Finding time to exercise amidst a hectic lifestyle can be difficult. A gym membership can add up fast, meal prep can be a pain, and planning out a regimen without any prior knowledge can be a brutal process. But, one of the world’s most accessible health and wellness exercises is always at your disposal, regardless of the time of day, or how many minutes you can commit.
While running has an immensely-low bar for entry, there are still a handful of inhibitors that can keep you from making meaningful progress. Between long hours at work, managing your social life, and partaking in everyday tasks, it might seem impossible to get the cardio workout that you so desperately need. So, for many, running at night has become a way of life. Unfortunately, heading out for a quick jaunt during the darker hours of the day also comes with a handful of downsides, including reduced visibility, dangerous motorists, and differing terrain that can dispatch you in a matter of seconds. Below, we’ve outlined a selection of the industry’s most trusted gear for those shadowy hours, helping you to remain cognizant, visible, and vigilant while enjoying one of your favorite pastimes.
Stance OG Bike Crew Sock
Whether or not the Stance OG Bike Crew sock is made for cycling is irrelevant here; instead, we chose this comfortable, great-looking sock due to its reflective merit. When running at night, your entire torso is in motion, with the most visible, and chaotic limbs belonging to your lower body. With these lightweight, performance mesh foot protectors, you’ll be able to remain relatively noticeable thanks to a series of reflective logos. And with a cushioned construction, reinforced toe, and heel, and the company’s revered FEEL360 Technology, you’re sure to enjoy the OG’s performance-oriented improvements, as well.
Nathan Nightfall Vest
Reflective vests are an essential piece of gear for your nocturnal running adventures, and when it comes to unparalleled visibility without a huge price tag, Nathan’s Nightfall peripheral does a fantastic job. Thanks to 1,200-foot visibility and 360-degree reflectivity, the Nightfall vest will keep you illuminated for oncoming traffic from a significant distance away, notifying them of your presence well before they make their approach. Like many of the industry’s alternative offerings, Nathan’s reflective variant is lightweight, breathable, and ready for any early morning/late night endeavor.
Nathan Reflective Headband
Next up is Nathan’s Reflective Headband, a stylish, functional accessory that was devised to keep you undoubtedly visible during the day’s darkest hours, while providing exceptional warmth in the process. Constructed with comfortable midweight fleece, this soft spandex/polyester peripheral is a must-have for any runner who’s looking to take on the earliest hours, the latest nights, and the coldest temperatures while putting safety at the forefront.
BoldBrite LED Reflective Belt
BoldBrite’s LED Reflective Belt is an essential item for those ultra-dark scenarios when you need to remain visible, even in the absence of surrounding light. Thanks to the peripheral’s 360-degree LED and highly-reflective elastic strap, runners are privy to one of the most versatile safety accessories on the market, allowing users to utilize a fast blinking, slow blinking, or solid light strand to keep themselves illuminated. Each belt promises over 45 hours of use, making it a go-to item for hikers, campers, cyclists, and runners who are looking to take advantage of the day’s cooler hours.
Nobody said that protective and proactive gear had to be unattractive, and thanks to Ciele’s GOCap, that’s become abundantly clear. This standard head accessory was created to bridge the gap between purposeful gear and everyday adornment, thanks to its subtle design, race-proven pedigree, and reflective TPU Ciele Grip label. It’s lightweight, extremely noticeable at the darkest hours of the day, and even includes the company’s revered COOLwick mesh to keep you comfortable and perspiration free throughout the day.
Lululemon Resolute Runner Gloves
Lululemon is no stranger to minimalistic athletic attire, and with the company’s Resolute Runner Gloves, you’ll be exposed to some of the industry’s finest textiles, while also remaining visible to others. Each glove is crafted with the utmost attention to detail, which means tech-friendly fingers for your essential smart devices, a stylish snap system to keep them secure, even when not adorned, and reflective detailing to keep you visible as you traverse the urban landscape.
BioLite HeadLamp 330
Few reflective peripherals can trounce the importance of a capable head or waist lamp, and with BioLite’s HeadLamp 330, to say that you’ll be the most luminant thing on the roadway would be an understatement. The company’s proprietary 3D SlimFit construction and slimline profile offer runners the ultimate in comfort and flush fitment, while keeping annoyances like bouncing and slippage to a minimum. Plus, the headband’s moisture-wicking fabric is perfect for those who perspire overzealously, keeping you focused on the road ahead. Each example comes with a powerful 330-lumen output, Red Night Vision capabilities, a tilting front panel, and a micro USB rechargeable, 40-hour battery, making it easier than ever to illuminate your surroundings.
