REVIEW: Night Tech Gear Night Runner 270 Shoe Lights
If you’re the type of runner who finds themselves caught out on the road or trail after dark, you probably already know how important a good light source can be. Wearing a headlamp can be helpful when it comes to finding your way and it helps you to be more visible to others too. But when it comes to personal safety, more light is always better, which is where the Night Tech Gear Night Runner 270 shoe lights come in handy. These unique devices attach to the laces on your boots or shoes, acting as a set of headlights for use on a run or hike. Not only do they help you see where you’re going after the sun has gone down, they’ll make others more aware of your presence too.
Design (4) ★★★★
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Night Runner 270 shoe lights look a bit strange. They’re oddly shaped, have a weird fork attachment under the housing for the light, and they aren’t necessarily all that intuitive to use. But, once you’ve played with them a bit, it soon becomes apparent how they work. The thin “forks” slide into the laces on your shoes or boots, which holds them firmly in place. This allows the user to hike, jog, or even run vigorously, mostly without the fear of the lights falling off.
I say mostly without fear, because I’ve had the Night Runners fall off mid-run from time to time. It doesn’t happen all that often, but it does occur, to the point that I’ve had to backtrack a half-mile to track down my missing light. This happens a bit more often if running in the rain or when I’ve changed the type of shoes I’m wearing. The lights do fit differently based on the footwear, with some models offering a higher degree of compatibility over others.
Performance (5) ★★★★★
Lightweight, surprisingly bright, and easy to use, the Night Runners perform exceptionally well. They have two brightness settings, and a strobe mode, each of which helps accomplish the goal of being more visible. Additionally, each unit comes with a tiny red light along the side which serves as both an attention-getter and a battery life indicator. When that light starts to blink, it’s time for a recharge.
Battery Life (4) ★★★★
For the most part, battery life is good, but not great. On the lowest setting, the Night Runners offer up to five hours of continuous use between recharges, while on their brightness illumination level they last about 2.5 hours instead. That means, depending on your running schedule, you’ll probably be recharging a couple of times a week. If you run in the cold, the temperatures will impact battery life even further.
I keep my Night Runners set on the lowest brightness level and find that it provides plenty of light for my needs. Usually, I need to recharge the batteries after every third or fourth run. Otherwise, they’ll switch off in the middle of a workout, causing me to run home in the dark. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would be nice if brightness diminished some over time, rather than just turning off abrpulty.
Overall (4) ★★★★
The Night Runner 270 shoe lights aren’t the type of gear that will blow you away with their technical prowess. Instead, you’ll be struck by how handy they are to have around when you need them. That said, this is a convenient product to keep in your backpack or attached to your running shoes for those “just-in-case” moments. You never know when you might need a bright source of light to help you safely find your way, which makes these invaluable for runners and hikers alike.
Other nice features of these lights include built-in hinges that allow you to change the angle of the beam and their lightweight design. Tipping the scales at just a few ounces, you barely know you’re wearing them. Despite their svelte design, the lights are also quite rugged and even water-resistant. The Night Runner casing can shrug off mist, rain, and snow, although I wouldn’t want to fully soak them while crossing a stream.
Simple, easy to use, and extremely eye-catching, these lights could just save your life. Priced at $64.95, they feel like an essential piece of gear that any runner or hiker should have in their arsenal of outdoor gear.
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