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Our Top 6 Low-Light Running Essentials

A woman running at night with Nathan visibility lights

[This article was updated on August 21, 2019 after we tested new products.]

The Importance of Being Seen on Your Run

Being able to see and be seen is critical when it comes to fall and winter running when you log most of your miles in the pre- and post- daylight hours. Thankfully, there’s better gear than ever to keep you safe in the lowest of low-light hours.

Here are our favorite pieces this season to be visible on dark runs:

The Brooks Essential Vest with reflectivity

Brooks Essential Vest, $85

Why we love it: It’s black with glow-in-the-dark accents, which is ideal if you’re not the type of runner who wants to romp about pre- and post-run in bright day-glow colors. So, while it looks neutral in the daylight, you’ll be fully illuminated at night on the road. Plus, it’s feathery light (and packs down pretty darn small), breaths well and even has pockets! (The Fleet Feet exclusive is available in both men’s and women’s sizes.)

The Brooks Running women's 5" Chaser Short

Women’s 5-Inch Chaser Short ($48), Brooks 7-Inch Men’s Sherpa Short ($56)

Why we love them: Like the vest, the Fleet Feet exclusive shorts are neutral in the daylight but reflective at night, and they pop precisely where you need them to: along the outside of the leg. The thin strips of reflectivity move with your legs and help signal to oncoming traffic that you’re a moving human (rather than a road sign). It doesn’t hurt that they’re one of the most comfortable pairs of shorts we’ve tried on in a while. (For cooler weather running, Brooks makes the Greenlight Capri, which uses the same reflective strips as the shorts.)

The Amphipod Xinglet Optic Beam running vest with lights

Amphipod Xinglet Optic Beam ($50)

Why we love it: The Xinglet Optic Beam is the next generation of running lights from Amphipod. The running vest is made up of a bright LED tube that gives you 360 degrees of visibility. It clicks on with one touch, and it lets you toggle between continuous light or a blinking effect. Plus, it's super lightweight—Amphipod says it only weighs 3 ounces. Once we put it on and cinched it down, we never noticed it on our backs.

The Nathan Streak Reflective Vest in Hi-Viz Yellow

Nathan Streak Reflective Vest ($27)

Why we love it: The high-vis yellow vest is comfortable, lightweight and uber breathable. Plus, it’s brighter than a traffic controller’s vest, so you’re sure to be seen. While we know vests aren’t the most glamorous piece of running attire out there, we’re serious when we say they’re 100 percent necessary for low-light running. In short, make a reflective vest an integral piece of your low light-running wardrobe.

The Amphipod Vizlet LED Smiley running light

Amphipod Vizlet LEDs ($10)

Why we love them: The flashing clip-on LEDs come in a range of fun designs—from smiley faces to stars to four-leaf clovers. An integrated dual magnet makes attaching (and removing them) simple. Plus, they’re uber lightweight and soft, so they’re not going to break if you drop one.

The Nathan LightBender running light in Tango Red

Nathan Lightbender Mini R ($19.95)

Why we love it: The lightweight, flexible band offers six lumens of reflective light, which is visible up to 2,400 feet away. Plus, the band is easily adjustable to fit an arm, wrist or ankle (after testing all three placements, we found it most comfortable on our arms). Multiple settings give you options for solid or flashing lights (blue, green or red). Also, it’s water resistant.


By Ashley Arnold. Ashley is a storyteller, ultra runner and cat person. As Fleet Feet’s content marketing manager, she manages the Fleet Feet blog and its roster of writers.