Safety Gear For Runners

You’re finishing your final mile when a distracted driver rounds the bend. Do you have the proper running gear to prevent your morning jog from becoming a tragedy? In the first half of 2021 alone, 3,441 pedestrians were killed on US roadways, representing a 17% increase compared to the first half of 2020.1

That includes everyone on foot—from runners to hikers to walkers. In order to keep yourself safe while exercising outdoors, we’ve found the best medical ID bracelets, lights, and reflective gear for runners. Take a look to see how you can improve your safety while you’re running on the road.

247 Viz Reflective Running Vest

Good for visibility
247 Viz Reflective Running Vest Gear

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

People will see you coming when you wear this lightweight 247 Viz Reflective Running Vest—up to a thousand feet away. The vest itself is neon color made of breathable mesh with reinforced reflective strips which makes it more visible to drivers too. Runners, walkers, and bikers can enjoy the safety that this lightweight, adjustable vest brings to your exercise routine.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Affordable price
Pro Bullet Colors. Available in neon yellow or pink
Pro Bullet S-XL sizes. Includes adjustable waistband
Pro Bullet Has as a zipper storage pocket
Pro Bullet Lifetime warranty
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Not super stylish

Nathan Light Spur

Good for visibility
nathan-light-spur

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Most sneakers come with reflective elements. However, you can enhance your visibility and improve your safety with these LED shoe spurs. Designed to clip onto your heel, Nathan Light Spurs fit runners of all sizes and can be worn for night running. You can set the LED lights to blink like a strobe light or maintain a solid light. Don’t shy away from wearing these in wet weather. The engineering includes waterproofing.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Affordable
Pro Bullet Lightweight
Pro Bullet Waterproof
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Non-rechargeable batteries

Road ID

Emergency identification
road id medical alert bracelet

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

If you are hurt while running, will people be able to identify you? A medical armband or bracelet addresses this issue. With Road ID, you can get a custom, engraved bracelet with your name, address, phone number, and emergency contact. That way, if you’re unconscious and need to go to the hospital, doctors and EMTs can get the information they need to alert your loved ones. It’s also a permanent design, so it won’t get crumpled or damaged like paper versions.

If you're not sold on this design, check out our other recommendations on our Best Medical ID Bracelets page.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Engraveable and durable
Pro Bullet 20 wristband colors and two faceplate styles
Pro Bullet Customizable—add a personalized “badge”
Pro Bullet Fits multiple ways— wrist, neck, FitBit, shoe, or ankle
Pro Bullet Ranging prices from $19.99 to $39.99
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Permanent. If your information changes, you’ll need a new bracelet

BSEEN LED Armbands

Good for visibility

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Maintain your visibility while you run with these BSEEN VelcroTM arm and leg bands. For the best results, you should wear one on each extremity, since you never know which direction a car will come from. With four bands, you’ll be visible from one half mile away. With one, that will decrease to one quarter mile. Made of waterproof yet washable material, this is a durable and convenient safety option for runners

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Red, yellow, blue, pink, green or orange LED lights
Pro Bullet 50-70 hours of battery life; includes extra battery
Pro Bullet Adjustable with buckles and stretchy band
Pro Bullet 3-flashing modes: solid beam, slow flash and fast flash
Pro Bullet Affordable. Includes 2 bands for less than $10
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Non-rechargeable batteries
Con Bullet Not waterproof

PETZL Reactik Headlamp

Best headlamp
Petzl Reactik headlamp

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

If you already have reflective gear on your body, don’t forget about your head. The PETZL Reactik Headlamp will not only make you obvious to drivers, but it will light your way too. It’s also very advanced. This particular model comes with “reactive lighting,” so it’ll adjust its beam to accommodate ambient light. It’s some of the best night running gear you can incorporate for enhanced safety.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Smart, reactive lighting adjusts brightness in changing light to preserve battery.
Pro Bullet Beam Customization
Pro Bullet Rechargeable batteries
Pro Bullet Washable headband
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet More expensive than basic headlamps

Nathan Grip-Free Running Flashlight

Good for visibility

Light your way with the Nathan Grip-Free Running Flashlight. You can slip it over your wrist for a grip-free mount and allow its angled light to illuminate the path in front of you. While it doesn’t have the reach of other devices, it makes up for it in brightness.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Brighter than headlamps at 359 lumens
Pro Bullet Weather-Resistant
Pro Bullet Rechargeable batteries
Pro Bullet Angled Light with four light modes
Pro Bullet Built-In Siren
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Not Hands-Free
Con Bullet 3-6 hour battery time
Con Bullet Short distance

SABRE Tactical Pepper Gel

Best pepper spray
Sabre Red Pepper Gel

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

SABRE Tactical Pepper Gel is our favorite pepper spray because it shoots up to 18 feet, allowing you to take defensive action before someone gets too close. But it's an especially good option for runners thanks to its belt holster. Your hands stay free for holding a water bottle or phone, but the pepper spray is always within easy reach.

Not into pepper spray or live in an area where it's age-restricted? Check out our list of other must-have self-defense items.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Affordable
Pro Bullet Gel spray
Pro Bullet Long range
Pro Bullet Comes with belt clip
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No practice canister

Safe running tips

Now that you know about the best safety products out there for runners, you should freshen up on tips too.

  • Don’t blast your music.
    Being able to hear your surroundings is important while you’re running. If your headphones are blasting, you won’t hear a car swerving toward you or someone sneaking up from behind. From 2004 to 2011, the amount of pedestrians seriously injured while wearing headphones went up 300%. Of those hurt, 70% were killed.2 If you have to listen to music while you exercise, try keeping one earbud out, or keep volumes low enough so you can hear what’s happening around you.
  • Tell someone where you’re going.
    No matter if you’re running around the neighborhood or on a mountain trail, you should tell someone where you’re going. If you don’t come back, they’ll know to alert the authorities or go looking for you. Whether you don’t come back because you sprained an ankle or something worse, you’ll want someone to know where you are so they can help.
  • Wear safety devices.
    It takes an average person traveling 55 mph on a dry, sunny day 279.5 feet to come to a complete stop after seeing something in the road.3 Compound that with darkness, bad weather, or a distracted driver and it can take even longer. Since most reflective devices give you at least 300 feet of visibility, you can help drivers see you earlier to avoid a terrible accident. Make sure you wear some sort of reflective or light-up gear to keep yourself safer while running.
  • Wear reflective clothing.
    If you’re running at night, don’t do it in all black. If you can, incorporate reflective pieces to complement your LED vests and other running safety gear. Choose bright colors that will easily be spotted in the headlights of cars. While less is more in some cases, it’s not when it comes to safety.

Final word

Running is a great activity that can blow off stress and help keep you healthy. Just make sure you do it with the proper safety gear. Reflective vests like the 247 Viz Reflective Running Vest and medical IDs like Road ID can alert drivers of your presence on the road and get you help if you ever need it.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

  1. Adrian Nicholas, Governors Highway Safety Association, "New Projection: U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Jumped in First Half of 2021," April 2022. Accessed April 7, 2022.
  2. Richard Lichenstein et al., National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information, "Headphone Use and Pedestrian Injury and Death in the United States: 2004-2011," October 2012. Accessed April 7, 2022.
  3. Dale O. Ritzel, Southern Illinois University, "Stopping a Vehicle," September 2003. Accessed April 7, 2022.

Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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