Best Gifts for Runners
If you are an avid runner, you know that having gear that is helpful and up to date is a great way to keep your interest peaked. Running gear is constantly changing, as there are always improvements being made on the products to offer runners the best quality items to keep time, stay dry, and manage progress. Just as running is a challenge in and of itself, so is keeping up with the latest products. As a runner, you might realize exactly what you need and when you need it. But if you are a friend, partner, or family member of a serious marathon trainer (and you don’t run yourself) you may have no idea where to start if you are in the market for a gift for him or her. Not to worry, that’s where we come in.
We have put together a wide variety of gift options that you can choose from. Rather than search aimlessly through a massive product site like Amazon, simply scroll through our list, and by the end, you should have a solid idea of what you would like to give to your loved one as a gift.
- Garmin Forerunner 235
- Bluetooth compatible
- Email & Texts Access
- Run Fast. Eat Slow.
- Nourishing recipes
- Fun writing
- TriggerPoint GRID
- Textured surface
10 Best Gifts For Runners
Garmin Forerunner 235
This watch is designed to help one reach their fitness goals by keeping meticulous track of a variety of metrics. Using it while running to monitor mileage and pace, makes it easier to reach that new personal record. It can also track one’s heart rate, other many customers find this feature to be inconsistent in accuracy. Other features include a calorie counter, Bluetooth, access to emails and texts, and a sleep monitor.
This watch is rechargeable, with each charge lasting a half day to 12 weeks depending on how it is used. It has a large screen that can display multiple metrics at once. The screen is dim, and can be hard to see in low light.
Available in black, black with red accents, and teal, this is an attractive smartwatch that will look good with any outfit.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a great gift for the runner in your life. Coming with a plethora of handy features, running with this watch gives one all the information they need to enhance their performance and keeps them connected to anyone who may need to reach them.
- Attractive look
- Many handy metrics for tracking athletic progress
- Bluetooth compatible
- Access to emails and texts
- Inaccurate as heart rate monitor
- Dim screen
Run Fast. Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes
This book is filled with many high sugar, high carb recipes that provide runners with the energy they need for peak performance. With options for vegans and people who eat gluten free, this cook book is a great addition to any runner’s kitchen.
The authors of this book are a 4-time Olympian runner and professional chef. Together, they tell their own stories of food and athleticism, making this a cook book one will actually want to read. This book features many great photos and over 100 recipes.
This book is available as a hardcover or as a Kindle e-book.
“Run Fast. Eat Slow” is the perfect gift for the health-conscious runner in your life. Although some of the recipes are a bit difficult to make, they are delicious across the board and have been vetted to provide exactly the nutrition that an endurance athlete needs.
- Healthy recipes for any diet
- Available as hardcover or Kindle e-book
- Recipes take a long time and require very specific ingredients
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
The textured surface of this foam roller is meant to mimic the feeling of a massage, and is more effective at increasing blood flow. This makes this foam roller an especially great choice for decreasing recovery time, and healing and preventing injuries.
With a length of just over one foot and a hollow core, this foam roller is lightweight and easy to travel with. It is made of tough, durable material that. This material holds up to the test of time but can be a bit hard for some people.
This foam roller is available in five different colors.
The TriggerPoint GRiD Foam Roller makes an awesome gift for the runner who is looking to improve their workout recovery. Furthermore, it is easy to travel with, so it can be brought along to destination races.
- Textured surface
- Some find the material to hard
Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash
This leash gives a hands-free option for being one’s dog on runs. It is made to allow both the runner and the dog enough space to stay comfortable and move at their own pace.
Made with a bungee that quickly retracts when one’s dog is by their side, two handles so that the pup can easily be placed under control, and a swivel belt so no one gets tied up in the leash, this product is a great choice for the active dog owner. The leash is not made of the toughest material, and may fall apart quickly if used for a dog who is a chewer.
This leash only comes in one size, but the waist belt is adjustable so it can be made to fit almost anyone. It is available in five different colors.
The Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash is a game changer for anyone who regularly runs with their dog. It allows one full control over their pet, while also provide comfort and free of movement to the runner.
- Versatility and comfort while running
- Adjustable waist belt
- Control over dog
- Dogs can chew through material
Level Terrain FlipBelt
This belt gives runners the ability to carry small, essential items without using their hands. Although the belt has no zippers, small opening that can be flipped to rest against one’s body help to stop anything from falling out.
This belt has four pockets that can fit a variety of items. The pockets vary in size and one has a hook, which keys can be attached to for extra security. The belt is meant to be worn around one’s waist, and although the size cannot be adjusted, the stretchy material keeps it firmly in place.
Coming in sizes from XX-small to XX-large, this belt is designed to fit many differently sized individuals. When sized correctly, it will not move while one runs, however if to large it is known to slide up one’s waist. This belt is available in nine different colors that are sure to fit anyone’s personality.
The Level Terrain FlipBelt is a great addition to any runner’s outfit. The tight pockets fit everything one needs and stops these items from falling out, while the many different sizes means this belt will fit just about anyone.
- Four pockets that fit everything needed on a run
- Available in many colors
- Comes in many sizes
- No zippers
- Rides up if improperly sized
Urban Active Sports Medal Display
The hanger is meant to be mounted to the wall and works as a space to display both race medals and bibs.
This hanger is a new and improved design that holds 60 medals and has 23 vinyl flip pouches for a runner's bibs. It is also made of pure medal, so that it can last over time and proudly display your medals for years to come.
This comes in one option, but has some bonuses. The bonuses are 23 bib vinyl sheets, locking laces, and a multi-purpose scarf.
Overall, this medal hanger is built to last and offers you a large amount of storage space for all of your medals. They also donate some profits to the Red Cross and UNICEF. Not to mention, it also comes with a lifetime guarantee. If all of these options sound good to you for a medal hanger as a gift for your avid runner, this is the way to go.
- Holds medals and bibs
- Has added bonuses
- Some found it heavy to mount
Icy Feet Ice Packs
These ice packs are specifically made to relieve for pain from a variety of problems. They should be placed in the freezer when not being used so that they are ready to go at a moment’s notice. When using them, make sure to wear a thin pair of socks.
Shaped to fit the contours of one’s foot, these ice packs were designed with relieving foot pain as their primary objective. They have two straps that can be secured around the top of the foot, allowing one movement while they ice their feet. Allow the design makes it easy to move without the ice pack falling off, this product is not made to be walked in.
This ice pack comes in a set of two. The sizing is one size fits all, although individuals with bigger feet do find them to be small. People who wear size 12/13 or larger toes tend to come over the edge of this ice pack.
The Ice Feet Ice Packs make a great addition to any runner’s rest day habits, especially if they experience regular foot pain. With a design that fits the shape of a foot and handy straps to keep the ice pack in place, this product makes icing one’s feet easier than ever.
- Fits shape of foot
- Has two straps
- Comes in set of two
- Can’t walk with these on
- Small for people with large feet
These socks are designed for runners. Made with lightweight synthetic material, they provide comfort, durability, and breathability as one runs. These socks with keep feet cool and last even after extensive use.
These socks are made to fit both men and women. They do tend to run large, and when they don’t fit right are known to slide down the back of one’s foot. Sizing down can keep with this, and once the right size is found the socks stay firmly in place. A handy tab on the back gives added cushioning above one’s shoe, and the material varies in thickness to provide extra support and breathability where it is needed.
These socks come in four sizes: small, medium, large, and extra-large. They are also available in a large assortment of different colors.
The Balega Hidden Comfort Athletic Running Socks are some of the nicest socks specifically designed for running available. With extra cushioning in all the right places, a light and breathable material, and a durable design, these socks will keep one comfortable and last despite heavy use.
