The Best Reflective Running Gear of 2021, According to a Running Coach

Stay safe while you break a sweat after dark

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Verywell / Chloe Jeong

If you like running at night or in low-light conditions, being seen should be your top priority. When on the road, it's best to carry a flashlight or put on reflective gear to ensure oncoming traffic can spot you. High-visibility athletic gear usually features bright and neon colors, reflective material, and LED lights.

"Staying safe while running in the dark is about two things—being able to see, and being seen,” says RRCA-certified running coach Heather Jergensen. “If we want to be seen, then the brighter the better. Select running apparel with as much reflective material throughout all garments, as well as light or bright colors.” To be seen from all angles, runners should look for items that offer 360-degree visibility.

Here is the best reflective running gear on the market, according to a running coach.

Our Top Picks
Its unique, multi-color LED light illumination allows you to switch between six different high-visibility color options.
You'll be seen from all angles and up to 1,200 feet away in this neon vest that won't limit your range of motion.
Don't let nightfall deter your daily runs when you have this moisture-wicking headlamp, complete with multiple light settings.
These lightweight, portable safety lights are a subtle way for you to be seen without drawing too much attention.
Keep notifications and your favorite tunes close by while staying hands-free with this reflective phone armband.
Keep your ears warm while staying visible with this unisex beanie pick, detailed with a subtle ring of reflective lines.
Designed with a black under-visor to minimize daytime glare, it transitions to nighttime use with its reflective shade.
Best Reflective Bands:
HiVisible Reflective Bands at Amazon
Wear as many or as few as you want with this set of four reflective bands, which you can sport on your arms, wrists, or ankles.
You're sure to get a lot of use out of this versatile windbreaker, featuring detachable sleeves and three zip pockets.
Best Reflective Tape:
Gear Aid Reflective Tape at Amazon
Customize your running gear with reflective tape—simply cut the patches how you like and stick them onto your jacket or shoes.

Best Vest: Noxgear Tracer360 Illuminated, Reflective Vest

Noxgear Tracer360 Illuminated, Reflective Vest
Pros
  • Very high visibility

  • 360-degree illumination

  • Adjustable

  • Sweat- and water-resistant

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not easy to clean

With a combination of 360-degree illumination, reflectivity, and fluorescence, the Tracer360 vest offers outstanding visibility. Its unique LED light illumination can switch between multiple high-visibility color options and flashing modes with the touch of a button. The unique X shape of the lights provides visibility from over a quarter-mile in all directions.

Made of a lightweight and breathable mesh, this vest allows for a full range of motion and is also designed to be sweat- and water-resistant. The straps are adjustable, so the vest can be shared among people of different sizes and can fit over bulky clothing.

Best Budget Vest: Nathan Streak Reflective Vest

Nathan Streak Reflective Vest
Pros
  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Affordable

  • 360-degree visibility

  • Adjustable

Cons
  • Fits small

  • Reflective area is small

With 360-degree visibility at distances of up to 1,200 feet, the Nathan Streak Reflective Vest offers excellent visibility at a low price. Featuring a neon yellow exterior, it has reflective strips on the shoulder and reflective patches on the chest, back, and waist. It's crafted with a lightweight, breathable mesh fabric to keep you comfortable during your workout.

The vest can be adjusted for an optimal fit, and because it's light and compact, it can be stashed in a small backpack or running belt during your run and put on when you need it.

Best Headlamp: BioLite Lumen No-Bounce Headlamp

BioLite HeadLamp 330 Lumen
Pros
  • Very bright

  • Doesn’t bounce or slip

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Good battery life

Cons
  • Small power button

  • Not easy to wash

A must-have item if you run in the dark, a headlamp keeps you visible to oncoming traffic and also helps you see what’s in front of you. The BioLite HeadLamp 330 lumens bulb is extremely powerful, with a max output of 330 lumens, and also includes red night vision.

Made with an ultra-thin band, it has a slim profile and sits on your forehead without bouncing or slipping. The band is also made with moisture-wicking Lyrica to keep your head dry and comfortable. Easy-adjust clips offer a perfect fit every time, and runners appreciate the tilting front panel, lightweight feel, and rechargeable, 40-hour battery.

Best Clip-on Lights: Whole Human LED Safety Lights – 2 Pack

Whole Human LED Safety Lights
Pros
  • Extremely bright

  • Lightweight

  • Secure hold

  • Three lighting modes

Cons
  • Not easy to change batteries

  • May not clip to very thick material

These lightweight, super-bright lights will help you stay safe and visible when you’re running after dark. They come with five high-powered LEDs per light and feature three different lighting modes—steady, slow flash, or fast flash. With the strong, no-slip clip, you can securely attach them to your belt, shoelaces, bike, running gear, helmet, dog collar, or clothes.

