Safety First

Local fitness company helps Austin women take back the night with light-up gear

Local fitness company helps Austin women take back the night

Spibelt nite beams
A local company is helping athletes take back the night with new light-up gear.  Courtesy photo

It’s no surprise that in a tech and health hub like Austin, a local company that considers itself “a fitness innovator” would be thriving. SPIbelt, an Austin-based, female-owned fitness company, has added another line of products to its arsenal with a new collection of light-up wearables.

Since launching in 2007, what started with a simple, bounce-free running belt has expanded to include products like a hydration belt and accessories specifically designed for individuals who need to carry medical devices — like an insulin pump or EpiPen — while they run.

Now, SPIbelt has acquired the running gear division of Nite Beams, which will be marketed under the name SPIbeams, and feature both USB-rechargeable and battery-powered headwear, shoelaces, and wristbands, plus LED spurs, arm and leg bands, and gloves. Designed specifically to keep runners and other exercisers safe when out at night (or early morning), the products provide instant high visibility for up to 1,400 feet — or one-quarter mile — from the front, side, or back.

"At SPIbelt we strive to be our users’ companion helping to simplify their day-to-day lives," CEO and owner Kim Overton tells CultureMap. "By providing convenient products users can trust in, we allow them to be in the moment and focus on what's important, rather than wondering where their items are located."

Now, hopefully, they can wonder at least a little less about safety, too. Even after a string of recent sexual assaults on Austin's hike and bike trails, plans to add lights or call boxes (similar to the ones on the UT campus) to darker areas of the trail don’t seem much closer to coming to fruition.

And though The Trail Foundation recently outlined 15 new projects for the trail, including waterfront overlook decks, new bathrooms on the Festival Beach and Pleasant Valley trails, and new lighting, it could be up to five years before these improvements are made. Good thing Austinites have another option for being seen.