If you like running at night, or during low-light conditions such as dusk or dawn, making sure you’re visible with reflective running clothes is something you should never compromise on. Honestly, who hasn’t seen the sun rise on a run and thought, yup super worth starting in the dark?!
While I admit to enjoying the initial cooldown of fall mornings for a run, I don’t love the increasing darkness. Beyond a headlamp to help me see, a big factor in becomes reflective running gear.
I know you love your black workout clothes, so we’re going to find some pieces that aren’t neon, but still reflective!
Wearing reflective clothing helps you stay visible, and safe, helping you enjoy your runs fully.
In this article, you’ll learn all about reflective running gear you can use for 360-degree visibility.
Why Wear Reflective Running Clothes?
If you happen to love running early in the morning, or running late in the evenings, then you’re running during a time when visibility is low.
This makes it absolutely essential to be seen by oncoming traffic so that you’re safe when running.
- Drivers are distracted, so you have to do more to be seen.
- Street lights aren’t always working or available to this improves your visibility.
- Most of this gear looks good and is comfortable anyways, so it’s already serving you well.
Practicing running safety becomes paramount in such situations, and that’s why I always recommend runners look into reflective running gear to ensure safety.
In this article I’ll give you my favorite reflective running clothing from jackets to pants to shirts and more! We’ll also talk about what to look for to help you decide if other gear is worth the investment.
These early morning views get me out of bed. And makes it worth spending a couple minutes to find some gear that helps me be visible when a runner or mountain biker might be headed my way on the trails, not just on the roads.
What to Look for When Picking Reflective Running Clothing
Everyone wants to look good in their running gear, whether it’s reflective or not. When exercising outside, reflective running gear is essential for visibility.
Keep the following factors in mind when picking your reflective running gear:
Lightweight and Breathable
To make a material reflective, micro glass beads designed to respond to incoming light are applied to the surface of the material.
This coating is suitable for most materials, including polyester and spandex, which are frequently used for lightweight running gear.
Adding reflective elements to your running clothes should be a simple change that doesn’t add any noticeable weight.
In the same way, reflective gear doesn’t need to make you extra sweaty. Look for moisture-wicking materials as you normally would when picking running gear.
Features like mesh panels for breathability are always a good idea for added ventilation, especially if you’re running in humid conditions. Reflective running gear can offer 360 degrees of visibility without being a pain to wear during runs.
Type of Material
There are many times of reflective materials. The more common one that we’ve seen people use at construction sites is known as high visibility (hi-vis) material. It utilizes contrasting bright colors to improve visibility from every angle.
The other type of material is made of a high-performance fabric that reflects light from your immediate surroundings.
When the reflective material reflects the light back in their direction, a driver will notice a runner. Remember that it will only work if a light shines on it.
This is Safety Skin stick!
Waterproof or Sweat-Resistant
Reflective materials are frequently waterproof due to their coating. When running outside, you’ll never regret not having a water-resistant hat, jacket, and pants.
Moisture-wicking materials also help you feel less sweaty, making the running experience a lot more enjoyable.
Storage and Other Functions
Some reflective accessories also function as storage. Visibility is important, but safe storage is also important when running outside. Reflective vests can be a great idea in such situations.
Similarly, think of any other function your reflective running gear can wear. Many bands, pants, shirts, beanies, headbands, etc. exist on the market. As runners, we have a ton more options now than decades ago.
Buying reflective running gear that you won’t be able to use in just a few months is never a good idea. Make sure to always buy gear that’s durable and can last through your runs.
Durability doesn’t always mean you have to pay a hefty amount for your gear. Many of the options in this article are affordable for all types of runners, even students working part-time jobs.
I would, though, always recommend focusing on your safety and never compromising on being safe by wearing reflective running gear.
10 Best Reflective Running Clothing Pieces
Let’s go from head to toe with reflective clothing! While many pieces have small bits of reflective stripes, we’re going for a little more full on vision here!
Many of you are not in to neon, so you’ll find the majority of reflective running apparel options here are about the reflection that happens when hit by light, rather than the always visible neon yellow. Though you’ll find some of that too!
Look for ✅ to find things that I’ve loved or have gotten great recommendations on from other runners.
Have tried to list most recent prices, if you see a sale GRAB IT! Good running gear ain’t cheap.
Reflective Headwear for Runners
Morning runners know that a beanie becomes a standard part of the attire for a good portion of the year. I figure if it’s something I know I’ll be wearing then I could make it do double duty.
#1 Cold Weather Beanie- Trailheads Ponytail beanie ($26)
This ponytail hat has a reflective logo and cover stitching to complement the solid black fabric. During dark winter runs, these accents improve your visibility on the road.
#2 Cold Weather Beanie – Nathan Sports Hypernight beanie ($31)
This beanie features reflective graphic detailing for visibility in low-light conditions. It’s lightweight and warm offering 360-degree reflectivity and is the reason why I wear this during winters.
#3 Running Hat – Trailheads White Reflective Running Hat ($24)
When you don’t need warmth, this is great with lots of reflective piping along the edges. It features a white moisture-wicking fabric with silver reflective printing that is intricately designed. It’s a great hat that will keep you safe and visible at night on the trails and roads.
Reflective Jackets for Runners for Runners
Reflective running jackets can run from those that are full on YOU WILL SEE ME to many using high end fabrics to create jackets that look stunning in the daytime and brilliantly bright at night. Thanks to the different things they weave in to the fabric which make it light up when hit by headlights.
Since moving to Colorado I’ve become obsessed with finding great running jackets, they just make life so much easier. Most of these are lighter weight, so you can wear them starting in the fall. Onward with our reflective running clothes.
