Finding the best gift for runners doesn’t require suddenly developing an understanding of why those crazy kids love getting outdoors and pounding the pavement no matter the weather. In fact, all you need to do is take a scroll through this list. We polled actual runners—both beginners and avid marathoners—to see what is at the top of their holiday wishlists this year. Some want all the goodies to improve their recovery days, some want splurge-worthy gear they haven’t yet invested in themselves and others are just looking to fill their space with fun nods to their hobby of choice. So, whether they’re fans of upping the incline on a treadmill or would rather hit the trails and breath in some fresh air, here are the 38 best gifts for runners in 2022.
The 38 Best Gifts for Runners of Every Level
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Our Top Picks for Gifts for Runners
- Best GPS Watch: Garmin Forerunner 245 GPS Watch
- Best New Running Book: Running While Black by Alison Mariella Désir
- Best Small Memento: Little Words Project Custom Bracelet
- Best Recovery Shoes: Oofos Ooahh Slide Sandals
- Best Reflective Jacket: Brooks Run Visible Convertible Jacket
- Best Splurge Gift: Bestway SaluSpa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub
Best Sports Bra
Investing in a good high-impact sports bra can make all the difference, especially for anyone larger than a B cup. This cult-favorite lululemon bra was designed specifically for cups sizes B through DDD to keep everything comfortable but firmly in place during high-impact workouts, like running or HIIT. The criss-crossing straps in back are adjustable and there is a hook-and-eye closure to ensure the band fits exact right, with an extra panel of fabric so that same closure won’t dig into the skin. Reviews say it runs true to size, though they do note it is supposed to fit pretty snugly (just FYI). One size 34D shopper writes, “[This is the] best sports bra I’ve ever owned. It is so difficult to find a sports bra that fits properly, and does well performance-wise. This bra does both! Plus it looks fantastic! Highly recommend.”
Best Recovery Shoes
“I have bad bunions on the side of my feet, and when I was training for my half marathon my feet would kill after long run,” says commerce editor Olivia Dubyak. “Having these comfy slides to wear around the house helped relieve pressure and support my feet in between hard efforts.” Indeed, the OOfoam technology absorbs 37-percent more impact than regular slides for less stress on your knees and joints. Plus, they’re machine washable.
Perfect for the road runner who prefers listening to music or podcasts, these bone-conducting headphones will leave their ears free to hear any oncoming traffic. What does that mean? In essence, these headphones send sound waves straight through the jaw and cheek bones. Even though there’s nothing going directly in your ear, the vibrations from the Aeropex stimulate the inner ear, which is where hearing happens, allowing your running buddy to jam out while still being safe. PureWow’s executive producer Ali Gazan says, “I admittedly have awkward shaped ears and too often found myself spending half my run sticking my headphones back in my ears. These stay in place no matter what and the sound is crystal clear. They also have a great battery life and charge really quickly. I also gifted a pair to my teenage nephew, who's a big runner, and he loves them too, which was like the ultimate gratification!”
Best Training Log
We prefer this training journal over most others because it isn’t tied to a calendar (they write the date in themselves on each page) so they can miss a few days, weeks or even months and not feel like they wasted paper or space in their log. There is space to record the basics like time, distance and pace, but also weather, what route they took and ample room for other notes. It can fit information for 280 runs total, plus there are pages dedicated solely to races so they can fit even more detail in there.
Strava is one of the most popular running apps out there, and the vast majority of the information is public, so folks can keep up with their running buddies no matter where they are. Head over to the app and pull his latest PR, a particularly proud run movement or the weirdest, funniest route he’s ever done and have it printed on a mug so he can be reminded of his accomplishment every time he pours himself a cup of coffee.
PureWow’s food editor Katherine Gillen, who runs almost every day, says Tracksmith’s Turnover tights are definitely worth the splurge. They’re made from an innovative Inverno Blend fabric that is designed to work almost like a double layer of clothing without any added bulk. The durable outer face is treated to wick away precipitation, like light rain or snow, while the brushed inner helps provide a barrier between your skin and the fabric, which means your legs won’t ever feel like they’re being hit with cold rain. “They may be a bit pricy,” admits Gillen, “but these Tracksmith leggings are just so good. They’re brushed on the inside, almost like fleece, but they still dry fast and don’t feel heavy or too thick. I’ve owned them for a few years now and they haven’t gotten that musty sweat smell, despite the fact that I’ve worn them a couple times in a row to work out.” There’s also a zippered pocket at the back of the waistband large enough to hold most cellphones and it’s perfectly placed to reduce bouncing.