You can also use the included elastic Velcro straps to fasten them around your arms or ankles. They come with two sets of high-capacity batteries and a mini-screwdriver for easy battery replacement.

Best Phone Armband: Tribe Reflective Phone Armband

Tribe Reflective Running Phone Holder
Pros
  • Comfortable phone storage

  • Adjustable

  • Breathable

  • Water- and sweat-resistant

Cons
  • Not easy to remove phone

  • May not work for large phones

In the case of an emergency, it’s always a smart idea to carry your phone when you’re running, especially at night or early in the morning. This phone armband serves a dual purpose, giving you a place to comfortably store your phone while making you more visible to oncoming traffic.

It’s coated with a patented nano-sheen, reflective material that increases your visibility in low-light conditions. Made with a premium blend of Lycra and neoprene, the armband is comfortable, breathable, and adjustable, so you get a perfect fit.

Best Winter Running Hat: Tough Headwear Skull Cap Running Beanie

Pros
  • 360-degree reflectivity

  • Soft and comfortable

  • Fits a wide range of head sizes

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Not good for extreme conditions

With a ring of reflective lines around it, this beanie hat will help you stay visible at night, while also keeping your head warm. It has a brushed thermal lining that retains heat and a breathable outer layer that wicks away sweat.

Made with a blend of stretchy polyester and spandex, it comfortably fits all head sizes—making it suitable for men and women.

Best Visor: Headsweats Reflective Visor

Headsweats Reflective Visor
Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Machine washable

  • Keeps sweat out of eyes

  • Durable

Cons
  • May not work for very large heads

  • Not adjustable

When the weather doesn't hold up like you expected, a visor can come in handy. It will keep the rain off your face during rainy runs without making your head too hot.

This bright neon yellow option from Headsweats will also make sure that you’re seen when the weather is cloudy and wet. It features reflective piping around the bill for nighttime visibility. The Coolmax polyester shell and terry sweatband help keep you dry and comfortable.

Best Reflective Bands: HiVisible Reflective Bands

HiVisible Reflective Bands
Pros
  • Affordable

  • No limit on range of motion

  • Adjustable

  • 360-degree reflectivity

Cons
  • Not very durable

  • Fit may not work for all sizes

If you’re looking for an affordable, low-tech way to improve your visibility (without worrying about replacing batteries), these reflective bands are an excellent option. The lightweight, comfortable bands offer 360-degree reflectivity and high visibility. Versatile and fully adjustable, they can be strapped on your arms, ankles, or wrists.

You can easily tuck them in your pocket or running belt so you have them when you need them. Each set comes with four bands and a breathable mesh bag for storage.

Best Jacket: BALEAF Men’s Windbreaker

BALEAF Men’s Windbreaker
Pros
  • Breathable

  • Good storage

  • Bright and reflective

  • Windproof

Cons
  • Not waterproof

  • Runs small

With its bright fluorescent yellow color, this jacket already stands out, but the reflective elements on its front and back enhance your visibility even more. It’s also windproof, breathable, and features a ventilation system in the back so you stay dry and comfortable.

The large back pocket and two hand pockets are convenient for stashing essentials such as your phone. The sleeves are also removable, so you can turn it into a vest with a couple of pulls of the zippers.

Best Reflective Tape: Gear Aid Reflective Tape

Gear Aid Reflective Tape
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Easy to cut

  • Washable

  • Doesn’t peel off

Cons
  • No pre-cut shapes

  • Works better for gear than clothing

Reflective tape is a simple, cost-effective way to add more reflectivity to running clothes and gear. This peel-and-stick tape features high-visibility, glass bead technology to help you be seen in low-light conditions. It’s washable, will stick to almost anything, and won’t peel off over time.

Though it comes in a convenient roll, it isn't pre-cut—meaning you'll have to use a pair of scissors to cut it into the shape you need for your next run.

Best Belt: Level Terrain FlipBelt Reflective Running Belt

Level Terrain FlipBelt Reflective Running Belt
Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Secure and comfortable fit

  • Machine washable

  • Great storage

Cons
  • May run big

  • Not waterproof

This super popular running belt is not only a comfortable and convenient way to carry essentials on the run, but it also helps you be seen by oncoming cars in the early morning and at night.

Made with moisture-wicking, stretchy fabric and ultra-reflective 3M materials, the belt fits securely and comfortably around your waist without bouncing and fits over clothing for maximum reflectiveness. 

