11 Unique Fitness Gifts to Buy for Athletes in 2021

Fitness products designed well outside of the box

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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 clearly 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.

Here are 14 recommended gifts you should definitely add to your wish list.

ZFOsports Adjustable Weighted Vest

Weighted vest product photo

For hardcore workouts, strap on a ZFOsports Adjustable Weighted Vest, and immediately increase the effort and calorie-burn of your exercise. The vest allows you to add or remove weight in small, one- to two-pound increments.

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

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

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.

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Foam Roller

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

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

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 pushup.

Trigger Point Performance Deep Tissue Massage Ball

Trigger Point Performance Deep Tissue Massage Ball

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

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

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

Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe

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

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, you should opt for something less expensive. Although this sounds like obvious advice, some will still spend more than they can afford. Not being able to buy the 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, you should 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 this person's health.

Fitness Goals

You should definitely ask yourself, "What are the fitness goals of the athlete?" If this person is working toward a marathon and it's wintertime, warm gloves and a hat for outdoor running might be a beneficial choice. If this person goes to the gym to lift weights, lightweight and dry-wicking shirts could be a wise gift, and you could find clothes in favorite colors or brands to personalize the gift.

FAQs

What are the rules of gift-giving?

With gift giving, certain etiquette guidelines include the following five rules:

  • 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 recipients: 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 you 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 get met with hurt.
  • Remember important dates, but giving a gift late is better than not doing anything at all.

How do you personalize your gift?

You can personalize a gift several ways:

  • Put their name to the product, such as adding an embossing on the inside of apparel or on the outside of a book.
  • For books, have the gift signed by the author to the gift recipient.
  • Write a special note to the gift recipient and include it with the gift.
  • Share a story behind the gift.
  • Make the gift an inside story or an inside joke, something that only the gift recipient would understand. For example, did you 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.

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