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Hitting the road and trail with the Night Runner 270 shoe lights

Hitting the road and trail wit...
The Night Runners are water-resistant, lightweight, bright LEDs that clip onto the laces of your running shoes to illuminate your way with a 270-degree arc of light
The Night Runners are water-resistant, lightweight, bright LEDs that clip onto the laces of your running shoes to illuminate your way with a 270-degree arc of light
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Night Runner 270s provide a 270-degree arc of illumination
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Night Runner 270s provide a 270-degree arc of illumination
The angle is easily adjustable
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The angle is easily adjustable
The lights are secured by shoelaces
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The lights are secured by shoelaces
The Night Runners are water-resistant, lightweight, bright LEDs that clip onto the laces of your running shoes to illuminate your way with a 270-degree arc of light
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The Night Runners are water-resistant, lightweight, bright LEDs that clip onto the laces of your running shoes to illuminate your way with a 270-degree arc of light
Low, high beam and flashing modes can be used at the touch of a button
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Low, high beam and flashing modes can be used at the touch of a button
The lights put out up to 150 total lumens
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The lights put out up to 150 total lumens
A rear red light allows visibility from the back
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A rear red light allows visibility from the back
Each pair of lights includes a carrying case and dual USB-charging cable
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Each pair of lights includes a carrying case and dual USB-charging cable
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Night Runner 270° Shoe Lights are designed to give you the freedom to run whenever, wherever without having to worry about cumbersome straps, clips or full-on packs that might get in the way of your nighttime workout. We took a pair for a few late night jogs in varied environments to see how they work.

The Night Runners are water-resistant, lightweight, bright LEDs that clip onto the laces of your running shoes to illuminate your way with a 270-degree arc of light. They also have a wingtip-shaped attachment with a red light on the rear side that's designed to make you visible from behind as well.

As you can see for yourself in our video review below, these lights are also adjustable so you can snap them into the ideal angle for lighting up the terrain in front of you.

Review: Nightrunner shoe lights

The Night Runners' creators, who successfully launched the product via Kickstarter, claim they work well for running on trails or in urban situations, so we tried both. First, we drove beyond city lights to try out a National Forest trail in the southern Rockies after dark. Did we mention it was also in the middle of a thunderstorm?

The Night Runners, which are charged via a dual USB charging cord included with the two light units, put out an impressive 150 lumens on their highest setting, which cut through the dark and the rain as we hit the trail, up to 30 meters ahead. However, because the lights are on shoe-level and moving around quite a bit with each stride, they often cast odd shadows or could be blocked by large obstacles like rocks or roots.

As our trail climbed into the forest and up a ridge line with a steep drop-off on one side, we became too uncomfortable with the uneven light the Night Runners cast on the trail and turned back, not to mention that we were also venturing almost blind into bear and mountain lion country.

Night Runner 270s provide a 270-degree arc of illumination
Night Runner 270s provide a 270-degree arc of illumination

On flatter, more consistent trails, the Night Runners perform better and provide more confidence, but don't think this is like bringing a large spotlight with you wherever you run. In general, we wouldn't recommend these for trail running at night on trails you aren't already intimately familiar with. Even then, they still might not be enough to make you feel comfortable on trails you know well if there's lots of obstacles involved.

Next, we took the lights for a run on a moonless night down the side of a major thoroughfare with limited streetlights. Here they provided the extra bit of confidence needed to ensure that we were both able to see where we were going and also be seen by drivers on the road. One interesting side effect though, was that a few drivers seemed to slow down and even veer toward us a little bit as they apparently tried to discern what the odd, bouncing lights on the side of the road were.

A rear red light allows visibility from the back
A rear red light allows visibility from the back

Where the Night Runner 270s really shone brightest, though, was on a run down a residential dirt road on the edge of town with no street lights, sidewalks or shoulders to run on. These were roads we would never consider running on at night for all sorts of safety and navigation reasons. Equipped with the lights on our feet, however, we made a good four mile run of it all around the neighborhood in complete comfort and safety.

One important caveat we found for using these lights is that it is essential to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark to get the full benefit. We recommend taking at least 10-20 minutes to stretch or warm-up in place or do something else after you've turned on the lights before taking off running. It makes a significant difference in how effective they are.

This also means avoiding looking directly into oncoming headlights, and no looking at your brightly-lit smartphone during your run, otherwise you'll have to wait for your eyes to re-adjust again.

Each pair of lights includes a carrying case and dual USB-charging cable
Each pair of lights includes a carrying case and dual USB-charging cable

Each charge should get you about 4 - 8 hours of use of the Night Runner 270s' Lithium-ion batteries and they're reasonably priced at US$59.95 online.

Product Page: Night Runner 270

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4 comments
Vitaly
utterly useless idea. And dangerous for the runner on rough terrain.
ljaques
Yet another solution searching for a problem. As the reviewer said, squirrely as h*ll on trails, so they don't even work as stated. While running, half the light is always pointed at the ground with the shoe lights. $60? About $50 too much. For about $50 less, I could ziptie a little BRIGHT LED flashlight (Cree XM-L T-6 based, $5 + $1 battery and $2 charger, eBay. It's zoomable, too.) to my belt and have more light and much, much less strobe effect. Nice try, guys, but it's a sure NOGO. I'll bet it's fun adding that weight to your feet, too. (bounce, bounce, bounce; got any bruises from them yet?)
StevenCinNYC
I use a headlamp around my waist. It's a Princeton Tec Aurora. I've used it for years. I wrote to the company to check if it would be possible, and they checked it out on a couple people's waists in their office (how nice is that!). I've got a 40" waist, and it fits just fine. The design allows me to adjust the angle and brightness of the light. Most runners are probably thinner than I am so probably it would fit just about anyone. The light moves as I run, but the spread is wide enough so that you can always see the path in front of you. I also use a flashing light on the back (or two on my sides, depending on how concerned I am about cars). I use the strap of the Aurora to hold the flashing light. All battery powered (AAA). Super easy. Plus, it's still a great headlamp of you need one.