Most of you know that I really, really hate color. Give me black, white or gray and I’m thrilled. Give me hot pink, and I cringe. I could get into my ‘why I always wear black’ tirade, but that’s not the point of this article. The point is, despite my deep love of neutrals, sometimes, rides and runs call for bright, reflective colors and fabrics in order to stay safe. Whether you’re running in the woods during hunting season or just riding on busy roads, wearing something bright is—I hate to admit it—smarter than blending in by wearing all black. Luckily, there are a few brands making some really great stuff that fits well and feels good, even if I secretly wish it was all black. Here we go…
Nathan Hypernight Reflective Gloves
I’ll start with the piece I obviously feel the most comfortable in from a color standpoint… I would love these gloves for running even if they didn’t have reflective accents, but because they do, they’re even higher up on my ‘love’ list! They’re super comfortable lightweight gloves that I’ve been wearing for running in 20-50 F weather. They have a brilliant little soft spot for wiping your nose and work shockingly well with touch screens on phones, and as a huge bonus, they have reflective spots all over them to add just a bit of bonus visibility to your evening runs. Obviously these won’t be standalone “run or ride at night with no worries” gloves, but every little bit helps and something is better than nothing. But even if you don’t care about reflectivity and just want great run gloves, 11/10 recommend. They also have the same reflective print and fabric in a headband, which I also have on my shopping list.
I admit, I was NOT a huge fan of bright colors like the ones Rnnr hats come in. Love the style and vibe, but not for me. Then, it was hunting season in my local park and I realized I hadn’t brought a single bright thing on this trip. So, I got a Rnnr hat and I am SO happy I did. A friend asked me if the hats are good for big heads, and I am SO excited that I can say YES! I have a massive head size, so I really struggle to find caps for running that fit will. The Rnnr hats actually adjust comfortably to my head and don’t feel like the brim is too small. Bonus: The hats have a variety of brim styles, so if you prefer a longer brim, they have that too! Again, this isn’t going to make up for a lack of lights on the road, but it does make me feel more comfortable in the woods when I know it’s hunting season. It’s also just replaced all my running hats as a great comfy light option! And if I want to go back to my goth-ier vibes, they also have a black-on-black option that does have a high vis panel.
Velocio Ultralight Jacket
I’m incredibly happy with this ultralight jacket from Velocio. It doesn’t have reflective accents, to be clear, but it definitely stands out on the road! I’ve been happy with it for both riding and running, even in light rain. It’s super breathable and the pockets are great for riding. And when you take it off, it’s light and squishy enough to jam easily into a pack or pocket. (It is water repellent but not actually waterproof, but I find that the breathability with the laser-cut holes actually makes it better for light rain situations because it doesn’t turn into a sauna inside!)
Swiftwick High Viz Yellow Socks
I LOVE that Swiftwick came out with socks in this seriously high viz yellow, because it allows cyclists and runners to add that high-viz accent without spending a ton on new kit, and without changing out an all black wardrobe too too much. I think these make a great present for cyclists—I love Swiftwick socks for longevity and comfort in general!—and if I’m packing for a trip and want to cover my safety bases, these are an easy add.
Nathan Hypernight Pack
Available in high vis and in black (both with reflective accents), this is a super comfortable 4 Liter run pack that I’ve been really pleased with. It’s obviously not hefty enough for ultras, but it’s great for cooler weather long runs and it’s great for easy adjustments. I have the high viz yellow, but at $50, I may grab the black with the reflective accents as well. (I admit, when there’s a black option of something I love that’s available and it’s on sale, it’s kind of a no-brainer. I wear out packs pretty quick, and pro tip? If a pack comes with a new bladder and it’s under $60, you’re better off buying the new pack versus spending $30-40 on a new bladder. Much better deal!)