Many people enjoy running in lower light conditions thanks to the cooler temperature, less people out and about, and the lovely views of either the sunrise or sunset. Having said that, there should be safety measures in place if you’re planning to run during dusk or dawn so that drivers can easily see you to avoid accidents.
Reflective gear is very useful and widely available for runners, making it the ideal attire for late-night runners. You can go as big or as small as you want, but the more reflective gear you have on, the harder it’ll be for a driver to spot you.
Dressing up as a tall traffic cone requires head-to-toe reflectivity, including your running shoes. Of course, there’s no use in having safe reflective shoes when they’re not comfortable or performance-enhancing as you’d like, which is often where reflective shoes fall flat.
We’ve dedicated this article to find the best running shoes that find a happy medium between safety and performance, so you can confidently run during low light times while working toward your fitness and running goals.
In a hurry?
It might be getting dark by the time you get to the end of our article, which is why we’re not going to waste any time in telling you that the best reflective running shoe is the ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe.
Just a few of the reasons why we love these shoes so much, and why we think that you will too, is because:
- They are the most reflective running shoes on the market while maintaining a great performance.
- You can wear them while running on all types of terrain.
- These shoes are very beneficial for everyone, as well as people with orthopedic issues.
The Best Reflective Running Shoes
OUR TOP PICK
First up we have the GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe from ASICS. This brand is well known for two things: great running shoes and high visibility in low light conditions. This shoe is by far the most reflective option on our list, with long reflective strips reaching all around the upper. Everyone will be able to see you on your night time run.
The midsole comes equipped with GEL cushioning which makes your exercise more comfortable and takes a lot of the pressure off of your foot and ankle. There is also a sock liner that will work easily with orthotics, but this can be removed if you don’t need it.
The outsole is designed for running down trails, meaning that you can wear these shoes on all types of terrain. You don’t need to wear them solely on trails, but it’s good to have the option when you want a change of scenery or take a hike. There are 15 colors to choose from and the sizing accommodates people with wider feet.
Great amount of reflective material on each shoe.
This shoe works well for people who have issues with pain while running.
Suitable for all kinds of terrains.
Not as breathable as other models on our list.
The heel may wear out over time.
- Outdoor-ready runner with mesh and brushstroke-patterned underlays
- Rearfoot GEL cushioning
- Removable sockliner accommodates medical orthotics
A close second in the ranks is the Ghost 12 shoes from Brooks. These shoes offer a reflective strip near the outer head of the upper that will keep you seen during that early morning, evening, and night time running sessions.
This shoe is classified as neutral and it offers great comfort and support. The cushioning inner and midsole offers nice impact resistance so that pain and discomfort won’t cut your run short. That being said, Brooks has worked hard to ensure that this doesn’t remove all of the responsiveness.
The midsole is very flexible and the outer sole is made up of individual pieces so that it doesn’t restrict the natural movements of your feet. Moreover, at the sole, there is a crash pad to absorb most of the shock from each step.
These shoes offer you great support during your runs.
Very comfortable and responsive shoes.
The sole is super flexible and performance-enhancing.
Neutral sneakers so they may not be stable enough for some runners.
Not the best quality control.
- THIS SHOE IS FOR: Neutral runners looking for a lightweight shoe and a smooth ride without sacrificing cushioning. Whether you’re a Ghost loyalist or are lacing one up for the first time, you’ll...
- SUPPORT AND CUSHION: The neutral support type provides high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor: Ghost 11
- BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability - yet it feels lighter than ever.
Next up we have the popular Nike Flex Experience Run 8 running shoes, which offer the user reflective strips on either side of the shoe. These can be easily spotted from the back of the shoe as well, so you don’t need to worry about drivers approaching from behind you.
These shoes are lightweight and extremely comfortable thanks to a number of reasons. The first is for the adaptive fabric upper, and the second is the mesh built into the heel of the shoe so that they can adjust to your unique shape of foot.
There are grooves that have been put into the sole which allow the rubber to move more freely while you’re running, which removes the feeling of being restricted. This pairs well with the lightweight design as you’ll feel like you’re not wearing any running shoes at all.
