Monday, October 26, 2020

Brooks Run Visible Collection Multi Tester Review: Carbonite Powered High Reflectivity & 24/7 Visibility

Article by Sally Reiley, John Tribbia and Sam Winebaum

Brooks Run Visible Collection

Sally, John, and Sam set out to test the men's Carbonite Short Sleeve, 7” 2-1 Short, men and women's Carbonite Jackets, and the women's ⅞ CarboniteTight, all part of Brooks’ new Run Visible Collection.


The Brooks Run Visible Collection is all about using reflectivity and bright and dark colors to highlight the body in motion during the day, at dawn and dusk, and in darkness. As more of us exercise outdoors in these different times, visibility and recognition of the human form ahead  by drivers is vital. The Run Visible Collection is vast and varied, ranging from apparel to shoes to all kinds of accessories,

It is well known that it is the visual cues be it in daylight through contrasting colors or at night through reflectivity which trigger recognition of what one sees at a distance as a person and not an object so as to appropriately react. These are key elements of safety. So color, contrast and reflectivity to highlight the  body’s  motion zones is what Brooks has created for the Run Visible collection which spans tights, jackets, hoodies, shorts, tops, and accessories such  as hats, gloves, and sleeves.  The science behind the Run Visible collection can be found here.


The soft, pliable, and different from the usual stiff silvery bands reflective material is 300 candle brightness 3M Scotchlite Carbon Black stretch reflective strips. The Carbon Black reflective material is found on all the pieces to highlight motion zones as you run and also to provide a dark contrast to the whites and the safety yellow color during daylight and dawn to dusk hours.

Run Visible Carbonite Short Sleeve  ($70)

The Short Sleeve is a brilliant white, very thin soft and stretchy tee with of course the reflectivity in key motion zones at the arms, neck, top of chest, and all around the lower hem. I counted a total of 10 reflective elements on the shirt.

I was initially puzzled as to its utility in winter in anywhere other than let’s just say San Diego. Florida or Arizona! This said many also run in the dark year round before the heat of day.

The fit was long, loose and soft and the material very thin but it not a mesh. Of course I thought great piece for summer night runs but we are now fall…

Then it occurred to me! That loose long fit makes it an ideal “reflective vest”. Just pull it over a midlayer or jacket in winter and voila visibility and reflectivity! 

Essentially this quite pricey $70 tee seen that way becomes a solid value as it is not only an outstanding warm weather run tee but an all year round easy to reach for better reflective vest! I tried the Short Sleeve over a thermal weight mid layer and the famous Brooks Desi Canopy Jacket and it was in no way over snug or constricting as the outer safety layer.

I actually prefer a loose fit often sizing up from my usual medium in singlets and other warm weather tops but no need for that here in my medium sample as the fit is generous and then it stretches as needed. It is a long fit which is fine by me. 

Part of the purpose of the longer than usual length is so that the reflective strips at the hems will move, be pushed forward by the hips in motion and work in concert with the Carbonlite 7” short’s lower just above the knee reflective strips which highlight the knees in motion. On both shorts and Short Sleeve, the Carbon Black reflective strips provide not only amazing candlepower reflectivity but a contrast in colors on the tee and blend in for the shorts just as they should there.


My first run was in bright sun and fairly warm conditions and the wicking and comfort was outstanding.  The shirt dried very quickly after my run and during it never felt sticky or clammy.

When illuminated by car headlights the white color plus reflectivity really stand out. Wearing dark clothing at night even reflective, is clearly not as visible to cars as this combination of reflectivity and white.

Brooks Run Visible 7” 2-1 Short ($75)

The Short is long at 7” with a 3” split making it not as constraining as the typical longer short. The splits are also useful for accessing the two stretch mesh pockets on the boxer brief,

The short has a soft, thin non compressive boxer brief liner almost as long as the short itself with 2 stretch front of thigh pockets which can hold small items. 

Two long strips of 3M Carbon Black reflectivity on the front lower hem and two at the rear provide plenty of legs in motion reflectivity


The outer shell short is extremely comfortable on the run with the outer shell not noticed at all. The waistband is flat with no accordion stretch areas and very smooth and easy on the skin and quite loose if well held…as long as you keep the rear pocket load light.. I wished the liner brief. while comfortable was shorter and a bit more compressive and substantial as it is noticed on the lower legs more than I prefer as it tends to ride up my skinny legs.

The long zip rear hem pocket is large enough for my iPhone 11 in case but produces too much bounce to be useful for that purpose. The two thigh pockets are also way too bouncy for a phone as the liner is so light and non compressive and are good for a key and some gels that’s about it. While I typically run with my phone “clipped” to my shorts waistband with a POP Pocket,  Brooks should have made at least one pocket, likey the rear zip more phone carry compatible with a snugger waist band. 

While yes, comfortable, and with great safety features, I am not nearly as big a fan of the shorts as I am the Short Sleeve due to the boxer brief and the lack of carrying capacity for a phone. 

John: As Sam mentions, the shorts are incredibly comfortable. They are true to size, with the size small fitting me just snug enough, but loose enough to avoid constricting motion. The liner brief does not compress as much as a traditional compression short, but gives a decent amount of security. It does ride up my leg and causing some chafing. I find the outer shell to be light and non-abrasive on the skin and I really like the longer length. Because it is so lightweight, there isn’t much wind protection and is not ideal in temps lower than 45 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  I couldn’t fit my iPhone and case in the rear pocket, and as Sam says, putting heavier things like keys or phones in the rear pocket generates too much bounce.

