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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best reflective cycling clothing and accessories 2024 — reflective vests, jackets, gloves + more to improve your visibility on the bike

Stand out in the dark with our selection of the best reflective cycling gear

Riding at dusk or after dark is almost unavoidable, whether you're commuting on short winter days or riding into the spring or summer dusk. Adding some reflective clothing and equipment will help drivers pick you out from the urban visual chaos. These are the best reflective cycling vests we've brought to light in hundreds of hours of night-time riding, along with our picks of other reflective cycling gear.

By bouncing light back where it came from — that is, towards headlights and therefore a driver — cycling clothing that incorporates retro-reflective materials gives you the best chance of being seen in low-light conditions. While more is almost always better, it's surprising how effective just a few patches of reflective can be. Studies strongly suggest reflective cycling gear is more effective than fluorescent "hi-vis" at helping drivers see you. If the worst happens, at least your loved ones won't have to accept "I couldn't see them" as an excuse.

Below is a round-up of our favourite reflective gear, with options to cover you from head to toe and even your luggage if you want to be reflective all over. As well as our top picks, we've also listed some extra honourable mentions that have scored well in road.cc reviews... 

The best cycling reflectives

Best jacket: Proviz Reflect360 Men's Performance Cycling Jacket — Buy Now for £47.99 from Proviz Sports

Proviz Reflect360 Performance Jkt - front reflective.jpg

Made almost entirely from highly effective Reflect360 material, the Proviz Performance jacket is probably the best way to stay visible on your bike. The Reflect360 wonder material looks like fairly demure grey fabric in daylight conditions but it reflects like a beacon with just a bit of light at night-time. In fact, the Reflect360 material seems more brilliant than ever. It can pick up and reflect almost any ambient light – it's quite incredible.

Like dhb with Flashlight, Proviz has a whole collection of reflective clothing and accessories, even including classic cycling track mitts for warm summer evenings, Lobster gloves for the other end of the weather spectrum and loads more.

If you want a lightweight, packable jacket to keep you visible in the dark and which won't hamper your performance, this is an option you can't miss. And thankfully, neither can other road users.

Read our review of the Proviz Reflect360 Men's Performance Cycling Jacket

Best overshoes: Spatz Roadman 3 Overshoes — Buy Now for £66.49 from Spatzwear

2021 SPATZ Roadman 3 Super-Thermo Hi-Viz Reflective Overshoes with Kevlar.jpg

The Spatz Roadman 2 overshoes might look odd, but if you ride in wet and cold conditions typical of UK winters, they take comfort to new levels. Just as importantly for our purposes, they have big slabs of reflective on the back, sides and front, so they should attract drivers' attention as you pedal.

Read our review of the Spatz Roadman 3 Overshoes

Best gloves: Altura Thunderstorm Gloves — Buy Now for £29.99 from Cyclestore

Altura Thunderstorm Gloves pr

The latest version of Altura's Thunderstorm gloves boasts even more reflectivity than the ones we liked when we tested them. With almost the whole back of the hand bouncing their headlights back at them, any driver who can't see you signalling in these needs to surrender their licence.

Read our review of the Altura Thunderstorm Gloves

Best overtrousers: Endura Urban Luminite Waterproof Cycling Trousers II — Buy Now for £95.99 from Tredz

endura luminous trousers

We reviewed the first version of Endura's reflective trousers and were very impressed - so with just the colour changing slightly on the second version, we can highly recommend them too.   

The Luminite trousers boast simply superb waterproofing, breathability and reflectivity. As an effective pair of overtrousers for when the going gets wet, they're hard to beat. There are two huge reflective stripes on each leg – one on the outer thigh, the other on the calf – and a cute little Endura sign on the bottom.