- Fit men and women
- Available in many colors
- Socks run large
- Sometimes fall when running
Buff UV Headband
This is a multiuse product. It is quite long, and can therefore be worn in multiple ways and serve many different purposes. One can wear it in their hair to keep stray strands out of their face, around their neck for sun protection, or as a balaclava for warmth. Each product comes with handy pictures that demonstrate some of the most common ways this headband can be worn.
This headband is made from breathable, microfiber polyester that offers UV protection. It is stretchy and seamless. It can be tight if on individuals with a larger head or neck.
This headband is available is a large variety of different patterns, including monotone and multi-colored ones. Be aware that many customers report that the actual products are colored differently from how they appear online.
An attractive and versatile headband, the Buff UV Headband makes a great gift for runners who need a way to keep their hair out of their face or extra protection from the sun. Be aware though, this headband does run small.
- Versatile wear
- Comes in many colors
- UV protection
- Size runs small
- Colors in photos not true to life
FuelBelt Enduro Water Bottle
This small water bottle conveniently fits in one’s hand while they run. It can fit up to 16oz of water. The nozzle of this bottle is squeeze activated, making it easier to drink without having to stop running. This nozzle cannot be closed, but doesn’t leak unless constricted. This makes it great for runs, but it probably isn’t a good idea to put it inside a bag.
The insulated water bottle holder that this water bottle comes with will keep water cool and can be adjusted to maximize comfort in one’s hand. It also has a small pocket that can fit a key or other very small item. This pocket is too small to accommodate anything larger though.
This water bottle only comes in one size and color.
The FuelBelt Enduro is a great gift for the runner who needs a small amount of water with them. It is comfortable and easy to use, and has a sturdy, convenient design.
- Comfortable, adjustable hand strap
- Keeps water cool
- Fits 16oz of water
- Pocket very small
- May leak in bag
Here’s What We Looked At
When buying a gift you want to be sure that it is not just useful in its design, but that it will also be specifically useful to who you’re giving it to. Some gifts will be great for anyone who runs, while others are only good for specific types of runners. Examples of presents that work for any runner are socks, water bottles, and handy gadgets that let you carry your necessities hands-free.
If the runner who you are buying a gift for likes to run in races than something like the RunRilla Medal Hanger is a great gift, however, this gift is useless if they never compete. Likewise, the Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash is only useful if the runner you are buying for has a dog who they like to run with. Even if they have a dog, this gift may not be appropriate if they never take it on their runs. Another example of a very specific gift for a runner is the Icy Feet Ice Packs. These make a wonderful gift for someone who suffers from issues such as plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, or general foot pain, but would be strange to give to someone who doesn’t have any of these problems.
Basically, the moral here is that you want to be sure that whatever gift you buy will be something that the recipient actually wants to use. Think specifically about the person, and go beyond the fact that they are a runner. Although a runner-specific gift will certainly be a hit, the more aspects of their personality you can incorporate into the gift, the better it will be.
Making sure that whatever you give is well designed and functions the way it is supposed to, is important when giving a gift. Nothing sucks more than watching the recipient open your present only to find that it is broken or doesn’t work well. To ensure that your gift is well designed, do your research. After deciding what type of product you want to give, spend some time comparing the different items that are available. Read reviews, both from customers and professionals, study each items specs, and evaluate the price points. Although you may want to spend less, remember that price is a reflection of quality and effort. When gift giving, spending a little more will guarantee that you are giving something that is truly worthwhile.
After you have purchased a present, it’s a good idea to have it sent to your home so that you can double check the quality. Although many companies offer gift wrapping around the holidays, being able to look the present over and double check that it really is what you want to give, can make a big difference to the quality of your present. This does mean that you will have to wrap the gifts yourself, but isn’t that half the fun?