Run Visible Carbonite Jacket ($180)

Sally: Women’s XS Jacket

This is a lightweight jacket that fits TTS and is described as semi-fitted, which translates to a fairly snug fit. It runs shorter than many other running jackets out there. The fabric is super-light, almost see through, wind and water resistant and very breathable, but the key feature is the targeted reflectivity that increases a runner’s visibility to others and to cars. 

3M Scotchlite Carbon Black Stretch reflective strips are placed in critical motion zones that help drivers recognize you as a runner in motion. There is no hood, but thankfully there are two secure zipper hand pockets to keep small items such as keys or cards safe and secure. My favorite feature is always the thumb loops! There is a well thought out sizable zipper pull so that one can still maneuver the zipper even when hands are cold or wet.  

All in all the workmanship and details are of the very highest quality. I found the jacket very comfortable to run in, and the reflective qualities definitely work to make you visible without looking like a blinding neon blob. 

It is a great nighttime layer for those runners in warmer climes; I live in New England and tend to “run cold, ” and when I go on a run in the dark it is either early morning or in the evening when the temperatures drop, so I need to layer or wear a warmer jacket. 

I would recommend sizing up in this jacket so as to allow room for a thermal layer if you likewise live and run in colder climates. 

Men’s Carbonite Jacket ($180)

John: I typically wear a size small, but I was sent a medium for this test. It definitely fits large on me - arm length is too long and it is an overall baggy fit - so I can’t comment on whether it is true to size. As  Sally mentions, the jacket is lightweight and thin. 

I was able to test in some early season 25 degree weather and found that the jacket holds warmth really well, especially with a long sleeved shirt underneath. However (though no different from other hard shell jackets I’ve worn), I didn’t feel like the fabric breathes all that well, because my undershirt was soaked after an 80 minute run. From the inside, out, the jacket somewhat retains moisture, but when I tested the water repellency from outside, in, the jacket repels moisture and water really well. 

Functionally, I love the pockets to stash cards or light gloves. The reflectivity of the jacket is the main story and one I appreciate the most as I mostly run early in the morning in the dark. Each strip is well placed to effectively reflect and provide front and rear visibility.


I feel safer during my early morning runs and have already received several comments on the “great visibility” of my jacket. I can honestly say that this will be a mainstay through the throes of winter. 

Run Visible Carbonite ⅞ Tight  $130

Sally: Women’s XS Tight

This is a lightweight running tight that provides stretch, breathability, and visibility to keep a runner seen and comfortable while on the go. 3M Scotchlite Carbon Black Stretch Reflectivity is placed in critical motion zones, such as around the knee, so as to help drivers recognize you as a runner in motion. They are incredibly effective at doing just that! The tights run TTS, but have a different fit with a high snug stretchy waist and a more loose fitting thigh and lower leg. (But bear in mind I have thinner “bird legs.”) There is a rear waistband pocket, but not a large iphone size pocket. I found the stiff pad in the crotch seam a bit odd - mightn’t that chafe on a longish run? 

As with the Carbonite jacket, these tights are best suited for runners in warmer locales where more insulated tights are not requiredfor warmth. As I pointed out, as a New Englander, the times when I run in the dark it is also chilly if not downright cold, so I look for a cold-weather insulated tight. Perhaps sizing up in this tight (and likewise, the jacket) would allow for a layer underneath for warmth? The reflective qualities are very effective and desirable for every runner (and walker these days!). 

Run Visible Carbonite Hoodie ($120)

Sam: The Carbonite Hoody is a semi fitted, stretchy hoody made of DriLayer HorsePower fabric. The fabric is similar in feel and stretch to a pair of run tights, if a touch more relaxed in fit and a bit plasticky and slick to the touch.  

As with the Short Sleeve it is long in fit with reflective Carbon Black bands around the hem, elbows, front of shoulders, and back. I bought this piece in my usual medium and the stretch and length will accommodate a mid or base layer underneath but more snugly than the Short Sleeve also in medium but in a far lighter stretch fabric can.

The hood fits well, not overly snug but covering the ears and is very easy to pull on and off on the go.

It is not quite long enough to pull up over the face to serve as a wind or.. other mask although in a pinch it will go over your nose and mouth with the hood pulled down.

There is a pass-through waist pocket ideal for stowing gloves and hat and of course for warming hands. 

The sleeves are finished with a durable not as stretchy band of durable woven material and include an elastic which together gets the sleeves snugly over a good part of your fingers and in combination with the band keeps the sleeve in place, snug and protective. In fact the sleeve hem is burly enough that the elastic isn’t really needed. The band also has enough heft and gripthat the sleeves can be rolled up to your elbows and will stay there, something I often do but am often fussing with the sleeves coming back down. Not so here. Nice touch!

This is not a particularly warm piece sitting somewhere between base layer and outer layer. I found it very breathable, quick drying and with some light wind protection.

It would be an ideal piece for colder weather races and up tempo workouts where hats and gloves come and go or alternatively neither might be needed given hood and sleeves with the overall fabric providing just enough protection, with a base layer if need be for extra warmth.

As far as night run versatility given its snugger if stretchy fit I might opt for the Short Sleeve. It is considerably less money, and given its spacious fit and stretch, I can throw it over just about any colder weather or even winter worthy mid or base weight layers and even a light shell jacket for increased night and other visibility while in warmer weather use as is.. 

Shop for the Brooks Run Visible Collection below. Available now!

Read reviewers' run bios here
The products reviewed were provided at no charge for testing, unless otherwise noted
The opinions herein are the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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