LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- A Lake Oswego company has developed a special vest for runners that entertains them with music and increases safety at the same time.
When joggers wear ear buds, they don’t always hear important sounds going on around them – like traffic noises. That’s the reason Hood to Coast organizers banned them from that popular event.
But many joggers say they need their tunes to stay motivated. From that, an idea was born: The RoadNoise vests have two speakers sewn inside, which can be connected to a MP3 player, iPhone or iPod.
Ron Stout said his wife came up with the idea and then he used his graphic design skills to help refine it. After several prototypes and an $80,000 investment they hit the mark.
The speakers are small but still put out a good amount of sound. They are also strategically placed just below ear-level.
“We have a few on our [Hood to Coast] team that refused to run without music. They went out and got little contraptions speakers that had batteries and little wires and started ya know, sewing thing on shirts and jog bras and everything,” Stout said. “There were cables dangling around, too.”
The RoadNoise design is much more streamlined and Stout said the sound level won’t disturb people nearby, either.
So far, the RoadNoise vests have been sold extensively on the Web, in all 50 states and in Europe. They are also available at a few retail outlets including Portland’s Foot Traffic, at a cost of $70 each.
The company is now looking into creating other styles specially designed for bicyclists.