Perhaps you have a job or responsibilities that consist of odd hours, and for you to get a run in it will have to occur at night or early in the morning. You might also need to avoid the extreme heat of the day or have enough time to complete your long slow distance run. In these instances, obtaining some lights for running are an ideal buy as a safety measure.
Running early in the morning or at night is very dangerous since drivers may not see you and you are not be able to see everything else either. Beyond cars and traffic, tripping and falling is an additional risk, especially when trail running.
The type of light also matters, so there is an entire section devoted to the Pros/Cons of LED lights.
Benefits of Running Lights
Running headlamps or running flashlights can make a quick uncertain or an alarming run into a much more safeguarded assurance for preventing an accident. Whether you prefer to carry it with you, on your head or attached to your hand or arm, there are an assortment of products to fit every runner’s style and need.
If you are a runner that strictly goes in the daytime or you only run at the gym, then this is not necessarily for you. Although, if there are times where a nighttime run would greatly benefit you or you only run when the sun is still rising or setting, then purchasing a light for those times is what you need.
The most crucial factor before buying this type of product is assessing where on your body the light would be. Even more so, if money is no object, than you do not need to worry how much it is. For most people, having a budget or a maximum amount surrendered for this piece of equipment might come up in which piece to purchase.
There are so many different lights for running it is hard to count them all, but there are about six main effective and overall quintessential types.
Running Light Types and Styles
Headlamps can be a runner’s favorite type since they are strapped on top of the head and portray the light where the runner is going.
|Hands Free||If approaching from behind, may not see the wearer|
|Light moves with head||Light can jolt with steps and force|
|Runner sees what is in front of them||Light is not long distance|
Classic and used by more than runners, handheld flashlights are always an important thing to have around the house in any emergency.
|Cheaper||Not always hands free|
|Runner can see more of what is directly in front of them||Only points one direction at a time|
|Extremely mobile if needing to look at something in a quick moment||Smaller light for others to see|
Vests that sit on the body are designed specifically for those that need to be seen no matter what the activity at every angle
|Hands free||May not be comfortable for everyone|
|Others to see from front and back||Pricey|
|Multiple flashing modes and colors||Cannot see far in front of the wearer|
A light that can be attached to the shoes so that it truly shows where your feet are landing can be an advantage for a runner in an uneven terrain.
|Detailed light on footing area||Others may not see from behind|
|Hands free||Does not have visibility for eye level|
|Impact resistant||Can come off of shoe during run|
Arm bands are not just used by runners, but emergency personnel and others that may be needing to be seen in a low visibility area or darker time of day.
|Hands free||Cannot point light in a specific direction|
|Multiple colors||Smaller light discharge|
|Wear multiple units to be seen more||Some do not hold MP3 devices|
|Can be seen from behind|
The smallest and lightest lights that strap to the outermost part of your hand are the knuckle lights.
|Hands free||Some products only run on batteries|
|Lightweight||Smaller amount of light|
|Quick and easy to put on||Can be awkward or uncomfortable|
LED Lights for Runners
While running is an excellent way to stay in shape, finding a time to run can be challenging. Many runners choose to lace up during hours outside work school and family, which means resigning to run in low light or at night. Not surprisingly, the type of light you use matters. This is why this entire section is focused on LED running lights.
One of the best ways to stay safe when running at night is to use an LED running light. LED lights for runners have transformed the sport from a daytime only event into an anytime activity. Using an LED light will make a runner more visible to pedestrians and vehicle traffic improving safety. Traditional running head lamps have normal incandescent light bulbs that are good for short distance sight but have a limited distance range.
LED Running Light Features & Advantages
LED lights are a significant improvement over regular bulbs as they are visible for much further away. The LED lights for runners are visible on average from at least 1000ft away in low-light conditions. This gives oncoming cars plenty of time to see the runner.
