There’s something about the darker hours of the day–between evening’s dusk and morning’s dawn–that brings a peculiar kind of peace. These quiet times of day are a favorite amongst writers and inventors, creative geniuses of all varieties. Many athletes, as well, prefer to run while the world sleeps. Reflective running gear will keep you
In the northern hemisphere, the days have just gotten significantly shorter, meaning there’s a greater chance you’re sneaking your workout in while it’s dark, no matter your inclination. If that’s the case, make sure to stock up on the best reflective running gear to suit your style and stay safe on those midnight runs. You might find it comes in handy even during the daytime hours, in limited-visibility conditions like inclement weather or heavy forestry. Stay seen, stay bright!
Brightness alone can’t denote your reflective running gear’s power. Placement matters.
Choosing the Best Reflective Running Gear
Just like buying the best EDC flashlight, brightness matters first and foremost. Your reflective running gear should reflect enough brightness to guarantee your visibility to passing cars and bikes. The purpose of this gear is to keep you safe, so prioritize this factor above all the others in your search.
Brightness alone can’t denote your reflective running gear’s power. Placement matters. “In the pitch dark, reflective gear around your upper body is the most important because it is the biggest/widest part of you and will be the most easily seen,” states Boston-based running coach Anoush Arakelian in an article by Map My Run. “I tend to buy shoes that have a patch of reflective gear so I never even have to think about it. Most tights also have reflective gear around the calf area, which I find valuable for late night/early morning runs as well. The last item I usually have is a headband or hat.”
Now, your reflective running gear can do more work than throwing light. Consider the climate you live in and how your running clothes can suit it. Check the material and construction of each garment wear applicable to add a little extra warmth, or keep it lightweight and moisture wicking.
This is more than a matter of temperature, it’s also one of comfort. If you’re running long distances or typically sensitive to extra weight, then keep your eyes peeled for gear that’ll lighten your load. A heavy headlamp could hold you back!
Climate can also mean precipitation. If you live in a place that rains or snows throughout the year, incorporate a measure of waterproofness into your late night running ensemble. Seek out waterproof ratings where you can find one and adjust to the typical moisture levels unique to where you run.
Reflective running gear runs a very wide range when it comes to price tags. Small investments like reflective bands and handheld mini strobe lights can help your run become leagues safer with a little seed capital. However, if you’re ultra committed to your workout routine and keeping safe on midnight runs, consider throwing down a little more cash to build out a full collection of reflective running gear.
Here’s a fact that might sound silly but certainly proves true–if you feel good in what your workout clothes, you’ll feel better during your workout, which yields more marked results. Many reflective running vests and other goods do the job, but feel dingy like the pinnies we’d wear in gym class. Strike a balance between style and practicality, and watch your workouts come into their own enhanced power.
Reflective Running Gear to Illuminate Your Exercise
Best All Around Vest: Amphipod Xinglet
Offering maximum brightness with the least amount of weight, bulk, or cost, the Amphipod Xinglet keeps you visible to absolutely anything you might encounter on your run. The product specs for this ultra-adjustable vest, which can fit over everything from a summertime tank top to a full winter coat, says it boasts “40% more reflective area than most standard running vests.” Built from durable and bright nylon, this reflective running vest comes equipped with straightforward clips for seamless donning and dismounting. At $35, the Amphipod Xinglet offers a huge bang for your buck. If you buy one thing to stay safe on your runs, buy this.
Brightest Vest: Noxgear Tracer2
Get a little more high-tech with this futuristic piece of reflective running gear from Noxgear. Their Tracer2 has made a huge splash on the market for its many technical advantages, but also for its downright awesome appearance, like a space-age jellyfish is keeping you company on your runs. From a spec standpoint, this piece is both reflective and self-illuminating, “pairing powerful multi-color LED fiber optics with ultra-reflective 3M patterns and fluorescence,” as the product description explains. The Tracer2 promises 360° visibility up to ¼ mile and IP67 rated waterproofness, and 20 hours of LED light on a full charge. A must-have for the most serious night time runners.
Reflective Bands: New Balance Reflective Bands
Make a simple addition to your reflective running gear ensemble by slapping some lightweight reflective bands on your wrists, ankles, or both–if you’re feeling ambitious! The price tag warrants it. Not only are these reliable reflective bands from New Balance appropriately lightweight at 1.4 ounces each–they’re also extremely affordable at under $7 for a pack of two. One size fits most when it comes to these adjustable little helpers, but be sure to take some measurements if you’d like them to fit over a heavier winter coat.
