Best Running Vests Reviewed & Rated for Quality

Shoes? Check! Shorts? Check! Running Vest. Uhhh. That’s right, when it comes to running gear, we tend to focus on the main articles of clothing, such as shoes pants and shirts. But one item that tends to get overlooked is the running vest. A running vest can have multiple functions, including reflectiveness, added weight, and comfort. It can also give you great and easy ways to carry water, wallets or keys. Depending on the type of running that you do, the kind of vest you are looking for will vary but we’ve got everything you could possibly think of here in this updated list. 

Last Updated: September 25, 2018
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By Kevin Enochs:

In this update we've added three new products that have a lot of cool bells and whistles. These products move beyond just vests into water bladders and pockets and that just may be exactly what you're looking for. So take a look at our updated list.

Featured Recommendations

No. 1 Reflective Vest
  • No. 1 Reflective Vest
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Ultimate Protection
  • Price: See Here
Tracer360 Illuminated
  • Tracer360 Illuminated
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • LED Lights
  • Price: See Here
The Rocky Peak
  • The Rocky Peak
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Zippered Pockets
  • Price: See Here

If you are a runner who primarily runs at night or in the early morning hours, then the number one priority when shopping for a running vest is reflectiveness. You want to make sure others can see you while you are on the road. Finding a running vest that suits your needs is just as important as the running shoes you choose and your other running attire. Comfort should be at the top of anyone’s list when it comes to buying any type of running gear. Choosing the right material and right functions that work best for your needs is imperative. Below I have included a list of the 10 best running vests with these qualities in mind.

 

10 Best Running Vests

 

1. No. 1 Reflective Vest

1. No. 1 Reflective Vest
If you are looking for a reflective running vest that provides the ultimate level of safety while you run, while also providing incredible comfort, then this reflective running vest is a perfect choice. This reflective vest offers 360-degree protection, which makes you extremely visible to drivers on the road. It is also made from a light mesh fabric that keeps you nice and cool during your run. Equipped with pockets and adjustable straps, this vest aims for both comfort and safety.
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Ultimate Protection
This reflective vest offers 360 degrees of protection, allowing others to see you from up to 750 feet away. This means that you won’t have to worry about getting run off of the road while running at night or in the early morning hours.

Bonus Items included
You are not only getting an amazing vest that increases your visibility when you run, but you are also getting 2 extra reflective bands that can be used on your arms, wrists or ankles. This will make you extra safe while out on your run.

Cost and Value
In comparison to other running vests on this list, this one falls into the average price range. Considering the overall quality of the mesh fabric that helps make this a breathable and comfortable vest, the extreme level of protection and visibility, and the fact that you get bonus items included with this vest, this is one deal that you can’t pass up.
Pros
  • 360 degree protection
  • Made from breathable mesh
  • Bonus items included
  • Average pricing
Cons
  • Vest may be shorter than expected
  • Sizing may not be as accurate as expected

2. Tracer360 Illuminated

2. Tracer360 Illuminated
This illuminated and reflective running vest was designed with the utmost safety in mind. This vest is not only equipped with a reflective chest belt, but it also has LED lights, making you even more visible to drivers. This vest is also made of mesh, so it is both breathable and comfortable, which means you can enjoy your entire run worry-free.
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Fiber Optic LED Lights
This vest is equipped with fiber optic LED lights that come in a whole array of colors to choose from. These colors are easily changed to preference by simply pushing a button until it changes to the color that you prefer. These lights make it extra safe for you to run during the night time or early morning hours because it makes you that much more visible to drivers.

Sports Mesh
The Tracer360 vest is made from an extremely breathable, elastic sports mesh. This material is not only breathable and sweat resistant, but it stretches too. This keeps you cool and comfortable without having to worry about that nasty, painful chafing you can get from other vests.

