Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Roadnoise Sound Running Vest, Reflective Vest with Built-in Speakers

Can you see me? Roadnoise Sound Vest, front view
The Facts
Speaker out of its pocket on Roadnoise Sound Vest
The Roadnoise Sound Running Vest is more than your everyday reflective vest, and at $55 it better be. This mesh vest has speakers built in that sit right below your ears so you can listen to music while you run without earbuds, enabling you to still hear traffic and other people around you. The vest comes in pink, lime green, and black (the color runs along the reflective stripes, it's not the main color of the vest, which is white). It is available in size small (chest 32" - 37") through extra large (41" - 46" +). The speakers have their own little pockets in front of each shoulder, and a cord runs through the vest in its own tunnel of sorts, coming together in the front at a pocket where you can plug it into the headphone jack of your phone or mp3 player. It does not require batteries. Like many popular running vests, it goes over your head and then secures around your ribs with Velcro tabs.
Detail view of cord running through Roadnoise Sound Vest
 The Meat
I've had my Roadnoise vest for probably two years now, I've worn it late at night and early in the morning. I've used it with an iPod Touch, iPhone (4s and 6), and an iPod Shuffle. I've listened to music and audiobooks with it in heat, cold, and rain. The longest runs I've used it on were probably 6-7 miles, I don't run much farther than that in the dark and it does start to annoy me after a while. 

Husband is a nerd
Roadnoise Sound Vest back view
For the most part, I like the vest. The fit is decent, which for me, at 5'4" and 120lbs, is a small. Since the bottom of the vest hits near the bottom of the wearers rib cage, it still fit me for most of my pregnancy. My husband is 5'8", a muscular (brownie points for me!) 155lbs and my small vest is just a little snug on him. What I don't like about the fit—and this may just be an association my mind has created—is how hitting just below my boobs makes me look pregnant.

While the vest is comfortable for the most part, if it's not snug enough the speakers bounce. A little bounce of wearable gear is normal while running, but the position of the speakers means that they bounce right on my collar bone and it hurts. When I tighten it up to minimize the bounce, it starts to feel constrictive around my ribs. This is why I tend to only wear it for shorter runs.

The sound quality of the speakers is pretty good but the volume could be better. It's good to keep a low volume in order to still hear the world around you, but I can have the volume maxed out and when an average sounding car passes my music completely disappears. I gave up on trying to listen to an audiobook with the Roadnoise vest. A good thing about this though is that someone wearing the vest can't annoy the people around them with their music. I've worn this vest on a few group runs and had people comment that they couldn't hear the music unless they were right beside me. I did notice, however, that the speakers pictured currently on the Roadnoise website are shaped differently than the ones I have, so I don't know if they have other differences as well.

My iPod shuffle plugged in and clipped to edge of Roadnoise center pocket
Speaker plug on Roadnoise Sound Vest
The pocket that holds your mp3 player or phone is also large enough for some gel and keys and closes with Velcro. I tend to clip my iPod shuffle onto the top of the pocket so it's easier to access. It's worth noting that this is just a mesh pocket, it's not going to protect your gear from the weather so while the speakers can handle a light rain, you'll need to have your phone or mp3 player in a waterproof case (or ziplock bag, or just get a waterproofed shuffle like me).

You might worry about being able to wash a vest that has speakers in it, but taking them out to wash the vest is no big deal. You simply unplug each speaker and pull the cord out through the center pocket. I've machine washed mine several times and hung it to dry and haven't had any issues with that. Running the cords back up through the vest to the speaker pockets is a little more difficult, since the ends want to poke through the mesh, but it only take a little patience and then you're ready to run again.

Side view

Conclusion
My final feelings about this vest are a little mixed and now that most of my dark runs are in groups, I rarely wear mine anymore. If you're mainly seeking visibility, at $55, this is not the vest for you. There are many other, more affordable and more comfortable reflective vests on the market. The Nathan LightStreak Vest even has LEDs built in and can be found for less than $30. However, if you want to listen to music while you run without having earbuds in, this is a great option. I do feel that the Roadnoise Sound Vest would be worth the price tag if there were additional features, such as LEDs or a waterproof pocket for your music player.

If you need some music to listen to through your Roadnoise vest, don't forget to check out my playlists.

This post contains affiliate links, however opinions are my own and I have not been compensated in any way to write this review. I paid for my vest out of my own pocket.

2 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this before! Thx for the thorough review!

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    Replies
    1. No problem, thanks for the comment!

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