The Life-Saving Reflective Spray for Athletes

Credit: Courtesy Albedo100us.com

What It Is: A reflective spray you can apply to your clothes or shoes to make you visible to cars when running, walking, biking, or motorcycling in the dark. When headlights hit an area you've sprayed, tiny beads reflect and light up like a road sign. But the spray is invisible in daylight. Volvo will be selling the same stuff soon in the United States, branded as Volvo LifePaint.

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Why We Like It: Albedo 100 makes you visible more than 500 feet away, according to the manufacturer. (It takes a driver about 150 feet to stop once he sees an object in the road.) We put it to the test by spraying a friend's running shoes. They didn't show any visible signs of being treated from most angles. We waited until dark, and hit the streets. The shoes lit up when we shined our headlights on them. The spray also worked on a moto pack. Albedo 100 works best on textured surfaces, including fleece, cotton, and wool. It's reflective anywhere you put it. Used conservatively, the company says that the 6.8-oz can will last 100 sprays. That's good, because you'll need to reapply. Albedo 100 is UV- and rain-resistant, but it does wear off from abrasion and when washed. We wore a pair of jeans for three days after we sprayed them, and at the end of the three days, about half the reflectivity was gone. The company makes two other formulas — "Permanent Metallic" for bike and motorcycle rims and frames, as well as wood, concrete, stone, and metal, and "Horse and Pets" for fur.

Nitpick: It doesn't stick well to shiny synthetic materials like some wind or rain shells. The manufacturer recommends avoiding spraying it on leather because it's harder to remove. On the darkest black items, you can see the spray from some angles. And whatever you spray, the reflection is only visible in the same direction as the light that hits the object. A car driver will see a reflection when his headlights hit you, but you won't necessarily be visible to passersby.

[$14-$19; albedo100us.com]