Runners know that you have to get your miles in when you can, and between work, errands, and family time, that often means running at night or early in the morning. Running when it’s dark out has its perks, but it is not without risks, which is why it’s worth investing in running safety gear.
If you run in the street to avoid uneven pavement, you might be hard for drivers to see, which increases the risk of a collision. Even if you run on pavement, driveways and crossings can present risks, since most runners don’t like to have to slow down just to get across the street.
Besides traffic, running at night means you might come across unsavory characters, and since running is often a solitary activity, you might feel more unsafe. Women are often victims of harassment while running solo, so to feel safer, there may be additional steps you may want to take to stay safe as a woman.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of gear that can help keep you safe on a night run, much of which can be used in morning, afternoon and evening runs, too. The best running safety gear falls into two camps. There’s gear to keep you visible while running at night, which includes reflective running accessories and running lights, so any cars passing by will be able to see you from a distance.
Besides reflective gear, there’s also self-defense gear to help keep you safe from potential assailants. These include deterrents, such as alarms, as well as nonlethal weapons such as pepper spray. Read on for the best running safety gear you can buy, based on reviews, research and hands-on testing.
1. Birdie Personal Safety Alarm
SPY’s Senior E-Commerce Editor Taylor Galla tested the Birdie alarm, and found that it was more than sufficiently loud for an emergency situation. It’s so loud, in fact, that she “was worried my ears were bleeding while testing it out.” There’s also a bright strobe light. It has an attractive and simple design and is easy to use. Birdie was designed by women and for women, though anyone can of course use it. The only potential drawback is that the key clip style attachment might not be ideal for runners, since most running clothes don’t have belt loops. That said, you can put it in your running belt or clip it somewhere else.
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2. New Balance Reflective Vest
Running has always been at the heart of New Balance’s brand, so it’s no surprise that they make accessories for runners in addition to shoes. This simple vest has a mesh body, so it won’t affect breathability, and it has multiple reflective panels across the front and back of the vest. It has an adjustable fit to accommodate men and women runners.
3. Nathan SaferRun Ripcord Siren Personal Alarm
BEST CLIP-ON ALARM
This alarm comes from Nathan, a brand that specializes in running gear. It’s an affordable option, and is well-suited to running clothes. It has a ripcord so you can activate it with one hand, and if you accidentally trigger it you can push it to silence it. Since it’s designed for runners, it has a clip, rather than a key ring, so it’ll attach to running clothes more easily.
4. Nathan StrobeLight Bundle
Another pick from Nathan is this strobe light set, which comes in a pack of two. If a reflective running vest isn’t high visibility enough, or you just don’t like the way they look, you can attach these strobe lights instead. These lights have clips, meaning they’ll attach to shirts or running belts more easily. They’re a great option if you run with your dogs, too.
5. New Balance Reflective Bands 2 pc
One of the most convenient and affordable ways to ensure you can be seen in the dark is with a reflective band. These, from New Balance, have adjustable straps to fit over your arms while you run. However, they’re somewhat short, so they may not be ideal for wearing over jackets or for people with larger arms.
6. Breathable Cinch-Back Running Hat
There are plenty of stylish accessories that can help up your visibility. Take this baseball cap from Lululemon, which will help keep the sun out of your face on day runs and keep you visible on night runs. It has a reflective strip on the top and down the back of the hat, adding to your visibility.
7. Adidas Own The Run Jacket
Though it’s not the most high-vis option on the list, this stylish jacket from Adidas has a reflective strip across the front to make you easier to see. Paired with other safety gear, such as the lights on this list, this jacket will add extra visibility on cold runs without cramping your style.
8. Sabre Runner Pepper Gel
If you’re particularly concerned about your well-being, or you just want to buy some piece of mind, this pepper spray is designed to be easy to hold in your hand while you run. It’s also affordable and available in a range of colors. To ensure it’ll be ready to go when you need it, it’s advised that you test it outdoors away from others so you don’t accidentally discharge it incorrectly.
9. Amphipod Full-Visibility Reflective Vest
Another vest to consider is this pick from Amphipod, which is made from a breathable mesh with reflective straps throughout to be easily seen while running. Best of all, it has a built-in zippered pocket for storing your essentials, meaning you can leave more room in your running belt.
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