They feature reflective strips that can be seen from a range of different angles.
Different measures have been put in place for added comfort.
The sole is very flexible for more range of motion and a better performance.
A few customers did not appreciate the quality control.
The midsole may squeak while you’re running for the first use.
- RUNNING SHOES FOR MEN: The Nike Flex Experience RN 8 running shoe delivers lightweight comfort with a knit fabric that conforms to your every step.
- COMFORTABLE FIT: Men's Nike shoes feature flex grooves in the outsole for natural flexibility and a soft mesh in the heel for an adaptive fit while running.
- DURABLE DESIGN: A no-sew overlay at the laces and toe tip adds durability to our men's running shoes while textured outsole provides additional traction and durability.
The Fresh Foam 1080 V9 Running Shoe offers a large ‘N’ shape made up of reflective material. This can be found on both of the inside and outside edges of the shoe and can be easily seen from the front. There is also reflective material on the tongue and on the back of the shoe, so you’re covered from every angle.
The Fresh Foam midsole offers you one of the most comfortable runs of your life, and you’ll be craving your next outing. This is paired with a durable rubber sole that reaches up over the toes for added reliability.
You can also benefit from the breathable mesh material of the upper. Feel free to run for longer without your feet getting too hot or uncomfortable. There are plenty of sizes to choose from including wide and extra-wide options, and the color choices are all great and stylish.
Reflective material wrapping all around the shoe.
The Fresh Foam midsole is very comfortable and enjoyable.
These shoes are very breathable.
A couple of customers thought that the heel counter was too short.
These are not the most stable, so they may not be suitable for every runner.
- 8 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 8 mm drop are approximate
- Blown rubber outsole provides superior rebound
- Bootie upper construction hugs your foot for a snug, supportive fit
Last up on our list is the Purebounce+ running shoes from Adidas. The classic three stripe design of Adidas is where you’ll find the reflective material on these shoes, and you can see parts of this from all sides of the shoe. This means that you can run in low light conditions in the knowledge that you can be seen by everyone.
These shoes offer a regular fit, so may not be suitable for people with wider feet. The midsole is made from a comfortable foam which offers you a great springy feel with every step. Not only will this make your run more enjoyable, but you should also experience a better overall performance.
The upper is knitted and offers great support to your foot. Lace-up these shoes so that they’re comfortable and secure and reap the benefits of a supporting running shoe. There are 11 stylish swatches to choose from, each boasting the reflective properties.
Good amount of reflectivity that can be seen from all around.
The midsole aims to spring you back into action after every step.
This is a very supportive shoe, ideal for beginners.
There is no option for people with wider feet.
One customer said that his pair squeaked.
- Regular fit; Weight: 359 g (size UK 8.5); Midsole drop: 8 mm (heel: 21 mm / forefoot: 13 mm); Recommended for: City running; Arch type: Normal; Lace closure
- 3D molded mesh upper for a natural fit; Reflective details
- Bounce+ energized foam cushioning delivers an agile, springy feel and plush step-in comfort
The Best Reflective Running Shoes- Buying Guide
Now that we’ve viewed the best reflective running shoes available right now, let’s have a look into some of the most important factors to consider when choosing your shoes. These factors will indicate how effective and useful each shoe is to you, which will prevent you from wasting your money on low-quality shoes.
Following the advice that we’re giving you below will allow you to grasp a larger amount of knowledge about reflective running shoes and what makes a pair good or bad. You don’t want to sacrifice too many of these features with your running shoes, so make sure that the pair you choose checks most, if not all, of these boxes.
How Reflective are the Shoes?
Of course, if you’re wanting a pair of reflective shoes for running in the dark, you’re going to need them to be reflective enough to actually notify others that you’re there. It is important to note whether the reflective panels are bright or dull.
One thing that you certainly don’t want is to purchase a pair of reflective running shoes, wear them out without testing them first, and find that they do next to nothing in terms of keeping your visible.
