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Best Gifts for Runners Reviewed & Compared

last updated Jul 16, 2019

Running is one of the first activities we learn to enjoy as a child. As we get older, we realized how important running is to our health as well. Whether you’re a professional racer or some who enjoys weekly runs as part of an exercise regime, you understand the importance of being prepared and having the right equipment. After spending quite a lot of time researching, we chose these gift ideas based on convenience, price, and quality. There’s just so much to choose from, I could easily go on for pages about this stuff cool stuff. Every one of these items should be on my wish-list and yours too if you’re a runner. Hopefully, this list did what I intended: provided a variety of gift options suited to make even the pickiest run junkie happy.

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Finding the right gift fot the runner in your life doesn't have to be that hard. We compiled a list that is updated regularly in an effort to provide you with the most popular items on the market today!

10 Best Gifts for Runners

1. ROCKAY Accelerate

ROCKAY Accelerate
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$15.95
Rockay Link
$14.95
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You have shoes, you have your music, your headphones, your shorts, your shirt--the right socks, of course! Most people think of socks as something that covers their feet and protects them, maybe keeps them warm. Others may think of socks as accessories. If you run, you know how important a function socks really play. To run effectively, you’ll need something that can keep you cool even as you sweat, something that actually fits properly and won’t ride down on you. You’ll need a pair of Rockay socks.

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Compression fit
These socks offer an excellent compression fit that isn’t too tight and not at all loose. They provide superior arch support too. Taken together, it guaranteed that, with a pair of Rockay socks, you will never have to worry about your socks sliding or causing any discomfort.

Ventilation
If you’ve been running for a while, you know how important breathability is. If a sock offers very little of it, you could find yourself dealing with clammy, sticky, stinky feet after the run is over. With this Rockay socks, you won’t have that problem--they offer superior ventilation for superior breathability.

Cost and Value
The bottom line is, if you’re a runner, you need a pair of Rockay socks. They may run a bit on the expensive end of the spectrum, but for the durability they offer, and the comfortability, and functionality, it is entirely worth it.

2. Nike Revolution 3 Running Shoe

Nike Revolution 3 Running Shoe
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$53.67

We’re starting with the obvious here. A running shoe? Wow, thanks for the no-brainer. Well, guess what, it’s the perfect starting point for this list, and your favorite running enthusiast, for that matter. The Nike Men's Revolution 3 Running Shoe is a high-end product not necessarily in the high-end price range, that provides the wearer with everything you need to get out and hit the track: comfort, style, and...what else do you need?

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I’m walking on cloud Nike.
See what I did there? It’s like being on cloud nine, because they’re so comfortable, but they’re made by Nike too, so there’s that. Very clever, eh? But for real, there’s a soft foam midsole, and the shoe is lightweight, which all makes for a good time for your feet.

They’re like works of art for your feet!
Look at them, they are slick. I’m personally a fan of simple, practical design with clean lines and lots of aesthetic appeal. If you feel the same way, these shoes were made for you.

Cost and Value
Like most shoes, the cost does vary based on your size and the style you choose. But no matter the choice, this shoe will perform exactly the way it needs to, every time you go out. Just the comfort factor alone makes this a very good value though.

3. ROCKAY Blaze

ROCKAY Blaze
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$33.95
Rockay Link
$32.95
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The runners in your life are sure to love the ROCKAY Blaze compression leg sleeves. Backed by both science and Swisslastic's compression test, these sleeves are designed to help runners perform better. Available in five different color options, there will a style that appeals to every runner.

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Documented Compression
When you receive your pair of compression sleeves in the mail, they will come with proof that the sleeves have passed Swisslastic's compression test. This proves that these sleeves are not only backed by state of the art science but that the manufacturers stand by their product so much that they're willing to be fully transparent as well.

Anti-Odor
These sleeves are treated using Polygiene Stays Fresh Technology. This technology is designed so that your sleeves won't need to be washed as often and will remain fresher for longer. After wearing them, you can hang them to dry and then they'll be ready to use on your next run.

Cost and Value
These sleeves are priced a little higher in comparison to other sleeves on the market. But this is a small price to pay for the quality and guarantee you receive by purchasing this product. They offer state of the art and science-backed compression technology that other sleeves simply cannot.

4. Phaiser BHS-730 Bluetooth Earbuds

Phaiser BHS-730 Bluetooth Earbuds
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best offer for today
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$29.98

I used headphones at the gym all the time. Not for running, but I can understand how wired headphones can be a nuisance when you're out, I know they were a pain for me. Then came wireless headphones, but that option was expensive and unreliable. These headphones go a long way toward solving those issues with solid, quality features without the hefty price tag, making them an ideal deal for any sports enthusiast.