Cost and Value
When compared to other running vests, this one is one of the more expensive ones. Keep in mind that you are getting a high quality running vest that not only has a reflective chest band but also comes with fiber optic LED lighting with a variety of colors to choose from, keeping your safety as a number one priority. With quality like this, you really can’t go wrong.
Pros
  • LED lights
  • Reflective band
  • Sweat resistant
  • Adjustable
Cons
  • More expensive
  • Battery life is short

3. The Rocky Peak Reflective Vest

3. The Rocky Peak Reflective Vest
This reflective running vest was designed with comfort and safety in mind. It offers over 300 feet of visibility and is made from a mesh material, so you can run with comfort and peace of mind. It is also adjustable, so you can easily fit this over a regular t-shirt or a bulky sweatshirt with ease. This lightweight vest is the perfect running accessory, keeping you cool and safe while you are out on your run.
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Zippered Pocket
This running vest is equipped with a built-in pocket in the front of the vest that has a zipper. This allows you to take along your personal effects without having to worry about them falling out of your pocket and getting lost or damaged.

Adjustable Velcro Straps
This running vest was designed with ease and comfort in mind. It comes with adjustable straps, which means that this vest can be adjusted according to your comfort level. It can also be worn over a regular shirt or a bulky sweatshirt with ease. This means that you can wear this vest year round without having to worry about it not fitting correctly or becoming uncomfortable.

Cost and Value
If you are looking for a good quality reflective running vest that won’t put a huge dent in your wallet, then this running vest is the perfect fit. In comparison to other running vests on this list, this one is the least expensive. This means that you are getting a good quality reflective running vest equipped with velcro straps that are adjustable and a pocket that has a zipper all for an amazing price that you just can’t pass up!
Pros
  • Offers visibility over 300 feet
  • Adjustable velcro straps
  • Pocket with zipper
  • Least expensive
Cons
  • More expensive
  • Vest may move a lot while running

4. Reflective Vest

4. Reflective Vest
This reflective running vest was designed with comfort and safety in mind. It is made from a light, breathable mesh material that helps keep you cool and comfortable while you run. Its highly reflective abilities allow you to be seen from over 600 feet away, in rainy weather or sunshine and has the ability to adjust to fit your body. This means you can run with complete confidence, without having to worry about your safety.
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Highly Reflective
This vest was made with the utmost safety in mind. Its reflective material allows others to see you from over 600 feet away, no matter the type of weather or time of day. This means that you can enjoy your run without having to worry about your safety on the road.

Bonus Items Included
This reflective vest also comes with two reflective armbands that are equipped with adjustable velcro straps. This gives you maximum safety at all times. It also comes with a handy carrying bag to store these items in, which is great for storage and carrying purposes.

Cost and Value
In comparison to other running vests on this list, this one falls in the less expensive range. This means that you get a high-quality, extremely reflective vest made from a comfortable mesh material, extra arm bands, and a carrying bag all for an amazing price. This is one deal that you most definitely can’t pass up!
Pros
  • Comfortable mesh material
  • Highly reflective-over 600 feet
  • Bonus items included
  • Less expensive
Cons
  • Sizes may run smaller
  • Pocket is too small to fit a cellphone as advertised

5. LANZON Hydration Pack Marathon Running Vest

5. LANZON Hydration Pack Marathon Running Vest
We wanted to include at least a few hydration vests among out picks. These are primarily for runners who are tackling long distances, or just for runners who don’t want to bother carrying water during their run. This is nice vest because not only does it keep you safe but it has room for water and a lot of ‘stuff’ but won’t ever get too heavy to handle.
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Pockets
7 in total this vest has room for almost anything you can imagine, phone wallet keys, most anything you need to store there’s room in this vest. And if you need to keep everything dry there are 2 pockets that are zippered and sweat proof that’ll hold keep everything snug.

Room for a Water Bladder
It’s important to note that the water bladder is not included in this vest but this does make room for one. It’s not a whole lot of money to buy an add-on water pack and the vest will hold one with a 2 liter capacity. It’s easy to insert and once in there doesn’t add a whole lot of weight.

Cost and Value
This of course is on the higher end of our costs but you get a whole lot with this vest. Safety, pockets and enough room to add a 2 liter water bladder. If you want a vest with all the bells and whistles this is the way to go.