Bear in mind that your shoes are the closest thing to the ground on your body, so the reflective material needs to be bright enough to draw the attention of drivers. The driver should spot your foot and be aware of your presence.
If you were wearing a dimly reflective piece of gear on your arm, this may not be as much of a problem as this would be in the driver’s line of sight. However, shoes are often not in the typical line of sight and that is why they have to be brighter.
We’d suggest looking through the customer reviews to see how bright the reflective panels are, as this could save you a lot of time, money, and disappointment.
How Much Reflective Material is on the Shoes?
This goes hand in hand with what we mentioned above. The chosen shoes need to be reflective enough for people to see you from far away. There is no use purchasing shoes with reflective material on the inner side of the shoe where no one is going to see it easily, is there?
You should look for shoes that have reflective material on the outside edge of the shoe, and preferably the back. It is often difficult to find running shoes with enough reflective material on them nowadays, so just remember that more is better in this case.
Now getting into the features of running shoes, you need to make sure that your chosen shoes are stable enough for your individual needs. Some people over- or under-pronate their feet when they run, so these people need more stability to keep their feet level and in line with their ankles. This will prevent injuries and discomfort during your runs.
On the other hand, some professional runners like to practice their hobby without any stability in their running shoes at all, as this will strengthen their feet and allow them to adapt to running better. How much stability you opt for is dependent on whether you think it beneficial to you.
Running shoes come with all different price tags, so it’s important to set a budget before you go overspending on running shoes. You can find a number of great reflective running shoes on the market for a low price, so you don’t need to purchase the most expensive pair that you can find.
In fact, some of the cheaper models offer the best reflective properties. Similarly, inexpensive shoes are often great for running, so you don’t have to look at higher-priced items in the hopes of finding the best options. There are great options on the market no matter your budget.
There is not much worse than buying a new pair of running shoes only for them to break within a matter of weeks or months. This is why it’s important to determine the durability of the shoes that you’re considering so that you know that you’re making a worthwhile purchase.
Another thing to consider is the durability of the reflective material. The last thing you want is this to begin peeling or fall off after a few uses, as they’ll pretty much be rendered useless as night time running shoes.
We would suggest looking through the reviews again in regards to this as previous customers will be able to tell you how durable each of the shoes that you’re considering are. This will save you money and the hassle of trying to send them back if they falter.
Of course, you’re going to need your running shoes to be comfortable enough to wear for the duration of your run. You don’t want to have to cut your time short because of painful shoes, and you don’t want your speed or stamina to suffer thanks to uncomfortable shoes.
For added comfort, you should look for foam midsoles, cushioning insoles, and breathable outer materials. Having your shoes made from breathable material will allow there to be a constant cooling flow of air to surround your foot while you run. No one likes overheating feet while they’re exercising, so this is a great feature to be aware of.
Many people only size their running shoes in regards to the length of their feet, and often forget about the width. This can be a big issue when it comes to running, as you need enough room for your feet to be able to breathe and move about freely.
It’s also worth noting that your feet swell as the day goes on, so running in the evening or night time may call for wider running shoes to allow for this extra size. Try and find a running shoe that comes in different widths, but if this is not achievable, make sure that your chosen shoe is not too narrow.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do reflective shoes work?
When the light of a car’s headlamps or a streetlamp hits the reflective material, the light source will bounce off and produce a bright silver hue. When this is bright enough, passersby will be drawn to it and be notified of your presence.
As you run or walk the light bouncing off your shoes will be moved side to side to create even more of an eye-catching effect. This keeps you safe from drivers who may not have seen you otherwise.
How do you clean reflective materials?
You can often put them through a laundry machine if it’s really dirty, as long as you only use a mild detergent and don’t dry them in the machine. Instead, hang them up and leave them to air dry. This is best for materials that feel like fabric and have reflective properties sewn into the fabric itself.
If this does not apply to your item of clothing or shoe, it will probably offer a patent finish instead, which is like a shiny plastic feel. If this is the case, you can simply wipe the area clean with a damp cloth. Many running shoes use this type of reflective material so it doesn’t take much to clean your running shoes at all.