When it comes to running in the spring or fall, one of the best resources for staying warm enough on a run is a running jacket. But in order to give you your best shot at safety, your jacket should feature some reflectivity that allows drivers to see you.
This article will help you determine what the best reflective running jacket is for you.
Quick Picks – Top Reflective Running Jackets
Why Does Your Jacket Need Reflectivity?
A lot of running gear is brightly colored to help you in your quest to be seen by oncoming motorists. That’s why there’s so much neon on runners’ clothes. It’s not that we are all fans of colors you’ll never find in nature––it’s just that we value our safety. In fact, it’s so important to us that we’ve assembled our own running safety kit.
But sometimes, bright colors alone don’t cut it. Yes, they will help make you more visible, but they can still fall far short of the safety goal, especially if you’re running when visibility is low.
When you find yourself running in the dark, reflectivity may make a big difference in your personal safety. If your clothing reflects the light, it will hopefully draw enough attention to you soon enough that any distracted drivers will have time to swerve to miss you when you’re running along of the road.
What Should I Look for in a Reflective Jacket?
Before you purchase a reflective running jacket based on one of your friend’s recommendations or based on what you think looks the coolest, think first about the features you want a jacket to have. We have listed some important ones to consider.
One That Uses Bright Colors
In order to really boost your visibility, it is a good idea to buy a jacket that uses reflective materials, but is also a super bright color. That gives you a two-for-one deal whenever you zip that jacket up and head outdoors. It’ll be useful both in daylight runs and night runs.
One That Protects You From Rain
As runners, we’re committed to our fitness, no matter how much Mother Nature tries to derail our goals. We’re like mail delivery carriers––we don’t let snow, rain, or sleet stop us from doing what we need to do––and we’re also occasionally chased by dogs. But that doesn’t mean we enjoy feeling like a wet dog as we grudgingly run mile after mile in the rain.
To help us feel more comfortable and to spur us on to run more miles instead of giving up, it can be a good idea to find a waterproof jacket. We won’t feel as bogged down or waterlogged so we’ll be able to post a good time and feel great about the workout we’ve just had.
If you can’t find a waterproof jacket you like, you may want to opt for a water-resistant jacket. That will be enough to keep any light rain from soaking you, although it won’t work for heavier rain.
One That Has a Hood
Hoods are a great feature to have on running jackets. They can protect your head from the wind and the rain, and they can also provide a little sun protection during day runs.
The best jacket will have a hood that can be tucked back down in the collar so it isn’t always bouncing around, and when you need it you can get it out again.
One That is Breathable
Running is hot work, even in the fall and winter. While you might be cold when you start out, you still need your jacket to let air circulate.
To make sure you don’t overheat after you’ve warmed up during your run, look for breathable fabric. That little bit of a breeze will make you feel more comfortable when you’re logging multiple miles.
One That Goes With A Bunch of Your Outfits
Running gear tends to be comprised of a bunch of bright, neon-like colors. That helps you with your visibility, keeping you safer on your run. But sometimes you just want one of your pieces of gear to not be so flamboyant.
If your running capris, shorts, or pants are already a bright color, you may not want to wear a jacket that will clash with them. So take stock of what you already have and try to find a a reflective jacket in a color that will match what is in your current wardrobe.
One That Has a Lot of Reflective Material
Some jackets just have one stripe of reflective material on the back and the front. But what you really need is more than one simple stripe. Bigger areas of reflective material will offer you more protection than one measly stripe does.
One That is Compact
If you’re using your jacket for an early morning run and you notice the weather is getting warmer and that it’s no longer dark out mid-way through your run, you may want to ditch your jacket.
With some jackets, there is no way to do that without tying it around your waist and trying to run uncomfortably with your legs kicking the back of your jacket as you go.
But some jackets can be wadded up into such a small ball that they can fit in a pocket. If you think you’ll be ditching your jacket when you’re running, that’s an important feature for you to consider.
One That Has Pockets
It’s always nice to have extra storage on your runs. If your jacket has pockets, you may be able to carry your key or your phone when you’re running. Pockets are always better for running when they have something that closes them––like Velcro or zippers––and prevents your belonging from bouncing out.
Top 5 Reflective Running Jackets
This silver-grayish reflective jacket will give you high visibility as you run in low-light situations. The entire jacket is reflective so your whole torso should be seen by motorists who are approaching you, increasing your chances of returning home safely after your night or early morning run.
