2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners

Do you have a special runner in your life that deserves a thoughtful Christmas gift?  Or maybe you are a runner, and you’d like to give your friends and family some pointers on what you’d like to see under the tree.  It may seem difficult to shop for a running enthusiast, since all runners really need to run is a good pair of shoes, right?   Wrong, Susan.  So wrong.  Running has come a long way over the past 30 years, and while all you may NEED is a pair of shoes, there are a lot of options available for making runs more comfortable and enjoyable.  Here is a 2019 definitive running gift guide that will give you plenty of options for running gift ideas, running gifts for women, and even runner gifts under $20.

Stocking Stuffers
Just because you want to purchase a gift for a runner doesn’t mean you want to spend a ton money on gear or clothes, especially if you’re not familiar with sizing or brand preferences.  Here are a few runner gifts available in 2019 that won’t break the bank.

  • Running Fuel -Keep your favorite runner alive and appropriately carbed up.  Lots of options here, but some fan favorites are HoneyStinger, Spring Energy, and Tail Wind
  • Resistance Bands – Perfect for core work, light strength training, and stretching!  My favorite pick is the Rogue Monster pack.
  • Socks – Runners spend a lot of time in socks and shoes, why not make them comfortable?  Balega’s hidden running sock has never failed me, and for runners interested in a little more  breathing room between the toe’s, XO Skin has a a great toe sock option.
  • Lube – Don’t be a child.  Running causes chaffing.  Help keep your runner’s skin happy.  Body Glide is convenient and easy to find, but Squirrel’s Nut Butter is the best anti-chafe product known to man (scientifically proven FACT).
  • Gloves – Runner’s always take some heat for dressing inappropriately for cold weather, but every runner knows to keep the hands and ears warm.  Oiselle and Brooks both have great options.
  • Fuel Belt – If you’re going to grab some fuel, you might as well give your favorite runner something to carry it in.  Flip Belt is the only fuel belt I’ve found that is big enough for a marathon and doesn’t move around and drive me nuts.
  • Ear Warmers – We may stuffwear shorts and tanks in 10 degree weather, but you better believe we want our ears covered.  Once again, Oiselle and Brooks win for me. 
  • KT Tape – Runner’s have a propensity for random overuse injuries, and KT tape can help.  It can also double as an extra barrier against chaffing.  Grab a roll of this at your local running store, and make your runner happy.

Related Post: Trail Running Gear Essentials

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Affordable Gifts
These are great holiday gifts that any runner will certainly be happy to unwrap.  They’re perfect presents for friends and family members that show you put some thought into purchasing a unique and useful gift for them.

  • Handheld bottles – We all need to drink, but carrying water during a run can be fairly cumbersome.  This handheld bottle has enough room to carry an iPhone XR, a couple of gels, and enough water for at least a 10k.  It’s the only handheld I will ever recommend.
  • Running Shorts – Because truly, a runner can never have enough pairs.  Luckily, a good pair of running shorts like these are built to last a few lifetimes.
  • Water proof Jacket – A little rain isn’t going to stop a runner from running, but it sure can suck without the right gear.  This light weight option has built in reflectors, but for stronger down pours I’d also recommend this jacket.
  • Running Hat – To prevent wrinkles and heat exhaustion, obviously.  Oiselle has a great option for runners with small to normal size heads, and this The North Face hat is sure to be sturdy and flattering.
  • Foam Roller – Runners have a lot of aches and pains.  These can help.
  • Running Shoes – I’m not going to give any recommendations here.  The truth is feet are highly individual, and the best piece of advice I can give is to buy your runner a pair of shoes they’ve already tried and liked.  Nothing sucks worse than receiving a $90 gift you know will never be used.
  • Reflective Lights – No one wants to be hit by a car at 5am.  These may look funny, but they can help keep your favorite runner a little more safe.
  • Fuzzy Blanket – Runners spend a lot of time out in the elements. This time of year, the lements can get pretty cold. Get your runner something warm and fuzzy to warm up in. The Blanket Bar has amazing, adult size blankets that I can’t recommend highly enough.
  • Pedicure Giftcard – We’ve all seen what can happen to a pair of feet that have been through some things, and trust me when I say a runners feet have seen some things.  Man feet, women feet, and gender non-conforming feet, we all need some help.

Related Post: Complete Guide to Running Fuel

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Slightly Pricey
Here are some great options if you’re shopping for a special somebody, and don’t mind spending a little extra money. 

  • Race registration – This one is my personal favorite.  I love gifts that aren’t things, and if you’ve spent enough time with a runner to drop $150, you should know what race would make their bucket list.  If not, you can always get a cute card and let them know you’ll be covering a race of their choice in handwriting.
  • Aftershokz – For YEARS I had issues with finding earbuds that didn’t make me want to throw them at unsuspecting (and undeserving) drivers.  I don’t know if I have a strange ear canal shape, but I have never found a pair that could truly hang with me for a full marathon without popping out all the damn time.  The Trekz Titanium changed that for me.  I love that can hear what’s going on around me, and they’ve never popped off my head once.
  • Hydration Vest – Handheld water bottles are convenient for shorter sessions, but if you love a runner whose running long distances, chances are they’re going need something a little more substantial.  The Nathan VaporHowe is the only vest I will ever personally recommend.  It’s designed to fit like a t-shirt, has lots of bottle options for water, and plenty of room for snacks (always a priority for me).
  • Running Vest – A vest that is for runners, but not for hydration.  Keeps a runners core nice and warm, without the cumbersome effect of sleeves.  This vest is amazing and light weight, and this one is insulated but casual enough for non-running activities (are there any?)
  • Good Leggings – For the few times in the year when a runner will admit that it is in fact cold outside, a good pair of quality leggings can make running in the next Arctic blast less painful.  This pair is flattering and has all the pockets a girl could ever want (for snacks), and this classic pair is perfect for both running and athleisure.
  • Running Watch – Nothing against Apple, but runners just need more options in a wearable.  Garmin has it’s stuff together when it comes to running.  The Forerunner 235 can track and log interval workouts, monitor your heart rate, track calories burned, and beep at you when you haven’t moved enough (kinda rude IMO).  While most runners will be more than happy with the Garmin’s battery life, ultrarunners and multi-day hikers could certainly use a few more hours.  For this, I’d recommend checking out a Coros watch.
  • Squishy Sandals – After hours and miles of being caged in a running shoe, a runner just wants some space to splay their toes.  These sandals are a little funny looking, but feel like walking on clouds.  Meanwhile, these are little less squishy, but versatile and casual.
  • Coaching services – What runner wouldn’t want the opportunity work one on one with a coach focused on supporting them chase their biggest running dreams?
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I hope these recommendations and were helpful, because we all know the holiday season can be hectic. Another idea that I love is focusing holiday spending on gifts that are not tangible things. If you are more interested in non-good gifts for runners, please check out this post over on Relentless Forward Commotion. It’s got some really great recommendations on gift idea’s that can’t be bought in a store.

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