Look in the typical runner’s closet and you’re not likely to find a running vest. That’s too bad. Any runner who’s been out in chilly weather can tell you the benefits of a half zip or jacket, but many people just aren’t sure what to do with a run vest.
We know what you’re thinking: “If it’s cold and rainy, why would I want my arms exposed?” Certainly, a vest isn’t going to keep your extremities roasty toasty or dry when out in the elements. That’s just the nature of the design. But vests do offer five big benefits:
- Protect your core body temperature. Many runners find that even in colder weather, they feel comfortable as long as their core is protected. A run vest fits the bill perfectly.
- Provide warmth with full range of motion. This is where the lack of sleeves really comes in handy. You can move your arms freely and twist and turn without restriction.
- Block wind without causing overheating. Remember the wind and water-resistant jackets of yore that trapped sweat like nobody’s business? The technology has advanced in recent years, but many wind-resistant jackets still can’t provide the inherent breathability of a wind-blocking vest.
- Keep you dry. Some vests such as the Nike Men’s Shield Winter Vest (shown above) and Nike Women’s Shield Vest feature water-resistant fabrics or finishes. For the ultimate in wind and waterproof fabric, along with 360 reflectivity, check out the Pearl Izumi Men’s Fly Evo Vest.
- Help you be seen. Several running vests are made with high-visibility, brightly colored fabric that helps you get noticed and stay safe on the road. These vests include the Brooks Men’s Nightlife Essential Run Vest II, the Brooks Women’s Nightlife Essential Run Vest II (shown above) and the Saucony Men’s ViZiPRO NMD Vest.
Do you ever run in a vest? What features do you look for in a running vest?