Pros

• Room For Water Bladder

• Easily Adjustable

• 7 Pockets

• Breathable Shoulder Straps

• Mesh Padded Back

Cons

• Bag is Hard to Adjust and ‘Floppy’

• Water Bladder Not Included

6. EvoLike Premium

6. EvoLike Premium
If you are looking for a high-quality running vest that is highly reflective, no matter what time of day or night, then the EvoLike Premium Reflective Vest is the perfect choice for you. This reflective running vest offers 360-degree protection and is made from polyester, so it is incredibly comfortable. It is also adjustable and has a velcro strap to help ensure the ultimate fit. Coming in 3 different colors to choose from, this vest also offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
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100% Polyester
This reflective running vest is made from 100% polyester, which makes this both comfortable and breathable. Polyester is known for its moisture-wicking capabilities and its ability to dry quickly, so you won’t have to worry about sweating. It is also machine washable, so keeping it clean and looking like new is a breeze.

Adjustable
This running vest also happens to be adjustable. The vest was designed to cover all the way to the waist and is equipped with a large velcro strap, so you can adjust the tightness to your comfort level. This means that you can spend more time enjoying your run and less time stopping to adjust your vest.

Cost and Value
If you are looking for a reflective running vest that provides ultimate comfort and protection during your long runs, then the EvoLike Premium Reflective Vest is the perfect choice for you. Compared to other running vests on this list, this one is a little bit more expensive. Keep in mind that you are getting a comfortable, quick drying, moisture wicking vest that gives you 360-degree protection adjusts to fit your comfort level and is backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. If you ask me, this is one incredible deal!
Pros
  • 100% polyester
  • Adjustable velcro strap
  • Machine washable
  • 360 degree protection
  • 30 day money back guarantee
Cons
  • More expensive
  • May run smaller than expected

7. RUNFast Max Pro

7. RUNFast Max Pro
If you are looking to step up your running game, then the RUNFast Max Pro Weighted Vest is the one for you. This vest comes in a variety of weights, so you can work your way up to an amazing body. This vest itself was also made to last, with its comfortable yet durable material. Its adjustable straps help you feel secure while you run, so you don’t have to worry about stopping in the middle of your run to adjust your vest.
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Variety of Weights
This weighted running vest comes in different weights, so you can choose what best suits your needs. This is a great feature because it gives you the ability to start out with lighter weights and work your way up. The weights range anywhere from 12 pounds all the way up to 60 pounds. The best part about it is that the weights are included, so you are not just buying the vest and having to purchase the weights separately.

Comfortable
Despite the extra weight added to this vest, it was designed with comfort in mind as well. The vest is made from quality material that is both comfortable and durable. It comes with padded shoulders and adjustable velcro strap, so you can rest assure that you can run with both comfort and confidence.

Cost and Value
In comparison to other running vests on this list, this one happens to land in the more expensive price range. The price actually depends on the weight that you choose. The higher the weight, the more expensive the vest. Keep in mind that you are getting a great quality vest that helps you amp up your run and help you with endurance and stamina, all while keeping you comfortable.
Pros
  • Variety of weights
  • Adjustable strap
  • Weights included
  • Padding in shoulders to help with comfort
Cons
  • More expensive
  • Price varies depending on weight

8. Nathan Intensity Race Vest

8. Nathan Intensity Race Vest
This is a specially designed vest for women but really anyone can use it. It’s most appealing characteristic is that it’s tiny. On the front the harness is small and runs down the side of the body as opposed to straight down the chest. It has front pockets and a 2-liter water bladder that fits into the small back compartment. Function rules on this design, and we like it.
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Propulsion Harness
The 3 way harness is designed to fit snugly across the chest and back and minimize any bouncing either from the pockets in the front or the bladder in back. The straps are also breathable and fully adjustable.

Front Pockets
Two to be exact one for your phone and one simple pocket to hold a water bottle. If you don’t need to bring a full two liters of water with you the front bottle pocket is a great way to keep water with you and not have to carry the2 liters of water weight. And the other pocket is zippered and big enough for your phone.

Cost and Value
Pricey but you get everything with this vest. A special design for women, a water bladder, pockets and a uniquely lightweight reflective safe vest that will increase your level of comfort and make is easier to put in the long miles.
Pros

• Two Pockets

• Water Bladder

• Adjustable

• Reflective Trim

• Harness System Minimizes Bounce

Cons

• Water Bladder Leaks

• Uncomfortable Fit

9. Empower Weighted

9. Empower Weighted
Ladies, if you are looking for a running vest that will help you step up your running game, then the Empower Weighted Vest is the perfect one for you. This running vest was specifically designed for women. The unique “X” shape was designed to fit the shape of a woman’s body, allowing for maximum comfort. It is also adjustable and comes with reflective strips on the back for added safety while running at night or in the early morning hours.
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Special Design
This weighted vest was specifically designed for a woman. Its unique “X” shape design works with a woman’s curves and not against them. It is made to distribute the weight properly, so you don’t have the weight bearing down on areas that it shouldn’t. This means that you can run with comfort and ease and not have to pay for it the next day.

