5 awesome (and unconventional) reflective apparel options

Sometimes you want to blend in, but when it comes to safety, you want to stand out, like a T-Rex at an herbivore convention.


At SmartSign, we take our reflectivity seriously, and when you’re biking home late at night there are only so many fluorescent caution signs to help guide you and the vehicles around you. Whether you run marathons or just stroll to work, wearing reflective clothes can save your life.

These items of reflective apparel are perfect for athletes, commuters and those of us who just like shiny things.


As the great Mars Blackmon once said, “It’s gotta be the shoes!” And he’s right: shoes can be one of the best sources of reflectivity on your body. Not only do reflective materials shine brightly on your feet, but they also show movement, sending signals to potentially dangerous vehicles to be aware. You’ll be able to find shoes featuring reflective materials at most running and cycling outfitters.

reflective apparel

Running shoes are often made in loud neon colors for safety reasons. Meaning: Secret shiny cheetah spots could save your life! From Nike.

But how do you stay reflective when you’re not going for a run or riding your bike? What can you wear that stands out when you need it to but doesn’t draw unnecessary attention when you’re out of harms way? Turns out, you can find regular shoes — even stylish ones — with reflective 3M technology. Cole Haan makes these awesome 3M-coated penny Loafers, while Del Toro shoes offers reflective wingtips and oxfords in bright colors and more subdued versions.

reflective apparel

Cole Haan makes these classic (but reflective) penny loafers. From Cole Haan.


Moving on to the torso, you’ve got lots of enlightening options. Many athletes elect to incorporate reflectivity into their normal workout clothes. Nike has a great campaign that shows how you can incorporate reflective materials into your clothes without looking too much like a highlighter, called We Run the Night.

Not only do they look great. They have high visibility.

Not only do they look great. They have high visibility. From We Run the Night.

There are belts, vests, sashes, wristbands and gloves that can also be worn over your favorite college shirt or other clothes that have high sentimental levels, but low reflective ones.

But again, we wonder about the day to day grind. For commuters and those of us who don’t want to put on workout gear to walk the dog, where are the reflective chinos and trendy jackets? Betabrand has you covered with their entire Bike to Work collection.


You might ask yourself, “How can I stand out even more?” Well, there’s an answer: DIY reflective gear. You can apply the same reflective materials that cover athletic gear to your own clothes in strips, squares or circles. Most of what you find out there is made from 3m’s Scotchlite. It’s routinely used by cyclists to mod their bikes, but you can also use it  to create unique reflective apparel.

What do you do to stay visible at night? Let us know in the comments!


Use reflective material to make your own awesome protective clothing. From TinLizzie.

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