Best Small Memento
“I've been wanting to get these for a few of my friends that hit PRs this year,” says managing editor Catrina Yohay, “but how cute would a custom little words project bracelet be that just says runner!” Running, talking about running, complaining about running, swapping tips, tricks, playlists, etc...it's how I stay connected to my friends that live across the country. This is such a fun memento to the little club we've built near and far, and a helpful reminder of why we do what we do and everything we've achieved.” You can enter up to 13 characters, including numbers, so you can write “runner” or their actual personal best record.
Best GPS Watch
Great for both new runners and old pros, this GPS watch is wonderfully efficient and has everything they might need to thoroughly track their runs. It can even connect to GPS without the help of a phone if they prefer to leave theirs at home during runs. PureWow’s affiliate strategy director Pam Masin says it’s one of the best and most practical gifts she’s ever received. “It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the higher-end watches, but it does the basics, and then some, really well. It's great to give someone who is just starting to get into road racing or a casual runner who wants to take their training up a notch. I use it mostly to stay on pace during my runs and for the GPS tracking, but it can also track other activities like bike riding and daily steps, monitors heart rate and has built-in training programs.”
Best Portable Alarm
You hope she never has to use it, but this lightweight alarm keychain can give both of you some peace of mind while she’s out on solo runs. With the press of a button she’ll activate a very loud siren and flashing strobe light (to draw attention in the dark). The battery lasts for up to 40 hours, and can be replaced if necessary. And don’t worry about her accidentally setting it off if it’s bumping around in her bag, the alarm is only activated when the top pin is removed. So she can keep it quiet when she needs, then just remove the pin before she heads out the door.
Best Running Belt
Give them gift of extra storage space with this minimalist belt that has four pockets to stow everything they might need on the go—phone, keys, ID, gels, Vaseline, sunscreen, etc. It’s also designed to lay flat against the hip or waist to eliminate any bouncing or bulk. If your recipient is more into weight training, it makes for a pretty good gym carryall, too.
“I seriously love these because of all the thought that’s gone into the design,” says Thomas Slattery, a distance runner who qualified for the 2020 US marathon trials. “For instance, on each thumb the fabric is reversed for face wiping to mitigate skin irritation. And there are phone tips on the pointer fingers and thumbs for post-workout texts.” The super-soft, moisture-wicking material used to make the Inverno gloves also protects your hands from the elements without risk of overheating (because no one wants to deal with sweaty, sticky palms). Pro tip: Fingers tend to swell when you run, so if you’re between sizes we suggest opting for the larger pair to avoid the fabric feeling too clingy or tight.
Best Tank Top
Abby Hepworth, an avid runner and PureWow’s fashion editor, was first sent one of these tanks by Spanx to test, but has since bought three more and says they’re probably her favorite workout tops across the board. “They fit so perfectly and hit at just the right spot so they aren’t too cropped but still show off some of my shape. And they are that Goldilocks-level of baggy where the excess fabric never gets in the way but won’t cling to you either. The material is like air, it’s so lightweight, and I appreciate the higher neckline so I never feel self-conscious about my bosom at a cycling or yoga class.” She also says they run true to size and while the lighter colors are slightly sheer, she never feels exposed, even once they’re wet with sweat.
These cult-favorite shorts from FP Movement are cute enough to wear all weekend long, even long after you finish your run. The sweat-wicking material is incredibly lightweight and soft to the touch, and that high waistband gives just the right amount of core support without feeling constrictive. They also come with built-in undies so they won’t have to worry about accidentally flashing anyone while doing warm-up stretches. Reviews suggest they do run small, so keep that in mind when ordering.
Best Bike Shorts
Spandex shorts make it easy to avoid chafing without overheating the legs in a full-length legging. And these come with pockets on each hip, as well as one at the back of the waistband, so she can stow lots of race gels, her phone and even a bottle of sunscreen if need be. There’s also an adjustable drawcord at the waist to ensure there’s no annoying slipping while she’s on the move.
Best Running Stroller
Cristina Gutierrez, director of branded content and a new mom, recommends this collapsible running stroller for anyone looking to bring their little one along on their runs. “It’s so smooth and has so many storage compartments. The wheels feel super sturdy and I can take on gravel, dirt, pavement, curbs, whatever.” Plus, it folds up to be 50-percent smaller than most jogging strollers, making it way easier to store, even in the smallest of apartments.
Best Water Bottle
This leak-proof running water bottle comes with an easy-to-use cap so your runner can more easily stay hydrated throughout training. Gillen says, “It’s great for mid-length runs when you aren’t sure how much access you’ll have to water fountains (it holds 18 ounces of fluid), or even longer runs if you know you can refill. The bottle is soft enough that you can squeeze the water into your mouth and the pocket is handy for gels, keys, my ID, my credit card, etc.”
