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Best Reflective Running Gear for Night Runs

Reflective running gear is as important to your night running wardrobe as your running shoes. It’s your responsibility to be as visible as possible when you run at night or in any situation where surrounding visibility is compromised—this includes during blizzards, rain, and fog.

This article covers the best reflective running gear for night runs. Our list includes types of night running products to consider along with gear recommendations, including:

  • Best reflective running clothes for women
  • Runner’s light-up vests
  • Reflective caps and beanies
  • Reflective gear for jogging strollers
  • FAQs

Reflective Running Clothes for Women

women wearing reflective running gear at night

A labyrinth of women’s reflective running clothes is available online and in stores. Knowing what works best for your nighttime runs can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some suggestions:

Run Visible Thermal Convertible Jacket

The Run Visible Thermal Convertible Jacket is the star of Brooks’ reflective running gear collection. Its capabilities leave no question as to why.

Top Features:

  • Retroreflective panels on chest, elbows, wrists, shoulders, and waist
  • Fluorescent coloring
  • Zipper hand pockets
  • Rain and wind-resistant material
  • Tuck-away hood
  • Can fold into a vest while maintaining maximum visibility

For runners who want other options from the same collection, Brooks’ Run Visible ½ Zip and Thermal Hoodie provide the similar reflective capabilities as the convertible jacket with different design elements.

Reflective Running Leggings

Reflective running leggings speckle reflective panels on areas with a lot of movement, making them more effective and noticeable.

Brooks’ Run Visible Thermal Tights
These charcoal leggings have front and back reflective panels on the ankles, thighs, and hips. High-visibility fluorescent yellow wraps around the ankles.

ADIDAS Fast Impact Reflect X-City Running Leggings
These highly visible sky blue leggings have reflective patterns covering the calves and thighs. 

Old Navy Activewear Leggings + Reflective Tape
Use reflective tape and some DIY magic to convert a $20 pair of leggings (with pockets!) into a pedestal of night running safety.

Reflective Running Vests

A reflective running vest is nice because it transforms any outfit into reflective night clothing. When browsing reflective running vests, look for mesh and lightweight material.

Here are some top-choice running vests:

The Nathan Streak reflective vest is the most popular choice among runners today! Its form-fitting shape is flexible enough to allow a full range of motion. Runners are guaranteed visibility up to 1,200 feet and 360-degree reflectivity.

GoxRunx reflective running vest is composed of 100% polyester mesh that makes for a breathable and comfortable vest. Included in the pack are 2 reflective running vests that are visible from up to 800 feet.

Uline general purpose hi-vis safety vest has striping that boosts its visibility. The elastic side is flexible enough to fit up to an XL size.

Our Favorite Brands for Reflective Running Clothes for Women

Runner’s Light-up Vests

The best light-up running vests have front and back lighting along with reflective material on the fabric.

LED Light Vest

3 women wearing the led light vest and belt
Runners sport Kowalczyk's LED Light Vest (left) and Fuel Belt Light (right) at the start of a trail run in Marquette, MI.

Gary Kowalczyk was pulled over by a city police officer while wearing his homemade LED Light Vest during a night run. The impressed officer declared he could see him 3 miles down the road! That’s when Gary decided to make his invention available to all.

The LED Light Vest was designed to save lives by alerting cars a runner or walker is up ahead long before headlights do.

Top Features

  • 2 rows of white LED lights on the front
  • 2 rows of red lights on the back
  • Switch between on and flashing light modes
  • Large reflective panel on front torso
  • Zipper pouch storage
  • High-power rechargeable battery
  • Lightweight/weatherproof
  • Path illumination

I committed to the LED Light Vest when long training runs and motherhood forced my workouts to occur after dark. Safety aside, my favorite thing about this vest is it illuminates the area around me so I can see tripping hazards (and dog poo!).

Tracer2 LED Safety Vest

The Tracer2 LED Safety Vest earns applause as one of the most comfortable and practically weightless light-up vests out there.

Top Features:

  • Reflective, fluorescent yellow belt clips comfortably around your chest
  • LED fiber optic lights loop around your shoulders to provide front and back visibility
  • 8 light color modes, including flashing and duel blends
  • USB rechargeable battery
  • All-season durability

Browse the Selection for Runner’s Light-up Vests

Running Headlamps

Headlamps can cost between $15 and $150. The list below is priced lowest to highest to give you an idea of what features you can expect in similar-priced headlamps across all brands.

Here are some running headlamps to consider:

PTECH Byte Headlamp (about $20)

The inexpensive PTECH Byte headlamp includes the minimal features you’d want in any gadget.

Top Features:

  • 3 light modes (high beam, medium, and red)
  • Easy-to-reach button to switch between light modes
  • Adjustable, elastic headband hugs your head comfortably
  • Battery-powered (2 AAA batteries required)

Everlyte Headlamp (about $40)

The Everlyte headlamp subs the bulky lantern on top of your head for a minimalistic LED light strip that illuminates the length of your forehead.

Top Features:

  • 5 light modes, including strobe (red light not included)
  • Wave On/Off motion sensor
  • USB rechargeable battery
  • Additional side light
  • Waterproof and impact resistant
  • Lightweight adjustable headband

LEDLENSER H7R Signature Headlamp ($84)

The LEDLENSER’s H7R Signature Headlamp holds steady on your head with a third strap spanning down the center of the headband.

