KNOW YOUR TECH breaks down the scientific technology used in your favorite sneakers and activewear. Let’s demystify your next purchase: today’s technology is 3M Scotchlite. The reflective material has been in use for nearly 75 years on road signs as a brighter alternative to standard paints. It was later transferred to fabrics and has been a popular aesthetic feature of performance footwear since the '90s.

What is it? A durable material that uses technology known as retroreflection, helping the eye to perceive light in dimly-lit and nighttime conditions. Useful as a safety precaution, 3M Scotchlite has also become desirable for its unique look. Although many brands have developed an in-house alternative, the reflective properties remain the same.

How does it work? When light hits 3M Scotchlite material, it is reflected back, producing a highly visible silver sheen. Utilized on everything from workwear to biking gear, 3M Scotchlite is especially beneficial for athletes who run or bike during nighttime.

Notable Products: Nike Free Run+ 3, Nike Lunarglide 4, Asics Gel Nimbus 15

Bottom Line: You may not realize it, but you've definitely seen 3M before. The eye-catching, can't-miss reflective material is a great way for athletes who run or bike during the nighttime to stay safe and visible.

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