Read our review of the original Endura Urban Luminite Pants

Best gilet: ETC Arid Unisex Reflective Cycling Gilet — Buy Now for £34.99 from Leisure Outlet

2020 ETC Arid Unisex Reflective Cycling Gilet.jpg

Fully reflective jackets are unbeatable for being seen at night, but the reflective fabric tends to be pretty bulky and not very breathable. A reflective gilet is a happy halfway house: you still light up when cars approach, but you're less likely to boil. The ETC Arid Unisex Reflective Gilet is a pretty good option for less aggressive riding. It's hugely effective in terms of its reflective ability. It's a useful extra layer on dark winter mornings or on rides that carry on into (or through) the night, and there's room to wear it over a couple of fairly thick layers if it's bitter out.

Read our review of the ETC Arid Unisex Reflective Cycling Gilet

Best socks: ReflecToes Highly Reflective Night Safety Socks — Buy Now for ~£12.50 from ReflecToes

2021 Reflectoes Highly Reflective Night Safety Socks 2.jpg

ReflecToes may look like a bit of a gimmick with their reflective detailing, but they are a great idea if you find yourself exercising after dark. They are really comfortable too, perfect for long days in the saddle.

Read our review of the ReflecToes Highly Reflective Night Safety Socks

Best backpack: Lomo High Visibility Backpack Dry Bag 30L — Buy Now for £38.00 from Lomo

Lomo 30L High Visibility Backpack Dry Bag - worn

If you're commuting to work on a daily basis with a rucksack, then this Lomo 30L High Visibility Backpack Dry Bag is a highly reflective option that will keep your office clothing and sarnies dry. It's made from tough UPVC with welded seams, and there bold reflective chevrons and stripes are very prominent. There are also reflective stripes on the front of the shoulder straps.

Read our review of the Lomo 30L High Visibility Backpack Dry Bag

Best helmet cover: Showers Pass Helmet Cover — Buy Now for £35 from Showers Pass

Showers Pass 2-D Helmet Cover

Admittedly we had to include this for the comical image, but the Showers Pass helmet cover has been a mainstay in the brand's range for years now, and in its black or neon versions it's a great way to add some extra visibility. 

With 3M reflective detailing, it's made from durable polyester with waterproof taped seams and is one-size-fits-most via its finger-friendly toggles. It's both wind and rainproof, with an extra drop-down at the rear to channel water down your jacket instead of inside it. 

Read our review of the Showers Pass Helmet Cover

Best budget reflective: Madison Hi-viz reflective vest — Buy Now for £19.99 from Pau Run & Ride

Madison Hi-viz reflective vest

The only cycling-specific garment we've been able to find that meets EN471, this budget gilet also has a loop out back for a light and an extended tail.

Apidura Packable Visibility Vest — Buy Now for £45.00 from Condor Cycles

2023 Apidura Packable Visibilty Vest.jpg

This excellent vest will add extra visibility to any clothing, and it's also super light and packable when it's not in use. 

With a high-vis colour and lots of reflective bits, Apidura's vest really does provide a surprising amount of additional visibility from the front and back (have a look at our reviewer's photos if you don't believe us). It comes in two sizes and is secured by two straps across the chest. You can wear it over thicker clothes, and in warmer weather it's breathable and won't feel like you have an extra layer on. 

It also conforms to the EN 17353 standard, crucial if you're cycling at night in some parts of the continent, so it's a great piece of kit to have in your bag if you're an ultra-distance rider or are planning some big trips abroad. 

Read our review of the Apidura Packable Visibility Vest

Reflective gear: honourable mentions

Van Rysel Hi-Viz Cycling Gilet — Buy Now for £29.99 from Decathlon

2021 Van Rysel Hi-Viz Cycling Jacket - reflective front.jpg

The Van Rysel Hi Viz Cycling Gilet is a nicely thought out and well-made gilet with a great cut, fit and overall performance. You can get gilets with more reflective coverage, but they’re all more expensive. The Van Rysel gilet’s well-positioned retro-reflective detailing brings it to life at night so it’s good value for money.