Best Clip-On Safety Light
This clip-on shoe light is another great safety option for either late night or early morning runs. It simply slides over the back of their sneakers and can be set to emit either red, green or blue LED light to make them more visible to traffic. The battery is rechargeable, but should last for up to six hours if they use the continuous light setting or 12 if they use the strobe option. One thing to note, this is one singular clip, not a set, so if you want to buy one for each foot be sure to add two to cart.
Best Gym Bag
This sleek bag is definitely chic enough to tote along to work as well, and there’s even an internal padded pocket that can fit up a 16-inch laptop. It also has a separate compartment for their shoes or any wet clothes post workout, as well as an easy access external pocket for their phone, wallet or keys, and two inner mesh pockets for other small items. The material is also water-resistant so they don’t have to worry if they accidentally spill some water on it at the gym or are headed out on a rainy afternoon. Reviews even mention using it as a petite weekender bag or carry-on to stow under the seat in front of them.
Most Splurge-Worthy Gym Bag
This lightweight gym bag doesn’t come cheap, but it’s well worth the splurge in our opinion. It’s incredibly roomy, and the puffer material is very light, water-resistant and just so happens to be right on trend, too. And for those who like to have a specific place for all their needments, this bag has a whopping seven exterior and nine interior pockets, giving them plenty of organizational options.
Best Bath Salts
These CBD-infused bath salts are made from a blend of Epsom salt, Himalayan sea salt, calendula petals and arnica to help ease sore muscles and relax both their body and mind after a particularly hard effort. The formula also qualifies for Sephora’s clean beauty stamp, and is vegan to boot. There are about 12 bath-fuls included in each jar so they can repeatedly treat themselves to a long hot soak whenever the need arises.
Best Foam Roller
There isn’t a ton of research out there on the benefits of foam rolling for warming up, recovering and generally loosening tight or sore muscles, but avid runners have been extolling the practice for years as a cheap and easy way to give themselves a sort of mini massage before or after a workout. And this specific model is particularly popular among professional athletes and physical therapists. It’s 36-inches long and firmer than most other cheaper options. It’s also more durable so they can really go to town on their muscles without worrying that the roller will fall apart after just one season.
Best Running Leash
Not only does this waist leash eliminate the energy (and shoulder pain) that comes with running and keeping their pup in check, but it features a clip that slides along the waist, allowing the dog to move from side to side without pulling them off track. The stretchy leash itself is four feet long to give both runners plenty of space to really hit their stride, but can expand to up to five feet. It also has reflective panels to make both them and their dog more visible at night.
23. Theragun Prime
Best Massage Gun
Ah, the Theragun. A godsend for sore muscles or problem spots, this electric massage gun comes with four different heads and a customizable speed range so they can get the exact level of vibration they need. The motor is surprisingly quiet, so they can watch a show or listen to some music while they recover, and there’s also a corresponding app to help guide them through different routines or stretching sessions. Division I track athlete Emily H. says, “The Theragun is the perfect tool for quick muscle relief when you have limited time. It’s also amazing for tech neck at the end of the workday if you’ve been sitting staring at a screen all day.”
Best Reflective Jacket
The Run Visible collection from Brooks has lots of very cool gear engineered to make runners as visible as possible while they’re out in the dark with strategically placed reflective panels. But this jacket might just be the best piece so far for its versatility. It is very lightweight, great for layering on colder days, but breathable enough to keep you comfortable in warmer rainy weather and has a packable hood. But the best feature is the fact that the whole thing can be easily converted into a reflective vest for use all year round, no matter the conditions.
Goodr has tons of fun colors and styles of running sunnies to choose from, all of which cost less than $40, making them an excellent stocking stuffer. They are wonderfully lightweight but won’t bounce or slide, even as they start to sweat. The lenses are also polarized to further help with glare from the sun. “I own a couple pairs of these,” says Sarah L., a weekend runner, “and love that they’re inexpensive so I don’t need to be precious with them. That said, they’re really durable and have survived lots of drops, falls and once when I accidentally sat on them.”
Best Medal Display
She’s been working hard to get those race times faster and faster, so help her show off those accomplishments with this cute PR chalk board. It has a place to display race bibs from her latest effort and hooks for medals, as well as four slots to write in her best times to date. You can also customize both the race distances and the quote up top for an even more personal touch.
Best New Running Book
This new title by Désir, founder of Harlem Run, discusses the ways in which running has not always been welcoming of Black people. She weaves her own personal story of discovering her love of the sport with moments from history to give context for how things ended up so divided, and provides hope and ideas for how things can continue to improve. It’s a must-read for any fans of running, even armchair enthusiasts.