Best Socks: Balega Enduro Reflective V-Tech Quarter Socks

Balega Enduro V-Tech Quarter Reflective Socks
Pros
  • No limit on range of motion

  • Breathable

  • Comfortable

  • Moisture-wicking fabric

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Must air dry

Wearing socks when running will help keep your feet comfortable and blister-free, but these Balega quarter socks offer the added benefit of safety. They’re made of material with glass refractive beads to help provide high visibility reflection when running in low light conditions. Plus, they feature Balega’s proprietary Drynamix moisture-wicking fibers to keep your feet cool and dry.

Like all Balega socks, they have a hand-linked seamless toe that eliminates friction and prevents blister across the top of the foot. The V-Tech Arch Support System provides a comfortable, snug fit along the arch, while extra cushioning on the heel helps with impact resistance. These socks are perfect for runners who want to add more visibility without sacrificing comfort and performance.

Best Laces: Nathan Reflective Run Laces

Nathan Reflective Run Laces
Pros
  • Inexpensive

  • Convenient

  • Durable

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Small amount of reflectivity

  • Can’t quickly swap

When it comes to reflective gear, even small areas of visibility can make a big difference. These durable, reflective laces from Nathan are one more way that you can make yourself seen to oncoming cars. Drivers will notice you as the light reflects off your laces while you’re moving.  

The unique no-tie fastening system allows you to easily adjust your laces and keeps them secure, so you don’t have to worry about stopping to tie your shoes during a nighttime run. Available in five different colors, the Reflective Run Laces are ideal for runners who want to add more visibility, from head to toe, to keep themselves as safe as possible in low-light conditions.

Final Verdict

Extremely versatile, functional, and comfortable, the Noxgear Tracer360 vest (view at Amazon) is an ideal choice for staying visible and safe during runs in low-light conditions. The LED light illumination is extremely bright and has plenty of settings, including flashing ones, to make sure runners are seen. It also allows for a full range of motion and fits over all types of clothes, so it can be used in warm, cold, or rainy conditions.

What to Look for in Reflective Running Gear

Reflectivity

When it comes to reflective apparel, you’ll want to choose items that prioritize the largest parts of your body. “Your upper body specifically is the most important because it's the biggest, most visible surface,” says Matt Scarfo, a NASM-certified personal trainer, and running coach. “This is where reflective running shirts, jackets, and hoodies come into play.”

Once that's covered, however, it's crucial to make other parts of your body reflective, as well. If you’re running in low-light conditions, try to have at least a small amount of reflective material on every body part. Runners should wear reflectivity on all sides of their bodies so that cars can see them from every direction.  

“Shoes, socks, shorts, pants or leggings, gloves, and hats or headbands with reflectivity are all relatively easy pieces of gear to acquire,” says Scarfo. “While it may seem like going overboard, it's always safer to be as visible as possible to passing cars or bikes when running in low light.” 

Lights

Wearing or carrying lights, whether steady or flashing, will help you be visible and can also light the way for you. Unlike reflective material, lights will be seen even when headlights aren’t pointed at them.

“A good headlamp will help you avoid obstacles in front of you,” Jergensen says. “Adding additional lights to parts of your body that are moving will help identify you as a moving object instead of an inanimate object.”

Look for lights that are easy to securely attach to a body part or clothing, or are comfortable to hold. A good battery life is also important because you don’t want to be constantly recharging or worrying about your light shutting off in the middle of a run.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it safe to run at night?

    Running at night can be safe, as long as you follow certain precautions such as running in well-populated, well-lit areas and doing your best to make sure oncoming cars can see you.

    “When running at night or in low light conditions, just assume that no one can see you, regardless of the reflective gear you may have on, and be aware at all times,” says Steve Stonehouse, a USATF certified running coach and director of education for STRIDE, an indoor running studio franchise. “I also suggest no headphones. It’s just too important to be able to hear what’s going on around you.”

  • What are the three classes of high-visibility clothing?

    The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) defines three types of high visibility clothing including Type O (off-road), Type R (roadway), and Type P (public safety).

    Type O provides the lowest amount of visibility and may be used in off-road situations where there is still moving equipment. Type R garments are for occupational workers exposed to roadway traffic. Personnel working with other potential hazards—like police, EMS, and firefighters—should wear Type P clothing, which offers the highest level of visibility.

    These three types of clothing help users and employers choose proper garments for the work environment and tasks conducted while on the job.

  • Is it better to run at night or in the morning?

    Running at night or in the morning both have their pros and cons, and the case can be made for either time being optimal for working out. Research has pointed to the optimal time for exercise to be late afternoon to early evening, so some runners may find they prefer better when running in the evening. However, you may find that you’ll be more motivated to run and keep up a running habit if you run in the a.m.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a marathon runner and running coach, Christine Luff has researched and recommended lots of reflective gear, as well as personally tested them during her early morning and evening runs.

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2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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