As we turn back the clocks and get used to dusk arriving at 5 p.m., we have to re-learn how to stay safe while running, walking, and cycling after dark. Luckily, the gear manufacturers have come up with many new and creative solutions for nighttime fitness safety. Here is a guide to some of the latest and greatest reflective gear and lighting options.
• Reflective Apparel: Running stores feature clothes made from light-colored reflective material more likely to catch the light than standard cotton or nylon. Many include reflective piping that lights up when caught by headlights. While shirts are the most popular option, you can also find leggings, pants and shorts enhanced with panels of reflective tape or fabric. Many include reflective piping that lights up when caught by headlights. While shirts are the most popular option, you can also find leggings, pants and shorts enhanced with panels of reflective tape or fabric.
• Vests and Singlets: Vests come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some worn like an overshirt, others attached over your clothes using velcro or straps. Singlets feature lightweight shoulder straps and a belt made from a stretchy woven material. They snap on easily over the chest and can be worn over one layer, many, or next to the skin.
Some vests and singlets feature high-reflective tape, while others have LED lights attached. Popular brands include Brooks, Amphipod, and Nathan. The Tracer 360 vest is fitted with LED lights so powerful they can light your way.
• Hats and Gloves: Two of the most visible parts of your body are your head and hands. And when it’s cold out, a hat and gloves are a must. Choose thermal products that do double duty with reflective fabric, piping, or equipped with LED lighting.
• ID Tags: Should anything happen, you want your identity to be easily known by those trying to hep you. Sports stores carry specially designed ID tags that can be worn on your wrist, around your neck, or attached to your shoes.
• Spurs and Shoe Lights: Like the spurs that cowboys clip on their boots, these horseshoe-shaped clips attach to the backs of your heels, catching the light with each step. There are also small LED lights designed to clip securely on to your shoe laces.
• Arm and Leg Bands: There are all manner of lighting devices that can be attached to the wrists and ankles. Snapbands are perhaps the most popular and easiest to use of all the reflective accessories, snapping easily onto the wrists or ankles.
• Personal Lighting: It’s not just about being seen – you want to see well, too, to prevent stumbling and injury. When it comes to lighting your way, many runners and cyclists prefer headlamps, but there are also knuckle lights and lights that attach to the legs or feet. And if you’re cycling, you’ll want to equip your bike with a headlight and taillight.