You either love that runner’s high or you don’t. And if you’re in the later camp, what are you supposed to get someone who loves hitting the pavement — when your idea of fun is to watch Netflix all day? Thankfully, we’ve rounded up the latest gadgets, coolest gear, and sleekest apparel in the running world to give you a hand with your shopping woes. Whether they’re into trail running, road races, marathons, triathlons, or just jogging around the block, we’ve found something for everyone.
FuelBelt Ultralight Belt ($30)
This amazing little hydration gadget has the ability to revolutionize anyone’s running game. The extremely lightweight belt features two ergonomically shaped plastic bottles that sit smoothly against the fabric and fit perfectly into the curve of the hand when your runner takes a drink. A “Helium Hex” airflow system makes it easy to drink from, and its clip-lock security bottle holster keeps the dishwasher-safe bottles free from bouncing around during a run. Featuring a unisex design, its fits runners of any size.
Night Trek Shoe Lights ($55)
If the person you’re shopping for likes to run at night, these LED shoe lights will help keep them visible while also allowing them to avoid rocks, ruts, and sidewalk cracks. The water-resistant contraptions blast 150 lumens up to 30 or more feet ahead of the runner, offering light to illuminate whatever surface they’re jogging on. Rear-facing red tail lights also let drivers know where they’re at, and the whole unit offers 270 degrees of visibility. The devices clip on securely, delivering three to five hours of light in one stretch of battery life.
This lightweight trail running jacket is constructed with ShakeDry, a type of Gore-Tex technology that doesn’t have face fabric, allowing it to weigh less than similar Gore-Tex shells. The breathable, packable jacket clocks in at just 4.2 ounces and can be compressed into a tiny ball. Lastly, the waterproof hood rolls back and snaps together so it doesn’t flap around when not in use.
Balega Silver Ion Socks ($15+)
You’ll never experience softer, more securely fitting training socks than Balega’s Silver Ion line. Unlike many runner’s socks, which tend to slide down and bunch up around the heel, these offer compressive arch support bands that keep them fitting snugly — there’s even a high heel tab that hugs the inside of shoes and an extra deep heel pocket to prevent sliding. The design encourages a more natural foot movement and improved circulation. This line of Balega socks uses technology that encapsulates the sock fibers in silver ions for enhanced antibacterial properties, which, paired with the fabric’s Drynamix moisture management, keeps a runner’s feet dry and odor-free.
This lightweight, award-winning water flask has a built-in filter, allowing runners to “be free” of the hunt for hydration, filling up their bottles virtually anywhere and letting the flask’s EZ-Clean Membrane clean it up for them. It features a gentle-squeeze top and a removable filter that easily pops out for a quick rinse. The collapsible design even allows it to fit into small backpacks and some pockets.
The Spin is a sleek trail running shoe that offers high-level performance without the cumbersome bells and whistles. The shoe performs fabulously on technical terrain, allowing runners to tackle hills faster and enjoy precise foot control. It features a Vibram outsole with Megagrip technology, a high-density rock plate, and a mesh upper with welded PU overlay. All told, it’s a great running shoe that offers superior stability in a simple, minimalist package.
When they’re out jogging around, they need music to get in the zone. The AfterShokz Trekx Titanium is essentially the Cadillac of running headphones: The wireless, open-ear design showcases bone conduction technology, a method of delivering music through someone’s cheekbones, allowing their ears to stay open to their surroundings. This maintains situational awareness, keeping them safer while also letting them listen to their favorite tunes. Bluetooth 4.1 offers perfect syncing to a smartphone, the sound quality is stellar, and the titanium wraparound headband keeps the device securely in place.
Garmin Forerunner 645 ($428)
Garmin’s Forerunner 645 is one of the best watches available for runners, particularly those who love to listen to music when hitting the pavement (and who doesn’t?). Once downloaded to your watch, you can easily listen to your favorite tracks sans your smartphone, while simultaneously tracking your heart rate, calories burned, personal records, steps, and a host of other fitness metrics. In addition to the aforementioned fitness features, the 645 provides text notifications, calendar access, sleep tracking, and weather info. Your friend will be floored by all of the features, not to mention the seven-day battery life.
SPY Hunt Sunglasses ($100)
Happy runners are fast, effective runners. This cool pair of shades from SPY boasts Happy Lens technology that filters out bad short-wave blue light, allowing more long-wave blue light to penetrate the lens. The idea is that more of this type of ray — which has been connected to improvements in mood — will theoretically boost happiness and make for a more enjoyable run or outdoor activity. The lens technology also offers stellar visual clarity, enhancing colors and contrast to make training safer and more effective. These “trail to tavern” sunglasses even have a stylish, casual frame with sturdy Grilamid material, letting them look as good as they function.
After a good run, nothing is better for your body than stretching. Luckily, Amazon’s High-Density Foam Roller is ideal for just about everything, from strengthening to rehab exercises. The lightweight roller is easy to clean and transport, too, and relatively inexpensive given it’s part of Amazon’s proprietary product line. You can even re-position the roller to target specific muscles and to assist from one routine to the next. Your friend — and their muscles — will thank you for the relief.
Belkin Fitness Armband ($28)
Music is essential for any run, and a reliable armband is just as important. The Belkin Fitness Armband is the perfect fit for your friend’s iPhone 7 or 8. The custom-fit armband features an ultra-thin fabric strap that threads through a durable metal loop, securing at the perfect length to hug their arm closely. The reflective accents on the armband provide increased visibility as well, keeping your friend safe as they run. The fact that the band is both sweat-proof and hand-washable is just a plus.
The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is our pick for the best fitness tracker for a dedicated runner. And your friend is dedicated, right? It’s basically like running alongside of a computer that monitors your heartbeat, tells you how many calories you have burned, and tracks your GPS and pace, all while mapping out your run or walk. It can also receive emails, calls, text, and social media alerts. If your friend is the type that loves to run on a treadmill, the Vivosmart HR+ can track any activity indoor and out. It also comes in a variety of colors, so your dedicated runner will have lots to choose from.
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