Top Features:

  • 6 light modes, including blink, strobe, and S.O.S. (red light not included)
  • Customize light settings with Bluetooth connections and the LEDLENSER app
  • Can tilt the light up and down
  • Rechargeable battery with a magnetic charging system
  • Dust and water protection

The LEDLENSER brand is one of the most advanced headlamps you can get. If bells and whistles excite you, your preferred headlamps will be in the $50+ range. If you’re looking for the no-frills standard, you shouldn’t need to pay more than $25 for a reliable headlamp.

Browse Headlamps for Runners

Reflective Hats and Beanies

Wearing a reflective hat gives your head a 360-degree fighting chance against low-lit surroundings.

Reflective Beanie Hats

ProViz Reflect360 Collection is a fan favorite thanks to its  REFLECT360 reflective yarn. 

Carhartt knit reflective patch beanie is a reliable headwear popular among runners and non-runners. It has a soft, rib-knit yarn along with a 3M™ reflective patch logo on the front.

Nathan HyperNight Reflective ponytail beanie features a special slot for long-haired runners. The reflective graphic with the elastic material makes up for an instantly recognizable beanie.

Reflective beanies on Amazon feature the most popular choices for every budget. If you’re not picky about the band, there are generic beanies that can give recognizable names a run for their money.

Reflective/Light-up Baseball Caps

Nathan Reflective Quick Stash Run Hat is made up of soft mesh that wicks away sweat. If that’s not enough, there are hidden pockets you can fill with ice to keep cool. 

The Sprints reflective hat collection is a great selection of hats with fun designs without sacrificing comfort. 

A functional reflective folding outdoor hat from Amazon may seem too good to be true. But, it promises a few unique features that will sway you. Aside from the usual reflectivity specs, it has a foldable brim for easy storage and offers UPF50+ UV protection for those day runs. Talk about versatility!

Reflective Running Gear for Jogging Strollers

bike light attached to jogging stroller handlebar
A bike light works just as well on a jogging stroller as on a bicycle.

Preparing your running stroller for night running increases your area of visibility and extends safety measures to the precious cargo cuddled inside.

How to Make Your Jogging Stroller Visible at Night

Salzmann reflective panels
These fluorescent panels are made with 3M retroreflective Scotchlite material and can be attached in multiple places on a jogger’s frame. Sold in packs of 2 and 4.

Retroreflective tape
A role of reflective tape is inexpensive and allows you to mark your stroller (and clothes) to the extent you see fit. Place long strips of tape along the frame, canopy, front, and undercarriage of your jogging stroller.

Bike lights
Bike lights with an adjustable strap work just as well on a jogging stroller. Battery-powered lights get ridiculed for their short lifespan, so look for USB rechargeable lights.

The BOB Revolutions FLEX – LUNAR stroller
The first of its kind, the FLEX LUNAR has reflective fabric built into its canopy and undercarriage to make the jogging stroller highly visible in low-light conditions.

Reflective Running Gear FAQs

What is the Difference between High-visibility and Reflective Clothing?

High-visibility clothing grabs attention with bright coloring and patterns. Unfortunately, these loud colors mean nothing when you’re running in the dark.

Reflective (or retroreflective) clothing is made with material that reflects light back to the source, like impending headlights. This makes you conspicuously visible much sooner to approaching motorists.

high-visibility vs reflective running gear

It’s tricky to determine if clothing has reflective capabilities, especially when searching online. High-visibility clothing includes jackets, shirts, and tights with cool, abstract designs in bright colors. Proper reflective clothing has silver panels, dashes, or designs that act as the reflective aspect.

Never assume high-visibility clothing can replace reflective material.

Which Colors Have the Highest Visibility?

From nighttime roadwork to nighttime workouts, these hues have been proven to radiate the highest visibility:

  • Bright green
  • Fluorescent yellow
  • Neon orange

How Do I Determine the Quality of Reflective Gear?

When you’re comparing a $9 reflective running vest on Amazon to a $30 Nathan brand vest, it helps to know which features to look for to guarantee you get your money’s worth.

Features to Consider When Buying Night Running Gear

  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Warmth (if running in cold climates)
  • Breathability
  • Adjustable strap (for vests and headlamps) or drawstring (for hats)
  • Retroreflective panels or material
  • Rechargeable (USB charging is favored over changing batteries)
  • Battery lifespan (if lights are involved)
  • Lightweight
  • Placement of reflective panels

I love sporting the Brooks or Under Armour logo as much as the next runner, but these brands tend to give us unsponsored athletes a bit of sticker shock.

You can find reflective vests, fluorescent sweatshirts, solid headlamps, and lights for a fraction of the price on Amazon or at Walmart.

I found the fluorescent reflective sweatshirt I wear while night running for $20 at an army surplus store! Don’t be shy about searching around and finding your own bargains.

Where Should Reflective Panels Be Placed on Clothing?

The most effective locations for reflective panels are on the outer parts of your body that move a lot while you run, such as:

  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Torso

Covering the front and back of your torso maximizes your visibility by spanning a larger surface area.

What About Lights for My Shoes?

In truth, the reflective capabilities of your shoes aren’t as noticeable to motorists as the rest of your body. Although they do a lot of movement, shoes are low to the ground and are easily missed. Focus your visibility efforts where average sightlines fall.

woman wearing LED light vest in Barrow, AK
Woman wears her highly visible LED Light Vest in Barrow, AK, where it is dark for several months at a time.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you had the right of way at an intersection or you were running on road’s shoulder. Being hit by a vehicle because the driver couldn’t see you is going to cost you a lot more than you’ll gain from any lawsuit.

If you’re running at night, don’t cut any corners when it comes to making yourself as visible as possible with reflective running gear. Wear the flashy arm cuffs, invest in an LED light-up vest, and let the world know you’re there—especially in the dark.

See you out there!

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