What Women's Running Pack is for You

8 min read
Ladies, running vests are now made to fit your body, your distance and your experience level. Get the lowdown on which one is best for you. 

When Salomon’s bag designers sat down with women trail runners in recent years to learn more about their race experiences, they were surprised to learn that many of them had a story about abandoning a trail running race simply because they had discomfort from whatever pack they were wearing. The design team thought this was unacceptable, so they went to work to make women’s running vests/packs more, well, female-friendly. 

“In the past, even professional trail running athletes have told us that one of the biggest discomforts during races was abrasions caused by their pack,” says Dorian Treboux, Product Line Manager for Salomon’s Bags category. “We took that into consideration and, back in 2019, started this approach to designing bags specifically for women. Now, for our spring/summer 2021 season, all of our trail running vests are available in specific women’s versions.”

The biggest issue reported by women runners was that many bags cause skin abrasions because they move around while running, so Salomon’s pack developers first set about improving the design shape to better fit women’s bodies. 

“If the bag doesn’t fit your body, it moves a lot and you have injuries because the bag isn’t fixed,” Dorian explains.

The goal for women’s bags is to have something that’s close to the body to prevent it from sliding around while you run or hike.

Dorian Treboux, Product Line Manager for Salomon’s Bags category

The bag design team re-worked the fit for a women’s morphology using Sensift technology, a stretchy and breathable material. While men’s versions use Sensifit on the sides, the women’s bags have additional Sensifit material under the arms, on the sides of the chest and wrapping around to the back under the arms, increasing comfort in areas that have traditionally caused trouble for women runners.


Creating packs that better fit a woman’s body also meant examining the shape of the flasks that hold your water and offering a straw to drink from. The shape of women’s specific flasks was improved to fit under the breast, rather than on the chest as it is positioned in men’s packs. The women’s-specific 500 ml flasks come with a long straw, which should cut down from the top to a length that works for you.

“To determine where to cut your straw on the woman’s flasks, fill them with water, put them in your running vest and see what length of straw makes it comfortable for you to drink,” Dorian explains. “Then cut the straw, keep the valve and filter, and put them back on the end of the straw. They should fit  securely. You don’t want the straw to be too long because it will swing around when you run and be uncomfortable.” 

No matter what type of runner you are—from beginner to expert—and no matter what distance you plan on running, there’s a bag designed for your intentions. Below, we’ve explained the designed use of each bag and some of the fit characteristics to keep in mind. For the spring/summer 2021 season, Salomon offers three running pack models, each in various sizes and each with a women’s specific model.




Before we explain which bag makes the most sense for you, one thing to clear up: the number after the bag name refers to the “liter size” of the bag, not the amount of water carried in the flasks. For example, the Advanced Skin 8 for women holds 8 liters of storage space—meaning that the combined volume of pockets and storage areas on the pack is 8 liters. The more items you want to carry, the more volume you’ll want.

A 5-liter bags is generally enough if you plan to run less than 60 kms, while a 10-liter or 12-liter bag should do the trick for any ultra-distance race, even more than 80 kms, such as the 170 kms (or 100 miles), races like UTMB® in France or Hardrock 100 in the US. Of course, this is all depends on your preferences as a runner. Maybe you want the most lightweight, minimal bag, or maybe you feel more comfortable carrying more items. Let’s look at the Salomon bags in the range for the spring/summer 2021 season.



A racing kit for core runners looking for a fast, light high-performing pack that will save precious seconds in a marathon or ultra-marathon race, Sense Pro packs are available in 10-liter and 5-liter versions for both women and men. (For those who prefer to run with a minimalist pack around their waist, the unisex Sense Pro belt is another option.) The packs in the Sense Pro range feature a totally new, more comfortable design for the spring 2021 season and make it easy to access your trail essentials so you can push on farther and faster. The aforementioned women’s-specific design offers more elastic and more space around the chest, as well as lower hydration pockets for comfort. The women’s soft flasks have a women’s specific design as well, which includes that convenient straw we mentioned (but don’t forget to cut it to the length you prefer). The comfort has been improved by removing pressure points to avoid chaffing and the soft mesh does a great job absorbing and evacuating moisture. Grabbing your essentials is fast and easy thanks to front flask pockets, secure pockets, a voluminous back compartment for your overnight kit and a tunnel pocket all around your body to access running equipment on-the-go. The Sensifit construction is designed to stay closer to your body with light, stretchy material that stays in place and an intuitive adjustment system. Sense Pro sets for men come with two 500 ml (17 oz.) Speed Flasks, which feature a firm plastic bottom so they can be put back in the holster quickly.


A performance kit for core and avid runners who want to improve their finishing time, the Advanced Skin series has one women’s-specific model (the Advanced Skin 8) and two men’s models (Advanced Skin 5 and Advanced Skin 12). Made with stretchy, highly technical fabrics to deliver high performance to a wide variety of runners, the Advanced Skin packs were the first vests with a truly women’s specific design. Like the Sense Pro bags, the Advanced skin packs have a unique shape that places the specific soft flasks below the breasts to eliminate pressure when it is cinched down. The integrated soft flasks also have a unique shape, ensuring complete comfort and balancing your gear evenly while you run. The specific MotionFit design for women uses a two-way stretch chest construction, reducing pressure on the breasts for maximum comfort. The vest’s components are also easy to use, offering different ways to adjust the fit and carry poles and accessories. The ADV skin packs also come with 500 ml standard soft flasks.


Finally, for beginner runners and those who might use their pack for a hike/run adventure, the Active Skin series of vests utilizes fabrics you might find on a backpack, but with a vest construction. The construction was inspired by the packs used by professional trail runners, with moisture wicking materials, soft fabrics and an easy elastic closure system for freedom of movement and comfort no matter how intensely you train or race. It comes with two 500ml (17-ounce) soft flasks that are easy to grasp and a large pocket offers easy access to energy gels.