AMR Gears Up: Best Lights for Keeping you #SafeAsaMotherRunner

Welcome to Another Mother Runner Gears Up: Our new gear testing column! We are going to have #motherrunners put key running gear—capris, headlamps, socks, bras, etc.—to the test, and deliver the results to you so that you can grab the gear that works best for your running and body. 

Adding less daylight to the mix of family, work, life, and running, means you’ll probably end up logging quite a few miles in the dark. While running in the dark can be exhilarating and surprisingly liberating, the key is to be prepared. And that means be able to see and be seen! Thankfully this isn’t a new problem, and there are a wide variety of creative options on the market.

For the most part, our review focuses on products that light your proverbial path, be it a city sidewalk, urban street, or trail deep in the wilderness. To be seen, look for clothes and accessories with 360 degrees of reflectivity, flashing lights, and rear facing lights so you “shine bright like a diamond!”

Our testers wanted to feel confident in being able to see where they were going, not just to prevent trips, but also to see what’s in their surroundings for personal safety reasons. Being visible to motorists was another concern, and we have the ultimate solution for that!

We asked testers to consider ease of use, comfort, how the products worked on the run, and whether or not they would recommend them to a friend (it was a resounding “Yes!” for all of the products on this list).

The winners, listed in alphabetical order, are…….

BioLite HeadLamp

“Damn, this is bright!” was our tester’s initial response when she turned on this slim fitting, almost diminutive, lamp mid-way through her run. And talk about seeing your surroundings: She saw way more shining eyes in the darkness than she was planning due to a herd of deer chilling trailside. A passing mountain biker even expressed envy because the BioLite was brighter than his torch. The balanced design of the light didn’t bounce, and comfortable headband fabric (with rear reflectivity) stayed put without pulling hair, and also fit well with a beanie. It’s easy to change the angle of the light, which has five illumination modes and indicator lights to show battery level.

Price: $49.95

Lumens (measure of brightness): 330

Powered by: USB rechargeable batteries

Perfect for: Seeing all there is to see on dark roads and trails

Grab it at:

Black Diamond Sprinter Rechargeable Headlamp

The powerful beam and rear strobe light of this lamp (#safeasaMotherRunner) inspired our tester to call it “the Holy Grail of headlamps!” She appreciated that it could adjust enough to fit her small head comfortably and without bouncing. For testing purposes, her husband tried it too, and also gave it a thumbs up for adjustability without bounce. The light is housed in a super durable, rain and sleet proof casing, and has three light modes.

Price: $79.95

Lumens (measure of brightness): 200

Powered by: USB rechargeable battery

Perfect for: Rainy nights and the darkest of trails

Grab it at:

 Knuckle Lights Advanced

Turns out we sent these to a tester who prefers running without anything in her hands (except maybe pepper spray), and…… she loved them, saying they were surprisingly comfortable to run with, even for her. They have adjustable silicone hand grips that are easy on your skin and work with gloves for cold weather running. They are also waterproof and will work in temps down to -40 degrees Celsius (at that temperature you’ll find us inside on the treadmill!). The lights have three power settings, with wide flood beams, and a handy magnet holds them together for storage, so you don’t have a lonely light in the bottom of your gear bag.

Price: $59.99

Lumens (measure of brightness): 280

Powered by: Rechargeable with a handy charging dock stand

Perfect for: Runners who aren’t fans of headlamps and want to level up on their flashlight game

Grab ‘em at:

Night Trek Shoe Lights

While the lights are able to illuminate your way about 30 feet, our tester liked angling them towards the ground to see roots and cracks in the pavement. “I also like that other runners and walkers are able to see me, and there’s no risk of shining light in their eyes.” Our tester said they were easy to attach to her shoes, and, while they are light, they were still noticeable at first. Once she was on the run, she declared running with bright lights on her shoes to be “super fun!”

