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There’s this idea that running is a sport that you can just get up and go with little to no gear required. But any runner worth their salt knows this isn’t true. As my own running practice has developed over the years, I’ve watched my quiver of running shoes alone grow from one or two pairs to, well, significantly more. They could fill their own closet at this point. Then there’s the need for winter running gear if you’re in a cold climate. And then you need things like hydration belts and recovery equipment if you’re getting serious about training for marathons and such. There’s also the matter of wanting to keep up with the trends in shorts, shirts and what all the coolest runners are wearing these days. Also, what runner wouldn’t want a truly extravagant in-home infrared sauna to aid in the recovery of those tired legs? I sure do.
As you’ll see, there is actually a whole wide world of gifts for the runner in your life. Here’s the starting line.
Best for Trail Runners
Norda has earned fans around the world for its seamless, lightweight trail runners, inspired by the tough conditions of Canada and crafted from bio-based Dyneema, the world’s lightest and strongest shoe material. This exclusive collaborative edition of Norda’s classic 001 shoe with long-distance adventure runner Ray Zahab will score you serious brownie points with the runner in your life.
Best Running Shorts
Although these super lightweight shorts clock in at a cheeky 4 inches, they have all the design chops that any runner will appreciate: a built-in liner, ventilated elastic waistband, comfortable four-way stretch, and a look that has personality without being overly designed.
Best Recovery Aid for Runners
Running can take its toll on the body, and these capsules are a great kick-start to muscle recovery and repair. Packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, CBD and green tea with EGCG, these capsules are essential for any runner’s recovery routine.
Best Wearable Tech for Runners
Wearable tech brand Oura makes highly functional rings that provide heart monitoring, temperature sensors and sleep analysis so you can optimize your workouts and recovery to reach your running goals. And this collaborative ring made with Gucci makes gathering your biometrics a fashion statement, as well. The accompanying Gucci x Oura app also includes access to a curated library of guided audio sessions of meditations, white noise sounds for falling asleep and other programming to support runners on both their fashion and wellness journey.
Best Hydration Belt for Runners
Finally, cult French running brand Satisfy delivers a dope hydration belt that doesn’t read like a fanny pack. The reflective material is a great safety measure, and also lets bystanders know that a fresh-as-hell runner is coming through.
Best Running Tights
Winter trail runners need stretch tights that don’t skimp on insulation—and these Norrøna tights deliver flexibility and mobility with serious warmth. They can also be used as a base or mid layer under snow pants for skiing or other winter pursuits.
Best for City Runners
Hoka may be one of the newest kids on the block (it was founded in 2009), but in a relatively short time it has won the hearts of real-deal runners. How? By offering exceptional products, ones that are built to literally go the distance, all while looking incredibly polished. And one of the most revered styles in the brand’s collection is the Bondi SR—the pitch-perfect shoe for both pros and hobbyists alike.
Best Earbuds for Runners
If the runner in your life needs some motivation to go that extra mile, a great bop can certainly help. Of course, they’d need headphones that offer top sound quality, can withstand constant motion and will fit comfortably and securely in their ears. Checking all these boxes are these wireless earbuds from Beats.
Best Running Belt
This belt from Lululemon is incredibly lightweight, breathable and durable, allowing runners to sprint or jog at top speeds, all while carrying the essentials. It’s name pretty much says it all.
Best At-Home Foot Spa for Runners
Even with the ample amount of cushioning in running shoes, trekking for miles and miles can leave strain on the feet. This is where an at-home foot spa comes in, here to relax muscles, alleviate pressure and cleanse your feet. And one of the best around is from Conair.
Best Gift for History Buffs
Running as a professional sport isn’t as widespread as, say, soccer or baseball. But for those really into its history, Roger Bannister certainly needs no introduction. Back in 1954, the English medical student was the first man to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile run, a feat immortalized on the front page of the the New York Times, and now available as a framed print by the publication.
Best Infrared Sauna for Runners
The ultimate at-home luxury for any athlete, this full-spectrum infrared sauna offers all the beneficial wavelengths of infrared light. It has all the state-of-the-art digital controls you’ll need, including smartphone integration so you can fire this bad boy up while still on your run and have it ready when you get home. Some assembly required, of course.
Best Cushioning for Runners
Lovers of max cushion running shoes will instantly fall for this newcomer from Altra, which features a positively marshmallowy 33-millimeter EGO MAX midsole, the brand’s highest stack height yet, built to float effortlessly over concrete sidewalks in cities and packed gravel backcountry roads alike.
Best Custom Insoles for Runners
Custom 3D-printed insoles for running shoes may feel like a luxury, and that’s because they are. Book the runner in your life a Superfeet session—there are a number of retailers across the country that offer the service—where their precise biometric data will be used to 3D-print custom arch supports in just over a week.
