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If you’re not a runner, but you know and love one, you know it can be tough to get them a great gift, whatever the occasion. I’m a runner, and I’m well aware we can be quite quirky in our likes and dislikes, and very specific about our gear. 

That’s why I’m here with this guide to the best gifts for runners, whether you’re looking to help your favorite pavement-pounder with hydration, post-run soreness or chafing, or provide them with some comfy new shoes. There’s gifts to fit any budget, from expensive apparel to gifts for runners under $50.

As a former competitive cross-country runner and current recreational half-marathoner and triathlete, I’ve used my fair share of running gear. There are 15 gift ideas on this list, and I’ve used almost every single one—or a previous model or generation of it—at some point in my running career. Not only that, but this list has been vetted by other members of our product testing team to ensure it’s the most comprehensive gift guide for the runner friend in your life. 

Best Gifts for Runners

SPIbelt Reflective Running Belt
Best Running Belt

SPIBelt

The SPIbelt is a running belt designed with stretchy material to have a low profile and expand to hold your belongings on your run. SPI states that the SPIbelt is compatible with all phones and has an extensive list of phones that can fit into the belt on their website.

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ospreu duro vest
Best Running Vest

Osprey Duro 1.5 Running Vest

The Osprey Duro 1.5 Running Hydration Vest is a lightweight, breathable, adjustable running pack from outdoor recreation brand Osprey. The vest features mesh side panels, front strap closure, and many pockets to stash everything you need on a run.

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shokz open run
Best Running Headphones

Shokz OpenRun Headphones

The Shokz OpenRun headphones have a new name, new packaging, and a new quick-charge feature. These waterproof headphones utilize 8th-generation bone conduction technology to transmit sound directly from your cheekbones to your inner ear.

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darn tough micro crew pair
Best Running Socks

Darn Tough Micro Crew Running Socks

Darn Tough Micro Crew Ultra-Lightweight Running Socks are a blend of nylon, merino wool and Lycra/Spandex available with or without extra cushion. They have arch support, which Darn Tough claims reduces foot fatigue.

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brooks ghost 14 side view
Best Running Shoe

Brooks Ghost 14

The Brooks Ghost 14 is the most recent model of the popular road running shoe, which Brooks claims is now smoother and softer than ever. The Ghost shoe is designed for people who need neutral support and want a moderately cushioned feel.

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Maurten Gel 100
Best Running Gel

Maurten Gel 100

Running gels don’t get simpler than Maurten Gel 100. It’s basically straight sugar in a packet, in an optimized ratio for quick digestion, absorption, and delivery of nutrients.

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garmin forerunner 55 watch product photo
Best Fitness Tracker

Garmin Forerunner 55

The Garmin Forerunner 55 is a smartwatch with multiple sport profiles and five activity profiles dedicated to running alone. With this watch, you can track running, outdoor track running, HIIT, cardio, yoga, and more.

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goodr blue sunglasses
Best Running Sunglasses

Goodr The OGs Running Sunglasses

Our team loves Goodr sunglasses—specifically The OGs—because they’re inexpensive on Amazon and stay put during the longest, sweatiest runs. Featuring fully polarized lenses with an anti-glare layer and scratch-resistant finish, you really can’t beat these for the price.

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nathan speedraw bottle grip
Best Running Water Bottle

Nathan Handheld Water Bottle

This water bottle comes with a zippered pouch that fits most smartphones and car keys. The pouch features an adjustable strap and a thumb loop that secures the bottle to your hand, so you don’t have to actively hold it—great news, since clenching your fist during a run is a huge waste of energy!

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athleta mesg racer black
Best Shorts for Women

Athleta High-Rise Mesh Racer 3” Short

These Mesh Racer Shorts left our product testers are more than pleased thanks to the wide leg opening, breathable fabric, mesh panels that allow extra air flow, comfortable cotton liner, and wide waistband.

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ten thousand sessions short
Best Shorts for Men

Ten Thousand Session Short

If you’re looking for an extremely lightweight, minimalist pair of men’s workout shorts, you’ve found them. The Ten Thousand Session Shorts, constructed of 86% polyester and 14% Spandex, have a GSM (grams per square inch) weight of just 124.

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lululemon fast and free
Best Leggings for Women

Lululemon Fast and Free

Created with unrestricted movement in mind, the LuluLemon Fast and Free High-Rise Tight is lightweight, breathable, and sweat-wicking. These leggings have compression around the waist and are designed with four-way stretch for the best fit.

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chirp wheel
Best Foam Roller

Chirp Wheel

The Chirp Wheel is a new take on that classic and, oh boy, is it interesting. It comes in four different sizes to stretch, mobilize, and help you recover. Constructed of a durable plastic core covered in soft, sweat-resistant foam, Chirp Wheels are a great investment for your mobility routine.

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theragun prime
Best Massage Gun

Theragun Prime

One of the best gifts for marathon runners, the Theragun Prime reaches up to 16 millimeters into soft tissue and is sure to relieve any tight or sore muscles you have after your running session. Help your loved one maximize recovery with Therabody’s massage gun.

