The Best Gift Ideas for Runners That a Running Coach Loves

From smart watches to socks, find the perfect gift for the runners in your life

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Believe it or not, running requires a lot of gear. Runners love an endless supply of workout clothes, tech tools, and recovery contraptions to enhance their running routine. If you’re shopping for someone who’s obsessed with running, you may feel overwhelmed by the vast number of running clothes, gear, and gadgets to sort through, but considering your budget and the type of runner you're buying for can help you narrow down your choices.

Reviewed & Approved

A top gift pick for runners of all levels is the Garmin Forerunner 245 Smartwatch for its reliable GPS and data tracking. The Bombas Tri-Block Ankle Socks are a good pick for any runner because they're cushiony and breathable and the company donates socks for every pair sold.

A factor to consider when selecting a gift for a runner is what the runner's goals are. Someone training for a marathon has different needs than someone who runs casually for fitness. Similarly, someone who trains on wooded trails has different needs than someone who runs their neighborhood sidewalks. When evaluating gifts for our list, we considered cost, overall value, the type of running the gift supports, and the type of location the gift is good for.

Here are the best gift ideas for runners on the market.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Running Smartwatch

4.7
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Smartwatch

Amazon

A GPS smartwatch like the Garmin Forerunner is a top pick for any runner who wants to track their stats. This sturdy and reliable GPS watch lets runners track data such as their miles, stride length, calories, and heart rate (heart monitor strap sold separately). Plus, this 245 model has music streaming capabilities, so there’s no need to bring your phone along if you want to listen to tunes while you run.

Price at time of publication: $217

Garmin Forerunner 235

Verywell Fit / Joline Buscemi

BodyGlide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

Amazon

This tried-and-true product has a huge fanbase of distance runners who use it to avoid painful chafing. Just rub some Body Glide on chafing-prone areas, and the invisible, dry, and protective barrier will repel friction and moisture, helping to stop the skin irritation caused by rubbing. 

Price at time of publication: $11

Bombas Tri-Bloc Ankle Socks

Bombas Tri-Bloc Ankle Socks

Athleta

Runners can never have too many socks, but once they try these high-performance ones from Bombas, they may not want any others. With a cushioned footbed and optimal breathability, they excel in the areas of comfort and blister protection. Even better, for every pair of socks purchased, Bombas donates a pair to homeless shelters. 

Price at time of publication: $13

Etsy Run Happy Bracelet

Run Happy Bracelet

Etsy

Runners will love to wear this motivational bracelet to remember why they started running and as a reminder to always find joy in it. Choose from over 20 different cord colors.

Price at time of publication: $13

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews

Honey Stinger

These delicious energy chews from Honey Stinger give runners something to look forward to during their long runs and races. Available in eight flavors, they’re organic, gluten-free, and provide much-needed fuel for any workout.

Price at time of publication: $28

Tough Headwear Running Beanie

Tough Headwear Running Beanie

Amazon

Runners will look forward to outdoor runs in the cold when they’re wearing this comfy lightweight beanie hat. Its brushed thermal lining provides ultimate heat retention, and the stretchy, breathable fabric effectively wicks away sweat, so the wearer doesn’t get wet and cold.

Price at time of publication: $10

Trigger Point Foam Massage Ball

Trigger Point Foam Massage Ball

Amazon

This compact massager is ideal for digging into tough knots and sore muscles, especially when you’re traveling and don’t want to pack a large foam roller. It’s especially good for targeting areas where runners get tight, such as their calves and piriformis.

Price at time of publication: $24

Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Amazon

Perfect for on-the-run or post-run hydration, these Nuun electrolyte tablets provide runners with the minerals their bodies need, such as magnesium and potassium. They just add the tablet to water for natural, low-calorie hydration with a burst of fruity flavor.

Price at time of publication: $23

New Balance Lightweight Running Gloves

Tough Headwear Running Beanie

Amazon

Even if they already own a pair of running gloves, runners always appreciate an extra pair to keep in their running jacket, gym bag, or car. Comfortable, stretchy, and easy to wash, these New Balance lightweight running gloves are a good addition to a winter running wardrobe. They also have useful features, such as grippy traction on the palms, touchscreen-compatible fingertips, and reflective elements.

