to the mix, but my hands are already full...! Perhaps this would be a good option? (If, of course, I can somehow manage to keep the dog and the stroller out of each other's way...) It's worth a try, right? ;)

  8. Normally, when I run with my Vizsla, he is off-leash because we live in a very rural area with plenty of space and visibility. But when we visit cities and towns, it would be great to have something like this to try so I can still run with him and be hands-free. :)

  9. I have a retriever puppy (7 months old). His name is Boston. I plan to start running with him when he hits a year old. But in the meantime I'm working hard to get him trained well, especially leash trained. This would really help getting him used to this kind of leash prior to actually running I think.

  10. Funny story. Since I don't run with him yet when I come home from a run he likes to smell the sweaty bits. I have to change QUICKLY or else his nose is attached to my butt area!!! TMI? Perhaps. haha

  11. PS .. non related but I lOVE LOVE LOVE how honest you are as a blogger and find it incredibly refreshing! The explanation about how this was staged and everyone is getting whiny. That's real life to me. I always look forward to seeing a post pop up in my feed from you.

  12. I already have one so I'm not entering -I just want to say I LOVE YOUR DOG. He is the CUTEST!!!

  13. I actually don't have too many problems running with a leash. I use a hand held one and it works out fine. The only problem that arises is that my dog just doesn't like running that much. He'll just lay down when he's had enough so I generally won't take him. It's just too frustrating.

  14. Great review and honesty about the chaos threw into the day! I would love to try this out with my running partner Angus - who leaps for joy when he sees me lace up. We have worked hard on leash training with him and he does well, but it would be nice to have a more natural arm swing on longer runs especially with marathon training coming up :)

  15. Thanks for an awesome review! I would love to try this with my running companion - German Shepherd - Saba. We got her after losing our first GSD. She helped us cope with the loss of our dear Shen. At the time we got Saba I got into running and started taking her with me. She was a natural and it didn't take her long to learn how to run alongside me. We were devastated when at 10 months old she was diagnosed with EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) and her weight went down to only 35 lbs! She lost her energy and enthusiasm which was just heartbreaking. After 10 months of trying different medications, her condition is stable and she has already gained 30 lbs back. Because EPI is not curable she will have to live with it for the rest of her life but now that she is on medications I have my happy, energetic Saba back. She doesn’t let her condition to stop her. She loves to run! She is ready to go as soon as I get home after work and I could have not asked for a better running companion. Next weekend she will run her first official race with me– Frosty Paws – and I even got her a personalized race bib with her name on it  Enjoy your runs with your dog!

  16. I do not run much myself and when I do I'm scared to take my two year old Boxer along with me due to his excessive amount of energy and need to run super fast and try to pull me along lol. But my little sister is a very dedicated runner and runs every single day rain or shine with her two year old husky hybrid and I think she could really use this hands free leash for her runs with Benny.

  17. Shared this post on my Facebook here: