Recently I wrote about running in the dark alone at this time of year and how it can be a bit hairy for various reasons; you feel more vulnerable, you can’t see where you’re going, and people can’t see you. I always wear something hi-viz in the dark and last year I ran with heel lights, but they don’t help you avoid uneven ground.
So when I spotted the RunLites stand at the New York marathon expo I was intrigued and went over for a closer look and a chat to Mary, the lady manning the stand. We had a lovely chat and she told me all about the product.
It’s a simple idea; RunLites are rechargeable LED lights which fit into gloves. This provides you with a localised light source whenever you need it. They help you see where you’re going and also allow you to be seen, because the light is up closer to the eyeline.
There are three different styles of gloves. There’s a simple sling for when you don’t need the warmth of gloves, fingerless half gloves which is what I bought, and fleece full gloves and mittens for when it’s properly freezing. There are also styles for kids. The LED lights are sold separately which allows you to buy different styles of gloves and use the same lights in all of them, which is a great touch.
I was really excited about these and bought a set of lights and a pair of the half length gloves in colours that kind of match my Eagles club kit, because I’m sad like that and I like my kit to coordinate!
I took them for a spin last week and they didn’t disappoint.
The gloves themselves fit nicely – they come in sizes from XS to 2X so there’s a good range, and I went for a small. They also have a small velcro fastener on the wrist so you can make sure they’re secure.
The LED lights fit easily into the pouch on the top of the gloves, so they rest snugly against the back of your hand. There is velcro on the lights and on both sides of the pouch, so they won’t fall out. They weigh very little, they don’t add any bulk to your hands and they didn’t affect my arm swing. In fact I barely noticed them other than the fact I could see where I was going!
The lights come with a multiway USB charger so you can make sure both lights have the same amount of charge. They show a red light when charging, and when they’re full the red light goes out. The safety advice from RunLites is to make sure that the lights are completely charged before you head out for your run.
The lights have two settings, for 40 or 80 lumens. I was really impressed with how easy they were to switch on and change the settings when you’re wearing them; there’s a touch control on the top of the light and you simply press once for on to 40 lumens, again to go up to 80, and again to switch them off. It’s not fiddly at all so it would be easy to do with cold hands or if you were wearing the full gloves or mittens. Setting off, I was already impressed.
And as for the difference they make to running in the dark…well, let’s just say I don’t think I’ll be running at night without them anytime soon.
Where I live we have good street lighting, but there are still sometimes big gaps between them and we have very uneven pavements. We’re also a very green suburb with a lot of trees, and at this time of year fallen leaves are a huge problem – you just can’t see what’s on the floor in front of you or where the uneven bits are because it’s dark and covered in leaves!
I deliberately ran down some of the darkest most leaf ridden streets and the RunLites made such a difference. According to the website, they provide a 135 degree radial arc of light 35 feet ahead of you. All I knew was that I was cocooned in my own personal pool of light and I felt safer and more confident throughout the run because of that.
This is a great product and clearly very helpful for runs in the dark. They look good, they’re comfortable are also easier to wear than a head torch – that will depend on personal preference of course, but for running around residential streets rather than trails I know which looks better and feels less cumbersome for me!
Oh – one more thing that I love about them, which may sound a bit gross but I think is genius. The thumb piece is made of a sort of towelling material. It’s designed so you can wipe your nose on it if you’re getting snotty in the cold. I forgot my tissues for parkrun on Saturday but these were in my bag so I wore them without the lights to avail myself of the snot-thumb feature. I repeat – genius!
Does what it claims? Yes. The lights are plenty bright enough to run by and to help you be seen. They’re easy to use, comfortable and they don’t impede your running. 10/10
Useful for runners? Definitely, but not just for runners. Walking in the dark, changing a light bulb, dealing with a power cut, walking the dog – whatever. They provide you with localised light when you need it, without having to hold a torch. 10/10
Value for money? As you’ll guess from the fact I bought mine at the NYC marathon expo, these are an American product and they ship from the US – this is the one drawback for those of us in the UK. The gloves range from around $25 to $30, and the LED lights are sold separately for around $20. Shipping to the UK is estimated by RunLites as between $12 to $17. So they’re not cheap, but they’re also not unreasonably expensive for the quality and I do think they are worth the money. Especially if you consider that they are rechargeable and you’ll probably use them anytime you run in the dark – the eventual cost per use will be extremely low. Also RunLites have kindly offered a 25% discount for duffrunning readers – details below. 8/10
Will I keep using it? Yes I will. I felt safer using them and more confident because I could see where my feet were going. It was a massive help. A couple of years ago I took part in an organised Night Run where there were no lights at all and we had to use head torches, and I found it really difficult. Genuinely now I’ve got these I’m hoping another one comes up, because it’ll be a piece of cake! 10/10
RunLites have kindly offered a 25% discount for duffrunning readers. To get the discount, go to the RunLites website and use the code DUFF25 at the online checkout.
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