Editor’s note: This year’s a bit different—shop early to avoid lines in-store and get your gifts delivered with plenty of time to spare. Shopping in-store? There might be a line. Join the waitlist from anywhere to save time.
Find the perfect gift for the runner in your life right here. We’ve got shoes, apparel, a water bottle and the best accessories, which should help the runner in your life make miles, log PRs and feel seen.
Every runner needs a good pair of shoes, but the super-slick On Cloudflow takes comfort to the next level. Thanks to a special foam midsole, it boasts top-shelf energy return and on-the-road durability, all while delivering pillow-like cushioning. The 6-mm heel-to-toe drop satisfies most runners, and so does the minimal weight—a pair of Cloudflows weighs just over a pound for a men’s size 9. $140
If your runner needs a little TLC, gift them the Hyperice Hypervolt. This quiet-yet-powerful percussion massager allows runners to warm up and cool down specific body parts and target and soothe angry muscles after pounding the pavement. It has three speed settings and five interchangeable head attachments, and the 24-volt lithium battery is rechargeable. But the highlight is the Bluetooth connection: Once the device is synced with the app, users have access to several programmed massage routines for relieving soreness and promoting recovery. $349
Once a runner graduates from “occasional jogger” to “mileage crusher,” the first thing they’ll want is a device to track their numbers. Pro tip: Snag them the Forerunner 245, one of many options in Garmin’s legacy line of GPS watches. Not only does the 245 Music monitor training data like distance, pace, intervals, heart rate and VO2 max, but it also stores and plays up to 500 songs (and you can sync a playlist from your favorite music streaming app). It guards runner safety, too. The watch features Incident Detection alerts that will automatically notify emergency contacts in case of an accident when connected to a smartphone. $350
Help your giftee ditch warm-weather shorts in favor of Vuori’s sweat-wicking, polyester-and-spandex workout pants. Thanks to four-way stretch and a drawstring waistband, these pants are comfier than pajamas but breathe way better. They have two hand pockets and a zippered stash pocket (men’s only) for small items like a car key or credit card. $84
Some runners opt to leave the pavement in favor of dirt, and they need a shoe to keep up with them. Salomon’s Sense Ride 3 (a recent REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award winner) pleases the majority of runners with its neutral, 8-mm heel-to-toe drop and moderate (27 mm) cushioning. The quick-draw laces are easy to cinch on the go, and the proprietary rubber outsole grips everything from gritty sandstone to the muddiest of muck. Rounded out with a breathable mesh upper and a sock-like sleeve to keep debris out, the Sense Ride 3 assures the smoothest of, well, rides. $120
Foam rolling is a necessary evil. Why not make that task easier by gifting the runner in your life the Trigger Point Performance GRID, which is specifically designed to stimulate and release muscle knots (or trigger points) via localized rolling. The multi-density foam has a 3D geometric pattern that mimics a massage therapist’s hands, so your pal should be back up and running in no time. $35
Winter brings with it shorter days, when visibility is critical for runners logging miles before and after work. Help light up the night—and your pal’s run—with this light-up vest from Amphipod. Vibrant light tubes illuminate bright-green to provide 360 degrees of high-viz without adding weight or bulk, and can blink or stay solid. Nice touch: The battery, which last four hours on solid and eight hours on flash, is rechargeable via an included USB cable, so your buddy can juice it between jogs. $49.95
Runners that go long need to stay hydrated, and that’s a lot easier to do with a hydration vest. The REI Co-op Swiftland Hydro comes with a 1.5-liter HydraPak Velocity bladder that sits in a sleeve in the main, 5-liter packbag; the hose threads through the shoulder strap for convenient sipping when on the move. Your giftee should be able to fit extra layers like a rain shell and gloves in the main packbag, plus small sundries like snacks and keys in the six other pockets. The vest has adjustable torso straps and load lifters to provide a dialed-in fit so athletes won’t experience annoying sloshing or bouncing while trying to make a run for it. $89.95
It’s not sorcery; it’s just HydraPak. The 500-mL Ultra Flask weighs a mere 1.4 ounces so runners going fast and light will barely notice it—until they need a sip. The soft, collapsible flask fits neatly into running vest pockets like above or can be held while on the move if that’s your friend’s jam. The Ultra Flask comes with a drink tube, but the bite valve can also be attached directly to the lid for those not wanting to suck through a straw. $19
Running in inclement weather calls for a lot of protection for not-a-lot-of-weight. Enter the Incendo (and women’s Cita), Arc’teryx’s ultralight fortress of a jacket that stuffs away into its own chest pocket. The ripstop nylon fabric slashes ounces (a men’s medium weighs 4.6 ounces) while still providing enough protection to fend off wind and light precip. Underarm mesh paneling offers major breathability, so runners won’t sweat out while working hard. $139
Gift the blister-prone runner in your life a pair of these comfies and we bet they’ll never experience forefoot hot spots again. Unlike other socks, Injinji’s “toe socks” wrap each individual digit like a glove, eliminating skin-on-skin friction inside of the running shoe. The result: no more blisters to ruin the day. $13
All photography by Andrew Bydlon.
Need more inspiration? Check out our Best Holiday Gifts for Less Than $50, Best Holiday Gifts for Outdoorsy Kids, Best Holiday Gifts for Hikers and Campers, Best Holiday Gifts for Outdoorsy Dogs (and Their Humans) and more product roundups in our Trail Mix series.