Hydration Part II: Nathan SpeedMax Plus Water Bottle Review

Nathan water bottle

As threatened promised, I bring you a running water bottle review!

I used to use a $5 Mickey Mouse water bottle on my runs, which was just barely the right size and shape to be tenable. Unfortunately I fell on the boardwalk again a couple weeks ago (I KNOW! I’m being more careful, I promise!), and while I was luckily fine, I lost that water bottle in the kerfuffle. I put out a call on my Instagram for suggested replacements, and Nathan’s water bottles rose to the top of the heap.

After perusing the options, I went with the Nathan SpeedMax Plus, at the reasonable price of $25. The insulated model was tempting, but the SpeedMax Plus offers 4 more ounces at 22; I decided that quantity was what mattered to me. (Incidentally, all links are affiliate links.)

Nathan water bottle


The SpeedMax is a fairly hard plastic all over in the actual water bottle portion, and personally I would not find it comfortable to hold for any great length of time. But the trick is in the fabric sleeve it comes in. In addition to providing an open pocket for energy gels and a zippered pocket big enough for keys and ID, the sleeve renders the bottle no-grip. It doesn’t need to be comfortable to hold because you don’t need to hold it at all.

How about when you’re running, though? For me, it’s worked pretty well! I’m able to haul a full 22 ounces of water with me on 10-mile runs with minimal complaints. Don’t make the same mistake I did, though, and forget that the sleeve is adjustable – by tightening or loosening the outside strap, you can customize the fit to your hand. If you don’t, the sleeve will kind of twist around the bottle and create a potential pain point.

Two discrepancies in the Amazon product description: Allegedly there’s a thumbhole too, but I just checked mine and I honestly don’t know what they’re talking about. Admittedly I could be missing something. Please advise if you know!

It also says that the pocket is big enough for phones, but unless you have a flip phone from that 2000s era where the race was on to make the smallest cell phone possible, this is a lie. Yet another reason why running pants with pockets are clutch. (They do offer a model with a phone pocket but I haven’t looked into it.)

I do kinda wish that I had gone with the insulated version, only because things get mighty warm in Puerto Rico mighty quick, but then what is hydration but a numbers game?

Nathan water bottle

One quasi-frequent complaint I saw in reviews is that it can be difficult to suck your water through the cap, which is one of those pull-up-push-down stopper types. While I agree that water does not flow as freely as might be ideal, I find that by squeezing while I suck,* I’m able to extract the water I need.

* Look, I see it too. Just let it go by or I’ll never get that sweet Disney endorsement deal that is surely coming.


Ultimately I’m happy with the Nathan SpeedMax Plus, because it does solve the two biggest water bottle problems I have while running: it enables me to a) to carry a sizable amount of water on long runs while b) retaining comfort for my hands. In subsequent models, however, I do hope Nathan looks at making it a little easier to actually drink that water!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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