The night time has always been the right time for me to run. While the return to Daylight Savings Time has reduced my need for visibility, as my evening runs are completed before sunset, having a reflective vest is a necessity.
Since my old vest seems to have slunk off into the forest to die alone, I was suddenly in need of a new one. I picked the cheapest one I could find that offered a customized fit and a storage pocket. This Runners' World vest retails between $9 and $11 on Amazon.com. I think my total was $10.47 or somewhere in there -- so yes, I bought this with my own funds for all you Internet legality narcs.
Thoughts Out of the Box
The vest is extremely light weight, with a white mesh body, robust reflective strips on the chest and lower back, and Scotch-Brite (or similar material) piping around all the edges. The Velcro waist strap adjusts for a variety of belly shapes. The zippered pocket spans the entire chest, stitched behind the reflective panel, and is deep enough for a cell phone.
My first run was a rainy three-miler around the neighborhood. I decided to try using the vest pocket to carry my phone, but was disappointed with how much it bounced. I returned home to grab my belt to secure my phone instead. The vest held its out-of-the-box shape and felt a bit cumbersome during the run, but not overly so. However, it tended to ride up a bit in the waist area. The vest provides 360-degree visibility and reflects much brighter than my old vest. The mesh ensured that the vest didn't get weighed down by rain.
I'm hoping that the vest will conform to my shape the more I run in it, so it becomes less cumbersome. I'll have to play with the waist strap to see if I can reduce it from riding up. Since my phone was too heavy to make the chest pocket useful, I will try other items, such as credit cards, money and fuel to see how those work.
Overall, the vest seems well-suited for its purpose. Nothing special, but a good replacement for my previous vest. And it's cheap, which makes it well-suited for my bankroll.