Price at time of publication: $18

Run Forever Sports Calf Compression Sleeves

Run Forever Calf Compression Sleeves

Run Forever

For travel, warm-ups, and post-run recovery, runners love the circulation boost and inflammation relief from compression sleeves. They can even help with those annoying shin splints

Price at time of publication: $15

Gone for a Run Runner's Race Medal Hanger

medal hanger that says gone for a run

Amazon 

Rather than just sticking their race medals in a drawer, this medal hanger lets runners keep their collection organized and beautifully displayed. Made from laser-cut steel with a powder-coated black finish, it’s very sturdy and can hold about 24 medals.

Price at time of publication: $30

Well Told Design Etched Marathon Pint Glass

Uncommon Goods Etched Marathon Pint Glass

Uncommon Goods

A unique gift for marathoners, these pint glasses are the perfect way to celebrate their accomplishments. They’re beautifully etched with the routes and surrounding city maps of many big-city marathons, plus they feature finish line coordinates and dates of the inaugural race.

Price at time of publication: $20

Brooks Sherpa Hat

Brooks Sherpa Hat

Running Warehouse

This sleek, lightweight, and extremely comfortable hat from Brooks provides protection for sunny and rainy conditions, and it also has excellent airflow and ventilation, so you don’t overheat when it's hot out. With an adjustable strap, you can get a customized fit, so the hat works for both men and women.

Price at time of publication: $18

Nathan Hipster Running Belt

Nathan Hipster Running Belt

Amazon

Perfect for securely stashing on-the-run essentials, this running belt from Nathan stretches to fit the contours of your body. Super-soft and comfortable, it has multiple pockets and can fit larger phones.

Price at time of publication: $10

Engo Oval Blister Prevention Patches

4.7
Engo Oval Blister Prevention Patches

Amazon

Give your favorite runner the gift of a pain-free run with these patches that adhere to your shoe to help eliminate friction and protect your feet from blisters. They can be trimmed to fit any shoe size or shape and are easy to stash in a pocket or running belt for mid-run application.

Price at time of publication: $16

Athleta Vital Headband in Powervita

Vital Headband in Powervita

Athleta

This popular Athleta headband actually stays put, keeping your hair off your face and wicking away sweat. It also won’t give you a headache and doesn't leave a kink in your hair when you remove it.

Price at time of publication: $14

The Buddy System Hands-Free Dog Leash

The Buddy System Adjustable Hands-Free Dog Leash

Amazon

This hands-free leash makes it super easy for runners to bring their four-legged friend along on the run. It attaches to the runner’s waist, so it won’t mess up their stride.

Price at time of publication: $35

Bose Sport Earbuds

4.7
Bose Sport Earbuds

Bose

These runner-friendly wireless headphones are designed to stay secure and comfortable for the entire run. They’re also sweat- and water-resistant, and they are easy to adjust with just a light touch.

Price at time of publication: $150

Tribe Cell Phone Armband

Tribe Cell Phone Armband

Amazon

A perfect gift for anyone who runs outside, the Tribe armband offers a safe and comfortable way to carry a phone. It’s water resistant and has room for large phones as well as keys or other small items.

Price at time of publication: $15

Petzl Actik Headlamp

Petzl Actik Headlamp

Amazon

Keep your favorite runners safe with this rechargeable headlamp, designed to help runners see and be seen in low-light conditions. It has several different modes and levels of intensity and is also very useful for camping, hiking, and other activities. 

Price at time of publication: $48

Vitscan Activated Charcoal Odor Absorber Bags

Vitscan Activated Charcoal Odor Absorber Bags

Amazon

The charcoal bags are perfect for gym bags, sneakers, cars, or any other place where runners may be concerned about bad smells lingering. The activated charcoal eliminates odors by absorbing them, not covering them up.

