The collapsible water cup for running is becoming an increasingly popular accessory. In fact, being involved with our local club and having a zero plastic coastline, we recently found ourselves discussing providing these to runners instead of plastic cups, water bottles or even compostable cups.

The Issues Facing Race Organisers

There is more emphasis than ever to protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint. Races are constantly looking at alternatives to their current water solution to ensure that they aren’t:

1. Using more plastic than they need to
2. Littering the race route with discarded bottles

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it in the past. We’ve been so engrossed in our race, we have taken a water bottle at an aid station, drank some, tipped the rest over ourselves and then chucked the bottle to the side of the road. Now, the more responsible amongst us will throw it in the skip, near the skip, or, in smaller races, at the smiley volunteers waiting with their bin liners. Unfortunately, if you miss the chance to dispose if it, or decide to carry it with you, it means that you are either going to discard it in a bush or hang on to it until the next aid station.

When you consider an event like the Manchester, London, Brighton or other big city marathons, you are then confronted with the reality of thousands of plastic bottles or cups being discarded.

Collapsible Cups – The Future of Ultra Races

It is more likely that race organisers will provide water in compostable cups but why not carry our own cups. They are small, compact, fold down to pocket size and, if you are wearing a hydration vest, easy to stow in one of the pockets. Whip it out at the aid station, fill your cup, drink the water and fold it away again.

This is also not a bad plan for those training runs especially when it’s hot. Do you know that village churches have water taps? Think of all the churches you pass on your routes. We can think of two at least that we regularly pass. Fill your cup, take a drink and save yourself the nasty taste from the water that has been jiggling around in your vest bottle.

I recently ran a half marathon in Palma and went to the event expo beforehand. I was lucky enough to pick up this at the bargain price of five euros. I didn’t actually use this collapsible water cup as this race but it came in really handy on a subsequent ultra when I needed a cup for Coca Cola. these aren’t readily available and we did search Amazon for something similar and couldn’t find them.

foldable cup

What Should You Be Looking For?

Many of the big brands such as Salomon and inov-8 actually have a collapsible water cup that is ideal for trail running. Take this example from Salomon:

  • 150ml capacity
  • Bottle loop for easy access
  • Can be used to store your soft flask when empty for space saving on long runs

Check Out Some Examples

There are a few examples of collapsible water cups such as the below on Amazon. There are many to choose from but we recommend choosing something lightweight with a loop for easy access that holds enough to get some fluid in you until the next aid station.

Please note, we do not recommend this as a substitute for your hydration flasks if competing in an ultra, but as an addition to get some fresh water at aid stations. Remember to hydrate properly when running before, during and after your race.


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