Everybody wants to be safe while they’re out riding and as well as the obvious things – like riding with lights – reflective clothing is another small measure that will improve your chances of being seen on the roads when it’s gloomy out.
In the past, the problem has always been that reflective clothing on the bike has been a little, well, functional. If you wanted to be seen riding on a winter’s morning or evening (or sometimes even in the middle of the day, when it barely seems like the sun rises), you most likely end up looking like you’re on the way to help with some road works, or guide some children across the road after school.
There are two major problems with this. The first is that the clothing wasn’t made to perform well and be reflective, it was made to be reflective. That meant that as a shining beacon of safety on city roads it excelled, but as performance cycling clothing it was rubbish. The second problem was that it looked awful, and if there’s one thing a traditional roadie can’t stand, it’s a lack of style.
Fortunately, whereas before it seemed that the two would never meet, manufacturers are slowly coming around to the fact that there’s a significant market for good-looking, correctly-fitting reflective clothing, and there are a range of options, from full-on hyper reflective kit, to bits which are a little more subtle.
Before it was cool, high-vis clothing made sense. Now that it’s high-vis and cool, it’s downright crazy to not add a few high-vis bits to your winter or commuting wardrobe. In this guide we’ll run through some of the options out there.
Shoes and overshoes
Hyper reflective material on shoes has been around for a while. Bontrager’s XXX LE road shoes (£229.99) are an early example, combining a flouro yellow with mega reflective material on the inside. What’s brilliant about them is that they combine all the tech found in Bontrager’s best shoes (they’re the second most expensive shoes in Bontrager’s range, below the £259.99 XXX Road shoes reviewed here) with the high visibility, so you’re not making a compromise one way or the other. What’s bad is that they’re so well ventilated you couldn’t possible wear them on a winter evening ride without overshoes, but that’s another story.