How do I pick a running visibility accessory?
Strobes, clips, vests, multiple different colors … how do you choose? With several options available, it can be an overwhelming decision. Start with asking yourself a few questions to narrow in what is important to you in a visibility accessory.
Helpful Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Visibility Accessory
- “Do I want to be seen, or do I need help to see?”
This question will immediately help with your search. You cannot use a little flashing strobe light to help you see where you are going and you may not want to carry a runner’s flashlight if you’re just interested in being a little more noticed in the evening. However, both are important in staying safe running in poor light situations. It is also important to remember that the athlete who is wearing or carrying a light will be seen faster than just wearing a reflective item.
- “When, and where, am I running the most?”
Are you running on a trail at night or along a country road before sun up? An accessory to help you see your path may be most helpful, as well as extra lights and reflectivity on you so that cars or other trail dwellers know you’re coming through. Are you running around your neighborhood after dark? The street lights may be enough for you to see, but adding a little extra visibility in the form of a reflective vest or attachable lights are helpful to keep you safe crossing streets and driveways. If your route’s streets and sidewalks are a little under repaired, you my even want to invest in an additional light source to help you see.
- “Do I want several light color options or is one ok?”
Some products come with the option to switch through three different colors. Multiple color lights get the eyes attention faster than straight white light. This could be an excellent feature if you are using multiple lights on your body to catch attention of drivers around you with the variations.
At dusk and dawn, colored light stands out better. Blue light is known to stimulate a hormone in our eyes that promotes alertness. Red is always considered a safety light color.
Runners should really follow the rules that bikers use: white light in front and red in back.
- “Do I want several different light modes or are a one or two ok?”
Any light that flashes will catch the attention of a motorist faster than a solid light. Continual, Burst, Rotating, Strobe, Pulse, … which one is best? The criss-cross (alternating) light is actually one of the best. Just like a railroad crossing light, the eye notices an alternating light faster than a blinking light and a circular rotating light. This would be the safest flashing light to have at night. Also having multiple points of light on the body is another key to being seen while out. Again, varying the mode with another light-producing product may help you be seen even better.
- “Am I ok with replacing batteries or is having rechargeable batteries important to me?”
If you get a rechargeable model, you won’t need to worry about repurchasing batteries, but you will need to make sure to remember to recharge before you head out as some take a few hours to fully recharge. If you are someone who would tend to forget this until right before heading out for a run, keeping batteries on hand and having a replaceable battery model may be the right fit for you.
- “Where am I willing to wear it? What will be most comfortable?”
On your head? On your arm? In your hand? On your shirt or on a belt, on your shoe? There are products you attach all over. The benefit to the accessory being attached to a moving limb (arm, leg, feet, hands) is that it creates an additional dimension of visibility. You want to pick a product that you WILL wear. That is the most important thing. A visibility accessory isn’t effective if it’s sitting at home while you are running.
- “What am I willing to invest?”
Simple clip strobe lights will be around $10 and it goes up from there depending on features, etc.
A brief overview of some of the visibility accessories we carry at Run Away Shoes
What is a Lumen? A Lumen is defined as the amount of light coming from a bulb. The greater the number (or lumens) the brighter the light.
These small accessories pack a big punch of visibility. Boasting 2,400 ft of LED visibility, these accessories can fit in the palm of your hand. They provide versatility in their placement: clip them on your hydration or accessory belt, shirt or hip. At Run Away Shoes, you will find the StrobeLight, HyperBrite Strobe, and Lux Strobe RX by Nathan.
|StrobeLight||HyperBrite Strobe||Lux Strobe RX|
|# of Modes||2||4||5|
|# of Light Colors||1||1||3|
The Zephyr Fire 150 R is a Runner’s Flashlight that gives you 1200 ft of visibility with a 65’ beam distance of 170 lu. It’s weather-resistant and also help you keep your grip with its snug strap. 5 modes.
Comfort can play a role in what accessories you choose to use. The LightBender RX goes on your arm. It comes with a rechargeable battery and charging cord as well as three color modes (red, green and blue) and three settings. This 6 lu light source is on your arm.
The Nathan Streak Vest is made of vented mesh to stay as lightweight as possible. It’s fluorescent color is embellished with 360 degrees of reflectivity to give you 1200 ft of visibility. No batteries required for this essential piece.
|Neutron Fire||Neutron Fire RX|
|Lumens||115 max||160 max|
|RGB Side Strobes||X||X|
|Strap||Color Options||360 Degrees Reflectivity|
The Amphipod Xinglet Strobe Plus Flashing LED Reflective Vest also provides 360 degrees of reflectivity but includes flashing LED on front and back. It is fully adjustable to fit you, your spouse and over layers as seasons change.