10 Best Gifts for Runners Reviewed
The way to a runner’s heart is through their gear, and if you aren’t one yourself you might find it difficult to find the perfect gift for the runner in your life. Running gear is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up to date with the current and most useful products available.
If you know a runner, or are one, then you understand that the best products are those that can be used on almost every run, long lasting, and up to date. So, if you’re looking for the perfect “runner” gift for you or someone else, you’ve reached the right place. We’ve already taken the liberty to research the best running gear currently available, so you don’t have to! Below you’ll find the top ten gifts that are sure to win over the heart of any runner this season.
- Run Fast, Eat Slow
- Ideal recipes for runners
- Petzl Nao
- Reactive lighting
- Danish Endurance 18-21 mmHg
- Improve Blood Circulation
10 Best Gifts for Runners
Run Fast, Eat Slow
Unlike other running-specific recipe content, this book focuses on the importance of healthy fat in a runners’ diet and strays away from over-emphasis on calorie counting and protein-heavy meals. The book organizes recipes in a functional way, providing ideas for delicious treats, satisfying snacks, healthy meals, and thirst-quenching drinks that family and friends will love. Fan favorites include: High-Altitude Bison Meatballs, Can’t Beet Me Smoothie, Kale Raddiccio, Recovery Quinoa Salad, Marathon Lasagna and Superhero Muffins. If you’re still uncertain, check out Runner’s World for a great podcast interview of both authors!
The book is a hardcover format that most reviewers found affordable given the value and usefulness of the content.
Great, modifiable recipe ideas with beautiful photos
Info may also help with energy, inflammation, gut issues
Each recipe has a “story” and explanation of purpose
Great resource for athletes and non-athletes alike
Some felt recipe ingredients were hard to find
Petzl Nao Headlamp
This lamp’s reactive lighting system is perfect for runners who don’t want the hassle of manually turning on their lamps every time they need it. It also raises the bar on battery efficiency by adjusting it’s lighting as you go—this way it’s not running on full power when it doesn’t need to be. It’s rechargeable battery pack system is able to run for up to 12.5 hours and it is also compatible with both Alkaline and lithium batteries. In the end this is a perfect option for all types of runners—and is also an excellent headlamp for short and long distance trail runners.
While this lamp is on the higher end of the cost spectrum, it is definitely an item that will save you money in the long run that will not need to be replaced in the near future.
Another excellent and cost-effective option is the Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp, which was previously on our list. At 200 lumen it is perfect to light up the way for nighttime running. While it’s battery life is not as efficient as the Petzl Nao’s, it is perfect for shorter runs!
Lightweight and comfortable
Compatible with alkaline and lithium batteries
More expensive than other options
Compression Sock: Danish Endurance
Our favorite features are certainly it's accurately contoured fit and soft material composition made up of ninety-five percent polyamide and five percent elasthane. The sock has just enough padding to keep a lightweight, easy fit without compromising performance. The elasticity in pair with the design allows the full length of the sock to hug the leg naturally while focusing gradual compression upward from the foot.
You have a sock that will perform well across the board, in many different activities and many different sports. The value they offer is in diversity and performance. It's only in addition that you get them at a significantly lower price than similarly performing compression socks. For the reasons mentioned the Danish Endurance Graduated Compression Sock has landed as a practical buy that's worth considering.
Danish endurance also has Calf Compression Sleeves (18-21 mmHg) and Organic Compression Socks (14-20 mmHg) available that are built similarly. The Calf Compression Sleeve will function just as the socks other than the compression being focued from the bottom of the leg up rather than the foot. The Organic Compression socks have an alteration in the material composition being sixty-five percent organic cotton, twenty percent elastane and fifteen percent lycra.
- Great fit and ample compression
- holds in place well: No slipping
- Effective Wicking & Breathable material
- Multiple color options
- Compression socks typically cost more than standard socks.
Garmin Forerunner 230
This watch features a 44% larger screen than the popular Garmin 220. It’s been tested and approved by females with smaller wrists and it is one of the lightest GPS watches in its class. The battery life is excellent (5 weeks battery life in watch mode and 16 hours in training mode). The Forerunner 230 also has a useful “Find My Phone” feature and is compatible with android and IOS, with the ability to deliver Bluetooth smart phone notifications. It does not feature a wrist-based heart rate tracker, but does have the option to purchase a chest strap for monitoring your heart rate. Available in three color options: Purple Strike, Force Yellow, and Black & White.
Given all of the features of this product, most agree it’s a great deal for a reliable middle-level GPS watch.
Several more expensive watches (like the Garmin Forerunner 735XT and Garmin Forerunner 235) and more budget choices (Garmin Vivoactive HR and Garmin VivoFit) are also worth looking into, based on your price considerations.
Lightweight (1.44 oz.) and comfortable
Great battery life
Waterproof and durable
GPS is fast and reliable
Does not track elevation gain until connected to internet / app
No virtual pacer feature
Some find the screen is too dim
SPIBelt Running Belt
This running belt is lightweight and sleek. It is able to hold all of your essentials and has able to hold even the largest phones. You can also get creative with all of the color options available.
