This post has recently had a spike in popularity for Christmas, and I’m glad to see that! For a more up to date list CLICK HERE to see what’s hot for runners in 2014!
If you have found yourself on this page because the runner in your life “accidentally” left it open on your computer or was more transparent and publicly shared it on your Facebook wall, it’s okay. It is the runner’s cry for help. The desperate plea to, this Christmas, be spared yet another neck tie and instead get a foam roller, perhaps foreign to you but the best friend of many a runner. The begging to forgo those beautiful earrings as a birthday gift and instead buy your runner a sparkly new GPS watch. They speak their own language, and the gifts runners want often seem bizarre or extremely specific, but they just want what the rest of us want: the shiny new thing they keep intending to buy themselves but hope to get as a present instead.
If you’re a runner, you may largely thank my friends on the subreddit “Runnit” where I did a non-scientific poll, asking, “What do you want for Christmas?” Don’t be shy to Tweet, Pin it or Share This Link on Facebook so you don’t have to pretend to like the gift card or album someone thoughtfully gave you because they just didn’t know you would prefer a good pair of compression socks. This list is broken down into subcategories: Stocking Stuffers, Tech Gear, Accessories, Clothes, Shoes, Safety Gear, and Big Ticket.
Stocking Stuffers are small inexpensive gifts for runners of all talent levels.
A unique little product for under $5, a temporary tattoo that helps long distance runners keep their pace in check with 20 different pace options. Perfect gift for runners looking to Boston Qualify.
Gels and Energy Products
Energy gels, shots, candies, bars etc. are a fun, affordable option to stuff a stocking for the runner in your life. Well suited for mid to long distance runners. Pay attention to their favorite, or if they have never tried them pick up a variety. Here are a few options:
For runners with long hair, a good headband is a necessity. Especially useful in cold climates if they cover the ears.
BodyGlide is one of those things only a distance athlete would ask for. Don’t ask why. Just trust them.
Distance Car Magnet
Let your runner show off with a decal or magnet bragging about their best or favorite distance.
Some runners, like myself, love to track data, speed, cadence, body fat, etc. If you are looking for a gift for a runner with this obsession, tech gear for runners is a great option.
If your runner has a GPS with no foot pod, they likely wish they had one to measure cadence.
Some runners don’t like earbuds, in which case the Aerial7 beanie is a great option. There are a lot of great earbud options for those who prefer them (like me,) and Yurbuds by IronMan are among the most durable.
Dataphiles like me LOVE wearable tech, particularly in training mode when getting enough sleep is just as important as running enough miles. FitBit has released the Flex, which is a gorgeous option.
Body Fat Scale
Keeping track of body fat and weight is important to runners who want to lean up before a long race. This Smart Body Analyzer can sync with your iPhone or Android device. Plus it looks pretty.
Some are free, some come with membership options and add-ons, some cost a few bucks. If your runner has a smart phone, these apps are great options.
Really, this section could be infinite.
Great for runners who prefer to keep a bottle of water at their hips or like to preserve their running clothes by having a belt with race bib clips.
A good pair of sunglasses that won’t slip over a long run. Glasses should also be shatter proof and durable.
If your runner prefers the treadmill, a quality water bottle makes a great gift. Consider a palm holder for use on outdoor runs.
If the runner in your life doesn’t yet own a foam roller, this is a MUST buy. If your runner does IronMan distances, a cold roller would be even better. Moji foot massagers work well for runners with plantar faciitis issues.
This item was suggested for runners who participate in adventure races or long trail runs and need a good quality pack.
FAMBox is an exciting subscription service for testing new athletic apparel and energy items without breaking the bank. Runner’s World magazine is a fun gift at only $1 an issue.
Does your runner have an accomplishment of which they are especially proud? Consider framing bibs or medals as a special keepsake. (Your best bet will be to contact a local custom framer, but pre-made and custom options are available online.)
Clothes are a great gift choice for runners of all skill levels. Running clothing is also a good option for regular fitness walkers. Plus clothing comes in a huge ranges of prices and styles!
Different socks are appropriate for different climates and different running lengths, so find out what your runner prefers.
If you are a female runner and haven’t heard of Dear Kate running briefs, do yourself a major favor and check them out.
For men who run in cold weather, I need not explain how this can be helpful.
Different hat requirements for different weather!
I don’t need these here in Houston, but cold climate runners love a good pair of gloves.
In this section I don’t want to link specific products because I honestly don’t think it is a good idea to go buy a pair of running shoes for the runner in your life unless they have been properly fitted and you know exactly which shoe to buy. However, shoes for cross-training, walking, and weight-lifting are not quite as specific, so if you don’t know the preferred shoes for running, shoes for other life activities are still a fun option. If your runner is new to the sport and has never been fitted for shoes, schedule a time for him or her to go to the closest sporting store that offers gait analysis (for me it’s Luke’s Locker here in Texas, where I had a great experience,) and change their life with shoes that fit their style of running.
If your runner rocks New Balance, a custom version of their kicks would be a unique gift.
Adidas also offers costumizing on many different shoes, including their Falcon Elite.
Safety is (or should be) the top priority when running outdoors. These safety running gift ideas will help keep your runner protected, especially when the winter days limit hours of running in the sun.
One of the most mentioned items in my survey of what runners want was the Road ID bracelet. Customize it however fits your needs, especially if your runner has an allergy or needs a certain medication.Note: This is not to do with running, but my four year old has Autism and is non-verbal. His school recommends Road ID’s or similar products for traveling with non-verbal children.
A few fun ideas if you have a good chunk of cash to spend on a running gift.
Even if they prefer to run outside, everyone who enjoys to run could use a good, quality treadmill close by for those days when it’s too hot, too cold, or too late.
If they haven’t already chatted your ear off about it then they probably don’t know that Garmin is releasing their highly anticipated new GPS watches, the Garmin Forerunner 220 and 620. They are probably the most exciting GPS watches to come out this year. I am linking these through Clever Training, which offers pre-order of these devices which will ship in early December. Plenty of time to get them under the tree.
Sports Massage/Spa Day
Whatever the level of skill or dedication, a good quality massage is always a good idea. You might consider a gift certificate from SpaFinder or look for a local sports massage therapist or physical therapist in your area. Prices vary.
A race entry is a fantastic gift idea, and something like a 5k fun run can be very affordable. But if you really want to see the runner in your life jump for joy, consider a race that involves travel and a little vacation. One idea I thought of was the Hawaii Spartan Sprint at Aloha Stadium March 23, 2014! A race entry and a trip to Hawaii? Sign me up.
Any must-have gifts you hoped to see on the list? Let me know in the comments or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can help you drop a heavy-handed hint this Christmas. If you want some good running gear this Christmas, Tweet, Pin it or Share This Link on Facebook.Many of these links are through my affiliates but not all. No one has paid to have their product featured on this gift guide. Always feel free to comparison shop!