Back in February when the Night Runner 270 was announced on Kickstarter I was really excited to see an innovative running product hit the market. It isn’t often that innovative products come out for running and this seemed like a clever idea. I run a fairly large amount while training for ultras and OCR and that means that I’m frequently burning the midnight oil to get in all my running and cross training. While I’ve never had any issues with running in the dark, it does sometimes slow you down when you aren’t wearing a headlamp. You have the need to take a little bit more of a probing step when in complete darkness and your focus goes from settling in on a long run to making sure you don’t get hurt. So there it stands – sweet new product, filling a need, tech guy likes tech, backed the project on kickstarter, waiting for package, package delivered, charge device, put on shoes, put Night Runner 270 on shoes and run.
Night Runner 270 Features
USB Charging – They have an estimated battery life of 4-8 hours which I would assume is 4 hours on high and 8 hours on blinking or low. There is a really cool USB Y cable that makes it so you can charge two at once from one USB port. As nice as it is to never need batteries that’s also one of those things that gets at me a little since you can’t change the batteries if you grab it and realize it’s dead.
Rear Lights – There is a back light that is red that is kind of wrapped around the side to add to your road visibility from behind. Not something I ever thought I would find cool but it’s a nifty little feature, I guess I’m getting older.
Three Light Modes – They can be on low to conserve light for longer runs or when the ground is more simple, high for the most light, and blinking when you just want to use them to be seen.
Night Runner 270 Usage
After waiting for night to come as soon as I got the device charged, I strapped them up and out the door I went. At first I was impressed with how light they were and that you didn’t even notice them on your feet. This immediately changed when I started to feel them shifting. While the weight was never an issue, getting them to stay on your shoes was an issue for me. About 2 miles into an easy run and I decided that stopping about 9 times to adjust them, or put them back on my shoe after chasing them down, was too much. I guess another upside to their small size and weight was that carrying them for another 6 miles wasn’t too bad. I also noticed after taking them off that there had been a little stiffness added to my tongue that was now gone.
As far as the light goes, it didn’t really work for its intended purpose. I felt like more people noticed me but I couldn’t see much more than without. For the purpose of being seen their is a wide variety of things that are less expensive and equally effective – Nite Ize ShoeLit Indicator, LED Safety Lights, Portable Shoes Safety Lights for Running, and so on. If you want to light the ground in front of you, stick to a headlamp – also cheaper.
Night Runner 270 Durability
These are definitely not OCR friendly. The are only water resistant and from the few falls they took off of my laces they showed minor scratching. But as far as actual durability they are plastic molded and non sealed so I’m going to say they aren’t all that durable. They shouldn’t need to be based on their intended usage but they fall off your shoes so they should be able to take a beating when you lose one while crossing a street.
Pros and Cons
- Added Safety while running at night
- You can feel them while running
- They Fall off
- Rechargeable – yes this is also a con, you can’t swap batteries if you forget to charge
Night Runner 270 Verdict
I think it’s a pretty open and closed case, don’t buy these. They are expensive, fall off, and don’t light the way. It’s not often that I get products that don’t work so it makes this all the more disappointing. I’m thinking for version 2 they could add a second and/or third set of light that keep the ground illuminated through your entire legs range of motion. Maybe even adding more power at the price of weight; I’m not sure but wait until something better comes along. Wear a headlamp plus shoe blinking lights to cover all the bases in a way more effective manner.