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They sound good!
Umm, good? They’re headphones, they’re supposed to sound good, otherwise, no one would buy them. No, these sound GOOD. Super accurate HD sound and powerful bass combine to give your ears an experience they won’t forget.

Water damage? No sweat!
While it isn’t likely to happen, occasionally your headphones could get some damage from excessive sweating. Fear not! Their lifetime sweat-proof warranty will make sure you're running along to your playlist again in no time.

Cost and Value
Sturdy enough to hold up to your vigorous everyday use, yet priced well enough that you won’t worry about damaging your investment.

5. Apace Vision

Apace Vision
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$16.26

This is one of the best gifts you could buy for an enthusiastic runner. The set of 2 safety lights are perfect for a safe and relaxing run on an unlit runway. It comes together with 4 extra batteries, 2 fasteners, an elastic band, and a mini-screwdriver. The fasteners make it easy to attach the lights wherever you want and the screwdriver is useful when changing the batteries. Moreover, these safety lights are lightweight. Therefore, you won’t even feel their weight!

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Clips Easily
Whatever the outdoor activity you enjoy is you can count on these staying in place. They using a hook and loop design that can be fixed on clothing, bikes, collars, and backpacks.

Weather Resistant
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about the weather conditions. The Apace Vision LED Safety Light works really well even under the most difficult weather. No matter if it rains or it’s high heat, you’ll always be safe while wearing this safety light!

Cost and Value
This comes in a compact design that is lightweight, yet durable. Moreover, if you’re not satisfied with this product in 30 days, you can get a full refund. You also benefit from a 1-year warranty.

6. Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight

Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight
Amazon Link
best offer for today
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$12.97

You’re at home after work a bit stressed out, and a bit more bored. Suddenly, a light bulb appears above your head. Go for a run, that solves everything! The only problem is it’s dark outside. Also scary. Just strap the Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight to your head, and get out there and shine. Even better, you’ll look kind of like a miner out for a run!

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Blinded by the light.
The lamp has S.O.S. and strobe mode, making it the most versatile, as well as the brightest, headlamp out there.

What’s that on your head?
Oh, I forgot it was there. That’s right, I’m trying to illustrate how light and compact it is, by saying that there may be times that you forget you’re wearing it. Try not to though, you might get weird looks.

Cost and Value
Well built construction, a long lasting bright LED, and a good price all combine to bring you a headlamp that you can rely on any time you want to hit the road at night.

7. TrailHeads Ponytail Headband

TrailHeads Ponytail Headband
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$18.00

The listing for this particular gift idea does state that it’s meant for women, but make no mistake, it can easily be used by those men who happen to be gifted with healthy flowing long hair. I chose this ponytail headband because it has a very classic non-descript aesthetic that doesn’t make it stand out as being for women only.

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Unisex design
I really want to drive home the fact that this headband works for everyone. I understand that the target market is women, but really, it's very unassuming appearance is perfect for all runners.

Important aspect 2
This is something I didn't think of. In colder weather, this headband will absolutely cover your ears and protect them from freezing. It's not an alternative to proper winter headgear, but for those early morning jogs, it's perfect.

Cost and Value
This is a simple, well-constructed piece of gear that performs a deceptively important function. It was designed solely to do just that and doesn't waste time, or your money, with useless additions.

8. Timex Ironman Classic 30 Watch

Timex Ironman Classic 30 Watch
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$35.75

When I was around 10 years old, a long, long time ago, I started losing interest in my toys. It was time to grow up. So that Christmas I asked for the most grown-up thing I could think of, a Timex Ironman watch. This watch has been synonymous with performance for forever and is the perfect gift for a runner. For the ones that remember what a watch is, anyway.

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It’s a Timex!
What more do I need to say? These watches were designed with athletes in mind. Quality, performance, great features, it all adds up to Timex.

So many alarms!
My son sleeps in all the time. His alarm goes off-and nothing. This watch could solve that problem. It has three alarms that can be set simultaneously, ensuring that he should wake up to at least one of them. If that doesn’t work, maybe I can just throw it at him next time. Don't worry, I probably won't.

Cost and Value
Timex is classic. You know what you’re getting when you buy one of their watches: a great price and the excellent quality that made the company famous decades ago.