Balega makes some of the absolute best running socks and are definitely worth the slightly higher price tag. The Enduro collection in particular is designed to be extra cushy for longer runs or those with sensitive feet. Hepworth swears by this style and has been wearing the same pairs for going on seven years now, including while training for four marathons and six half marathons. “Honestly, I can still remember thinking, oh my God, these are the softest things I've ever put on my feet, the very first time I wore them,” she says. “I own a few other brands of running socks, but these always leave my feet feeling fresh and prevent soreness much better than the others.”
Best Compression Socks
Compression socks can help prevent muscle cramping or swelling while out on a run or ease recovery afterward, and this particular style has almost 5,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating. They’re unisex and come in four sizes (and 19 different colors), and the compression is graduated, meaning they exert different amounts of pressure on different parts of the foot, ankle and calf for more precise compression. Reviews also suggest they’re surprisingly comfortable and durable to boot.
Best Kitchen Appliance
This professional-grade blender will make it even easier for them to experiment with new post-run smoothie recipes. They can easily adjust the speed to properly blend all different textured ingredients, and it’s incredibly easy to clean as well—just add a drop of dish soap and some warm water and it’ll whirl itself clean in under 60 seconds. Plus, it comes with a seven-year warranty.
Best Marathon Memento
Whether they use it for water at their work desk or to make post-run recovery beers all the better, this marathon route glass will ensure they honor their accomplishment with every sip. The glasses are etched by a group of artisans and runners in Massachusetts, and there are 15 marathons to choose from, including all the majors.
Best Winter Running Hat
Help them stay extra warm on cold, mid-winter runs with this double-layered merino wool cap. Made from everyone’s favorite natural fiber, Merino wool, it features two layers of tight knit to ensure their head and ears stay toasty warm, even if it starts to get wet from sweat or precipitation. It also folds up fairly small to be easily tucked away in a pocket, should they find themselves warming up mid-run.
A workout headband does more than just keep her hair out of her eyes; it’ll also prevent her ears from freezing on cold-weather runs to make it easier to actually get out the door. This one has the added bonus of being reflective, plus it’s machine-washable. There is extra fabric on the sides to ensure her ears are fully covered and the whole thing has been treated to wick sweat, repel water and resist wind, a true triple threat. “I absolutely cannot run outside in the winter without an ear warmer,” says Yohay, a seven-time half-marathon finisher who spent years battling winter winds in Chicago, IL. “I get horrible running headaches when the weather drops below 50 degrees (just me?), so this is a must for the fall and winter months.”
Best Anti-Chafe Stick
Chafing is just about the quickest way to turn a fun run into something utterly miserable. And while this anti-chafe stick was originally formulated for everyday use for anyone whose thighs rub together while they move, it also works supremely well for running, and not just on the thighs. “I use it under the band of my sports bra too, or under my arms if I’m wearing a tank top—basically anywhere that chafes,” says Laura M., who recently completed a 30-mile run in honor of her 30th birthday. “I really like Megababe over other ones I’ve used in the past because it doesn’t leave any greasy residue on my clothes and doesn’t have a scent, two things that usually drive me nuts.”
Best Stocking Stuffer
Know someone that ran the Chicago or NYC marathon this year? These are such a fun way to give a nod to their 2022 achievement with a gift they'll actually use. (Because what runner couldn't use another pair of socks?) Plus, Feetures socks aren’t just for show—they’ve been engineered to provide compression or cushion where runners need it most and there are no toe seams to further help prevent blisters on longer runs. According to reviews, they’re also surprisingly durable, given that they are relatively thin.
Best Framed Photo
Inspire your favorite sprinter with a beautiful framed picture of Jesse Owens at the starting line of 100-meter dash during the 1936 Summer Olympics. Just 10.3 seconds later, Owens made history with his gold medal win. Maybe it will inspire the runner in your life to shoot for some big goals of their own.
Best Splurge Gift
If you’re really looking to treat the runner in your life, give them this inflatable hot tub that they can bust out for recovery or just to celebrate after a race. It comes with a pump which inflates the tub super quickly, then just attach the motor to get things heated up and the bubbles moving. There’s also an adjustable control panel that allows them to control the temperature or set up an energy-saving timer. And it even comes with a cover to keep out leaves and debris. The tub can fit up to four people and can be used all year round, although the heating system works best if temperatures are over 40° F.
Best Post-Race Beer
Few things taste better post-marathon than a nice cold beer, and there’s a longstanding tradition among runners to celebrate with exactly that. (Do the carbs in beer actually help runners recover after a long, hard effort? There’s little to no science to back up the theory, but there is at least one study that found “a moderate beer intake has no deleterious effects on markers of hydration in active individuals”—in other words, it might help but it won’t hurt either.) This brew by Sam Adams is specifically made for marathoners, with the addition of sea salt to help replenish salt lost through sweat. Regardless of whether or not they drink it post-race, a six-pack of 26.2 Brew is bound to make them smile.