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8 best gifts for runners

Gift ideas for runners

Shopping for your favorite runner? While running shoes make great gifts, they're a highly personal purchase, so it's often best to let runners choose their own. Instead, consider other gifts that support their active lifestyle. 

Casual and competitive runners alike appreciate gifts such as running gear, fitness equipment, activewear or devices. If you're shopping for the perfect gift for the runner in your life, here are 12 they'll truly appreciate.

What to get a runner

Running activewear

If you know the recipient's size and you're comfortable buying them clothing, consider giving activewear. This includes base, mid and outer layers.

  • Base layers include thermal tops and bottoms as well as compression garments. They're often made of premium material or have special features, so it's common for base layers to cost more than other running clothes.
  • Mid layers include running shorts, leggings, tops and tanks. Many of these pieces are made with wick-away material that keep wearers cool by sweeping away sweat and moisture.
  • Outer layers include hoodies, sweatshirts, vests and coats. Several of these garments have reflective details to increase the runner's visibility to drivers.

Running gear

Running gear is an ideal gift if you're not sure of the recipient's size, or if you don't have the budget for high-ticket gifts such as fitness equipment or devices. 

  • Accessories such as sport scarves, hats, gloves or hand warmers are suitable gifts for cold-weather runners. 
  • Running backpacks, as seen in this BestReviews buying guide, are popular for longer running exercises, such as trail or mountain running.
  • Hydration vests and waist packs remain popular gifts for runners who like to bring water with them, especially on warmer days.
  • Safety gear, such as reflective running vests or shoe lights, is appreciated by those who run in low-light conditions.

Fitness equipment

In addition to running, many runners engage in other types of workouts to boost their strength, flexibility and stamina. If they exercise at home, the right fitness equipment may support their training goals.

Weightlifting equipment, such as free weights or kettlebells, is ideal for strength training. If the recipient is interested in resistance training, there are several varieties of resistance bands on the market. Those who want to incorporate balance and core exercises into their training may appreciate yoga- or Pilates-themed gifts such as mats, rings or stretching bands.

Fitness devices

Fitness devices have become something of a health and wellness essential in the last several years. Many individuals, including runners, now have smartwatches and fitness trackers to stay on top of their fitness goals.

If the runner you're buying for doesn't have one yet, give them their first fitness tracker. For those who already have fitness trackers, you can upgrade them to a newer model. As you compare these devices, check for their accuracy in tracking running-related metrics such as pace, speed and distance.

Thoughtful gifts for runners

If you're open to unconventional gifts, consider some of the following:

Sponsor their next run. Competing in 5Ks and marathons costs anywhere from $10 to $300. For some races, you can pay the entrance fee and for fundraising runs, you can make a donation to the charity or cause.

Donate to their favorite running charity. Some runners donate time or money to running charities or community outreach projects. You can either get involved in an event or you can make a monetary donation.

Give self-care gift cards. Treat a runner to self-care with a spa or salon gift card. They can book appointments for massages, facials or pedicures to relax after tough running excursions.

12 best gifts for runners

Fitness tracker

Fitbit Charge 4 

A perennial favorite, the Fitbit Charge 4 has built-in GPS and tracks essential running metrics. Besides heart rate and sleep monitoring, the fitness tracker is water-resistant to 50 meters.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl's

Medal hanger

Victory Hangers Medal Hanger for Runners

Medals and race bibs hold sentimental value, which is why this display rack is great for the competitive runner. It holds up to 40 medals and standard bibs.

Sold by Amazon

Wick-away muscle tank

Under Armour Men's HeatGear Sleeveless Compression T-Shirt

A best-selling style for its comfort and durability, this Under Armour sleeveless tee is made with temperature-regulating material. It's available in sizes up to 5X.

Sold by Amazon and Dick's Sporting Goods

Personal blender

NutriBullet Nutrient Extractor

Personal blenders are ideal for those leading active lifestyles. This NutriBullet comes with a to-go cup so runners can bring their favorite homemade beverages anywhere.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl's 

Anti-blister balm

BodyGlide Foot Anti-Blister Balm

This foot balm keeps blisters at bay in regular footwear so you don't need to deal with them in running shoes. The vegan formula is infused with vitamins A and C to soften skin.

Sold by Amazon

Reflexology foot massager

TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager

Tough runs are hard on feet, which is why this foot massager is an essential running accessory. The two-foot design lets runners glide feet back and forth to unwind and break up cramps.

Sold by Amazon

Neck gaiter

Outdoor Research Echo Ubertube Neck Gaiter

Neck gaiters, like this one from Outdoor Research, are versatile running accessories that protect the neck from the elements and UV rays.

Sold by Amazon

Meb Keflezighi's autobiography

"26 Marathons" by Meb Keflezighi and Scott Douglas

The four-time Olympian shares insights on his marathon career. It revisits the ups and downs of the lifestyle, including legendary races and pivotal moments.

Sold by Amazon and Audible

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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