Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Brooks Running Women's 2021 Run Visible Carbonite Collection: Shorts, Vest, Tights and Short Sleeve

Article by Renee Krusemark and Alex Tilsley

For several years Brooks has been perfecting its Run Visible collection of high day and night time visibility apparel and accessories in recent years in partnership with 3M which has done extensive research around how the human eye discerns people in low light and at night. 

All the pieces reviewed here feature:

  • 3M Carbon Black retro reflectivity in areas of motion that help identify you as a human and not a random sign. 

  • Each piece in the Run Visible Collection returns at least as much light as 300 candles burning in the same location.

  • Carbonite apparel balances the use of fluorescence, contrast colors and patterns for daytime (and night time) visibility and to alert that you are a runner in motion.

  • The reflective elements in motion can be seen when lit by cars, and identified as a human form, at up to 600 feet at 35mph. 

For more on the science behind Run Visible see the Brooks article here

Renee and Alex tested the Carbonite  4" shorts, short sleeve, vest, and tights. Read on to see what they thought.

Carbonite Vest ($130)

Alex: Even in the darkest, coldest months here in DC, it’s rarely cold enough for a jacket, so I love the idea of a reflective vest for when I need to be seen but don’t need the warmth. And the Carbonite vest is great for being seen. The reflective strips sit on the front and back of the shoulders and wrap around the hip, so you can be seen from the front, back, or side. Even with a black shirt underneath, I felt confident cars could see me. 

The material of the vest is relatively lightweight, while still providing a layer of warmth. For the mid-Atlantic this is exactly what I need -- it adds enough warmth to get me out the door but I’m not going to overheat once I get going. Brooks says the vest provides wind and water protection, and though I’d never choose a vest on a rainy day, it definitely seems to cut the wind a bit on those breezy late fall runs.

The vest has zippered pockets on each side, one of which has an inner key pocket, and it has a zipper chest pocket on the left -- plenty of room for carrying gels, keys, a credit card, or the gloves you needed for the first mile but turned out to be too much. 

One feature of the vest that had me a little perplexed is a set of two snaps inside the main zipper, about 6 inches apart. 

My best guess is they’re for when it gets too hot to have the vest zipped but you don’t want it flapping around. Unzipping the vest and snapping the buttons gives you more airflow, while still providing more protection than if you had it completely unfastened. This isn’t necessarily a feature I’ve ever wished for in a vest, but it doesn’t seem to hurt. 

My only real quibble with the Carbonite vest is the length. I’m someone who typically buys petite sizes, and the small jacket feels about an inch or two too short for my liking. The bottom hits a bit above my hip, and I found myself trying to pull it down before realizing that’s just how the vest fits. If you prefer a longer fit, I might size up. The material is stretchy and I suspect that sizing up wouldn’t feel too baggy, but of course it’s a matter of personal preference. 

And since I quibbled, I do have to say that one thing I love about the fit is the neck. So many vests have necks so high that my face gets scratched by the zipper while I run. Not so with the Carbonite vest. Brooks has clearly thought about that issue and designed it so that even if the neck sits high, there’s nothing that could chafe. 

Overall, if you’re a vest person (and I know plenty of people are not) the Carbonite vest is worth a look, just consider sizing up if you prefer a longer fit.

Carbonite Tights ($130)

Alex: The Carbonite tights have 3M reflective strips around the ankles, calves, and thighs, guaranteeing you’ll be seen by cars as you zip across the road. But at this point I don’t wear them because they’re reflective; I wear them because they’re really comfy tights. 

The Carbonite tights are high-waisted but forgiving, with an internal drawstring for adjusting the fit. With tights I often get stuck between sizes, with a small feeling tight in the waist but a medium feeling saggy around my legs. The medium in the Carbonite tight is perfect, and I find myself wearing these tights long after my run is done. 

Brooks describes the weight as “just right warmth” that insulates but won’t overheat. Standing outside on a wet, 40-degree day waiting to start a run I was definitely cold. But once I started moving and generating heat, the weight felt pretty perfect. I suspect these tights will get me through most of the mid-Atlantic winter, though there might be a handful of days I opt for something a little bit warmer. 

The tights have one envelope pocket in the back that Brooks claims can fit a phone. I tried, and it does fit, but barely, and definitely not securely enough to go for a run. But still, it’s a perfectly fine pocket for keys or a gel, or even both. 

One note: the Carbonite tights look super sleek, but the white on the calves does not stay white if you run on dirt or mud. Not unexpected, and luckily I’ll mostly be wearing these in the dark anyway, so no one will know!

Carbonite 4” Shorts 

Renee: I need more 4” inch shorts in my life. Seriously. The Carbonite 4” shorts look short, but they are the perfect length for me: not too short/revealing and too long. I wore a women’s size small. As compared to other brands, the size small has a generous volume, which works great for thicker thighs and back sides without having to size up. As compared to other brands (size small in Tracksmith, for example), these shorts offer more volume. For performance, the 4” length and small slits on the outer legs prevent bunching, and although the material is flowing, the longer length prevents showing too much of the upper legs during fast paces or windy days (which I appreciate). The liner is comfortable too. The “hidden” zipper pocket on the left side can fit a gel or my Jeep fob (tight fit, but it works). I ran with my key fob in the zipped pocket, and having the weight to one side did not affect performance or comfort. 

I can shove gels into the two inner pockets too (tight fit, but it works). The waist has an “infinity” drawcord, so the shorts are quick/easy to pull up and down (bathroom breaks during long trail runs happen, okay). On really hot days, I might choose my Tracksmith split shorts, but otherwise these Brooks Carbonite 4” shorts are my new favorite: plenty of comfort without being too revealing. Of course, the bonus is the reflective elements.

Carbonite Short Sleeve Shirt ($65)

Renee: The Carbonite short sleeve t-shirt is truly all about performance. All the keywords Brooks gives us about the shirt are true: cool, comfortable, and sweat wicking. The reflective elements make runners visible from the front and back. 

A far as purchasing advice, the shirt works best for ladies who like a short cut shirt. Brooks states the shirt is semi-fitted. For volume, I think the shirt is on par with most other brands and styles. 

The length is a bit short for me. While running or lifting up my arms, my stomach shows. For cooling purposes in the heat, I don’t mind. Otherwise, I generally prefer longer shirts with zero chances of showing the world my stomach. Totally a personal preference. Longer torso runners might prefer the men's short sleeve.

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Alex Tilsley is a displaced trail runner, currently living in DC and finding dirt wherever she can. Alex discovered running in college and was a happy 3-miles-a-day hobby jogger until her mom tricked her into running a 10k and it was all downhill from there. She has since run several marathons (PR 3:38) and dabbled in triathlons, but her true love is the trails, whether running, mountain biking, orienteering, or long-distance backpacking. When she’s not running or riding, Alex works full-time in education policy and part-time putting on trail races with EX2 Adventures

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes . RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

Brooks Run Visible Fall 2021 Carbonite Collection for Men and Women 

Running Warehouse SHOP HERE

Road Runner Sports SHOP HERE

Fleet Feet SHOP HERE

Holabird Sports SHOP HERE


USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Join VIP Family, Get Free Shipping and 15% in VIP Benefits on every order, Details here

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products
FREE Shipping on orders over 99, 30 days return policy, no questions asked.

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: