Best Reflective Running Gear in 2018
You have a training plan, a nutrition plan, and a race strategy plan. But do you have a safety plan? Being seen and staying visible in the dark is a must for runners. To help you, we’ve picked out the best reflective running gear available now.
The more reflective gear you wear, the better off you’ll be. Running reflective vests are the most common accessory. Clip-on LEDs and armbands add extra visibility. Headlamps and flashlights help you see as well as be seen by drivers.
We’ve reviewed over 50+ types of reflective gear. Here are our favorites…
Reflective Running Vests
A running vest is the best, most economical way to be safe and visible when running in the dark. A good reflective vest covers a large portion of your body without being heavy and bulky. The best reflective running vests have LED lights or other types of lights for enhanced visibility.
Amphipod Xinglet Lite Reflective Running Vest
The original and best-selling reflective running vest. This lightweight, minimal vest provides 360 degree visibility. It’s adjustable to fit over shirts or heavier jackets.
The material keeps you chaufe-free and lets you move freely. One feature that makes it stand out from cheaper imitations is the silver, reflective patches on the front and back of the vest. These provide a big reflective element in the center of your torso.
Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED Vest
Similar to the Xinglet Lite vest, this version offers a strip of highly visible LED lights on the front and back of the vest. These bright lights add an extra layer of visibility to an already reflective vest.
The LED lights turn on and off with a simple button push. They run on replaceable coin batteries. The LED lights blink in a strobe-effect to make drivers aware of you when running.
Nathan Streak Reflective Vest
The lightweight, mesh Nathan vest offers 360 degree visibility. An adjustable design allows for the perfect fit. Big points of reflective elements ensure you’ll be seen on the road. For extra visibility, the vest has spots to clip on additional LED lights and other types of reflective elements.
For the ultimate in visibility, the Tracer 360 reflective vest offers 360 degrees of visibility using multicolor fiber optic LED lights. Choose changing color schemes or a single solid color. What’s great about these lights is drivers can see you without headlights shining directly on you.
It runs on 3 AAA batteries and lasts up to 40 hours. In addition, reflective detailing adds more visibility to this vest. The vest is weather and sweat proof. It’s minimal design can be worn over t-shirts or heavier clothing.
LED Clip-on Lights
A very basic way to add visibility is with small clip-on LED lights. These can be attached on sleeves, waists, caps – pretty much anywhere. Ideally, you should wear these with a reflective vest. A few vests even have spots to add clip-on lights.
These fun, clip-on LED lights come in a variety of shapes and colors. They offer a flashing LED light built-in to a reflective shape. Vizlets clip on magnetically and can be attached to a hat, shirt collar, sleeve, waist. It’s powered by a small coin battery that can be replaced.
UltrAspire Lumen 115C Clip Light
Like the Vizlet, this light can be clipped on magnetically to your waist, hat, or sleeve. But this light is a bright, headlamp-style light that not only alerts drivers you are on the road, but will light your path as well. The 115 lumen light can be adjusted vertically or horizontally. It provides a wide cone of light and runs on a single AA battery.
Nathan Strobe Light
This is Nathan’s version of the Vizlet. The main difference is there are three LED lights instead of one. But these LEDs aren’t surrounded by reflective details like the Vizlet. Because they have 3 LEDs, they are brighter, allowing you to be seen from further away.
Even better, there are two LED options: completely on or strobe. Strobe makes the two coin batteries last about twice as long, but don’t provide the same level of visibility.
Nathan Lux Strobe RX Safety Light
The LUX Strobe also clips on like the Nathan Strobe but this light has three LED color options and is rechargeable. Beyond full on and strobe effect, this version has more lighting modes including pulse, burst, and RUN. Charge time takes 1.25 hours. Once fully charged, the Lux Strobe light lasts 5-10 hours (depending on mode).
Arm and Ankle Bands
Like clip-on lights, arm and ankle bands offer reflective detail along with LED lighting. Wearing them on your sleeve or leg is a great way to increase the movement of the lights, making you more visible to drivers.
Bseen LED Running Armband
These simple bands can be worn on your arms, ankles, or legs. They have LED lights with two modes: strobe and fully on. They have a stretchy elastic band that can be adjusted for a secure fit.
Amphipod Micro-Light Flashing Armband
The Micro-Light Flashing armband is super lightweight and is fully reflective with LED lights. It’s secured with velcro and is adjustable to nearly any size. The LED lights run on a coin battery that’s easily replaced.
Nathan LightSpur RX Light
This rechargeable band has three color options: red, green, and blue. There are three lighting modes: continuously on, and two types of strobes. Charge time for the LightSpur RX is 3 hours. Once fully charged, it lasts 8-16 hours per charge.
Headlamps serve two purposes. They allow you to see as well as letting drivers see you out there. The downside is that drivers coming up behind you won’t see the headlamp. So these should also be worn in conjunction with a reflective vest or jacket.
Black Diamond Spot
Our all-time favorite headlamp, the Spot by Black Diamond is bright, lightweight, and at $40 is one of the best deals around.
The Spot Headlamp emits a powerful 300 lumens, ensuring you’ll see and be seen in darkness. It dims to 6 lumens to save battery power and can be set on strobe to further save the batteries.
The headlamp runs on 3 AAA batteries and is waterproof up to 80 meters. Powertap technology allows a quick transition from bright to a dimmer setting with a single tap.
Nathan Neutron Fire RX
The run-specific Neutron Fire RX features 200 lumens to light your way plus extra reflective details so drivers can better see you on the road. Side strobe strips on either side of the main light offer three colors that provide additional driver visibility. Even the head strap offers reflective trim.
Unlike the Black Diamond Spot, this headlamp is rechargeable and lasts up to 25 hours per charge.
Petzl Nao Headlamp
This is by no means the cheapest headlamp out there, but it’s by far the brightest and most energy efficient, minimizing the chances that you’ll left on your run without light.
The bright 700 lumen light features exclusive Petz technology called Reactive Lighting. This automatically adjusts the headlamp to your activity, ensuring you’ll have the right type of lighting at the right time. Reactive lighting means that a wide, bright beam is on when you are running. But if you tilt your head up to scan farther ahead, the light brightens automatically.
Like the Neutron Fire, this headlamp is rechargeable and lasts between 1.5 and 15 hours between charges depending on use.
You can also sync the light to a phone app to create custom lighting profiles. Adjust the beam width and brightness to suit your personal needs. You’ll also have an accurate assessment of remaining battery power left with the smartphone app.
Like headlamps, flashlights help you see and be seen. They offer a better way to aim the light – we find it’s always good to aim a flashlight up as cars near you to ensure you’re seen.
Nathan Zephyr Fire 300
By far our favorite running flashlight, this powerful light is rechargable and offers 3 brightness levels. For visibility and to save the battery, there is a strobe option.
The best part of this flashlight is the adjustable hand strap. Once secured, the light sits firmly in your hand but doesn’t require you to grip it. Run with your normal gait and the flashlight stays in your hand.
For added comfort, the light is angled down 24 degrees to offer the best lighting as you run.
The 350 lumen flashlight lasts 5-6 hours per charge in flashlight mode – up to 12 in strobe mode.
UltrAspire Lumen 220 Waist Light Belt
Want hands-free light but don’t like wearing a headlamp? The UltrAspire Waist Light offers a powerful light at sits around your waist instead of your head.
Adjust the light up or down depending on where you want the light to shine. The light runs on 3 AAA batteries and sits in a breathable, mesh housing. The strap adjusts to waist sizes up to 42″.