Read our review of the Van Rysel Hi-Viz Cycling Gilet

100% Hydromatic Waterproof Brisker Gloves — Buy Now for £29.99 from Tredz

2020 100% Brisker Hydromatic flat

The Hydromatic Brisker from 100% combines all the good bits of the very well-reviewed Brisker Cold Weather, with some of the weather protection of the Hydromatic. A big reflective logo helps drivers see you when you're signalling, or, given that it extends over the first and middle fingers, when you're giving them the Vs.

Read our review of the 100% Hydromatic Waterproof Brisker Gloves

Altura Nightvision Typhoon jacket — Buy Now for £49.99 from Cyclestore

2020 Altura Typhoon jacket.jpg

The Altura Nightvision Typhoon Waterproof Jacket is a development of the justly popular Nightvision series. During a relentlessly wet testing period, our reviewer confirmed this jacket is also highly waterproof as well as reflective, beading up and rolling away the rain after 2-3 hours battling the elements. The drop tail should also save your lower back from the lion's share of spray when riding without mudguards.

The red version we tested features extensive retro-reflective panels at key points to bring the jacket 'alive' when graced by vehicle and street lighting; and our tester found them highly effective, doing a decent job of reinforcing signalling, especially along backroads in the wee small hours.

Read our review of the Altura Nightvision Typhoon jacket
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Altura Thunderstorm City 20 pannier — Buy Now for £72.99 from Cyclestore

Altura Thunderstorm City 20 pannier

The successor to Altura's popular Night Vision 20 pannier, this conveniently-sized bag incorporates reflective elements for 360-degree visibility. It mounts with Rixen & Kaul Klickfix fittings, incorporates a padded sleeve for a 13-inch laptop and has a loop for a rear light.

dhb Flashlight jackets, jerseys and more — Buy Now from Wiggle

dhb Flashlight - Feb 2020

The Flashlight range from Wiggle own-brand dhb includes shorts and jerseys as well as the obvious jackets and tights, all with dhb's distinctive reflective hexagon in strategic positions, and there are extra reflective patches on outer garments like jackets and overshoes. You can even get Flashlight reflective socks.

BTR High Visibility Reflective Jacket — Buy Now for £34.99 from BTR Sports

BTR Jacket front reflective.jpg

There's a tendency to expect high-vis and reflective outer layers to be all things to all people: windproof, rainproof, breathable, and so on. But by doing away with the requirement for all-weather ability, BTR's High Visibility Reflective Sportswear Cycling Running Jacket – to give it its full name – is a cheap, cheerful, lightweight and fantastically breathable garment that's perfect for dry commuting and late-night training.

Read our review of the BTR High Visibility Reflective Jacket

Endura Luminite jacket — Buy Now for £99.09 from Cyclestore

Endura Luminite II Jacket.jpg

Endura's Luminite jacket has been a commuting staple for many years. This is the latest version, with big slabs of reflective so it meets the EN 1150 standard (and it looks like only the lack of reflective stripes up the shoulders is keeping it from hitting the higher EN 471 standard too). It's a good choice for the daily schlep to the office. The 2.5 layer fabric is very waterproof with fully taped seams and is breathable too.

Read our review of the Endura Luminite jacket

Best ankle bands: Oxford Bright Bands — Buy Now for £9.99 from Amazon

Oxford Bright Bands

The most significant point to come out of studies on cyclist visibility is that moving reflectives, on your feet or ankles for example, really do increase your visibility. These simple bands don't cost a lot and wrap around the ankle with Velcro securing them in place. They may not be that fashionable, but if you plan to do a lot of riding in the dark, then they're a sensible idea.

BTR High Visibility Waterproof Helmet Cover — Buy Now for £8.99 from BTR Sports

BTR High Visibility Waterproof Helmet Cover

The BTR High Visibility Waterproof Helmet Cover is an easy way to add some high-level reflectivity, while also doubling up as a nifty rain cover. It packs small enough when you don't need it, and fixes over a helmet with an elasticated hem and draw string closure for adjustment.

