Safety Apps and Gear for Women Walking or Running in Charlotte

Charlotte is home to a variety of running and walking trails, from loops like the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and the Trolley Trail, to running Uptown and SouthEnd. Unfortunately, running for women isn’t the safest activity. Runners World Magazine surveyed its readers and found that a staggering 60% of women have experienced some variety of harassment while running. A simple Google search suggests women should wear their hair in a bun rather than a ponytail while running because it’s harder to grab, or wear baggy clothes for the same reason.

And now, the daylight hours are shorter, and you may need to run or exercise in low light. While it’s not ideal to head out in the dark, that might be the only option for those of us with work and school schedules.

Thanks to the experts over at WIRED, and by conducting our own research, we compiled a list of must-haves apps and gear to take with you to help keep you safe on your next run.

APPS

  • Noonlight: As for safety apps, Noonlight is favored as the best at WIRED. Free and easy to use (though you can pay for additional features), Noonlight allows you to alert them when feeling unsafe by holding down a button on your screen for 10 seconds. After the time runs out, you can enter a pin in case it was a false alarm, or they will attempt to contact you before alerting authorities of your location. In my person experience, having Noonlight on my smartwatch made me feel safer on runs. I decided to test the technology out and found that even after using my pin, I was contacted as they were making sure I was safe. Now I think we could all agree we need an app like that not only for running alone, but for daily activities in general.
  • Strava: A social network for workouts but also a safety app with their helpful feature, Beacon. Beacon allows you to share your real-time location with whoever you choose along with what time you started your activity, how long you’ve been active, and your phone’s battery percentage. You can also set up check in times with a chosen friend, and if anything goes wrong, they’ll be able to share your GPS with police.
  • RunBuddy: An app that acts as your “buddy” for those moments you need one. Using GPS and cellular activity, RunBuddy lets you choose up to 5 friends to see your real time location, alerting them when you could be in trouble.
  • bSafe: While in danger your phone can turn into a siren, alert authorities, record video, and alert your contacts with your GPS location all within one app.
  • Kitestring: An app that checks in on you while you’re out. If you don’t respond or postpone to it’s check ups, it will send your pre-selected contacts an emergency message.
  • Road ID: Allows your family and friends to track your workouts in real time with GPS. It also has a “Stationary Alert” feature that notifies your chosen contacts when you have stopped moving for more than 5 minutes.

GEAR

  • Phone or Smartwatch: Everyone has a smartphone nowadays, so it might seem like common sense to take it with you on your solo-run. Well, many might overlook the importance of sharing your location with your closest friends, or making sure your smartwatch is fully charged before you leave. Before you decide to head out, make sure your phone or watch is charged, location is on and shared with one or more contacts, and is in a safe place that won’t fall while running or walking.
  • Pepper Spray: make sure the one hanging out in the bottom of your purse hasn’t expired before you take it on your next run.
  • Personal Alarm: Birdie is a woman-owned company making a really sleek, compact version.
  • Whistle: Wearing a whistle around your neck can help draw attention in the event that you feel unsafe.
  • Self-Defense Ring: A Go Guarded Ring is a self defense tool that easy slips on your finger, but is attached to your hand so it can’t be taken off and used against you.
  • Running Waist Light: See and be seen in the dark with a running waist light. By wearing the light on your waist, you’ll be able to see objects on the ground better while reducing glare and that headlamp bounce (we all know what I’m talking about). We’re currently eyeing this one, compatible with a FlipBelt.
  • Open Headphones: AfterShokz Aeropex is a popular model that allows you to be aware of the sounds in your area while also still being able to jam out to

Be safe out there girls, and happy running!

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