11 Unique Fitness Gifts to Buy for Athletes in 2022

From dive watches to socks, find the perfect gift for the athlete in your life

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Athletes can be hard people to shop for, but these one-of-a-kind gift ideas will make even the toughest competitor smile. While some are high-tech and others are decidedly less so, they were each designed by people who think well outside of the box. This not only makes for a unique gift but one that can actually enhance athletic performance.

Reviewed & Approved

The ZFOsports Adjustable Weighted Vest is a good pick for anyone who wants to level-up their workouts by adding weight in small increments. The TRX All-In-One Suspension Trainer is another good choice for a full-body, go-anywhere workout.

Fitness-related gifts can range from fancy things like a GoPro to simple items like a massage ball. When choosing a gift, consider the athlete's goals and training style, and where they train in the case of weather-related gifts. We selected fitness gifts for our list based on cost, fitness goals, and versatility of the product.

Here are the best unique gifts for athletes.

ZFOsports Adjustable Weighted Vest

4.6
Weighted vest product photo

Photo from Amazon 

For hardcore workouts, strap on a ZFOsports Adjustable Weighted Vest, and immediately increase the effort and calorie-burn of your exercise. This vest is a good pick as it allows you to add or remove weight in small, one- to two-pound increments for maximum adjustability.

Start slowly, and build up gradually over time. Before long, your strength will have increased to where you will be explosive in speed events and better able to sustain endurance activities.

TRX All-in-One Suspension Trainer

TRX Suspension Trainer
TRX Suspension Trainer. photo courtesy of Pricegrabber

The TRX Suspension Trainer in a hardcore home exercise kit created by a former Navy SEAL that uses your own body weight to get a full-body workout. It includes instructions for doing hundreds of different routines that can challenge everyone from beginners to extreme athletes. It's perfect for the athlete on the go.

Injinji Lightweight No-Show Toe Socks

Injinji toe socks product photo

 Photo from Amazon

If you've ever had to tape toes to avoid blisters or crowding in your shoes, you will definitely appreciate getting a pair of Injinji Toesocks. They are designed to prevent blisters by reducing internal friction and wicking moisture away from the feet with their patented CoolMax fabric.

Trigger Point Performance GRID 1.0 Foam Roller

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Amazon

There are plenty of therapeutic massage rollers on the market, but in our minds, the Triggerpoint Grid Foam Rollers takes the cake with its durable, hollow-core construction and variable ridged exterior that simulates fingertip, palm, and even thumb massage.

By shifting between the different zones, you can vary the amount of pressure on specific muscles and trigger points. The product comes with an instructional video that illustrates many of the techniques used by massage and physical therapists.

FINIS Duo Underwater Bone Conduction MP3 Player

FINIS Duo Underwater Bone Conduction MP3 Player

Courtesy of Walmart

The swimmer in your life will appreciate the Finis SwiMP3 player which uses bone conduction to deliver sound from your cheekbones to your inner ear. The player delivers a surprisingly crisp sound and can enhance the enjoyment of any workout, whether you are listening to favorite music or keeping up with your latest audiobook.

Perfect Fitness Perfect Pushup Elite

Perfect Fitness Perfect Pushup Elite

Courtesy of Amazon

The Perfect Fitness Perfect Pushup adds to your chest workout by allowing you the full range of motion while reducing damaging pressure to the wrists. Unlike other products on the market, this handy device has rotating handles that allow you to adjust your position for a more dynamic and comfortable push-up.

Trigger Point Performance Deep Tissue Massage Ball

Trigger Point Performance Deep Tissue Massage Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

TriggerPoint Massage Balls are great for getting targeted relief of minor aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, back, chest, and calves. Simply position the ball over a muscle and apply pressure by rolling the ball between yourself and the floor, wall, or any hard surface.

To achieve a deep tissue massage, apply moderate pressure for just five to seven seconds. You'll definitely be surprised at the difference a few seconds can make.