9. Rocket Pure Natural Deodorizer

Rocket Pure Natural Deodorizer
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best offer for today
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$13.95

Warning, if you’re just coming in from a run, try to make sure you’re alone before you take off your shoes. If you’re not, you soon will be. That is, of course, unless you’ve already used Rocket Pure Natural Mint Shoe Deodorizer. In that case, you’ll be good to go, free of all the nasty odors wafting from your well-worn running shoes. It’s made with all natural ingredients, so you can feel confident spraying it.

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All natural
I really can’t stress this enough. Nowadays, eco-friendly is the way to go. You don’t want to smell like harsh chemicals, and you won’t. It’s made with natural essential oils and is paraben free, so no artificial preservatives either.

Minty fresh!
After spraying on the deodorizer, either in your shoes or directly on your feet, you’re met with a gentle peppermint aroma with no chemical smell. It’s almost like aromatherapy, and your loved ones will appreciate it more than your previous foot odor.

Cost and Value
With hundreds of sprays in each bottle, you won’t have to worry about constantly running out. Once you do run out, just go buy another bottle of this well-priced, quality product.

10. Alfamo Cooling Towel

Alfamo Cooling Towel
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best offer for today
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$8.99

It’s a towel. There haven’t really been any innovations in towel technology since there were discovered to have the ability to dry things. That’s all changed now, because the Alfamo Cooling Towel keeps you, well, cool. It chills instantly and holds that chill for up to three hours, making it absolutely perfect for after a hard run, when the cooling touch is just what you need.

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It keeps you cool.
This should be pretty self-explanatory by now, but fine, let’s talk about it again. Soak it, ring it out, and snap it. Now apply it to your skin. There. Now you’re cool. Which is pretty great, really.

A carrying case for a towel?
As cool as it looks to walk around with your towel draped over your shoulders all carefree like, it can get annoying after awhile. That’s why this one comes in its own case with a carabiner clip, so it’s always ready for you.

Cost and Value
It cools. For a long time. That right there is worth any price, just for the relief it offers. It’s almost like witchcraft. Good thing it also has a great price point, which only varies based on the size of the towel that you choose.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

This criterion is very important, yet a lot more subjective than most, and therefore I had to use my discretion when using it to select the ideal gift. Not every accessory is regarded highly by every runner. Some things are impractical, or even silly, to some people.

Depending on what type of running you choose, some items won’t make sense. Trail runners don’t need ultra-thin flexible runners. Sprinters don’t need as much fuel. I’ve said this several times already, but it fits in as much here as anywhere else: I focused on covering as broad a spectrum as possible in order to make sure these gifts were relevant in as many situations as possible. The rest is really up to you and your runner to decide.

Versatility

Normally I’d have versatility and functionality as their own separate categories, but in this circumstance, I realized that one is only possible because of the other. If it wasn’t functional, it wasn’t going to be very versatile. There was no getting around that fact no matter how much I tried.

A runner wants to optimize their performance when out on the track or street, and that means really being aware of what they bring with them. Not only is this due to weight issues, but also, as strange as it sounds, wind resistance and drag play a part. Not to mention that you really just don’t have a lot of room to carry stuff with you. That’s where functionality comes in. For the most part, I chose accessories that served several purposes during a run. The ones that were more limited weren’t usually taken on the run but used as part of a pre- or post run ritual, as in the case of the energy gels and chews.

The small items and the clothing were easier to forgive. Regardless of how many tricks they could perform, I couldn’t really get away from the fact that runners need shoes in most scenarios. More so, I couldn’t omit shorts or shirts, because running naked is just streaking, and that’s a whole other category. The other wearable items were included because they took care of a fairly pressing need, such as carrying your identification, keys, and phone while being reasonable unobtrusive.

It was the larger items that came under more scrutiny. These invariably were heavier and/or took up more space, so you need to be very careful when deciding whether to bring them along. The electronic devices, such as watches or earphones aren’t critical to being able to run, but they offer such features that can either monitor progress or provide a distraction during the more mundane moments.

Aside from those items, anything else I’ve pretty much left up to the discretion of the runner in question since nobody really knows what they need better than them.

Durability

Running is a physical activity and can really wear on your running accessories, especially items like shoes and clothing. It's vital that you check the quality of the item that you are buying and decide whether the extra cash is worth it. For products like running shoes, spending the extra money they get a high-quality item is worth it. Not only do they last longer, but they are usually designed for better performance and better support. A good way to check a product's durability isn't all about the price, however. You should also know what materials are used for your product and what other customer have experienced and have to say.

Ease of Use

Even though there are thousands of different possible gift ideas available for your favorite runner, not everything is equally available in every area. This can be due to regional differences, different laws governing the region, climate, or just public demand for the item.

