This December I was fortunate enough to attend The Running Event in Austin, TX. For those of you who don’t know, this is giant, fantastic trade show featuring running specialty retailers and all of their latest, greatest products from near and far. I was on a mission to find exciting new cutting edge products for the store where I work. I was given a list of several different things to scope out and at the top of it was Knuckle Lights… “Knuckle Lights, sounds like a product I might get made fun of for using,” I thought to myself. But I procured my trial set of Knuckle Lights nonetheless, and upon my return home I set out to try them.
Knuckle Lights are precisely what you think they are. They are essentially headlamps, but worn, you guessed it, on the knuckles. The set of two lights offers 45 lumens across 4 LED’s per hand, providing what the Knuckles Lights guy at The Running Event described as “an even, bounce-free light.” Knuckle Lights also claim on their packaging that they illuminate a larger area than their single light source headlamp competitors. So, I dragged myself out of bed at o’dark-thirty to see if the Knuckle Lights could, in fact, oust my trusty, albeit sometimes bouncy, tunnel-vision-inducing headlamp as my preferred means of illumination for running in the dark.
Knuckle Lights Skepticism and Benefits:
Knuckle Lights proclaim themselves to be “fully adjustable”, but I was skeptical that their rudimentary silicon strap adjustment system would adjust to a size small enough to stay put on my debatably smaller than average hands. I’ve yet to try the Knuckle Lights without gloves, as I have only used them in cold weather thus far, but as it turns out, I’ve had zero problems with the lights moving or slipping on my gloved hands. I was also a little worried that I might decide that I hate holding the lights and want to ditch them early in the run, but even after a hardy 8 miles I found them to be pretty light-weight and non-invasive. Furthermore, I did really appreciate how the Knuckle Lights illuminated objects in my periphery as well as what was directly in front of me, and I think it is safe to say that a light on each hand does offer a more functional and less frightening range of light distribution than a single-beam headlamp. Another nice thing about Knuckle Lights is the fact that there are 2 of them, which makes them perfect for sharing with friends who run at different paces. My Knuckle Lights maiden voyage was a speed workout with a faster friend. When it was time for her to speed up and leave me behind, it was pretty cool to split up the light set so both of our runs were a little brighter.
The Darker Side of Knuckle Lights:
Some of the downsides of Knuckle Lights include possible temporary blindness should you accidentally shine them directly in your eyes when you lift your arm to look at your watch. Also, those AAA batteries won’t last forever, and they may need replacing sooner rather than later if your Knuckle Lights (unbeknownst to you) stay turned on all day inside your gym bag. And then there is always this risk of ridicule from your running friends and running store co-workers because you are using a product called Knuckle Lights… But all in all, I would say that the positives out-weigh the negatives, and that Knuckle Lights are pretty handy little invention as well as a nice headlamp alternative.
Knuckle Lights Go Head-to-Head with Headlamps:
I’ve put together this handy headlamp vs. Knuckle Lights comparison for your convenience…
Price: $39.99 for Knuckle Lights vs. $39.95 for the Petzel Tikka Plus 2 headlamp
Light Output: 4 white LEDs per light for a total of 90 lumens for Knuckle Lights vs. 1 white LED with max output of 70 lumens, plus red LED source for the Tikka Plus 2.
Modes: 3 Modes for Knuckle Lights: Economic, Maximum, and Strobe vs. 5 Modes for Tikka Plus 2: Economic, Maximum, and Strobe, plus Max and Strobe for red light source.
Power Source: 4 AAA batteries (2 per light) for Knuckle Lights vs. 3 AAA batteries for Tikka Plus 2.
All things considered, I think we’re splitting hairs when it comes to picking a winner specs and price wise. It’s true that the headlamps offers a few more options in terms of modes, and I have found the red LED mode to be particularly useful for not blinding friends when sitting around the campfire or chilling out in the van while waiting for my late-night leg of some overnight relay race. However, I can’t think of a time that I have actually utilized the red mode for running purposes. You also save 1 AAA battery if you go the headlamp route, but you get 20 extra lumens of light with Knuckle Lights. That’s a wash if you ask me.
Ultimately, I think the great headlamp vs. knuckle lights debate comes down to personal preference. If you find your headlamp to be nauseatingly bouncy and limiting in the way of peripheral vision, then by all means, give Knuckle Lights a go. I think you’ll really like them! On the other hand, if handheld water bottles and other hand-centric running accessories kind of creep you out, then stick with the classic headlamp.
In any event, I think that Knuckle Lights are an entirely legitimate and practical headlamp alternative for low-light running, and that makes them fast and fabulous! Do YOU have any strong feelings regarding the Knuckle Lights vs headlamps debate???
Learn more about Knuckle Lights and purchase them here: http://www.knucklelights.com