Pearl Izumi Men's Elite Thermal Arm Warmer

Pearl Izumi Men's Elite Thermal Arm Warmer

Courtesy of Pearl Izumi

Cyclists, runners, hikers, and climbers will appreciate a pair of Pearl Izumi Thermal Arm Warmers when embarking on an early-morning or cold weather workout. The anatomical design ensures a comfortable fit, while the four-layer thermal construction generates enough heat to be toasty but not overly hot.

Luminox Men's Quartz Navy Seal Dive Watch

Luminox Men's Quartz Navy Seal Dive Watch

Courtesy of Amazon

Another product designed by a former Navy SEAL, the Luminox Dive Watch meets the performance specifications of all three branches of the U.S. armed forces. This robust sports watch can withstand water resistance of 20 ATM/660 feet and is the perfect gift for the recreational scuba dive enthusiast in your family.

Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe

4.7
Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe

Courtesy of Amazon

They may look odd, but some athletes swear by the Vibram Five Finger Cross Trainers. The barefoot shoe design completely abandons the standard principles of heel cushion and arch stability in favor of a more natural and form-fitting experience.

GoPro Hero5 Waterproof Digital Action Camera

GoPro Hero5 Waterproof Digital Action Camera

Courtesy of Amazon

Cyclists, skiers, skateboarders, and adrenaline junkies will be able to share the thrill of their sport with the GoPro Helmet Hero, a professional quality, high-definition camera that delivers stunning 4K video and 12-megapixel photos in single, burst, and time-lapse modes.

What to Look for in a Fitness Gift for an Athlete

Cost

Everyone has a budget, whether small or big, and you should consider the price of the gift before purchasing. If the gift is simply out of your financial range, opt for something less expensive. Not being able to buy a particular gift can feel disappointing, but you still need to pay your bills. Most people are happy with any gift as the thought is what truly counts.

Location

If the gift is related to the weather, such as apparel or equipment, consider where the gift recipient lives. If it's in a cold part of the country, exercise gear that keeps your extremities warm could come in handy. If the recipient gets a lot of sun, apparel with UV protection is probably welcomed and it shows that you care about your loved one's health.

Fitness Goals

Ask yourself, "What are the fitness goals of this athlete?" If they are working toward a marathon and it's wintertime, warm gloves and a hat for outdoor running might be a welcome gift. If they love to go to the gym to lift weights, lightweight and dry-wicking shirts could be a wise gift. Find clothes in favorite colors or brands to personalize the gift.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the rules of gift-giving?

    Etiquette guidelines offer these five rules of gift-giving.

    • Focus on the other person’s needs and wants. Don’t make the gift about yourself and what you like.
    • Don’t make the gift about showing off wealth. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to give a meaningful gift.
    • Think of the gift recipient: What is something they talk about often? What is something you notice they don’t have and would benefit from receiving? How can you meet their needs? For example, if you notice they got cold on their last run, a pair of gloves might be a welcome, useful gift. For food gifts, make sure the gift meets all of their dietary needs.
    • Watch out for their feelings. If they are sensitive about their weight, for instance, books about losing weight could be hurtful.
    • Remember important dates, but giving a gift late is better than not doing anything at all.
  • How do you personalize a gift?

    You can personalize a gift in several ways. You might put your recipient's name on their gift, whether you add a monogram to a piece of apparel or a water bottle. If you're giving a book, have it signed by the author to the gift recipient.

    Write a special note to with the gift. You could share a story behind the gift or tell the person why you hope they'll like it.

    Make the gift an inside story or joke, something that only the gift recipient would understand. For example, did they step in mud on your last run together? A basket of cleaning products could make them laugh.

  • How do you select the right gift?

    To select the right gift, consider the recipient’s personality, needs, wants, and opinions. Put yourself in their shoes and that should spark ideas.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Elizabeth Quinn is an exercise physiologist and fitness consultant. She has worked in sports medicine clinics, corporate wellness facilities, and rehabilitation clinics, and is a former national silver medalist in road and track cycling.