LED lights are also very lightweight and come in a variety of forms for comfortable wear. Some models wrap around the runner’s arm or leg, while others come integrated into a safety vest. They also come in a wide variety of colors for personal preference (with white, green, and red being the most common).
Some models also include options to set the lights into a flashing pattern for added visibility. They are much brighter than the standard incandescent bulb and visible much further away. On average the LED bulb will become visible.
LED Running Light Disadvantages
Using an LED running light improves the chances a car will see a runner at night but does little to help the runner see the road ahead. Most LED running lights are designed to be seen – not to help see. This is because the LED running lights do not directly shine on the path in front – giving a more general glow instead of a spotlight.
There are a few available models that are designed with forward path visibility built in allowing the runner to see what is coming, but the light beam is usually focused at the ground and does not provide much in the way of oncoming vehicle protection.
Runners can wear both styles of LED lights to enhance their safety and make running at night more enjoyable.
Top Rated Running Lights
For the top rated and highest customer satisfaction these are the 11 that made the list for best lights for running.
Special Inclusion: ALVA: The Universal Hands-free Lighting Solution
ALVA is an innovative approach to running lights that is not only hands free, but uses a modular design that lights up the area around you so you can “see” while being “seen” by others, especially vehicles that could cause harm. It allows you to spread the light where most desired while boasting strong weatherproof capabilities. Its currently in its Kickstarter phase and more info can be found at: ALVA: The Universal Hands-free Lighting Solution by Josh Smith — Kickstarter
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
This headlamp has a durable and semi-waterproof design, so any activity can be easily accomplished while using it including going for run when in the dark. The product has multiple lighting modes for a multi-use device. This way, the light can be used as a larger scope light and something more up close like reading or cooking.
- One QuadPower LED andone DoublePower white LED emit 300 lumens
- Red SinglePower LED for night vision has dimming and strobe settings and activates without cycling through white mode
- PowerTap Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power
This is one of the cheaper and higher rated headlamps on the market. The light has a wide enough breadth that you can still run a moderate trail even in the dark. The overall comfort level of this headlamp is high and a very secure model.
There is a yellow spot that is centered in the middle of the light, so it is almost distracting to some runners. The battery compartment is not waterproof, so to prevent corrosion you will have to take the batteries out to dry.
Brightest 6000 Lumen CREE LED Work Headlight
One of the top sellers currently for running headlamps has one of the brightest lights available. An extra strap over the head so that the fit is secure. Completely waterproof so going for a run even the rain will not damage any of the equipment.
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Has a rechargeable cord so no batteries are needed. The straps can be small enough for a child and large enough to fit over a helmet, so all movement can be exercised. The lights are exceedingly bright so even in the lowest visibility and darkest times, it still shows the trails and roads.
There seems to be a smell when it is first opened which does bother some people. Charging and recharging the device can take a bit of time for uses.
Nathan Zephyr Fire 100 Hand Torch
Running flashlights are perfect for those that want more control for their lighting. This flashlight will brighten up any path. With an adjustable strap so that it can become hands free and an LED light on the back, so you can be seen from many angles.
- FRONT / BACK LIGHT -- This running specific flashlight features an integrated 24-degree downward projection angle to focus light on the path ahead of you during a run. A rear facing red LED gives you visibility from the back.
- SECURITY – Emergency siren built into the grip. Lighten up the path in front of you and make yourself noticed by people behind you.
- COMFORTABLE -- Comfy and adjustable hand strap allows for an effortless carry in either hand. Weather resistant.
Extremely light in weight so not cumbersome when in use. Is rechargeable so no need to buy batteries.
Has a lower burn time for the product and for some people, it can feel a bit cumbersome.
For a fantastic vest that will allow you to be seen by everyone, the Tracer 360 is a perfect fit. You can be seen from all angles for the best safety precaution. Lightweight and hands free this will allow all wearers to have a fun and great run without many issues.