Affordable, and the runner in your life will definitely love and utilize this gift!
There are lots of other running belts out their to consider, but if you are looking to spend some more the running vest on our list is another great alternative!
- Lots of storage space
- Sleek design
- Lots of different color options
May run small for plus sizes
Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport headphones
These headphones are wireless and sweatproof. They have a 5 hour playing time and come with a charging pack that can give you up to ten more hours of listening time. You can track them if they ever go missing, AND they come in 3 different sizes--to ensure they fit all types of ears.
This is a high cost item--however, given all the features and benefits it provides these headphones are beyond worth their price. If you want to find a splurge-worthy gift, these are definitely it!
The Apple airpods are another similar and great option to these headphones. They are similarly price and have a lot of amazing and similar features as well.
- Comes in different sizes
- Comes with a charging pack
- 5-10 hours of listening time
- Sweat proof
Salomon Agile 2 Hydration Pack
The design features 2 exterior pockets and has enough room for your car keys, an energy bar, and a light outer layer. The Salomon bladder performs well and is durable, and the hydration sleeve in the pack is insulated which brings an added bonus for year-round use. This vest is also comfortable for skiing, bike riding and hiking.
Moderately priced for a highly reputable brand and product.
Nathan Sports Endurance Pack was the Editors’ Pick for 2016 from Runners World Magazine. The Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest and Gregory Tempo 5 are trail-designed and higher priced but have more storage capabilities. The High Sierra Propel is a nice lower-budget option.
Lightweight and versatile
Excellent bladder/insulated sleeve design
Attractive & stylish
Water storage not ideal for longer runs (>4 hours)
Not a lot of space to pack extra layers
Extra Long Medal Holder
This medal display features an attractive cityscape/runner silhouette scene and the words “RUN STRONG.” It holds an impressive 96 medals but also looks nice with a lower quantity of medals spaced out on the bar attachment system. It’s durable and easy to install.
On the expensive side, but the details would be hard to replicate yourself. A unique and classy alternative to other medal display products.
Simple design, no wordy quotations
Holds a large amount of race medals
Bar display system also makes smaller collection look nice
Durable, high quality material
Original Buff Headwear
Unisex, one size fits all and most agree that the product does well with its intended uses. Versatile product that can also be used for mild wind/cold protect, sweat wicking in the heat, as an armband or even an eye mask for sleeping/travel!
Some find this product on the pricey side considering it’s a small amount of fabric (neck sleeve). Fair price compared to reputable competitors.
Lightweight, versatile, simple
Tons of color and pattern options
Some complain about the prominent logo
May not perform as well in extended use once it’s wet
NUUN Energy Electrolyte Drink
These tablets contain 40mg caffeine (about 1/3 cup of coffee) and come in 4 flavor options: Fresh Lime, Wild Berry, Cherry Limeade, and Mango Orange. NUUN boasts a product that utilizes plant-based sweeteners, and is free of gluten, soy, and animal based-ingredients. NUUN energy tablets are generally less sweet than other hydration beverages and the container is nice and portable – simply throw them in the car or gym bag and go!
When priced out, these little tablets provide a better value per serving than purchasing Gatorade and other pre-mixed hydration products (and less plastic bottle waste!) They are a particularly good deal when purchased in packages of 4.
Clean ingredients and great electrolyte balance
Great reviews for a number of different sports
Not too sweet
Contain (small amount of) caffeine
Some people did not like the flavor(s)
The Criteria Used For Selecting The Best Gifts For Runners
A Thoughtful Gift That Goes A Long Way
Anyone who’s has a close relative or friend that is passionate about running will tell you that a sport-related present is always very much appreciated more than any gift card or fruit basket. It seems that there are a few things that some runners would not buy for themselves. Maybe it’s a little extra gear for their runs, or something that they’ve never considered before. We know that it can be hard to select something for the person that already has the standard running gear they need. So we have provided thoughtful gifts that all runners could enjoy without having to worry about their favorite color or personal preferences. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest gifts out there for the runner in your life.
For your runner that likes a great book or movie, we have selected one of each. Our book comes from a critically acclaimed chef and runner working in conjunction with a four times Olympian to bring you an excellent New York Times Bestseller. It’s a wonderful collection of personal stories and experiences they’ve had and delicious recipes that are healthy and tasty.
For those runner’s that love a good inspirational movie about their sport, we have selected an excellent documentary that follows runners along their training and running of an ultra marathon. Any trail runner or marathon runner would absolutely love this movie and it received high marks among all those who watched it. So whether they enjoy a good book, or a good movie, there are great choices for them on our list.
Safety For The Stubborn
Do you know a runner that runs during low lighting conditions, but stubbornly doesn’t buy any lighted accessories for their outings? Maybe you know a runner that has been using the same light for the past ten years that’s about as bright as a single birthday candle? Our buying guide features a top rated running headlamp that is sure to light up their expression when you gift it to them. Sporting different settings and illuminating up to two hundred lumens, this headlamp will give your runner a better view of where they’re going. They will also be a lot more visible to distracted drivers that typically are not looking out for runners or cyclists. This is one gift that can save a life, so if you know a runner that runs in low light, make this a gift for them.
