Best Running Reflective Gear
When you get up at the butt crack of dawn like I do (4:30 am) to get your run in. Running in the dark happens more often than it doesn’t. I feel like over the years I’ve really honed in on the best reflective gear for runners. At least what are my favorites and that you really can’t go wrong with!
Why Use Reflective Gear and Lights?
I hope that this is self-explanatory but I just want to go over it a little bit. My big point here is that even if you run 100% on sidewalks you still need reflective gear. Why? Because you cross streets. Also, there are other people out there that are running as well and being visible will keep you from scaring the S*!T out of people. Yes, this has happened to me. Someone was THAT dark on a sidewalk and I didn’t see the person coming. Thankfully I didn’t have an accident on my run this runner scared me so bad.
Back to crossing streets though, unless you are on a trail you will have crosswalks and will need to be visible to cars that are out and about. Yes, I realize that most crossings have street lights but as someone that is overly aware of people crossing the street when I’m driving, it is still extremely hard to see people unless they are lit up adequately!
Basically, don’t get hit by a car or scare the poop out of other people you are sharing the sidewalk with and be more visible! It is a common courtesy.
Brooks RunVisible Collection – Best Reflective Gear Line
This whole collection is really all you need. Brooks did some amazing testing at a super-secret (kinda) 3m testing facility. The super-secret part was that they test stuff for the DOD there. The location, not so secret, at least I don’t think. But, the point is before they got to testing, the amount of research and care they put into this line was amazing.
First, they looked at how human eyes register movement and applied that to where to place the reflective pieces. They also looked at how our human eyes respond to contrasting colors to really make this line some of the most reflective and safest out there on the market right now.
On top of all that research and testing, they did this stuff is the bomb in regards to quality. I expect nothing less of brooks but this is next-level gear! I am a huge fan of it and can’t wait to get some of the carbonite tights!!
My two most used and favorite pieces that I have from the collection for winter running are the Carbonite Hoodie and Carbonite Jacket.
Below here is the Carbonite Hoodie. Super reflective and deceptively warm! The first time I wore it this winter I layered up and definitely overdressed. It is thin, lightweight but really warm! One of my favorite features of this hoodie is the wide bottom hem. It is snug and comfortable and DOESN’T RIDE UP!! Which is a huge win in my book!
Notice that The 3M™ Scotchlite™ Carbon Black Stretch reflective has been placed in “critical motion zones” or those areas that have the most movement such as the hands and elbows. This placement helps drivers’ brains notice that it is a runner in motion when the reflection comes back at them.
Get the hoodie HERE
This is my other current winter favorite. Here in Kansas we usually don’t get SUPER cold. Most of my runs are in the 20 degrees Fahrenheit range and a long sleeve shirt and light windproof jacket will be the perfect combo. This jacket is lightweight, wind, and waterproof from the DriLayer® Seal fabric keeps the elements out. The biggest complaint I would have of this one is when it is warmer it might get a little too warm inside as it doesn’t breathe amazingly.
Just like the Carbonite Hoodie, the Jacket has the 3M™ Scotchlite™ Carbon Black Stretch reflective has been placed in “critical motion zones”. The jacket also has some unique thumb loops if you want to use them but I find the sleeves stay put perfectly with the elastic cuffs.
Get the Jacket here.
NoxGear 360 Tracer
This is a game-changer. If there is one thing you buy for dark running I would say this is it. This is by far the best reflective gear for runners in a single item. This LED vest is lightweight and you really don’t even notice it is there. But man is it bright!
This thing is bright enough that it lights up the ground right in front of my feet which is pretty impressive. The 360 is visible up to a 1/4 mile away in all directions. One of my favorite features is all the different modes it offers! There are 5 multi-color flashing modes and 6 solid color modes. Fit the color to your mood that morning, or to match your outfit. Whatever is your jam, I usually match my outfit in some way lol.
Some other features include 40-hour battery life, all-season durability even in rain and snow, and a reflective chest strap to add to the visibility factor. It comes in 3 different sizes to ensure a comfortable fit for all runners and anyone else on the roads in the dark!
Get the NoxGear Tracer Here
There is so much more out there that is available. For example, a headlamp is pretty useful and on my list. However, I think that these three are the best reflective gear for runners right now and during this season. This summer I’ll do a summer list of my favorites as well!!
Do you have a recommendation for a headlamp for me? What is your favorite reflective gear?
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The Best Reflective Gear for Runners
Dr. Abby Siler, PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist with 10 years of experience in a variety of settings. She has spent the majority of her time treating athletes in orthopedic clinics and worker’s compensation cases. She is a runner herself for the past 15 years and a lifelong athlete. Dr. Abby loves to teach runners how to stay injury free and out of her clinic.