Nike Vapor Flash 360 Reflective Jacket
I am as much a competitive distance runner as I am a bike enthusiast and have discovered the privilege of gear swapping to suit my all-weather activity needs, whether I am on the bike or my feet. I have used cycling arm warmers during cold running races, cycling rain jackets during wet training runs, running tights for cold weather cycling, and so on. It’s a cozy relationship. So, when I walked into my local running store and the Nike Vapor Flash jacket caught my eye (quite literally as I’ll explain), not only was I mesmerized by it’s appearance and technology, but I also saw the benefits of this piece as a bike commuting addition, probably more relevant to cycling than running.
The jacket is beautiful on it’s own, but the stunning 360 reflective technology is on a whole ‘nother level. I know there are other products out there that use this full-coverage reflectivity, but none I have seen match the intensity of this piece. I saw the jacket in full daylight and couldn’t believe how much it reflected via normal lighting conditions.
The Nike designers visited the coldest, darkest place they could think of and studied the runners there to see how they managed in such a dismal environment, which led to the creation of this piece. You can read the full interview with the jacket designer here.
As a runner, I honestly don’t find this that appealing. I’ve never felt threatened by car traffic as I don’t often run in the streets, but as a cyclist I would feel nothing but visible wearing this jacket. I imagine, even without blinking lights (which are often pathetic law compliance measures anyways and do little to make one seen) there would be NO excuse by drivers to plead they “never saw anyone”. The reflectivity is so intense there might be more a chance of drivers becoming entranced by the jacket and making a UFO report than putting a cyclist in a ditch.
Unfortunately, these suckers run upwards of $350, but the price of feeling safe and being visible might be worth it. Check out the video below to see it in action (the video doesn’t even do it justice).