Friday, December 16, 2011

Running After Dark: Knuckle Lights Review

Nope, I wasn't compensated for this post. These are just my sincere opinions.

Squeezing exercise into your schedule is tough when you're a mom. Whether you're home all day with kids or work outside the home, you're juggling ten million details and obligations from sun-up to sundown, which just doesn't leave time for a quick run or a long walk.

Which is why almost all my runs from October to April happen in the dark. On weekdays at least, I run when I can get a break from childcare duty--and that typically means after the sun has set. I'm clawing my way back from a persistent running injury right now, so I'm slowly getting back to my former T./Th./Sa./Sun. running schedule, which puts me outside after dark at least two days per week. And though I've done it for years, running after dark always makes me a little bit nervous. Sure, I wear a reflective vest and I run against traffic and follow all those common-sense rules and whatnot, but I've had plenty of experiences where it seems like the driver coming at me isn't pay attention and only sees me at the last minute. And I run on some very dark stretches of road, let me tell you.

So when I heard about Knuckle Lights, I was thrilled. Talk about an ingenious invention! I talked Christopher into considering them my early Christmas present, and ordered myself a pair. (I also included them on my Mama in Wonderland Holiday Gift Guide, did you see?) Because they were back-ordered at the time, the company gave me five dollars off my order, and included a free clip-on flashing light and velcro reflective arm/leg band in my box when it finally shipped; all domestic shipping is free, too.

Now that I've used them a few times, I thought my readers might find it useful to hear what I think of them; I know there are a lot of mom runners out there.

The bottom line is, they are great and I absolutely love feeling visible and secure when I'm out running in the dark. They're SUPER bright, with very long and wide beams, so you can both be seen by cars and also see the ground in front of you, which helps when you're dealing with snow and ice patches, potholes, etc. You can even "aim" one at something if you need extra info: Is that a bush on the side of the road up there, or a raccoon? They're lightweight, easy to wear/hold, and do not interfere with my gait or feel annoying while I run. I pretty much forget I'm even wearing them after a few minutes of running. (I should note that so far, I have only worn one while running, not the pair; but this is an individual issue related to what I need to hold in the other hand and carry with me when I run right now, and has nothing to do with anyone else. I'm sure I will run with both lights sometimes too, which will be even better.)

However, my Knuckle Lights aren't perfect for me. See, I have wee little mouse bones. My hands and fingers are tiny. You probably do not have wee little mouse bones, and therefore Knuckle Lights would likely fit you perfectly, but even when I pull the strap as tight as it is able to go, making the loop around my hands as small as possible, I still have to actively hold onto my Knuckle Light to keep it on my hand. Gloves help, but don't fix the problem completely. Fortunately, I'm used to carrying (small) things while I run--my keys, my phone--and this does not bother me as much as it might some. But it does bother me a little, and it's clear that Knuckle Lights would be far more awesome if I could strap them around my hands and have them stay there securely without my having to clench the straps in my palms. Like I said, though, this problem most likely does not plague very many people; if it did, I'm sure the company would make smaller straps.

The company offers a 90-day, 100% money-back returns policy, meaning that you can try out your Knuckle Lights several times before deciding if you want to keep them (awesome!). Despite the minor size issue, I'm definitely keeping mine. Like I said, these lights make me feel super secure and safe when I run, which is worth a lot when you're a runner; the beams are incredible and FAR superior to headlamps. Plus, they're very lightweight and easy to use.

I wholeheartedly recommend Knuckle Lights to any other after-dark mama runners out there, and the Knuckle Lights company is in no way compensating me for saying that (or even for writing a review). I just like them and want to support this small company that has stellar customer service and is truly invested in making runners' lives easier. If you walk or run after dark, you might want to consider getting yourself a pair, too--or asking Santa for them this year.


Mom said...

Just have to ask: Are they Made in America???

Shannon said...

Oh yes--made in America, invented by a "regular guy" dad runner in Oregon, who saw a need and filled it!