No one wants to receive the same gift year after year. Nor do you want to be that person who never seems able to think of something new to give. Unique gifts are an important part of the gift giving process and show that you have really thought about who you are giving this gift to. All the gifts on this list are tailored to be great fits for the runner in your life. Although they all have this in common, each also offers something new and different. Before choosing one though, think about the person who you are giving it to and if they may already have something that is especially similar. For example, if they already have a smartwatch getting them the Garmin Forerunner 235 will be a bit repetitive. However, for some types of gifts repetition can be good. Runners who are also foodies may already own 20 cookbooks specifically catered to this sport, but as long as one of those books isn’t Run Fast. Eat Slow this cookbook will make a great gift that helps to complete their collection.
Another way to ensure uniqueness in a gift is lots of options in terms of styling, color, and design. For example, everyone, especially athletes, needs socks. This stereotypical gift can be made special by giving socks that are your runners favorite color or one’s that come in funky designs. Choosing a high-quality option, such as the Belega Hidden Comfort Running Socks that are profiled above, also make a superior and more thoughtful gift. Choosing something that you know they love, but giving it in a new way shows that you pay attention and makes a wonderful, unique gift.
Finally, giving someone a product they already have can be not just acceptable but wonderful and unique if you know that the old product no longer works or that they simply don’t like it and are looking for something new. Replacing an item that was loved but has been used to capacity shows you are paying attention to the recipient of your gift. Likewise, replacing something that doesn’t work as well as they want it to with something that does has the same effect. The moral here is that the best gifts are the ones that demonstrate how well you know the receiver – showing them that you have put thought into your gift is almost (but not quite!) more important than the gift itself.
This factor is not important when buying a gift for every runner, but it applies to enough people that is it worth mentioning. Truly dedicated runners want to be able to get a workout everywhere they go, so try to think of a gift that they can easily bring with them. Even better for the traveling runner is a gift that makes fitting a run in while on vacation easier. Items such as the Level Terrain Flip Belt and the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller can be packed in a suitcase without hassle, and make it possible to get a full workout in even if there is no gym where one is staying. Travel-ready gifts are especially integral to competitive runners, who may travel the world to compete in races. Even if your runner won’t be upset with a bulky item that is hard to pack, the ability to bring their gift with them wherever they go will sweeten the experience.
Q: What factors contribute to a runner’s overall health?
Gifts that help a runner increase and maintain their health can be very thoughtful as well as utilitarian. The most important aspects that contribute to athletic health are a consistent workout routine, including cooldowns with lots of stretching, and a healthy diet and sleep schedule. The goal of all of this is to make gains in fitness and health over time, so gifts that help a runner increase their healthfulness make can be great choices.
Being able to track how much one is working out, including factors such as mileage, speed, and heart rate, are super important when a runner is attempting to make gains. Products like the Garmin Forerunner 235 are perfect gifts for the runner who cares about tracking their progress, since this watch records all of these factors automatically. A good post-workout cool down includes lots of stretching and foam rolling. If the health conscious runner you are buying a gift for doesn’t already have a foam roller buy them one.
Eating and sleeping right also have massive impacts on running performance and overall health. Healthy cookbooks, such as Run Fast. Eat Slow, are a no-brainer choice for the runner who thinks about their food. In terms of sleep, tracking how many hours one gets eat night, how many times they wake up, and other health factors such as heart rate, are important to gaining an understanding of how much sleep one needs and if they need to make changes to improve their sleep. Again, the Garmin Forerunner 235 and other products similar to it, is a great choice for the runner who wants more information on their sleep cycle. When this watch is worn throughout the night it records all of these metrics so that one can make informed decisions about their sleep habits.
Q: What are the most important features of running socks?
Comfortable socks can make a big difference for running performance. Hot feet can be distracting, and slow a runner down. High quality running socks are breathable, usually with mesh on the top that allows heat to escape one’s sock and then their shoe. They also tend to be short, topping out right above the top of one’s sneaker. This allows one’s shins to stay cool as well. Good socks should also be tight, allowing avoid anything that feel restrictive.
Loose fitting socks that move around or slide into one’s shoe are a nuisance that may require a runner to stop repeatedly throughout their run. A tab on the back of a running sock also helps to prevent them from falling into one’s shoe as they move. Finally, running socks should be comfortable, with extra padding along the ankle and heal that cushions one’s foot as it makes impact with the ground.
