See and Be Seen: Gear to Stay Safe While Running at Night

If you’re on a nine to five schedule it’s likely that you won’t see much daylight for the next few months, making pre- and post-work runs quite literally a dark experience. If you’re new to night running you need only focus on one thing: safety.

During the day you can see what’s around you, but at night you have to rely more on listening. That said, it’s a good idea to ditch the earbuds (or just use one and keep the volume down) so you can hear what’s coming. It’s also important that you can see curbs and obstacles in your path and that other traffic can see you. With that in mind, we selected a few pieces of gear that accomplish that mission (and look good too).

runner wearing bright clothes and headlamp at night

Author wearing the New Balance Glow Beacon Jacket and Glow 870v3s while on a night run. Photo: Anna Callaghan

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lululemon Fluffed Up Jacket

When the weather calls for a serious outer-layer I usually seek out something made of down. This jacket, made with 800-fill goose down, helped get me out the door when a windy fall storm rolled in. There’s a pocket for music storage (and cord guide to preventing tangled headphones), side zippers provide options for venting, and a flap keeps the zipper from biting your chin when fully zipped. This hip-length, slim-fitting jacket has snug thumb holes that keep sleeves in place and is both wind and water-resistant. While not as reflective as the Glow Beacon, the Fluffed Up has 360-degree reflectivity, including along the front zipper that runs the length of the jacket (as pictured).

lululemon Flurry Fighter Tight

Photo courtesy of lululemon.

Photo courtesy of lululemon.

When the cold starts to bite through your spandex, switch to lululemon’s warm fleece-lined running tights. The interior fabric wicks sweat away while material on the frontside resists wind and rain. The tight-fitting pants have a high waistband that didn’t require any mid-run fussing (and the continuous drawstring means no strings get lost in the band). Store your credit card and keys in the zippered pocket and things like energy gels or bobby pins in the pockets on the waist pockets for easy access. Reflective detailing increases visibility on a chilly night run.


New Balance Glow Beacon Jacket

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Photo courtesy of New Balance.


The Glow Beacon is part of the company’s Hi-Viz line and is ideal for runs day or night. It worked great as my primary jacket in 30- to 50-degree temperatures and mild wind and rain. The fluorescent yellow color is bright without being harsh, and more cars stopped for me at intersections than usual. In addition to the color, the Beacon also has classic reflectivity details that respond to outside light sources like street lights and headlights. The coolest feature, however, is the glow-in-the-dark technology on the sleeves and back. Expose the jacket to bright light for 10 minutes or so and it will glow green for upwards of 6 hours.

New Balance Glow 870v3

Amazon (Women)

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Photo courtesy of New Balance

When you’re after head to toe reflectivity, look to the Beacon Glow’s partner in crime. At 7.8 ounces these shoes are lightweight and the 8mm drop provided a comfortable heel-to-toe transition. With moderate stability, the Glow 870v3s are good for runners with an average arch height. They performed well on dry surfaces but were slippery on grates and manhole covers on a rainy day. The bright yellow coloring coupled with reflective detailing makes these shoes a good option for runners who want to be seen.

In addition to apparel, it’s also smart to pick up a headlamp to illuminate your own path (try the Petzl Tikka R+).

This article was originally published on Dec 9, 2014, and was updated on Oct 27, 2020. 


About the author

Anna Callaghan

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