Read our review of the BTR High Visibility Waterproof Helmet Cover

Proviz Reflect360 Waterproof Cycling Gloves — Buy Now for £37.49 from Proviz Sports

proviz reflect360 gloves 2023

Gloves are a good candidate for adding some hi-vis and that's the idea behind these Proviz Winter Cycling Gloves. Useful for signalling an intent to change direction or lane, there's a large reflective panel on the little finger and across the back of the hand.

Read our review of the Proviz Winter Cycling Gloves

Things to know about reflective cycling gear

Walk into any decent bike shop and the shelves will be stacked with a variety of reflective products, from jackets and waist coats to sticker packs and ankle bands. When we head into autumn, and then winter, there's a good chance more of your riding time will be spent in the dark or at the very least, low light, and for many people that means donning some reflective products, or a product with a significant amount of reflective detailing.

Reflective clothing or other kit doesn't have to be in fluorescent high visibility colours. Reflectives work by reflecting back toward its source any light that plays on them. A black jacket made from the right material or with the right reflective detailing can be just as visible as a fluoro yellow one. Studies suggest that in the dark, a reflective product is more visible than a fluorescent one in car headlights.

2020 Altura Typhoon jacket - reflective 1.jpg

But will wearing reflective clothing or products improve your safety on the road? There are various studies that have looked into the effectiveness of such products, such as the 2009 study that found fluorescent vests were not a significant improvement on black clothing at night. It concluded that at night reflective knee and ankle stripes were far more effective. That's because the up-and-down motion from pedalling can catch the eye of the motorist more than a large reflective stripe across the back, which can appear stationary, so the placement of any reflective product is as important as wearing it alone.

More recently, another study suggested that it’s reflective, not high-visibility, clothing that is the answer to being seen in the hours of darkness.

Of course, that's not terribly surprising as fluorescent clothing requires the ultra-violet wavelengths present in daylight to make it glow, but it's nice to have the inference that fluoro gear's not much chop at night confirmed by Actual Science™.

Endura Luminite II jacket - cuff

In recent years many clothing manufacturers have paid more attention to visibility. Beside the obvious trend of fluoro, more clothing designers are adding reflective details, often very discreetly in the seams or zip lining and smartly applied details, so that style conscious cyclists can boost their visibility without having to don a bright yellow jacket with huge reflective stripes. That all makes it easier to add some reflectivity to your outfit without looking going overboard.

European standard EN1150, which sets out the minimum amounts of retro reflective material needed, is beginning to be applied to cycling kit. EN1150 is a standard for non-professional use; a stricter standard EN471 applies to high-visibility clothing for the workplace and you could argue that EN471 Class 2, designed for use on the road, would be an appropriate standard for cycling. There aren't many cycling-specific products that meet EN471, but plenty of cheap gilets fit the bill like this one for seven quid on eBay.

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John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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12 comments

Avatar
wtjs | 7 months ago
3 likes

I'm putting in a recommendation for the Aldi curled metal plate reflective ankle bands. I haven't seen them for a while in the shop, but they're really good and hold your trousers tightly.

Avatar
Cycloid | 7 months ago
0 likes

Don't expect too much of reflective kit.

Retroreflective in this case means that it reflects light back in the direction it came from, it does not mean "old style"! The efficiency of retroreflectors depends on the Entrance and Observation angles.    https://reflectivetape.info/

Try this - Hang your favourite retroreflective garment over a chair on the other side of a dark room. Take your front light hold it at eye level and point it at the garment, then drop your arm so that  the light is now below your waist. You should get a "now you see me - now you don't" effect

Studies have shown that cyclists think they are more visible to motorists than they really are. All the adverts in the cycling press show images of garments taken with a flash camera - the optimum conditions.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to Cycloid | 7 months ago
0 likes

The angle will be more acute in the case of a car driver whose headlights are illuminating a cyclist more distant than the length of your front room.