- ALL THE COLORS IN ONE – Change between 8 super bright solid colors - Green, Red, Blue, Pink, Yellow, Blue & Pink (mixed), Pink & Green (mixed) and Blue & Red (mixed) AND 8 eye-catching multicolor flashing modes – Our special illumination modes are based on visual science to give visibility to you and warning to motorists. Modes are easily selectable at the press of a button, easy to access if you're walking, running, playing ultimate frisbee, riding a horse, or even riding a motorcycle.
- TRUE 360 DEGREE ILLUMINATION, REFLECTIVITY, & FLUORESCENCE – Unlike other reflective running vests and hi viz cycling gear, our flexible fiber optic cables, and 3M reflector chest belts actively keep you safe by alerting distracted drivers and traffic before their headlights are on you. The unique X shape of the led lights guarantees a larger visibility area, illuminating both sides of the body and making you visible from over a quarter mile in any direction
- LIGHTWEIGHT, BREATHABLE, & EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE – If it’s for a short jog in the morning with the kids, walking your dogs in the evening, or an all night solo ride, at only 6.5 oz – you’ll forget you’re wearing it. Using High Quality Sports Mesh and elastic makes the Tracer2 Sweat Resistant, Chafe-free, comfy to wear. The slim, minimalist design ensures minimal fabric-to-body contact, less sweat-trapping, and helps it not interfere with your HRM (heart rate monitor)
Extremely bright and comes in six assorted colors. Adjustable, expandable and breathable this gives more freedom to wear in all times of the year despite the excess of clothing in colder weather.
This is not a waterproof item so cleaning it from sweat can be a little tricky. The chest strap is near the diaphragm, leading to tightening in the chest if straps are not fitted correctly.
ShineU LED Reflective Safety Vest
For a cheaper option of chest lights, this specific product has been still valued high. This 360 degree adjustable vest gives lighting up the streets a new name. Designed to be lightweight, so it does not feel like you are wearing anything.
1000 feet of visibility and 360 degree reflectivity. It is a one size fits all, so the straps can be moved around a lot.
On/off switch is in the back instead of the front. May not fit larger builds and some users complained about length and brightness compared to other running vests.
If you are running at night, but the street is lit, and you just need a small precaution, the shoe light clips may be the best choice. Included are clips for wrists and shoes so that during dawn or dusk people can still recognize that you are a person and just a random light. Each is less than ounce so feels almost weightless.
- BIO-MOTION: ATTACH TO ARMS OR LEGS - We've included the right size straps to attach easily to your arms, wrists or ankles to show BIOLOGICAL MOTION. This means drivers will recognize you as a person when they see the familiar motion of your legs or arms. Not only that, but the movement instantly catches their attention! They also CLIP to your SOCKS with no straps needed.
- 180° OF THE RIGHT BRIGHTNESS - The 3 red LED lights are the perfect brightness to show all nearby drivers you are there without blinding them. The lights are oriented to give you 180° of light ensuring drivers anywhere around you will see you if you have one on each side.
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABLE - At 1/2 an ounce, you barely feel that you have the light on you. It is made of durable plastic and is water resistant. Ideal runners light.
They have clips that enable the lights to be put on more than just shoes. These are one of the lowest cost lights for safety. Can withstand to get wet.
They run on a shorter battery life than others.
SLDHR LED Shoe Clips
These shoe lights fit around the runner’s shoes which means they do not rub against any skin. They also have different settings, so you can choose the speed of the light necessary on how dark it is.
- RUNING IN SAFETY: These LED Shoe Clip jogging lights make it easy for you to be seen while running, jogging, biking, spinning, or walking in the dark.Fits heel widths of 1.5-3.5 inch。
- LONGER LASTING: Using the best TPU quality materials which provides greater flexibility.
- HIGH-QUALITY MEMORY METAL: After use you can place at random, and the product will slowly restore the prototype, tight & firm.
They fit snugly around shoes, so it can be a hands-free device. These also come with a wrist option if the buyer would like.
The light may be very bright, but it is not an overwhelmingly large one. Since these are built to be around the shoe, some may find the shoe clips to be a bit snug for their feet.