Practical Gift For The Trail Runner
It doesn’t matter if they run a technical trail or a non-technical outdoor course, if they’re outside, chances are that dust and tiny pebbles find their way into their shoes. There is nothing more annoying than having to stop your run and unlace your shoes to remove a painfully present small stone. Most runners simply don’t know just how much a running gaiter can do for their outdoor runs. This is a must have for any outdoor enthusiast, so if you are shopping for a hiker or trail runner, this would be a gift that will make them remember you every single time they hit the great outdoors.
A Gift For Every Budget
One of the best things about our best gift guide is the wide range of price points. A great gift doesn’t need to break the bank; in fact most of the gifts on our list are less expensive than the average birthday or Christmas gift. If you were looking for something a little smaller, the running buff is a great choice. It can be a headband, cap, or neckband and is moisture wicking and quick drying. This is another example of a gift that will be well received even though most runners wouldn’t think about buying it for themselves. They are sure to get use out of a product that is so versatile.
Other Important Things to Consider
Although you may have already narrowed down your selection to a couple of choices, here are some additional points that you should read. Below are some additional factors to keep in mind when selecting a gift for your runner friend.
Do They Love Data?
If you know a runner or athlete that absolutely loves to have every single metric about their workout available to them, the Garmin activity tracker is for them! It was the year’s highest reviewed accessory and is much better suited for the active person in your life than the limited Apple Watch. Track advanced metrics such as sleep, steps, pace, and speed all while having the longest battery life on the market. It’s a nice middle-budget option, too. This waterproof and rugged dynamo will make a great gift.
Do They Have A Place To Display Their Accomplishments?
This is truly the gift that every runner doesn’t know they need until they have it! A running medal holder will display all their collection in a fun yet elegant design. It’s easily overlooked, but when you have been participating in events for years and years, medals tend to pile up. This makes it the perfect gift to get them out of those shelves and drawers and get them properly displayed where they can be a cool conversation piece and source of inspiration. It’s a really neat gift that looks great once it’s been hung up on the wall.
Do They Need A Little Pick Me Up?
Got a hard to shop for runner, and can’t think of anything else? Our selection of hydration energy tabs from NUUN is a great choice. They give runners a fun and fizzy burst of vitamins and nutrients to keep them going. There are several flavors to choose from and since runners are always looking for fast and more convenient ways to get their energy up, this is a great little gift to show them that you care. We also made sure to pick a middle of the road flavor that most people will enjoy; it’s not too sweet and not too tart.
Combine Gifts For More Of A Wow Factor
If you feel like your runner deserves a little extra special gift, consider joining to matching gifts together to really make it a huge surprise. Most items can be paired to fit a theme, like the traction cleats and the headlamp, or the hydration backpack and the running buff. As runners, we can say that any combination of gifts on this list would really knock our socks off.
No matter which gift you select for the runner in your life, we are sure that they will be more than thrilled to get a thoughtful item that helps them to keep enjoying the sport that they are so passionate about. We know that runners could be picky, but these options are sure to please even the most discerning runner. Before you head to your local running store, read the commonly asked questions below about shopping for gifts for runners.
Q: This is a nice selection of running gift ideas; where did you get your inspiration from?
A: We went through a large amount of data from runners and outdoor enthusiasts in regards to what kind of gear they wished they could add to their repertoire. We also looked at which items were extremely popular and consistently earned high rating from fellow runners everywhere. We are all runners here, so we made sure to include items that we would love to receive ourselves.
Q: What’s the range on the headlamp included in your guide?
A: This is an awesome running headlamp that gets anywhere from two hundred to four hundred feet of illumination depending on the setting. We made sure to include a great model that get’s excellent battery life as well. The best part is that runners themselves will be much more visible in low lighting conditions, making it a great piece of safety equipment. Remember that drivers are typically looking for stoplights and other cars which all have lights on them, so it’s crucial to remain visible out there.
Q: How long is the hydration pack suggested for; and what’s the capacity?
A: Our option was a lightweight option that rated very high for most runner’s needs. It’s bladder will hold 1.5 liters and it’s intended for less than four hour outings. Another reason this hydration pack made the “best gift” list is because if you know a runner that is going out for longer than four hours or needs more than one and a half liters of water, chances are they already have a hydration pack or some option for staying hydrated on their long excursions. This is also great to give as a smaller option for their shorter trips.
Q: What are the best choices for the outdoor runner; is there anything that you can recommend?
A: There are several gifts on our list that will be great for Mother Nature. If they happen to transitions from snow and ice to concrete a lot while they are out, the traction cleats are a great choice. They can slip them over whatever type of footwear they already use and they will get a significant amount of traction. It’s almost like buying snow tires for your car. If they run out in the sun a lot and you don’t want to spend too much, you can consider the running buff that is made from very comfortable microfiber. It’s moister wicking and quick drying, so it will keep them nice and cool on hot days.
Here Are Some Sources We Used While Conducting Our Research
Many sources were consulted when creating this list. They span a variety of industries and expertise so that you are provided with the most accurate and useful information available.