Updated: Mar 30
One of the things I am most paranoid about as a runner is getting hit by a car, especially while running in the dark. I can never seem to find gear that has more than little token strips of reflective material—as if that will really grab a driver’s attention.
While scrolling through Instagram I came across an account called PYR Reflective. It’s a great new company started by a mother and daughter who both have competed in the elite running world. From the photos, it looked like the runners on the account were wearing white or grey jackets and vests. As I looked more closely, I realized that the jackets were not white or grey—they were grey with a white reflection!
With the winter months starting to settle in I am particularly more cautious about the icy roads and the extended hours of dark in the mornings and evenings. I’m even more concerned when my wife is out there running in the dark. I have these nightmares of her getting hit by some idiot driver not paying attention and I can’t get to her in time to help her…I know, I’m a worrier. Regardless, PYR was exactly what I was looking for to get the attention of drivers while in the dark.
My wife, Corrine, and I are similar in size, so we got a small in the vest to both test out. She has done most of the testing since I’m still rehabbing from a rolled ankle.
She not only ran in the dark and cold, she also ran through the pouring rain in the vest and it held up like a champ. She said it was nice because it kept her core warm, but it didn't overheat during any of her runs, which varied between 15 and 50 degrees in Fahrenheit.
When I asked her if cars noticed her more, she said that she wasn’t really sure, but suggested that I ask my brother who drove past her in the mornings a few times while she was running in the dark.
So I asked my brother and he said, “Oh yeah! It gets your attention. You can definitely see her from really far away—there’s no mistaking that there is a runner on the side of the road. What is that thing made out of? It just glows!”
Well, that certainly answered my question and validated my interest in PYR.
Even in the house, our kids kept commenting on how cool the vest was and how it looked like it was glowing when you looked at it.
The outside is similar to a medium windbreaker or a light rain jacket, with a water repellent and reflective material. In daylight, without direct light on it, the material appears to be a light grey. But when any light is directly on it, or when it is in the dark and receives even a glint of light, it reflects nothing but glowing white. The inside of the vest has an additional liner made of a light breathable mesh.
The style of this vest is like something you would see from Columbia, Patagonia or Nike. I feel bad even calling it a running vest, because it is nothing like those hideous construction vests you usually envision when you hear “running vest.”
The quality of the seams, pockets, and zippers are also on par with those major brands. I was really impressed and was not expecting that level of quality. It also has cinch-cords around the waist to keep it from bouncing around while running, especially if you have things in your pockets.
Speaking of pockets, the vest has a chest pocket with a zipper and two hand pockets. My wife wished that the hand pockets had zippers too. I didn’t mind only having a zipper on the chest pocket—easier to slip my hands into. The chest pocket is perfect for keys, cards, a snack or other small items. However, the pockets were just a bit too small for a cell phone (unless you have a small phone) and I wish that the hands pockets were a little touch bigger for my fat hobbit hands, haha.
For me, the overall fit of the vest in a size small was perfect. I like my running gear to fit a little more snug, but still loose enough to move around and breathe in. This vest definitely fit exactly as I hoped it would for running. My wife said that the size small felt a little big for her while running and that she would much prefer an x-small. The material makes a slight swishing sound where the arms rubs while running, but Corrine thought that would be reduced if she had an x-small. She is 5’5 and I’m 5’7.
PRICE & PRODUCTS
Similar to the quality, the full retail price of the vest is similar to a Columbia vest of comparable quality, but about half the price of something comparable to Patagonia. Luckily, it’s Black Friday this weekend and PYR has a buy one, get one 50% off sale. Since you are reading this review, you can get 20% off any single item by using the code: pyr20.
PYR also offers a few other reflective clothing options. In addition to the vest, they sell jackets, half-zip pull-over, long and short sleeve shirts, hats and some pretty dang cool socks! I should add that they make these really cool capes for kids called the FlashBrite Reflective Cape—perfect for Halloween costumes that help parents and drivers spot kids from a mile away.
The shirts and the socks do seem a bit higher priced than I think I would pay, but I still order off of the dollar menu at Wendy’s, so don’t put too much stock into my opinion about pricing.
Between the jacket and the vest, I think that I would prefer the vest because it is more versatile. You can wear it over a long sleeved shirt or a thick jacket depending on the weather. Although, I think my wife would prefer the jacket for winter and the vest for fall, depending on the fit of the jacket.
The build of both the vest and the jacket really seem to be targeted at cold weather and winter running, given the thickness of the material and the additional liner. I would love to see options of a vest and a jacket made out of a lighter material, without a lining, for lighter weather like fall or spring.
PROS & CONS
Most reflective running product I’ve ever seen
Excellent quality & style
Various products to choose from (Jackets, shirts, socks, etc)
Price on the vest, jacket, hat and FlashBrite capes seem fair
Pockets too small for a phone
Would like to see color options and schemes besides grey that reflect the same way
Price on shirts and socks seem a bit high
Want to see more options for jacket and vest styles with a lighter material
Makes a slight swishing sound while running
ABOUT THE AVERAGE JOE RUNNER
Well, his real name is actually Dave...but "The Average Joe Runner" seemed like a catchy name for a blog. Born a sprinter, but converted to distance running in adulthood, Dave has run for more than 25 years. He is the father of four awesome kids and the husband to one amazingly talented, smart and fast-running wife.
The Average Joe Runner blog and website was born after Dave continued to get questions from friends and family alike for running tips and gear advice. However, this blog is also meant to hear from other Average Joe and Jane Runners out there. You can contribute to the blog by clicking Submit or Request. Follow The Average Joe Runner on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @TheAvgJoeRun.