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

Courtesy of Amazon

A GPS smartwatch like the Garmin Forerunner is a top pick for any runner that 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.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Verywell Fit / Joline Buscemi

BodyGlide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

Courtesy of 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. 

Bombas Tri-Bloc Ankle Socks

Bombas Tri-Block Ankle Socks

Courtesy of Bombas

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. 

Etsy Run Happy Bracelet

Run Happy Bracelet

Courtesy of Etsy

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

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews

Courtesy of 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.

Tough Headwear Running Beanie

Tough Headwear Running Beanie

Courtesy of Tough Headwear

Runners will look forward to outdoor runs in the cold when they’re wearing this lightweight, comfy 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.

Trigger Point Foam Massage Ball

Trigger Point Foam Massage Ball

Courtesy of 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.

Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun sport electrolyte drink tablets

Swanson Health

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.

New Balance Lightweight Running Gloves

New Balance Lightweight Running Gloves

Courtesy of Running Warehouse

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.

Run Forever Sports Calf Compression Sleeves

Run Forever Calf Compression Sleeves

Courtesy: 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

Gone for a Run Runner's Race Medal Hanger

medal hanger that says gone for a run

Photo from 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 coat black finish, it’s very sturdy and can hold about 24 medals.

Well Told Design Etched Marathon Pint Glass

Uncommon Goods Etched Marathon Pint Glass

Courtesy of 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.

Brooks Sherpa Hat

Brooks Sherpa Hat

Courtesy of 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.

Nathan Hipster Running Belt

Nathan Hipster Running Belt

Courtesy of 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.

Engo Oval Blister Prevention Patches

4.7
Engo Oval Blister Prevention Patches

Courtesy of 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 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.

Athleta Vital Headband in Powervita

Vital Headband in Powervita

Courtesy of 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.

The Buddy System Hands-Free Dog Leash

The Buddy System Adjustable Hands-Free Dog Leash

Courtesy of 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.

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.

Tribe Cell Phone Armband

Tribe Cell Phone Armband

Courtesy of 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.

Petzl Actik Headlamp

Petzl Actik Headlamp

Courtesy of 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. 

Vitscan Activated Charcoal Odor Absorber Bags

Vitscan Activated Charcoal Odor Absorber Bags

Courtesy of 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.

Final Verdict

For a high-tech gift that'll please runners who enjoy metrics and music streaming, go for the Garmin Forerunner 245 Running Smartwatch (view at Amazon). Runners can set and reach goals by tracking their miles, stride length, and calories. And for a budget-friendly gift that's sure to get a lot of use, the Body Glide Original Anti Chafe Balm (view at Amazon) offers relief for any runner suffering from chafing.

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 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 arm bands 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 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 in your card. 

  • What should every runner have?

    There are so many accessories, gear, and gadgets for running, 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.

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