Price at time of publication: $24

She’s Birdie Safety Alarm

She's Birdie Personal Safety Alarm

Nordstrom

Staying safe while hitting the pavement shouldn’t be an afterthought. Gift the runner in your life a sense of security with this personal alarm from Birdie. We love that it’s created by (and for) women and features both a loud siren and a flashing strobe light. 

Price at time of publication: $30

Gone For a Run BibFOLIO Plus Race Bib and Medal Display

Gone For a Run BibFOLIO Race Bib and Medal Display

Courtesy of Amazon

Celebrate your favorite runner’s accomplishments with this thoughtful race bib and medal display. Instead of keeping a drawer or storage bin filled with race paraphernalia, use this decorative display to accent a home gym, office, or bedroom. It will remind them of the miles they’ve put in and motivate them to keep going.

Price at time of publication: $70

Preserve your hair while you get in your miles.: Athleta Mini Scrunchie 6-Pack

Athleta Mini Scrunchie 6-Pack

Athleta

Preserve your hair while you get in your miles. These scrunchies will help keep any ponytail in place without tearing or tugging. Plus, the bright colors make for a statement accessory on your wrist.

Price at time of publication: $16

Drybar Detox Original Scent Dry Shampoo

Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo

Nordstrom

Dry Shampoo is a long-haired runner’s best friend. Morning runners, especially, may rejoice with the time-saver this dry shampoo provides. Skip the wash, and simply spray this super-absorbent formula that leaves your hair looking and feeling clean—with a super subtle scent.

Price at time of publication: $21

What to Look for in Gifts for Runners

Cost

You’ll want to think about what you want to spend on your runner. Running clothes and gear can range dramatically in cost, starting low with a running belt or smaller accessory and soaring much higher for top-quality leggings or a watch. Choose a gift that matches your preferred price point. It’s always the thought that counts and your runner recipient will appreciate any gift that helps celebrate their favorite activity.  

Running Goals

Consider your runner’s goals when choosing a gift. If they are just starting out and trying to build their mileage and skills, maybe they would enjoy new clothes or shoes. If they are a more experienced runner, they might like a running watch or a new recovery tool. A runner’s goals can tell you a lot about what kinds of gear and gadgets they may want or need. 

Location

Depending on where your runner lives and trains, they'll need different gear. In the colder months, they may want new running gloves or a warm hat or headband. If they live somewhere with a lot of rain, consider waterproof jackets, pants, and armbands to keep their phone safe.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I determine which gift is best for the runner in my life?

    Think about what your runner may get the most use out of. Do they need more workout clothes or accessories? You may want to get them more running pants or a pair of gloves, or a hat for the winter months. Have you heard them complain of injuries or blisters? If so, they may appreciate gifts that help with blister prevention and recovery, such as a massage ball or gun, compression garments, or high-quality running socks.

  • What are some ways to personalize a gift for a runner?

    There are so many fun ways to personalize a gift for the runner in your life. You can give them a running-related gift to commemorate an accomplishment, such as a new personal record or completing their first 5K, half marathon, or full marathon. They also might enjoy having their running belt, gloves, or hat personalized with their name or initials.

  • What should I write in the card when giving a running gift?

    Write something inspiring or encouraging for your runner in your card. Many runners have running mantras they repeat to themselves to motivate them on long-distance runs. It would be even more special if the mantra came from someone they love. You can also write an inspirational quote about running on your card. 

  • What should every runner have?

    There are so many accessories, gear, and gadgets for running that it’s impossible to have them all. However, there are some non-negotiables that are essential for every runner. Runners should definitely have comfortable running shoes and clothes. Leggings or shorts with pockets are very useful for storing phones, keys, and energy gels or snacks. If your runner enjoys listening to music during their runs, good earbuds that don’t fall out are also a must-have. 

Why Trust Verywell Fit

An avid runner and marathon running coach, Christine Luff loves researching and shopping for the perfect running gear and gadgets for running friends and family members. She inevitably also finds something to satisfy her own running needs and desires.