Price: $69.95

Lumens (measure of brightness): 150

Powered by: USB rechargeable batteries

Perfect for: #motherrunners looking for hands-free versatility (like when you’re holding a dog leash)

Grab ‘em at:

Nox Gear Tracer Lighted Vest

“This is my go-to piece of safety visibility equipment for running anywhere near traffic.” Pre-dawn, after dark, our tester wears it any time she’s out walking or running in low light. When a piece of gear is this unobtrusive–it easily adjusts to fit over anything from a tank top to winter layers–and effective, there’s no excuse not to use it. In a city or urban setting this may be the only light you need, but if there’s no ambient light, consider adding another light. You can set the lights to one of eight different colors (or cycle through them all) and set them to flash or not. The lights turn to red when the batteries are running low, and the rest comes in three sizes: extra small/small/medium, large, xl/xxl. Our tester’s only complaint is that the batteries aren’t rechargeable, but the vest is so good at what it does, she’s willing to overlook that detail.

Price: $69.95

Lumens (measure of brightness): 40 lumens

Powered by: Disposable batteries

Perfect for: Shining bright and being seen when running near traffic (as a plus, you can wear it to Burning Man or your next neighborhood rave #partylikeamother)

Grab it at:

 Petzl Bindi

“I love how small and lightweight it is, and barely noticed it was there,” said our tester of this handy little light. It’s lightly curved to sit comfortably on your forehead, with a cap or beanie, and can even be worn around your neck, thanks to the quick-pull adjust on the bungee cord strap. It’s small, meaning buttons are small as well, but once you know where they are, our tester found it easy to adjust between the three brightness levels on the run.

Price: $59.95

Lumens (measure of brightness): 200

Powered by: USB rechargeable battery

Perfect for: Extra brightness when running on city streets and through urban neighborhoods

Grab it at:

Princeton Tec Snap

What’s so sweet about this product is its easy versatility. Our tester used it as a flashlight, hooked it to her dog’s collar (a carabiner is included), and as a headlamp. Which was a bonus since she isn’t a fan of most headlamps, but, even though she’s a naysayer, she even found this to be comfortable when worn as an actual headlamp. It even comes with a bike mount in case you want to pop it on your handlebars! The water-resistant Snap has one large, easy to find button that switches it between the three light modes.

Price: $39.99

Lumens (measure of brightness): 200

Powered by: Disposable batteries

Perfect for: Value conscious runners who want one light to do it all!

Grab it at:

Streamlight Bandit

Talk about easy. This no frills, one button, durable light clips to your cap, pack, or jacket, or can be used with the included headband for added brightness at an easy price point. It’s has three light modes and is weather resistant.

Price: $29.99

Lumens (measure of brightness): 180

Powered by: USB rechargeable batteries

Perfect for: Clipping to your favorite cap for extra light on neighborhood jaunts

Grab it at:

Did we miss your favorite light?
Disagree or agree with the reviews?
Let us know in the comments below; it takes a #motherrunner village to find the perfect gear!

12 responses to “AMR Gears Up: Best Lights for Keeping you #SafeAsaMotherRunner

  1. You haven’t seen bright until you have seen this LED light vest. It’s not cheap, nor sexy but you WILL be seen. I have had drivers stop me and thank me for wearing it. Also, even tho my friends initially teased me that I might be mistaken for a landing strip at O’Hare, 4 of them ended up buying them too. I’m in no way affiliated with this company. I’m just passionate about visibility.

  2. How about the Nathan clip lights? They’re small, inexpensive, can be attached to a hat or jacket, front or back (or all of the above), and Can be set to flash or shine steady.

  3. I love my Noxgear! I have tried many different options..reflective belt, vest, flashing belt, etc. and this makes me feel safest. They are always having sales, I got mine for $39 last week!

  4. I love my Black Diamond Sprinter! I’ve had it for about 3 years now and would never trade it! I was shocked that it doesn’t bounce because all other headlamps I have had bounce – this was a true game changer!!

  5. I use the nox gear and knuckle lights for every early morning (dark!) run I do and I feel so safe. My 4 year old says I look like a running Christmas tree so that makes it worth it right there!!

  6. I love the Noxgear as well! I got it on a major sale last week and I have worn it every run since I got it. I want to try the shoe lights so I can see better on the sidewalks.

  7. So happy to see that Noxgear made your list. I love mine and want to get the matching Lighthound for my BRD so she can be seen as well. I receive many mid-run compliments on it, and a neighbor bought one after seeing mine.

  8. Yes to the Night Trek Shoe Lights! I’ve used them for 2 years now and think I’ve gotten all the runners in my neighborhood using them, too. I hate being blinded by headlamps and I can still see a fellow “shoe light runner” a mile away. Highly recommend grabbing a pair!

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