Best Running Hoodie
Winter running gear is all about finding the balance between warmth and breathability, and this Icebreaker hoodie hits the mark; it’s crafted from a breathable, functional 100 percent merino knit, with ZoneKnit body-mapped technology to regulate temperature, allowing the skin to breathe during the longest runs. Plus, it simply looks cool, making it a solid option for both runs and for running Saturday errands on those chilly winter mornings.
Best Hydration Vest for Runners
CamelBak has long been the leader in portable hydration packs and vests, and the Zephyr is one of the brand’s best sellers. This limited-edition version scores high marks for its functionality; it has a 2L reservoir, but also enough zips and pockets to carry all of the gear a runner needs on their longest, most challenging runs.
Best Social Wellness Club for Runners
The future of wellness is about experiencing it together—so get them a membership to this posh social wellness club with locations in West Hollywood, Los Angeles and New York. Once there, runners can enjoy a variety of high-tech treatments and machines to optimize recovery, including cryotherapy, hyperbaric chambers, infrared saunas, vitamin IV drips and ice baths.
Best Stocking Stuffer for Runners
Ah, chafing: The enemy of runners everywhere. Chamois Butt’r is the standard-bearer of excellent spot lubrication products, offering a higher melting point so it lasts even through the sweatiest, hottest runs.
Best New Running Shoe
Tracksmith has entered the shoe chat. The Boston-based running brand is known for its high-performing running gear that has a heritage look and feel, and their first entry into the footwear space is out this season.
Best Running Gloves
Few brands know their way around gloves like Hestra, and this pair is that perfect blend of insulation and breathability that runners need. Factor in the high-visibility color for safety, and these are a cold weather running gift that any runner will appreciate.
Best Après-Run Shirt
Cotton T-shirts can be controversial when it comes to running, but there’s no denying that Satisfy’s MothTech style is a status symbol in the running community. Even if you aren’t wearing it on your actual runs, it’s an impossibly cool, impossibly comfy shirt to slip into once you’ve dried off.
Best Massage Device for Runners
Welcome to the alpha and omega of percussive massage guns. The PRO is the brand’s ultimate model, fully redesigned with visually-guided, built-in routines and a motor that’s quieter and more powerful than ever.
Best Fleece Jacket for Runners
At last, a water-repellent, extremely lightweight, breathable jacket with a streamlined silhouette that keeps runners warm and dry on those rainy runs. We also love the attention to detail, including the snug hood with built-in micro-visor and the articulated, semi-elastic cuffs that stay in place while running. Plus, it’s backed by Janji’s five-year guarantee, and two percent of all purchases go towards clean water projects. Talk about guilt-free gifting.
Best Base Layer for Runners
All runners need a good, high-quality base layer for when the temperatures start to sink. Enter Tracksmith’s best-selling Bright Base, which features a uniquely engineered Merino mesh that offers increased breathability around your core, along with closed-knit sleeves for more warmth in the extremities. It can be worn as a base layer, but can be worn on its own as well.
Best Deep Tissue Massager for Runners
If this recovery roller looks like some sort of medieval torture device, that’s partially because it is. It’s built with a spring configuration, stainless steel hardware fasteners for durability and integrated pivot points, and a selection of interchangeable inserts to customize the intensity to your liking. Tight hammies, IT bands and calves will literally melt after a few pumps of this bad boy.
Best Running Sunglasses
A good pair of sunglasses literally and figuratively changes the way you see running. These high-quality frames are made with hexetate, a patented lightweight acrylic resin that molds to the wearer over time. Also, the CR39 polarized lenses and an anti-reflective coating block 100 percent of harmful rays. No road glare here. There’s also adjustable nose pads, rubber temple tips and spring hinges, all of which make these pair of sunglasses perform as strongly as they look.
Best Recovery Boots for Runners
Up the ante on any recovery routine with these recovery boots, favored by professional athletes everywhere for how they improve blood flow, lymphatic function and mitigate muscle fatigue.
Best Running Socks
Introducing the Rolls-Royce of running socks. They’re carefully constructed with no irritating toe seams, targeted compression zones for a custom-like fit and high density cushioning for extra protection in high-impact areas. And thanks to a blend of nylon, merino and spandex, they deliver that elusive blend of warmth, breathability and durability that will keep these going strong mile after mile.
Best Hydration Drink Mix for Runners
It’s hard to find a hydration supplement that does it all, but Active Hydration comes close. In a convenient packet that fits easily into a pocket or running belt, it’s blended with electrolytes, collagen and Vitamin C—with a delicious flavor none of the funky or salty aftertaste typically found in electrolyte drinks.
Best Half Tights for Runners
Get them the brand that everyone is talking about. These impossibly sleek half tights seem minimalist, but are actually painstakingly designed for functionality. They have flatlock seams and free-cut hems so there’s absolutely zero chafing—as well two drop-in side pockets and a center back pocket to hold a phone, shirt, keys and more.