If someone you love is a runner, you know how dedicated they can be to their sport. Whether that means running at 5 am on cold winter mornings or hanging around the treadmill for miles at a time, runners are often headstrong, dedicated, and ambitious. The perfect running gifts will help runners perform better and continue to hone their craft. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve got a list of the absolute best gifts for runners, from runners, including recommendations for all budgets, big and small.
Overall Best Gifts for Runners
The one and only things that runners actually need is running shoes. When it comes to shoes, every runner is different, so it’s probably a good idea to take them to a local store and take a treadmill test before they try on a few pairs.
We personally like Asics running shoes (we love the Gel-Kayano), as they’re comfortable yet flexible and feel like pillows on our feet for miles.
Trail Running Shoes
For runners who prefer the forest to the road, trail running shoes are also a fantastic option. Designed specifically for uneven surfaces like hiking trails, trail running shoes are one of the best gifts for hikers who want to experience nature while they’re out on a run. While no one shoe is perfect for everyone, we’ve found that Merrell has fantastic trail running options for any trail runner out there.
For warmer seasons, runners can never have enough pairs of shorts, making for a fantastic running gift. The best running shorts are loose, airy, and don’t ride up. There are tons of brands that offer them, but running shorts from Under Armour are a fantastic value and come in a bunch of fun, bright colors.
Nike Running Tights
In colder climates or for extra compression, many runners prefer to run in leggings or tights. The best kinds of running tights have good compression and storage areas like pockets or zippers to keep small items in. Quality of tights can vary greatly, so we’d recommend picking up a pair from a reputable brand like Nike so you can be sure they’ll last for miles on the road.
Under Armour Running Jacket
A durable running jacket is a must for any runner who lives in a temperate or cold climate. The best running jackets are made of sweat-wicking material and have a zipper to adjust for different temperatures. Under Armour has a fantastic selection of jackets that are great for runners.
Sweat-Wicking Running Tops
No runner will ever say no to more running clothing, which is why running tops make one of the greatest gifts for runners. Every runner will have their own preferences about their favorite types of running attire, but we really like PrAna t-shirts and tank tops for running because they’re extremely breathable and sweat-wicking.
In colder or windy conditions, a beanie is one of the most practical gifts for hikers because it can help keep them safe and warm. For hiking, you don’t need anything fancy, so something like this affordable beanie from Neff is a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite hiker.
The North Face e-Tip Gloves
As most runners know, the first thing to get cold are your extremities, especially your fingers, which are often exposed to the elements. A good pair of gloves can help cold weather runners run in comfort and warmth. We’ve run in e-Tip gloves by The North Face for years now and we strongly recommend them, especially since they’re super durable and you can use your phone’s touch screen without taking them off.
Even when you’re running, it’s still critical to protect your eyes. A pair of polarized, UV-resistant running sunglasses is incredibly important for keeping a runner’s eyes safe on long runs (so, basically, it’s one of those awesome AND practical running gifts). There are tons of varieties of running sunglasses out there, but runners love these sunglasses by JOJEN which are high quality and come in a bunch of different colors.
Breathable Baseball Cap
Just like sunglasses are important for protecting runners’ eyes, a hat is helpful for protecting their faces. When you’re running for hours in the hot, direct sun, it’s really easy to get a sunburn, and a hat can help prevent that. Any hat will do, but this cap by Outdoor Research comes in a bunch of colors and is super lightweight and breathable.
Cheap Gifts for Runners On A Budget (Under $25)
KT (Kinesiology) Tape
Runners often get aches and pains in various parts of their body, and one way to alleviate them is to provide additional support through kinesiology tape. There are several brands of kinesiology tape out there, but the most popular with runners is KT Tape, which is super soft and comfortable and comes in all kinds of colors, from neutral to bright and fun.
For people who spend a lot of time outside, there are few things as versatile as a Buff. They advertise that it can be worn in 12+ different ways, and for runners, it’s a great headband or scarf substitute for colder climates.
Energy Gels or Chews
Energy supplements are essential for distance runners who are often running for hours at a time, and are affordable gifts for runners who do half and full marathons. The most popular brand of energy gel for runners is Gu Gels, which come in all kinds of crazy flavors in both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties. However, you can view a lot of different kinds of gels and chews here.
Saucony Running Socks
Socks are something that runners truly cannot run without, and a good pair of socks can help runners feel more comfortable and strong out on the road or trail. Running socks are a fantastic, affordable gift for runners, and we recommend these running socks from Saucony as a fantastic, well-cushioned option.
Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm
Reality check: most runners chafe somewhere on their bodies, and it can hurt a LOT. Applying Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Balm is the best preventive measure that runners can take to reduce or minimize the painful effects of chafing. While it might seem like a weird present to give someone, if you’re looking for gifts for runners on a budget, your runner will be thankful for some Body Glide.
Run the World by Becky Wade
Believe it or not, runners aren’t always running. When they’re off the road, indulging in stories about running and athletes is a great way to recover. Run the World by Becky Wade is a beautiful, funny, heart warming memoir of her year spent abroad through the Watson Fellowship learning about training styles, running norms, and new cultures along the way. It’s a perfect gift for the travel-loving runner!
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall is a fascinating story about running and superathletes who can run for several miles at a time. Part running story and part anthropology, this inspiring read is a fantastic gift for sitting by the fire and learning more about what the human body is capable of.