BSeen LED Armband
This particular armband is actually a slap band. Ergo, is automatically contorts to your arm width. It is a 360-degree visualization for people to see you on your run in an ill-lighted area.
They fit any age of runner even small children. The armbands are relatively small, so they are easy to transport if going somewhere else for a run. Because of the material and how it conforms, they can even be used on your legs if you want.
Unfortunately, if they run out of battery they are not reflective to help. If the weather happens to call for a sweater or warmer clothing, the armbands may not stay around the baggier clothing.
Glovion LED Armband
This armband is held in place with a durable yet stretched band. This product is perfect for needing to be seen in a lack of high visibility areas especially at night.
- ✔BE SEEN FOR SAFETY : LED Running Armband can bring high visibility to drivers or motorists for your personal safety in the dark situations (Early Morning or Evening).
- ✔ USB RECHARGEABLE: Built-in rechargeable battery, eco -friendly for recycle using . No More buying and replace batteries , Save your money ! USB Rechargeable Armband pack with a micro USB Cable for charging.
- ✔3 LIGHTING SETTING OPTIONALS :Sport armband light with Constant, Quick Flash and Slow Flash for your different situation ,just 1-click to control it . Easy to operate it.
It has a rechargeable battery that can be plugged into an USB enabled charge. It has three different light settings. The strap is fairly long, so it can wrap around most people’s arms.
It does not have the capability of being the brightest but does illuminate enough. Takes a little longer to get a full charge.
Knuckle Lights Colors
These lightweight and simple lights clip over the knuckles for a much easier and brighter run. Coming in assorted colors and the light gives off an impressive “no bounce” effect.
- JUST GRAB AND GO - No need to fumble with clunky headlamps, bulky vests, waist or shoe lights. Grab your Knuckle Lights and quickly head out the door on your next run or walk in the dark
- LIGHT UP YOUR NIGHT - 160 Lumen super-wide flood beams illuminates your entire path with a smooth, ultra-bright light that doesn't bounce, even with your arms moving
- PEACE OF MIND IN THE DARK - Knuckle Lights provide safe visibility to see and be seen by traffic. Enjoy night running or walking without the worry of being hit by a car or tripping over uneven terrain
The method so that there is “no bounce” is the light is much wider than most. This makes running safer for the user. These are perfect for any weather and completely waterproof no matter when you are taking your run.
These are one of the more priciest lights for purchase. Even though the light is more even, it is not as bright as it could be.
Knuckle Lights Advanced
These are the more updated version for knuckle light wearers. These are the highest rated for this specific product available currently.
- INNOVATIVE CHARGING DOCK - Place the units on the base after each use and they will always be fully charged and ready; truly the easiest rechargeable night running lights, just grab and go!
- LIGHT UP YOUR NIGHT – 280 Lumen super-wide flood beams light up your entire path with a smooth, ultra-bright running light that doesn't bounce, even with your arms moving
- PEACE OF MIND IN THE DARK – Our light for running and running accessories will make you a true night runner. See and be seen by traffic. Enjoy night running or walking without the worry of being hit by a car or tripping over uneven terrain
They come in a set instead of just the normal one and are charged via docking station, so no batteries are required. With an extra wide flood beam there is more visibility on your route, you have a clearer sense of your surroundings. Additionally, they are completely waterproof.
Knuckle Lights are a pricey option compared to other running lights.
Of course, there are places all over the internet with more information and feedback concerning these products than just one site. Likewise, there are more examples of positive reviews that prove these are the top rated, sellers, and wanted commodity for runners who need to feel safe as they go. You always want to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.
No matter how fit you are, if you want to go running and have a tight schedule that may mean going for a run in the dark, there is no reason that you should have to worry about drivers or elements to ruin that for you. Therefore, researching and evaluating which item might suit your needs is the best solution to make sure that you are not sacrificing your health and happiness because of what color the sky is.