It’s that time of year where runners find themselves logging miles in the darkness as the daylight hours dwindle. And many runners, especially female runners, are worried about their safety. I want to help empower my fellow women runners by sharing the best running safety gear to keep you safe on the run.
I recently did an interview about runner safety, and it served as a good reminder that we need to not get complacent in our daily habit. It can be easy to forget to take the necessary steps like bringing personal safety items with us to keep us safe on the run because it can be so hard just to get out the door. We must squeeze our runs into our busy days, including a night run or early morning run in the cover of darkness.
And as the days shorten, more and more miles will be spent running without sunlight—and with that our risk increases.
The good news is, there are lots of running safety gear to keep us safe—many more than just a few years ago thanks running safety awareness and advancements in technology.
There are also a lot of common sense steps you can take to enhance your safety such as running in a group, taking self-defense classes, and hiding your runs on Strava.
Please read my in-depth running safety guides for in-depth tips:
- Top Running Safety Tips
- Best Self Defense Moves for Runners
- Best GPS Tracking Devices for Runners + Tech Safety Tips
Okay, let’s get to the best self-defense tools and personal safety items for runners!
The 16 Best Running Safety Gear Items
$199 plus $79 annual subscription
I’m starting with the newest of the new, a running safety gadget that alerts you in your ear buds, smart watch, or cell phone when someone is approaching from behind. It also takes a video and tracks you via GPS. This item is perfect if you run trails and also like to have your ear buds in.
The Sims Tech Alarm allows you to alert your emergency contacts should you need help. It automatically tracks activities and sends your location when your alert is notified. It acts like your own personal security camera, continuously uploading images to a cloud so that potential attackers can be more easily identified and found. The images are high-resolution and use an infrared LED light so images can be made even low light conditions.
Starting at $45
These stylish rings with smart safety features will forever be my favorite. They come with sharp points for you to punch your attacker and collect DNA. What I love about them is that they are easy to remember to wear and are also pretty so you may never want to take them off. These rings wouldn’t necessarily do enough harm to stop someone from hurting you, but they could surprise them enough for you to run away.
Related: 10 Tips for Running in the Dark
Starting at $34.99
These take the Defender Ring up a notch. The Tigerlady Tiger Claws is a clever self-defense item with retractable cat claws you run in your fists to scratch an attacker and collect DNA. These could do some damage. These aren’t as subtle as the Defender Rings, but they are easy to carry. The Tigerlady Tiger Claws plus key self-defense moves would definitely level up your ability to keep yourself safe while on the run.
Starting at $29.95
The Birdie Alarm is one of the most popular personal safety products as it’s pretty and easy to carry, designed to attach to a key chain or bag. The colorful alarm sounds 130db siren and flashing strobe light to deter an attacker when the pin is pulled. The new Birdie+ also allows you to share your location with emergency contacts and allows you to receive a fake “excuse to leave” call, geared towards keeping young women safe on college campuses. The motivation behind Birdie is the heartbreaking statistic that over half of women in the U.S. have experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes.
Related: How to Become a Morning Runner
Runner Safety Gear Package $26.99
Go Guarded offers some of the best personal safety products for runners out there. Go Guarded sells a personal safety package for under $30 that includes a bladed Go Guarded Hand-Held ring, a half ounce pepper spray canister, AND a 130-decibel personal alarm with LED light. The pepper spray and alarm are interchangeable in the handheld unit so you choose which protection you want to take with you. The blade is a similar idea to the
Defender Ring but not disguisable as a piece of jewelry. And the alarm isn’t as pretty as the Birdie Alarm, but the function of this gear is the same. Go Guarded also offers its original Go Guarded knife which could do some serious damage to a would-be attacker.
The Run Angel allows you to run with peace of mind with a wearable to add to your GPS watch-free wrist. Coming soon, Run Angel also has an “Angel Wing” that clips onto your clothes. The wristband and Angel Wing sound an alarm and light an LED light when you press the button, sending an emergency alert notification to your safety contacts. Your smartphone or GPS watch likely has a similar feature but what I love about Run Angel is how easy it is to push the button and sound the alarm. In a scary situation, you aren’t going to want to fumble around with finding the right app or button. This is easy to press, alert, and sound.