Adjustable Fit
This vest was also designed with comfort in mind. It is equipped with adjustable straps along the waist that fit anywhere from a 24” waistline to a 48” waistline. This allows you to adjust the straps according to your comfort level, so you can focus more on you running.

Cost and Value
If you are in the market for a good quality running vest that works as hard as you do, then the Empower Weighted Vest for Women is the perfect choice for you. In comparison to other running vests on this list, this one is a bit on the expensive side. Keep in mind that you are getting a high quality, weighted vest that was specifically designed for a woman’s curves, adjustable straps that fit most waistlines, and reflective strips on the back of the vest to help ensure safety.
Pros
  • Unique “X” shape design
  • Reflective strips on back of vest
  • Adjustable straps for comfort
  • Fits most waistlines
Cons
  • More expensive
  • Only comes in one weight

10. Bpbtti Hi-Viz Safety Vest

10. Bpbtti  Hi-Viz Safety Vest
Now this is just one of the coolest entries on the list. It’s more like a half jacket than a vest, almost like a running windbreaker and we really like the design. This will stand you well when you’re running in the wind and the rain. Elastic bands on the arms keep the wind out and the surface is made with water repellent fabric. It’s a great running vest for a wet, chilly, fall morning run.
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High Visibility
The yellow color is hard to miss and the reflective striping make this one stand out even more. This vest is designed to work in low light or in bright light, it just stands out no matter the conditions.

Back Pocket
This is a nice little extra. It’s not a huge pocket but it’s big enough to stash keys wallet or your cell phone. And believe it or not it’s not actually that hard to get to.

Cost and Value
There’s a fairly large range of pricing here but at the low end this is a great deal. And based on everything you get with this vest we give it a really high recommendation. Everything about it speaks high quality craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Pros

• Windproof

• Waterproof

• High Visibility Yellow

• Pockets

• Rip Stop Material

Cons

• Tight Around the Arms

• Zipper Jams Easily

As you can see, there are different functions and qualities to each of these running vests that make them unique in their own way. Determining the type of running vest you want comes down to the overall comfort of the vest, how well it functions for visibility, and the time of day you plan on running. Choosing the proper vest that best suits your needs is imperative to a safe and comfortable run. Hopefully, the list helped narrow down your options and helped steer you in the right direction for a less stressful shopping experience.

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Running Vests

Material

When it comes to buying running vests, the material it is made from can play a major role in comfort. The choice of material really comes down to preference. Some materials are known for their elasticity, while others are known for their moisture wicking capabilities. When deciding what type of vest you want, keep in mind the type of running that you do and the type of comfort you are looking for.

Most reflective running vests are made of some type of mesh material that has some kind of a stretch to it so it can move along with your body without feeling constricting or overstretching. This allows for maximum comfort and movement while running without feeling completely restricted.

Other running vests may be made from polyester. This material is known for its ability to wick away moisture and quick drying abilities. For those of you who sweat profusely, this is the perfect material for you. You will be able to run long distances for longer periods of time without having to worry about your vest being drenched in sweat, which will only slow you down.

Reflectiveness

One of the most important aspects of a running vest is how reflective it is. Whether you primarily run at night or during the daytime, wearing a vest that has some reflective properties to it is imperative. You want drivers to be able to see you, no matter what time of day it is or what kind of weather you are running in that day. Most running vests have some type of reflectiveness to them, but choosing the one that fits your needs is what is going to keep you safe while you run.

Most vests have some kind of reflective properties to them. Some just have certain areas, like the arms, pockets, and waistline with some type of reflective tape, while others take it even further and have flashing LED lights on them. Choosing the type of reflective vest depends on when you plan on wearing this vest. If you run primarily during the day, then choosing one with reflective tape in certain areas is a good choice for you. If you primarily run at night or during the early morning hours, then you might want to invest in a reflective vest that has the LED lights, so you know that you will be seen from afar and a safe distance away.

