Written by Seton Claggett, TriSports.com CEO and Chief Gear Guy
There are two reasons you need lights for running at night – to see what’s in front of you and for others to see you coming. I was given the Night Runner 270 Shoe Lights to try at the end of their beta testing and I have to say that I was rather excited to be able to run at night without a headlamp. These rechargeable lights simply clip onto your shoelaces and light up the ground directly in front of you. There are three settings: high beam, low beam, and flashing. As an added feature, there is also a side, red light for some rear and side visibility.
I do a lot of product testing and this was the first product I have ever used where people stopped me in the middle of a workout and asked me questions about it. I was blown away that a couple walking their dog down the street wanted to talk about the lights shining from my shoes as I emerged from the darkness. Then it dawned on me that the usefulness of these lights extends far beyond the reaches of endurance athletes getting their nightly endorphin rush. Walkers, joggers, and hikers can all benefit from this unique product. For those of you doing long relay runs (i.e. Ragnar, Reach The Beach, Hood to Coast, etc.), I think these lights should be required by the race organizers.
As my testing continued over several evening runs, I realized that my goal of no headlamp was not to be. Unfortunately, this is because I happen to live in a part of the country that if you make one wrong step you could be in an incredible amount of pain because of cactus and our friendly, neighborhood rattlesnakes. The one test I enjoyed the most was how oncoming traffic responded to my light setup (keep in mind, that there are no sidewalks where I run so you are either in the dirt or on the road). I will insert the obligatory legal disclosure: This test was done by a professional runner on a closed course…..or was it an amateur runner on an open course? I digress; I tested just the Night Runner 270, just my head lamp, and then both at the same time. I was very surprised how the oncoming cars reacted to the lights. Using the headlamp and Night Runners individually, the cars moved over about 2-3 feet. However, when I used the Night Runners and my headlamp in conjunction with one another, it was like using the Force to move cars 6-10 feet away from me.
While I clearly do not recommend others trying this at home, just know that the combination creates a lighting effect that is enough to wake drivers up and know that something from another world is coming their way!
From a practicality standpoint, these lights work great. Simply charge them up with the provided split USB cable, clip them onto your laces, turn them on and get your butt moving. The split USB cable is key because it enables you to charge both lights at the same time. One problem I experienced on a couple of runs was that one of the lights would move out of position and eject off my shoe. For me, it was a matter of trial and error to pick the right position on the shoes, but after that I was good to go.
In summary, the Night Runner 270 Shoe Lights are great for high visibility, lighting up the ground in front of you as well as providing contrast to the immediate terrain. I wouldn’t count on these lights for an epic trail run, but I am certainly going to keep mine close by because they probably provide some of the best safety out there when it comes to running near traffic.