Related: 8 Best Budget Running Watches
Many of us don’t run with our IDs on us or our phone number. It’s hard enough trying to remember to charge our GPS watch. The RoadID bracelet is genius in that it also your personal safety information and is built to fit
seamlessly into your running habits. They make IDs that fit onto your running shoes’ laces or smart watch, for example, in addition to a bracelet. You can also purchase tags with information about medical conditions, and tags for your kids and dogs. The engraved metal is similar to your dog’s dog tag, but for you. Should you go missing or take a fall, a RoadID could save your life. Having in on you is always a good idea.
Starting at $54.99
FITTSAFE is a new line that’s one of the best reflective running gear for women available today. Creator, Faith, started a walking habit during the pandemic during an incredibly busy and stressful time. Early morning walks were the only time she could get do something for herself between a demanding job and taking care of her kids. But walking in the darkness made her worried
about her safety. She tried to find athletic gear with reflective strips AND pockets, and came up empty-handed. So, she created her own line. FITTSAFE has lots of sizeable pockets including a zippered pocket under your chest and deep pockets on the sides of your thighs. Reflective details line your entire body making you visible to cars, too. The clothes are cute, comfortable, and functional.
On sale $49.95
Speaking of being visible to cars, the NoxGear Tracer 2 Vest traces the outline of your body in a lightweight (almost zero weight) vest that lights up in a beautiful array of colors. There’s no way you can’t be seen by cars when running in the vest in the early morning hours or after the kids have gone to bed. The vest is easy to slip on over your clothes, no matter how many layers you are wearing. It’s one of the most popular running safety gear items available because it’s truly the best way to be seen in the dark.
Related: Best Sports Bras with POCKETS
On sale $49.95
NoxGear also makes a wearable speaker which is the answer to runners’ dilemma who want to stay safe but also want to listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks (I am raising my hand). Being aware of your surroundings is safety 101. The NoxGear wearable speaker clips onto your clothes and allows you to know what’s going on around you while still being entertained. It weighs less than a pack of gum and runners say it’s more comfortable than
wearing ear buds anyway (no messing with them falling out as you sweat!). If you do wear airpods while running, please always run with just one in to create more awareness. Or, consider invest in open-ear bone conduction ear buds like AfterShokz (better for your hearing and better for your safety).
You can’t mess with a classic. Carrying a mini stun gun and pepper spray has likely saved thousands of lives. These items are disguised as lipstick and are easy to carry in your hand as you run (or in your purse to keep you safe. My biggest fear is being attacked while with my kids in a parking lot…). The key here is making sure you know how to use the taser and pepper spray before you ever have to. Read the instructions and practice as if you are in a surprise attack situation. You aren’t going to want to be fumbling around in a life-or-death situation. Learn how to use it so that it is second nature, and you don’t risk injuring yourself in the process. A lipstick taser or pepper spray could bide you enough time to get away to safety.
Many GPS watches such as Garmin watches and the Apple Watches allow you to enable GPS tracking and alert emergency contacts in an emergency situation. Running apps such as Strava also have features (called Beacon) that allow you to do the same. For the apps or watch to work though, you must carry your smart phone and enable GPS tracking and text messages. Read full instructions in my article here. This is when wearing something with pockets to allow you to comfortably carry your phone like the FITTSAFE gear is key.
I offer more roundups on running gear with pockets here:
If you don’t want to spring for running gear with pockets, the flip belt is a good option. Similar to a fanny pack, it fits snug and comfortably around your waist so no bouncing while running. And the flip belt is spacious so you can hold your phone, keys, credit cards, and personal safety items easily. The flip belt is a favorite among runners no matter the time of day.
Similarly, if you aren’t up for springing for reflective clothing, you can get the lightweight Nathan Safety Vest which is made of reflective materials and fits comfortably over your running clothes. Its reflective material lights you up like a Christmas tree so oncoming traffic can see you! (Remember, always run against traffic).
While cars need to see you via visibility gear, you need to be able to see where you are running and what is around you! A headlamp is a great option (it’s essentially a flashlight you wear on your head). This headlamp is light, bright, rechargeable, and has a comfortable fit. The light remains bright for five hours and it’s completely waterproof. What’s more is it has a red-light halo effect which allows others to see you too, including cars.
If you detest headlamps (or it doesn’t work with your winter hat), you can also increase your visibility and ability to see with Knuckle Lights. I like Knuckle Lights because you can more easily direct the light to where you want to see (like a flashlight). The lights come in bright colors and are easy to hold in your hands.
Stay safe this winter on those nighttime runs, and early morning runs, so you can still chase those goals!
If you want guidance with your running goals including winter motivation, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:
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