If you have a runner on your holiday gift list, this post is for you! And if YOU are a runner, these suggestions might be helpful to you too.
I’m going to say these ideas are geared more toward beginner runners because experienced runners tend to have certain preferences about their gear, making them harder to buy for unless you know them well and know what they like to use. But with running gaining popularity as a hobby sport these days, so many people are new to the sport, so I’m guessing you may have one or two aspiring runners on your gift list.
When I was starting out a few years ago, I remember getting a ton of running paraphernalia for Christmas from my husband and my mom, and it was a great way to get stocked up, plus they were thrilled to have useful gift ideas for me. (I can be a bit difficult to buy for, which I’m sure surprises no one. Ha!)
When you’re new to running, it can be overwhelming at first to figure out what you need and what you can do without. On the one hand, running is a simple sport; that’s one reason it is so popular. The only thing you truly need is a good pair of sneakers,* but there are many things that are nice to have, especially if you want to run outside in the wintertime.
*I am not going to address sneakers in this post because everyone’s feet are different, and everyone has different needs. I highly recommend visiting a reputable running store and getting fitted by a professional if you’ve never done that before.
Sticking with a workout routine is challenging enough with the proper gear, but without it, it’s too easy to make excuses. If you’re just starting out with running or getting back to it, my best advice for making it stick is to eliminate all excuses, and that means having the gear you need to run in all kinds of weather. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start. (Also, most of these ideas would apply to walking and biking as well.)
Gift Ideas for Runners
Running Jacket: I’ve written a few posts on running clothes, so I’m not going to reiterate all of those suggestions, but the one thing I will include here for sure is a good winter running jacket. I love this one. It’s a great layering piece, it’s super versatile, and it has tons of features that make it well worth the price. In case you missed it, I wrote a post with my best winter running tips, and in it, I explain the features of this particular jacket.
Socks: Good socks are almost as important to running as good shoes. You want something moisture-wicking, and I like mine with a little padding. I’ve tried quite a few brands over the years, and my all-time favorites are these Balega Hidden Comfort Socks. I have 4 or 5 pairs, and I guard them with my life. My daughters wear the same size socks and shoes that I do, so keeping my good socks out of their drawers is no small feat (their feet aren’t small either, haha!) but I think I’ve FINALLY trained them to stay away from my running socks.
Balega also makes taller ones, which are perfect for winter running because they don’t allow any skin to show at the ankle, where your running pants don’t quite meet your shoes. These from Athleta look nice too, but I haven’t tried them.
Gloves: Gloves are essential when running outdoors in cold climates, and having touch technology definitely makes life easier. I actually use my phone while I run — I use the Runkeeper app, and I occasionally need to pause it or I want to stop and take a picture, so moisture-wicking tech gloves are a nice thing to have.
Hat/Hood: Another essential piece of winter weather running gear is a good hat. When it’s in the 40s, I wear a headband, but when it gets down into the 20s and 30s, I need a hat. You lose a lot of heat through your head, so it’s important to wear a hat when you’re doing any outdoor activity. This one is reflective, plus it has a pompom!
For super cold climates, a polartech hood is awesome. I don’t have one, but I’d love to try it. I have a hat and a neck gaiter but I like the idea of it being all in one so no air gets to your neck. Nike has a version too.
Sports Bra: A good bra is important for running all year round, and I get asked for my recommendations often. My all time, hands-down favorite is this one by Chantelle Intimates. (This bra is designed for the more well-endowed among us.) It has the J-hook that converts it to a racerback, which not only makes it more versatile for wearing under racerback tops, but it also gives you more support. I always hook the J-hook when I run, whether I’m wearing a racerback top or not.
Sports Sunglasses: Sunglasses are helpful all year round as well. I had a friend long ago recommend the Tifosi brand, and I don’t wear anything else when I run. They’re comfortable, and they don’t slide down, even when you sweat. The nice thing is, they aren’t terribly expensive. You can get them for $35-40.
Sports Watch: If or when you start training for races, you will probably want a sports watch, and I love my Garmin to track mileage and pace. These come in a wide range of features and price points. The Forerunner has been around for a long time. I have the Forerunner 10, and it always suited my purposes. The Forerunner 25 is newer and looks a bit fancier but is still less than $100. These days I just use the RunKeeper app on my iPhone to track mileage and pace, but the watch is great for more serious runners.
Headlamp: If you run in the dark, a headlamp is a great little gizmo to have. Not only does it help cars see you, it helps you see where you’re going so you don’t trip or twist your ankle.
Earbuds: Every runners’ gift guide I see has earbuds in it, but I just use my iPhone earbuds so I can’t make an educated recommendation for anything else. You’re on your own for that one, but it’s a good idea for those who don’t like the ones that come with their phone.
iTunes Gift Card: I live by my running playlist, and I’m always looking for new songs to download to keep it fresh. An iTunes gift card (or a gift card to whatever music service the recipient uses) would probably be a welcome gift.
Get creative! Cheeky gifts are always fun. If you know a runner who has all the gear he or she needs, how about a clever tee? There’s another cute one here, in fact, Etsy is full of these fun graphic tees. A headband is another cute idea for something small.
I realize this list is geared mostly to women, but you can easily adapt it to the men in your life. Most of the gear I’ve listed is available for both men and women.
I hope this list helps as you wrap up your Christmas shopping!
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