- It comes with a waterproof hoodie, which means you won’t be a wet mess when it starts raining or snowing during your jog.
- This jacket does have pockets on the front.
- If you find yourself running in windy conditions, this jacket will help cut down on the bite you feel from the breeze because it’s windproof.
- It comes with an inner pocket as well.
- The reflectivity on this jacket is top notch––it literally glows in the dark as soon as any light hits it.
- It’s comfortable to wear because the material is soft, not stiff.
- The front pockets don’t have any closures whatsoever, so your gear won’t be secure in them.
- The sizing is a bit complicated to figure out.
- It’s a bit on the expensive side.
This entire jacket isn’t reflective, but the top half of it is, which is enough material to keep you safe in your running journey.
- This jacket has two zippered pockets on the sides so your gear will be safe whether you’re doing a light jog or a trail-blazing sprint.
- It also has one mesh pocket on the inside of the jacket.
- Although it’s a men’s jacket, it’s flattering enough that women should like it too.
- It comes with a hood to protect your head from the elements.
- The reflectivity on this jacket is top-notch––it will definitely get you noticed.
- This jacket is cheaper than many other options.
- This one is a stylish option for runners who are concerned with fashion.
- This jacket can only be hand-washed––it will protect the integrity of the reflective material.
- The material isn’t very breathable, so it may get too warm for some runners.
- It’s also not waterproof, which is a drawback for inclimate-weather runs.
If breathability is high on your list of priorities when it comes to a reflective running jacket, you may want to consider this one. The liner on the interior of the jacket is mesh so you won’t feel overheated even on a long run.
- You’ll be reflective from every direction with this running jacket, which gives you 360-degree coverage.
- The hood will ensure your head stays warm and dry.
- The jacket has six holes for venting to give superior breathability so you can dry fast and stay comfortable.
- It comes with two pockets with a zipper for storing your belongings, as well as one pocket on the chest.
- It’s both windproof and waterproof so you won’t be tempted to cut your run short when the conditions get tough.
- It only comes in small, medium, and large––it won’t work for runners who are carrying a few extra pounds or have a bigger build.
- It can’t go in the washing machine.
If you’re a woman who is tired of running in men’s jackets, you might like this reflective jacket, which is made with women’s bodies in mind. It doesn’t use big blocks of reflectivity to get the job done––instead, it uses stripes placed in strategic places.
- This is an affordable reflective jacket, which is nice for runners who don’t have a lot of disposable money.
- It comes with a hood.
- You can get it in eight different colors so you’ll be able to find one that works with a variety of your running clothes.
- It is water repellent and windproof.
- It’s lightweight, so you’ll feel comfortable wearing it.
- The inner lining is made up of breathable mesh so you won’t overheat.
- It has two zippered pockets that are well sized, so you’ll be able to take your cell phone along with you.
- It comes with a bag you can pack it into for storage when you’re done.
- The sizes only go up to extra large, which won’t help bigger runners.
- Runners might not feel as secure with only stripes of reflectivity instead of blocks.
This doesn’t have as much reflectivity as other reflective running jackets do. But if you’re looking for a stylish jacket you can wear during the day with all your outfits instead of just at night when you’re running, you should check this one out. The sleek black design is as stylish as it is functional.
- This is a great reflective jacket for colder weather because its inner lining is made of fleece.
- While it isn’t waterproof, it is water repellent, so light rain won’t be a problem.
- It has two large pockets on the back of the jacket, but it also has a zippered pocket on the chest.
- Some breathable areas are built into this jacket––under the arms and on the back.
- It has reflective stripes on the back and front pocket areas.
- The jacket is form fitting––it won’t be too baggy or tight if you order the correct size.
- It’s also great for cross-training activities like bicycling.
- There is no hood.
- The arms don’t have vents so they can feel pretty hot during longer runs.
And the Winner Is …
If you don’t mind paying a little more and you can fit into smaller sizes, the AKFly jacket is the best reflective running jacket to keep you covered while running in the dark.
It offers tons of reflective material that will really make you stand out when you’re approached by motorists. But, unlike some of the other jackets, this one won’t feel too hot because of its interior mesh lining. You’ll have vents, a hoodie, and pockets with zippers. Plus, it’s both waterproof and windproof so you won’t be able to make any excuses as to why you aren’t getting your run in.