Avatar
Cycloid replied to Sriracha | 7 months ago
0 likes

Absolutely

If the car behind is a Lotus where the driver's bum is six inches off the road and his eyes are between the headlights, then no problem' If there is a HGV coming up behind where the driver is six feet above the headlights, then the observation angle increases as the driver gets closer, until you vanish into the blind spot in front of the vehicle.

You must be in the headlights to be sure retroreflectives are working, so slip roads, roundabouts, brow of a hill, etc are problematic.

You don't know when they are not working very well. "Accidents" don't happen when everything is perfect.

Avatar
Simon E replied to Cycloid | 7 months ago
3 likes

I've seen someone wearing a reflective jacket like the Proviz and it lights up very brightly in car headlights even when my viewing position is a long way off-axis (including on another pavement/shared path on the other side of the road) so I am not convinced by your argument.

There's a chap I see in the mornings who uses a helmet cover, it looks like a day-glo Russian fur hat. It seems to stand out in the 8am gloom but I think a similarly coloured jacket or gilet with greater visible area would work better.

I'm always conscious that I need to be seen from the front and side as much as from behind and that my presence might not be obvious in town when car headlights are so bright. A mix of reflectives, including Salzmann spoke reflectors on the front wheel, and good front and rear lights seems to work for me. A reflective strip on tyre sidewalls is also a good choice. And things that move - spokes and pedals - are picked up by the brain more readily than static parts so I have Shimano PD22 reflectors (SJS) on one side of my M520s.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Simon E | 7 months ago
2 likes
Simon E wrote:

I've seen someone wearing a reflective jacket like the Proviz and it lights up very brightly in car headlights even when my viewing position is a long way off-axis

This is very much my experience as well, Mrs H has one of the all silver Proviz 360 jackets and if she's ahead of me I can see it light up as she passes in front of cars waiting to join from junctions, i.e. with the light shining on her at a 90° angle to my line of vision. It's not quite as startlingly "flashbulb" bright as it is when I'm in line with car lights shining directly at her along my line of vision but there's definitely an effect. No idea of the science behind it but I assume any reflective material, even retroreflective, must have some degree of scatter?

Avatar
Sriracha replied to Cycloid | 7 months ago
3 likes
Cycloid wrote:

You don't know when they are not working very well.

Sure, nothing is perfect. But if you are in a headlight beam, even a good distance away, your retro-reflectives will be lit up from the driver's perspective. If you're already under the blind spot of an HGV, maybe not so much, your options there are already limited. Retro-reflectives (which includes pedal reflectors etc) combine so many advantages that to reject them on the grounds of some imagined scenario where you think they might fail is foolish.

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Global Nomad | 7 months ago
0 likes

my reflective Giro Empire shoes are really worn out, so a little upset that they have been discontinued, they are/were so comfortable, effective from all perspectives.

Avatar
Sriracha | 7 months ago
3 likes
Quote:

In fact, the Reflect360 material seems more brilliant than ever. It can pick up and reflect almost any ambient light – it's quite incredible.

It's retro-reflective, it reflects back to the source. So ambient light isn't going to reflect back to where it makes a difference - the viewer's eyeballs - unless for some reason they are coaxial with the light source.

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fenix replied to Sriracha | 6 months ago
0 likes

They're a bit spooky. I saw one in daylight in a cafe. The way the light was coming in behind me I thought it was Casper the friendly ghost getting a coffee.

Reflectives that identify you as a cyclist seem to be by far the best.

Pedals. Shoes. Back of calf's. Fantastic for visibility.

Avatar
ktache | 7 months ago
4 likes

Respro ankle bands. Reversible, fluro green for the day, scotchlite for when the going gets darker. Very washable. My current pair have been going for over a decade.

Avatar
ktache replied to ktache | 7 months ago
1 like

As a bargain Halfords £1 slapbands are a cheap extra.

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