Q: What types of gifts make running easier?
If you are stumped on what gift to give the runner in your life, think about things that will make their life easier. For example, anything that lets their hand be free while running makes the entire experience more pleasant. Utility belts that can safely hold the items they need to bring with them as they run, such as the Level Terrain Flip Belt, are wonderful gifts that accomplish this goal. Water bottles with hand straps, like the FuelBelt Enduro, also make it easier for runners to bring what they need on the go. Other items that help make the actual process of going for a run easier and more pleasant are they keep one’s hair securely out of their face. Items like the Buff UV Headband, therefore, make an excellent gift for runners who have unruly hair.
Q: What are some other items that a runner may appreciate?
Although the list above covers many of the items that make great gifts for runners, there many other items that the runner in your life will also appreciate. Since most runners like to listen to music while they work out, a nice pair of headphones is always a hit. Bluetooth headphones are especially great, since the wireless connection gets rid of extra cords that would otherwise be in the way. High quality running clothes are also a hit for most. New athletic clothes will be especially appreciated, since these types of clothing see more wear and tear than casual, work, or dress clothing does.
T-shirts, shorts, tights, and sweatshirts are all great choices, as can be underwear, although do practice discretion with who you choose to give underwear to. Books and movies about running can also make great presents, especially for runners who are interested in the history of the sport. Finally, for the cheeseballs in your life, there are tons of products that have funny runner centric phrases on them. Magnets, mugs, coasters, t-shirts – these products run the gambit and make wonderful, light-hearted gifts.
Q: Is it a good idea to buy a runner new shoes as a gift?
A runner’s sneakers are the most important piece of gear they have. Although you may be tempted to get the runner in your life a new pair of shoes as a gift, this isn’t always a great idea. Runners are very particular about what shoes they wear, so unless you know exactly what your runner is looking for and what their size is, don’t buy shoes as a gift. If you really want to get them a new pair of shoes, one great way to go about it is by buying them a gift card to their favorite brand.
Q: What are some good stocking stuffers for runners?
Picking out stocking stuffers can almost be more fun than buying big gifts. When looking for stocking stuffers for runners think about the small items that they might need to bring with them as they clock mileage. Energy bars, chews, and gels are always a hit, especially for distance runners who often need this kind of pick-me-up. Lip balm and cough drops are also super handy to have while running, particularly during the winter months. If you want to have a little more fun, pick out small items that have silly things to say about running. Coasters, sticky-notes, and magnets are some examples of items that fit in stockings and are often available with goofy pictures and sayings.
Q: Where else should I look for gifts for runners?
The internet, with its endless resources and capacity for information, is a great place to look for gift ideas for runners. When looking for gift ideas for the runner in your life, one great place to start is a google search. More specifically, websites like Runners World are great sources for finding ideas on things that a runner may need. Gear We Are has a full section on the best of the best in terms of running gear. We also have a sister site, Runner Click, that is entirely dedicated to producing buying guides for runners. If you’d rather look for a gift in brick and mortar stores, check out brand stores for companies like Nike, Adidas, Saucony, and Asics. Outdoor retailers like REI and EMS are also great places to search for a present for the runner on your list.
Buying great gifts is not always easy, however, it becomes much simpler if you take the time to really think about who the recipient and what they will be able to make use of. If you have a runner in your life, chances are this person will appreciate a gift that is connected to this passion. Moreover, a gift that can improve one’s running experience is unquestionably useful, so you can be sure that your present won’t end up on a back shelf collecting dust.
Every runner is different though, so before purchasing anything really think about who you are buying the gift for and what their needs are. This list is here to both offer some concrete ideas, and to spur the creative gift giving process if none of the items we’ve chosen seem quite right. It is our goal to make this process as easy as it can be, so that both you and the recipient of your gifts feel happy and connected once the holidays are over.