The masses have spoken, and evening runs (between 6 and 7 p.m. specifically) are the most popular. During the summer, this timing makes sense, as the sun sets later and hopefully some of the day's heat and humidity have waned by then. But, now that we're beyond Daylight Savings Time, the sun is setting long before work ends, and the temperature is dropping quickly.
Outdoor running and biking at night come with a slightly different set of rules than their daytime brethren — especially when it comes to clothes. Now, neon isn’t just a fashion choice; it’s a safety essential. To be spotted by drivers and other athletes alike, you need to think reflectivity, neon, glow-in-the-dark, and lighted accessories. And, with the growing popularity of nighttime-themed raves-cum-races such as the Electric Run, brands have met this increasing demand for visibility-enhancing gear, so you have more options, beyond the basic head lamp and crossing-guard vest.
The other key element to running safely at night is to think numbers, location, and alerts. That means carrying some sort of identification with you (such as an ID band), wrangling friends to join you, or heading out with a run-club group. You may want to look into using worst-case-scenario apps (including the web-based services Kitestring and Hiker Alert) that tell your emergency contacts if you don’t check in within the time you allotted for making it home safely. Also, stick to busy roads, pre-plan your route, stay alert, and keep your music volume low (if you can't work out sans tunes), so you can be aware of your surroundings.
Read on to learn tips that maximize your visibility (wearing reflective apparel is important, but location of the shine also matters) and find the smart, stylish gear that helps keep you safe.
1 of 25
A chic-but-still-lightweight crew pullover that keeps you warm during chilly runs — or simply going to and from your favorite studio class. The reflective trim on the arms will catch light during nighttime jogs, but reads as a subdued gray during the day.
2 of 25
The reflective logo and trim on this pair of gloves will keep you visible — and the touch-screen-compatible fingertips keep you connected to friends and your playlist.
4 of 25
5 of 25
The silver piping on this hat will shine when hit with light. And, the team at Nathan put together a simple infographic on Visibility 101 for evening exercise, noting that one of the most important features is to wear multiple points of light.
7 of 25
Nike isn't new to the nighttime-running game; it's already known for its luxe, extremely reflective apparel and sneakers. This ensemble is part of the latest collection, perfect for your fall and winter workouts.
9 of 25
During the day, this jacket just looks like any other neon top. But, in low-light situations, the reflective trim (on the front and back) will catch oncoming light. And, in the dark, the sleeves and back literally glow. (Yes, that means you need to "charge" the jacket under the light for a few hours before heading out.)
10 of 25
A compression top that integrates smart features such as under-arm mesh (to increase ventilation) and a silicone gripper at the hem (so the shirt doesn't ride up mid-run). Plus, the piping and logo are reflective, so you need not fear wearing black at night.
11 of 25
Another key element to nighttime safety? Ensuring that whatever visibility-enhancing fabrics and features you wear can be viewed from every angle (like in this ensemble), so that drivers can spot you regardless of the direction they're traveling.
12 of 25
We're already a fan of the stay-put earbuds. Now, this special-edition pair features cloth cords that are made with reflective material.
13 of 25
The smooth ride we've come to love from the Energy Boost running sneakers now comes with an added glow. (See the sneakers in action here.) The unisex shoe is part of the brand's Consortium collection and is not widely available, but we found a site with a few pairs left.
14 of 25
This jacket combines multiple nighttime safety elements, including a bright color, reflective fabric inserts (on the front, back, and sleeves), and a built-in, rechargeable LED light on the chest and back. Plus, it's a great layering option, with ventilated panels so you don't overheat.
15 of 25
17 of 25
Another piece from Asics’ Lite-Show collection. The reflective trim on this top wraps around the front and back of your torso, helping to increase your chances of being spotted from every angle. The team at Nathan's also found that wearing reflective gear can help a driver spot you at up to six times the normal distance.
19 of 25
The same rules apply whether you're going out for a run, commuting home from work, or enjoying an evening bike ride. Think about your activity: When you're riding your bike in the same direction as traffic, headlights will be hitting you from behind — making the reflective-feature placement on this pair of casual biking pants key.
21 of 25
This fitness jacket features trendy moto details alongside reflective piping. Wearing gear that picks up car and street lights helps drivers identify you as a moving human (instead of a passing animal), which seems silly, but is essential in making sure both you and the driver have your safety in mind.