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Transparent Labs hydrate
Best Electrolyte Drink

Transparent Labs Hydrate V3

For endurance runners, hydration is key to get the most out of your workouts. Naturally-sweetened Transparent Labs Hydrate V3 has the electrolytes needed to stay hydrated out in the sun, but also has taurine to aid in performance and recovery.

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Other Running Gear We’ve Used and Researched 

None of the above gadgets and gifts feel right for your runner? Here are some other products our team of testers has tried and researched. 

TriggerPoint foam roller: If a Chirp Wheel isn’t the right choice, a regular foam roller could do the trick. Swipe this classic TriggerPoint one for an easy, inexpensive gift. 

HOKA running shoes: If you’ve ever run in a race, you’ve seen a sea of HOKA shoes. This popular brand makes great options for runners who need exceptional cushioning and a lot of support. 

Headlamp: For runners who like to run outdoors in the early morning or late evening hours, a headlamp is essential for safety. I use a PETZL headlamp and haven’t had any complaints.

Blister care kit: Although my recommendations for Darn Tough socks and Brooks running shoes should help prevent blisters, they can still occur. A blister care kit is a great, inexpensive gift option. 

Anti-chafe balm: Chafing sucks. Help your runner prevent chafing with a tube of Body Glide or Chamois Butt’r from Amazon.

If all else fails, a gift card to their local REI, Nike, or other sporting goods store won’t disappoint. 

Other Gift Ideas for Runners

If your still figuring out the best Christmas gift for a runner, or it’s another occasion, here are some of our best-of lists, catered to the best gifts for male or female runners, as well as some of the best gifts for trail runners and enthusiasts.

How We Chose the Best Gifts for Runners

Almost every product in this guide to the best gifts for runners has been personally handled and used by me—and what I haven’t used was recommended by our other product testers. Many of the products on this list are in my rotation of running tools still today. I’ve taken the gear on this list through many runs, from sprint interval sessions to tempo runs to long training runs and race days. 

What to Look for in Gifts for Runners

Every runner is different, so it’s hard to say that there are any universally great gifts. A few factors can help you make the right purchase, though. 

  • What distance does your runner run? Someone who runs shorter distances probably doesn’t need a 1.5-liter hydration pack, but would probably appreciate a small running belt or handheld bottle. 
  • What climate does your runner live in? Choose apparel, socks, and accessories based on their typical weather patterns. For instance, a runner in Washington State would probably love a headlamp since, in the winter, darkness persists into the morning and creeps back up in the early afternoon. 
  • What kind of terrain do they run on? Is your runner a trail runner or a road runner? They’ll have different preferences for shoes, apparel, and accessories. 

FAQs About Gifts for Runners

What does a runner need?

All runners need comfortable running shoes, moisture-wicking clothes, and a mode of hydration at a minimum. Other gear, including muscle recovery tools, race-day and long-run fuel, a fitness tracker, and a personal item belt, are optional but nice to have!

RELATED: How to Choose Running Shoes

What should I get my friend for running a marathon?

Great gifts for marathon runners include: running watches, hydration vests, moisture-wicking T-shirts and tanks, wellness products like sunscreen and anti-chafe balm, energy gels or chews, and tools to soothe sore muscles.

What do you put in a runner’s care package?

Runners use lots of equipment, from shoes and shorts to energy gels and water bottles. A care package for a runner could have any of these gift ideas. Here’s some of our picks for the best gifts for runners:

Best Running Belt: SPIBelt
Best Running Vest: Osprey Duro 1.5 Running Vest
Best Running Headphones: Shokz OpenRun Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones
Best Running Socks: Darn Tough Micro Crew Running Socks 
Best Running Shoes: Brooks Ghost 14
Best Energy Gels: Maurten Gel 100
Best Fitness Tracker for Runners: Garmin Forerunner 55 
Best Running Sunglasses: Goodr The OGs Running Sunglasses
Best Running Water Bottle: Nathan Handheld Water Bottle
Best Running Shorts for Women: Athleta High-Rise Mesh Racer 3” Short
Best Running Shorts for Men: Ten Thousand Session Short
Best Running Leggings for Women: Lululemon Fast and Free
Best Foam Roller for Runners: Chirp Wheel
Best Massage Gun: Theragun Prime
Best Electrolytes: Transparent Labs Hydrate V3

What is an eco-friendly gift for runners?

Eco-friendly products will help lessen your impact on the environment. One of the best eco-friendly gifts to get for your running friend is a reusable water bottle. This will help reduce the amount of plastic your friend uses. Also, you can purchase running shoes and apparel from companies that use sustainable practices.

Further reading

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If you’re not a runner, but you know and love one, you know it can be tough to get them a great gift, whatever the occasion. I’m a runner, and I’m well aware we can be quite quirky in our likes and dislikes, and very specific about our gear. That’s why I’m here with this guide to the best gifts for runners, whether you’re looking to help your favorite pavement-pounder with hydration, post-run soreness or chafing,  » Read more about: The Very Best Gifts for Runners, as Told by a Runner and Personal Trainer  » Read more