Amphipod Xinglet Optic Beam Vest
Amphipod’s Xinglet Optic Beam Vest is yet another essential torso item that was built with the modern night runner in mind. It utilizes a unique, visibility-enhancing reflective exterior that’s been adorned with flashing, 360-degree LED illumination, a moisture-resistant design that zips on and off with ease, and reflective booster zones on the front and rear, making you a literal star on the roadway/sidewalk. Each example is fully rechargeable and can operate for up to five hours on flash mode. That, paired with the peripheral’s ultra-lightweight, three-ounce orientation, makes the Amphipod Xinglet Optic Beam an attractive proposition for runners who want to remain visible, without lugging around any unwarranted weight.
ProViz Backpack Cover
If you’re the type who’s geared to the teeth on your morning or nightly run, ProViz’s reflective Backpack Cover is the perfect way to remain visible during the day’s darkest hours. Aside from its intuitive structure, this purposeful peripheral makes use of dual-layer waterproofing, elasticated edges, straps, and stud fasteners, and a light loop for additional illumination, should you feel the need to implement more. Better yet, each example is made with industry-leading REFLECT360 materials, helping to draw drivers’ eyes to your position as you traverse the urban landscape.
The North Face ‘Better Than Naked’ Split Short
If you’re looking for a pair of lightweight running shorts that will aid you in nighttime running, search no further than The North Face’s “Better Than Naked” Split Short. This purpose-built garment is on the cutting edge of the sport’s most comfortable, and functional peripherals, offering runners FlashDry fibers, stretch-mesh panels for increased breathability, and moisture-wicking liners for additional support throughout their route. They even come with a kangaroo pocket on the rear, allowing wearers to stow a moderately sized water bottle for on-the-go hydration. And, as with everything else on this list, a tasteful selection of reflective accents help to keep you visible and illuminated for others.
Brooks Nightlife Long Sleeve
If you’re heading out on your favorite route for the night, Brooks’ Nightlife Long Sleeve is here to keep you protected, warm, and comfortable. This tailor-made garment features a fluorescent, 360-degree silhouette that focuses on critical motion zones during your run, providing a noticeable contrast to your surroundings. On its interior, a DriLayer fabric wicks away sweat and perspiration to keep you moisture-free, while proprietary DriLayer Burst helps to keep unwarranted odors at bay.
Brooks NightLife Running Tight
Brooks’ NightLife line is an essential collection for any would-be nocturnal runner, and with garments like the stylish, purposeful Running Tight, it’s easy to see why. Like the brand’s similarly-named Long Sleeve, this unique peripheral adopts a fluorescent, retroreflective silhouette that’s visible at 360-degrees, helping you to remain visible for oncoming motorists, cyclists, or other pedestrians. Flatlock seams and an organizational right hip zip pocket put comfort and utility at the forefront, allowing you to stow important items, and access them quickly later.
Asics GEL-KAYANO 26 LITE-SHOW
Every nighttime runner needs a great pair of running shoes, and Asics’ lauded GEL-KAYANO 26 LITE-SHOW certainly fit that bill. Aside from being one of the most heavily-praised running shoes on the market, this reflective running sneaker utilizes the company’s ultra-comfortable GEL technology, allowing for high-density shock absorption, a jacquard mesh upper for increased breathability, and a FLYTEFOAM Propel technology to reduce fatigue over long distances. That, paired with Asics’ GUIDANCE TRUSSTIC SYSTEM tech, which brings a new level of torsion and stability to the purposeful peripheral, makes the GEL-KAYANO 26 LITE-SHOW an attractive proposition for those who are looking to take their nocturnal mission to the next level.
UltrAspire Lumen 600 3.0 Waist Light
We round out or list with UltrAspire’s Lumen 600 3.0 Waist Light — an ultra-bright accessory that will keep you visible to oncoming traffic, cyclists, and pedestrians while illuminating your path in even the darkest locales. This patent-pending waist light utilizes an interesting UltrAspire 3D Lighting system to illuminate surfaces and cast shadows across uneven areas, helping you to navigate treacherous potholes, curb cuts, and cracks with ease. Plus, with a 600-lumen output, you’d be hardpressed to find a motorist who wouldn’t see you coming from a mile away. For added utility, the company has introduced a comfortable Race Fit structure with a fatigue-free buckle system made from limited-stretch elastic to promote a more comfortable, and natural breathing pattern — which is essential for lengthy runs.
The 20 Best Running Gadgets
Aside from reflective elements, night runners share a number of similarities with their daytime counterparts. As such, our guide on the best running gadgets is a great resource for the avid exerciser who’s looking to take his cardio-focused game to the next level.