Reflective Running Hat: M Gore-TEX Cap
GOREWEAR crafts some of the best weather repellent gear for those brave enough to face the elements. Their reflective running hat pairs this power with ultimate reflectivity to keep you safe from rain and cars alike. Available in two colors–black and neon yellow–both varieties of this adjustable reflective running gear are lightweight, extremely breathable, durably waterproof and windproof. At $45 it’s a bit of an investment for a simple cap, but then again GOREWEAR gear is anything but simple. Invest in this staple, and it’ll promise to last you for many miles.
Headlamp: BioLite 330 Headlamp
Listen, there’s regular darkness and then there’s advanced darkness. Maybe your midnight run is more Yellowstone National Park than Madison Avenue. If you need the maximum amount of brightness to keep you safe during your jogs, then trade the reflective running cap for a full-on headlamp. Not only will it keep you visible to cars and bikes, but it’ll also light your way to keep you safe from trips and falls. Options abound, but BioLite makes our favorite. That’s because this reflective running gear is lightweight, adjustable, and powerful–with a potential throw up to 330 lumens. The 330 Headlamp is also rechargeable, with customizable options to switch the lighting style between a floodlight and more concentrated beam. Shine on!
Lightweight Reflective Jacket: Nike Windrunner
Reflectivity matters regardless of climate. So does style! Nike, that undeniable GOAT, merges them both with a great lightweight reflective running jacket that’ll keep you cool, seen, and worth seeing. “The Nike Windrunner Jacket gets updated with water-repellent materials and a packable design,” reads the product description. “Vent details at the back and at the chevron help keep you cool when your run heats up.” Its lightweight nature makes this jacket super easy to stash and store if you get too warm as well. Most importantly though, the Nike Windrunner features reflective details across its five colorways. Whether you’re feeling adventurous or conservative when it comes to style, you know you’ll always be safe.
Cold Weather Reflective Jacket: New Balance Reflective Impact Run Winter Jacket
Stay warm and visible in style this winter with New Balance’s recently released Reflective Impact Run Winter Jacket. This sturdy bit of gear comes equipped with wind resistance, warmth and a dropped rear hem for extra coverage, according to its product description. Its athletic fit keeps close to your chest, waist, and hips to keep warmth in while providing appropriate room for seamless movement throughout your workout. Available only in this sleek spruce green color, New Balance’s winter reflective running jacket also boasts an all-over visibility grid to maximize your safety out during the darker hours. It’s a heftier investment at $175, but all that style and substance promises to prove worth it.
Reflective Pants: Smartwool Merino Sport Fleece Tights
Sprinkle in a little extra visibility by selecting running pants with reflective details. Smartwool’s Merino Sport Fleece Running Tights not only offer super-bright inseams both above and below the knees, they also incorporate coveted merino wool into their lining for ultimate temperature and moisture regulation. “Stretchy knit fabric puts soft-brushed merino wool next to skin and durable synthetic outer material against the elements,” reads the product description. In the reviews, customer Steve Dave from Maryland promises these $110 reflective running pants are worth it: “I picked up a pair during the big pre-Thanksgiving sale and have already worn these once. I am in LOVE with them. They are super soft, comfy and warm. I ran 5 miles in 32F weather the day after purchasing them and they did great.”
Reflective Socks: Specialized Soft Air Reflective Tall Socks
Down to the last detail, you can sneak in a bit more visibility by opting for reflective running gear even when it comes to your socks. At the more affordable price tag of just $20, these Specialized Soft Air Reflective Running Socks are on the taller side to peek above your sneaks and give a flash to cars and bikes passing by–here, the reflectiveness comes from these socks’ compression cuff. Built from VaporRize Soft Air yarns, they’re odor-resistant, lightweight, and soft to the touch. “PowerBand mid-foot arch supports the foot and secures the shape and fit where the foot needs it most,” adds the product description, while “Targeted textured zone under forefoot reduces slip.” Check your size to get started off on the right foot.
Strobe Lights: Nathan Strobe Light LED 2 Pack
For the cherry on top, add these mini clip-on lights to complete your reflective running gear ensemble. Standard reflective clothing simply throws a solid light to whatever craft you’re encountering, but these strobe lights from Nathan are sure to catch any entity’s attention. They’re LED, which means they’ll last forever, but they’re also lightweight and affordable. IPX4 Weather resistant with toggle options between steady and strobe, these bright bits of reflective running gear show that power and size can commingle in style.