I looked ridiculous. I was decked out from head to toe in Nathan visibility gear. Red StrobeLight on my head. LightBender around my arm. LightSpur strapped to my heel. And I topped it all off with a bright pink streak vest. I was ready and it wasn’t even 4 p.m.
My running partner and I are training for a marathon and we were headed out for our first 18 mile long run. We figured it would take just under 3 hours. In those three hours the sun would set, the rain would turn to snow and the snow would turn to heavy snow. So, dressed like a over-the-top Christmas tree, I was on my way. About an hour in, I was thrilled to be decked out in LED lights. Visibility was awful, bikers were zooming by and I felt safe and fantastic.
Back up: My ridiculous look was made possible by another wonderful feat of Nathan’s excellent customer service, this time the products are as fantastic as the service representatives.
A few weeks ago I wrote this review about my disappointment in Nathan’s ClipLights. Gist: They would stop working mid-run. I tried several sets of them and they all had the same problem. I was contacted by a rep immediately who shipped me a package of new lighting products to try.
After a 14 miler and an 18 miler in the dark, I can certainly say my confidence is restored in Nathan visibility gear. The StrobeLight, LightBender and LightSpur are absolutely fantastic. Reliable, lightweight, comfortable and bright. Most importantly, they make me feel safe when I am out logging miles in the dark.
I am going to review the light products here:
1. The Nathan StrobeLight
I clipped one of these to the back collar of my shirt and another to the top of my hat on a 9 mile run a few mornings ago. We were out running more than an hour before the sun started to rise so it was very dark. The light is red, very bright and can be set to flash or to stay on. Although the light was clipped pretty much between my eyeballs I couldn’t see it at all – it was wonderful. When I saw this online I was concerned about the weight of the product, it looked a little bulky. But the StrobeLight is very lightweight and I completely forgot about them almost as soon as I put them on. The on and off button is very easy to use and the clip worked great, stayed exactly where I put it. The StrobeLights are a must have.
2. The Nathan LightBender
So I was worried about this one. Anytime something straps to my arm I am worried about chafing or any kind of rubbing. No worries here! The LightBender wraps around your arm with an LED light that provides visibility from the front and the back. Nathan says the light is completely sweatproof and waterproof – after 3 hours in the rain and snow I say their claims are correct. The LightBender is powered with replaceable watch battery. Like the StrobeLight, the LightBender can be set to flash or stay on. My light is green but it also comes in red.
3. The Nathan LightSpur
This straps right on to the back of your shoe. Those spikes keep it in place. Before I put it on I was afraid that this item would come loose or would be a problem if I accidentally stepped in a puddle. Again, this fear was a waste of my energy. My running partner said that this was the brightest light of all. It clipped on easily and didn’t get loose during my run. I wear a size 7, so I’m not sure how this item works with different size shoes. Once I clipped it on I didn’t even notice it. For three hours, that means it must have been really lightweight. Another benefit was that it lit up the ground around me. I was able to see cracks in the sidewalk and bumps even in the darkest parts on our path.
All three of these products are fantastic. No complaints here. No one really needs to go as decked out in lighting gear as I went, but depending on how often you run the dark and where you’re running, more than one light might be a good idea.
I will always wear opt for the StrobeLights and will likely alternate between the LightSpur and the LightBender. Because I was wearing it so I couldn’t see it and because I was running of the dark path with few lights coming toward me, I think I need a little bit more time with the vest before reviewing it. But one thing is for sure, it was a lightweight. Once it was on I completely forgot it was there.
The bottom line: I recommend all of these projects but most urgently, I recommend that you stop what you’re doing and buy the StrobeLights. I can’t believe I ever ran in the dark without them.