Runner’s World Subscription
Runner’s World is the best magazine for running-obsessed folks, with monthly editions that have tons of cool stories, photos, and tips for road running, trail running, cross-training, and more. If you want to give your runner a whole year of inspiration, a Runner’s World annual subscription is a fantastic option.
Practical Running Gifts
FlipBelt Running Storage Belt
Runners usually like to run as minimally as possible, without any bags or bells and whistles that will drag them down. That’s why the seamless FlipBelt Running Storage Belt is a perfect gift – it allows runners to store their IDs, credit cards, gels, and other items in a comfortable, lightweight waist band.
Phone Arm Band
Many runners enjoy running with their phones, either for music or for safety (or both). However, lugging around a phone in your hand doesn’t always work for every runner, so an arm band that fits a phone can be a fantastic and practical gift for runners who like to jam to music. While there are a ton out there, this arm band on Amazon is extremely affordable and is waterproof, to ensure rain or sweat won’t damage your electronics.
Nathan Handheld Water Bottle
For long runs, there’s no feeling more terrifying than not having access to drinking water. Many distance runners will bring a handheld water bottle with them to ensure they always have access to water when it’s needed. The Nathan Handheld Water Bottles are great because they have a hand strap and a small pocket where you can keep things like energy gels, chews, IDs, and keys.
Reflective Running Vest
Many runners prefer to hit the road in the early mornings or evenings, which can pose dangers to them if they’re crossing streets or are in areas with lots of bikers. A reflective running vest can help ensure that your loved one stays safe and visible while running at night. Giving the gift of safety is the best way to tell someone you love them!
No-Bounce Running Head Lamp
Not only do night runners need to be seen, but they also need to be able to see the road for obstacles that may trip them. A head lamp is one safety item we recommend for any runner who goes out at night, and it’s one of the most welcome gifts for runners because a good one isn’t cheap. The BioLite 330 Headlamp is a compact, light option that’s perfect for runners because it’s tiny and stays put with an elastic, grippy headband.
Long distance running can cause all kinds of muscle aches and pains. A foam roller is often a runner’s favorite tool for post-run stretching, massage, and relieving tension after hours of racing through the streets and trails. If you’re looking for something that will get used by your favorite runner all the time, a good, solid foam roller is one of the best gifts for runners.
Handheld Muscle Roller Stick
Another tool for post-run massage, this handheld muscle roller stick helps to target specific areas where there’s more soreness and aching. This gadget is one that thousands of runners swear by as a fantastic tool for recovery and muscle tension relief.
Road ID Wristband
It can be scary to think of something happening to your loved ones when they’re out running, but unfortunately, it does happen. A Road ID Wristband is a silicone wristband that provides identification and emergency contact information if a runner gets injured or hurt during a race or while out running on their own. While it’s somewhat morose to think about dangers, a Road ID is a great gift for runners to help keep them safe in an emergency situation.
Compression socks are a must for many runners because they help with recovery and promote increased blood flow. As a stocking stuffer or a small gift, compression socks are a perfect option. While there are tons of options for every price range, a simple pair that doesn’t slide is more than enough for most runners.
Bib and Medal Display
Don’t let those medals sit in a closet collecting dust! Give your runner the gift of showing off his or her accomplishments to the world. A bib and medal display is the perfect place to mount a runner’s prized race paraphernalia in a home or office, and is one of the most thoughtful gifts for runners that you can give.
Technology Gifts for Runners
Garmin Forerunner GPS Watch
Garmin watches are basically the smartphones for runners. Garmin’s GPS capabilities are some of the best out there, and their Forerunner watches track thousands of runners’ mileage and speed around the world. The Garmin Forerunner 255 comes in a music and non-music version, and has a screen that shows you your stats for each run and over time. Plus, you can sync it with an app to see all of your runs, distances, stats, and more detailed reports.
For those wanting a more integrated running watch that syncs with an iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 7 can definitely do the trick. It can track your distance and speed through apps like Runkeeper, and can also sync with the music, messaging, and calls on your phone. It’s definitely a more expensive option, but it’s a great all-in-one splurge for your favorite runner that they’ll definitely wear all the time.
Bluetooth headphones are the new trend in music, and running is no exception. Aftershokz Bluetooth Headphones are specifically designed for runners! As no-slip wireless headphones for runners, the Aftershokz are a fantastic way for runners to avoid wires and listen to their favorite pump up songs while running, and are a great running gift to upgrade from traditional headphones.
“I hate deep tissue massages,” said no runner, ever. For a true deep tissue massage experience right at your fingertips, a Massage Gun is an incredible technology that delivers powerful massage through vibrations. There are various different tools you can add onto it for different levels of focus on specific muscles and areas to relieve pain and tension, especially after long runs and races.
Runkeeper is a beloved running app for iPhone and Android that can help runners keep track of their runs, speeds, and more. It’s a fantastic tool for training or keeping up general fitness. Runkeeper Go is a paid app upgrade that provides coaching plans and personalized reports on your progress, with a live tracking function that’s great for safety and races!
Strava Summit is another beloved fitness program that can help your runner reach their goals, whether it’s completing their first race or reaching a PR. Strava Summit provides Training, Safety, and Analysis features, depending on your runner’s needs, goals, and preferences. These packs include a ton of tracking, reporting, and analytics tools that can increase your performance and keep you safe as you run.
Where to Go Running
- 11 Awesome Places to Go Running in Chicago, IL
- 14 Picturesque Trails for Running in Houston, TX
- 5 Most Popular Places for Running In Washington, DC
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