Here’s some gear to keep you visible when daylight isn’t an option.
As those precious daylight hours dwindle, there’s no reason your running time has to suffer. If you’re heading out in the early morning or after sunset, it’s important to run safely and stay visible to cars, cyclists and even other runners.
“Most people overestimate how visible they are,” says Shari Franklin-Smith, the technical service manager for footwear and apparel with 3M Scotchlite reflective taping. “They think if they can see the car headlights, the car can see them.”
Franklin-Smith says that many people think if they’re wearing light-colored clothes or something with a bit of reflective material, they’ll be seen. But often that’s not the case.
“We’ve done research on how to make things stand out,” says Franklin-Smith. “You want reflective material to outline the human body to help others detect that it’s a person. You also want to mark movement locations like wrists, elbows, knees and ankles to help drivers to detect motion. And you want visibility from all angles—front, back and sides.”
Check out the following gear to help keep you safe after dark.
New Balance 360 Degree Jacket
This jacket (pictured top left) has earned the honor of being 360-Degree Enhanced Visibility Certified by 3M Scotchlite, which makes the reflective taping. New Balance designed the jacket per 3M’s requirements of placing reflectivity on key body movement locations, such as elbows, so drivers can tell that you’re a person and not a street sign. Roll up the Hi-Viz mesh-lined sleeves with a bright pop of color for added visibility. $90, newbalance.com
Nite Beams LED Arm/Leg Bands
With their lighted LED strip and the ability to wear them on your upper arm or lower leg—or both— Nite Beams straps (pictured below) are visible from the front, side and back. Just press the on/off button to a solid or blinking light that can be seen up to 1,400 feet away. Bands come in different sizes and LEDs come in different colors. $20, nitebeams.com
Princeton Tec BYTE Headlamp
Light your way with the super-light BYTE. Weighing a mere 63 grams, this headlamp packs a punch with a Maxbright LED (pictured below) that beams out up to 20 feet, plus a red LED to enhance night vision. Burn time with two AAA batteries is 146 hours. $20, princetontec.com
Nathan Sports Running Sleeves
On warmer runs when you don’t quite need a jacket, these compression running sleeves (pictured below) will help keep you visible—the reflective strip can be seen up to 1,200 feet away. A handy pocket on one sleeve holds small essentials such as a key or ID. Available in two sizes and several colors. $25, nathansports.com
Brooks Nightlife Jacket
With a blend of bright neon and 3M Scotchlite reflectivity, the Nightlife (pictured below) is designed for high visibility from dawn to dusk. This semi-fitted jacket comes in styles for guys and gals with plenty of pockets to stow essentials, including a moisture-proof internal MP3/iPod pocket. $100, brooksrunning.com
GoMotion Sport Runner LiteBelt
Double your visibility after dark with this padded, contoured waist belt (pictured below). It features GoMotion’s adjustable LED light in front that goes from a narrow to wide beam depending on desired brightness—up to 20 feet—and a flashing red taillight in back. Store keys, ID and snacks in two zippered pockets. $65, gomotiongear.com