✅#4 Best Lightweight Jacket- Nathan Hypernight Stealth Jacket ($120)
I had this jacket in white and found myself wearing it a ton, so it only made sense to snag a reflective version for all of my Fall and Spring running. The great thing about it for most of you is that it’s just going to look like a super light black running jacket.
But when headlights hit you then, tada you’re visible!
The loose fit also means that as the temps drop you can layer under it to stay warm and stay visible, so you’ll get a lot of miles out of this.
#5 Most Visible Jacket – Proviz Reflect 360 Jacket ($140)
This is 100% full stop, you can’t miss me. So when you want to leave NOTHING to chance this is your go to jacket.
I’ve previously mentioned another brand that offers something similar, but the jacket is just so thick I never found it breathable to actually run in. Instead with Proviz you’re getting that 360 visibility in a jacket that remains lightweight and will fit better for running.
This company is dedicated to creating reflective gear for sports (you’ll also find pants, shirts, gloves), so the quality is top notch and the gear is high quality to last.
Reflective Running Tights
Reflective leggings tend to have a small piece around the ankle, maybe something along the calf most of the time. I like that these pieces have more reflective hits and yet if you’re simply wearing them around you won’t even realize it’s there!
#6 Best for Winter – New Balance Reflective Heat Tight ($100)
In the daylight these just look like a blue tight with some embellishments, but at night you’re suddenly much more visible than most tights with a tiny stripe across the ankle.
Plus these are a fleece fabric to keep you truly warm on those crisp mornings!
✅#7 Best for Cool Days Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Legging ($128)
Bum sculpting and a phone pocket, BOOM! I truly am a big fan of SB gear because it does fit so well and flatters the body.
If you don’t need a thick tight, but just something comfortable to run in and remain visible these are a winner. I love that in the light they just look like solid black pants. They actually won an award from Women’s Running Magazine this year as well!
Reflective Running Shirts
If you can get your hands on any SeaWheeze running gear before it’s out of stock, you’ll find they have a variety of pieces that are reflective and of course the great Lululemon style we love. Just be willing to pay that exclusive SeaWheeze price…ouch.
#8 Oiselle Firecracker Tank ($62)
So many of you love Oiselle it’s great they have a few pieces that are focused on being reflective. This tank will carry you through a lot of warmer mornings or even some of those race days that start in the dark! Imagine that race photo!
Honestly, it would have been an ideal option when I was training through hot Miami winters.
Available in three colors this looks like any other short sleeve men’s running shirt until the light hits it! This is the kind of thing that I can easily convince my husband to wear and ensure that he isn’t forgetting about safety.
Lightweight, wicking and available from small to 3XL it’s going to work for so many.
#10 Safety Skin Stick ($18)
Ok I know this isn’t reflective running clothing, but it 100% counts as reflective running gear!!
Since most shirts just have the small piping, consider this Safety Skin stick!! Yup, you just swipe it on like you would your glide, but it’s going to make you reflective. You can see it in the photo at the top of this article!
Super cool and I love that this is going to be a viable option for all those running in the heat.
Reflective Arm Bands for Runners
Elasticated bands are an excellent way to improve the reflectiveness of your running gear.
These reflective bands come in a variety of shapes, and sizes, and have many color options. Plus, they can be worn over your existing outfit.
Because the elasticated material ensures a good fit for the majority of users, these pieces of running gear are a universal and affordable way to promote visibility without investing in a new outfit.
#11 Wear With Existing Clothing – Vanor Reflective Band Set ($13)
Reflective bands from YOA are stretchable and visible from up to 700 feet away. Three horizontal stripes run through their design. Two are luminous yellow, one is reflective silver, and all promote visibility.
Because these bands are made of elastic material, they are adaptable to all runners and can be worn on the wrists or ankles.
Reflective Running Vests
If you’d prefer to keep your reflective gear to accessories, then let’s talk about reflective running vests you can pull on over any outfit to keep you safe.
- Nathan Runner Vest – my entire Ragnar team used these multiple years, works great ($30)
- Hypernight Stash Vest – love something that isn’t neon yellow, though that can be a bonus. But also, ya phone pocket!
- NoxGear Visibility Vest (and they have one for the pup!!) – For me this feels like too much, others couldn’t recommend it enough! So see if it’s for you. ($54)
- Amphipod Xinglet – Tiniest option of the bunch, but gets the job done.($29)
Of course these are just some of the base ways you can be visible with reflective clothing!
Is It Safe to Run At Night?
Running at night can be safe as long as you take some precautions. And in fact, it’s necessary for those doing ultra runs or even practicing for night legs of a Ragnar relay.
Run in lit areas if possible and ALWAYS RUN TOWARDS traffic. You need to see them, so you can move if necessary.
In fact, it’s the law for you to run against traffic if using the road.
One of the most common recommendations is that you should run in well-lit areas with lots of people. But as noted for trail runners that may not always possible or you might live outside the city.
SO then we need to focus on doing your best to make sure cars coming the other way can see you.
Even if you are wearing reflective gear when you run at night or in low light, just assume that no one can see you and be aware at all times.
Also, make sure you don’t listen to music that’s so loud that you lose situational awareness. It’s simply too important to be aware of what’s going on around you.
All right, now that you have the options, NO EXCUSES!
Wear your reflective running gear.
Don’t let the dark hold you back from enjoying your runs.
Looking for more reviews to find the best things for your run?
Checkout our full page of my must have running gear reviews and guides to save you time searching and money! I share what’s worked for me and fellow runners, along with what wasn’t worth the price tag.
A few common requests for running accessories:
- Best Running Jackets
- Best running socks (lightweight to compression)
- Best compression tights for runners
- Suunto vs Garmin
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