Adjustable

Another important aspect to keep in mind when shopping for a running vest is whether or not this vest is adjustable. This is an important aspect because it will determine how comfortable you will be when you run. There is honestly nothing more annoying than having to constantly stop during your run to have to adjust your vest. Running should be something that you enjoy doing and most definitely shouldn’t leave you feeling stressed out or frustrated. Running vests that are adjustable generally come in two different forms; velcro or buckle.

Velcro adjustable straps are the most popular of choices. This is due to how easy it is to adjust these straps and how much more flexibility there is when it comes to adjustments. The velcro straps allow for maximum comfort, without having to worry about the vest moving around while you run, allowing you to enjoy your run.

Buckle straps work in the same manner as the velcro straps. It allows you to adjust your vest to where you feel comfortable and securely locks it in place. These kinds of adjustable straps may be a little more difficult to adjust because you have to pull on the straps themselves in order to adjust the size. Some people find these kinds of straps a bit uncomfortable due to the material pushing up against your skin.

Cost

Cost is another important aspect to keep in mind when you are shopping for a running vest. Investing in a proper running vest that best suits your needs is critical, especially if you are running on a regular basis. There are a couple of factors that can impact the cost of a running vest. Determining your exact needs will help you determine the amount of money that will go into the proper vest.

The amount of reflectiveness plays a major role in the cost of a running vest. Determining the amount of protection you will need while you are out running is very important. If you are a person that only has the availability to run at night, then you are going to want to invest in a running vest that offers maximum protection and reflectiveness to ensure your overall safety. If you primarily run during the daylight hours, then you might be fine with minimal reflectiveness, since you are more visible to drivers during the daylight hours.

The type of material is another factor that plays a major role in the cost of a running vest. The higher quality of the material used to make this vest, the more you are going to have to pay. If you only plan on using the running vest a couple days out of the week, then the material may not mean that much to you. If you are looking to use the running vest on a regular basis, then you may want to look into a material that is more comfortable. Remember, you aren’t just investing in a piece of clothing, you are investing in a lifestyle.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are the reflective running vests machine washable?

A: No, not all reflective running vests are machine washable. It all depends on the type of material used to make the vest. The product details should say whether or not that specific vest is machine washable. Some of the reflective material can be ruined if you put it through a wash cycle, so pay close attention prior to washing your vest.

Q: Do running vests offer UV Protection?

A: Unless otherwise stated in the product details, the answer to this question is no. Depending on the type of material used, some running vests may offer UV protection, but if it doesn’t specifically state that in the product details, I would use other protection to be on the safe side.

Q: Are all running vests adjustable?

A: The majority of running vests do have some form of adjustments. Some offer velcro straps while others offer buckles. This is primarily due to the fact that running vests are worn over other articles of clothing, so often times adjustments need to be made in order to ensure proper fit and ultimate comfort.

Q: Are all reflective running vests reflective in the daylight?

A: When it comes to reflective running vests, not all of them are created equal. Some offer more protection than others. If you are a runner that primarily runs in the daylight hours, I would look into a reflective vest that specifically states that it is reflective in both the daylight and nighttime hours. You can never be too careful!

Q: How do I determine what size to get when I plan on wearing it over clothing?

A: All running vests are designed to be worn over clothing. Depending on how tight or loose you want the vest to be will determine the size of vest to order. It also depends on how bulky the article of clothing is that you plan on wearing underneath the vest and whether or not the vest is adjustable. If the vest is adjustable, then you should be able to go with your regular shirt size. Keep in mind that this will fit a bit snug, which is what some people prefer. If you are looking for a looser fit that I would go one size up from what you normally wear. Remember, not all running vests are created equal, so pay attention to product details and sizing chart prior to purchasing.

Q: Do all weighted running vests have removable weights?

A: No, not all weighted running vests have removable weights. Some of these types of vests have the weights built into them. If you are looking for a weighted vest that you can adjust the weight amount on, it will specifically state that the weights are removable.

Sources

  1. Strength Running: Running Gear You Need – And Gear That You Don’t
  2. CamelBak: Find the Right Vest For Your Run
  3. Active: 6 Must-Have Spring Gear for Trail Runners
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