To combat this potential obstacle, I first made sure that each and every item on this list can be easily purchased online. Not only does it need to be sold on the most widely used sites, but it needs to be in stock on a regular basis. More available stock means that there is a lower chance that if there is ever an issue, there is no replacement or the warranty can’t be honored.

Once online availability was assured, I did what I could to make sure that these items are popular enough to be carried in most large retail chains across the country. Sometimes things happen, and a gift is needed as soon as possible, and the sometimes lengthy delivery times just won’t do. Most of these gifts are by well known, established brands that aren’t likely to go away any time soon.

Of course, these gifts can be hard to find, especially during peak holiday times. In that case, it’s best to be as productive as possible and purchase them as far ahead as you can.

Value

Price really wasn’t a factor in the sense that I wanted to include only low priced, bargain bin items in this guide. Sure, we all love a bargain, but there is always that person who expresses their feelings and emotions through buying large extravagant gifts. For that reason, I wanted to include a range of prices, from the small gifts that only cost a few dollars and are perfect to show someone that you’re thinking of them, all the way to the high tech, gadget-heavy watch that checks your pulse and heart rate, and keeps track of your mileage while costing a small fortune. So hopefully I did my job, and you are able to find gifts that met your needs and are comfortable for your wallets.

One thing that I did take into account, and that I felt was non-negotiable, was value. It didn’t matter how much the item cost, it had to offer something above and beyond, more than justifies its price point. Whether this means having a ton of useful features, being built incredibly well, or just being exceptionally versatile, the value had to be such that it left you feeling good about your purchase with no second thoughts.

On the other hand, sometimes having the latest smartwatch, or ergonomic, recycled, light as air running shoe, regardless of whether you truly need it or not, is just for the sake of showing off. Once in a while, you just need to feel cool.

expert tips icon
Breathability Is Important

This refers to the density and structure of the fabric being used. Breathable fabric allows some airflow to circulate around the body, drying moisture and minimizing the chances of sweating. A good naturally breathable and very widely used material is cotton. Being a natural fiber, cotton will absorb the moisture rather than expelling it.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How do I know which gift to get?

a:

That’s all going to depend on what the runner in your life needs the most. Each gift was included because we thought it was an ideal addition to any runner’s gear, but again, you may only need or want specific items.

q: Should I just get them all?

a:

You could. Like I stated above, each of the selections were hand-picked because of their versatility and importance to runners. Chances are that at some, any runner will find a use for all of these.

q: Do runners actually use any of these products?

a:

With only one exception, these items are all deemed necessary to one degree or another. One of them is novelty gifts or useless trinkets. I included a wider variety in order to ensure that there was something for everybody for exactly this reason.

q: Won’t any type of shoe do the same thing?

a:

Not even a little bit. It’s always been known that different shoes are ideal for certain situations, and the wrong shoe can cause pain, discomfort, and sometimes injury. Running shoes were specifically designed to be lightweight and extremely breathable, with a contoured shape to conform to the foot offering comfort and support. All of these are crucial in delivering a safe, rewarding experience without fear of hurting yourself. Other types of shoes will offer one or even a few of these features, but none will address all of your need like a runner will.

q: Hydration bladders look heavy and bulky. Does that defeat the purpose?

a:

At first glance, yes, hydration bladders do seem like they’d be at least somewhat prohibitive, but manufacturers have taken steps to make them as comfortable as possible, From being constructed from breathable lightweight materials to adjusting the harness to not constrict, hydration bladders today are still noticeable, but inconveniently so. Keep in mind though, that they are meant for long distance endurance runs, and not so much for sprints or other runs where speed is the goal.

q: Why not a hat?

a:

When I compiled this list, I want to include items that wouldn’t necessarily come to mind immediately. Gift buying can be difficult, especially when you’re not one hundred percent sure what to buy. With that in mind, I tried to make selections that are well thought out, and maybe even a bit unique. As this isn’t an all-encompassing list, there is nothing saying that any runner wouldn’t absolutely love having a hat while on a run.

q: Do sunglasses have to be polarized?

a:

No, it’s not a requirement that all be sunglasses be polarized. Some people find the effect disorienting or uncomfortable. Not using polarized lenses, however, will likely limit a runner’s availability to cloudy or overcast days, or even evenings and nights.

Sources

  1. Sally Tamarkin, Buzz Fead, Information Site
  2. Editorial Team, Wired, Lifestyle Site
  3. Editorial Team, Forbes, Lifestyle Magazine