Buying gifts is rarely easy, but if your intended recipient happens to be a runner, be that Johnny New Jeans around the office who you’ve drawn for secret Santa, or your significant other who you want to spoil as they train for their first marathon, we’ve got you covered.
Read on for our top gifts for runners this festive season.
Gifts for the runner in your life who’s been good all year
These are our top gift ideas for runners who deserve to be spoiled this holiday season. If you’re feeling generous, these are the showstoppers and crowd pleasers that will win the day.
Garmin GPS watch
A brand new Garmin will elevate your running experience and make you feel like you’ve time travelled, which really puts into perspective how phenomenal a gift for a runner a GPS watch can be.
The way the Garmin Forerunner range is named can be a bit confusing, but essentially, the higher the number, the more advanced the watch is.
Of the current range, the Forerunner 55 is entry level, the Forerunner 255 is midrange, and the Forerunner 955 is the top-end, spare no expense, baller-deluxe model. While they slot into a classic good option, better option, best option, all the Garmin watches are profoundly capable pieces of kit. A Forerunner 55 is infinitely more advanced than the midrange watches from five years ago.
If a GPS watch is the route you want to go down, check out our article on how to sift through the noise and pick the right watch for its intended wearer. And if you see watches in our range where the number ends 45, don’t sleep on these. They’re the previous iterations and in 2019, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me they could be improved to the point that I’d want to upgrade… but here we are.
Shokz headphones (£79.95-£159.95)
A pair of Shokz headphones is a big winner on two fronts.
Firstly, they get a sleek, lightweight pair of Bluetooth headphones that can sync with either their phone or, if it’s music-capable, their watch. Secondly, the sound is through bone conduction, so there’s some peace of mind if they’re out running in the dark. They’ll hear traffic as well as their jams because bone-conduction technology leaves the ear open and the runner alert to potential hazards.
Not convinced? Head into your local Run4It shop to try out one of the demo models.
We’ve got options and ensembles to suit all budgets and tastes.
From top end waterproof jackets for passing kit checks at mountain races, to technical shorts and tees to get people off on the right foot in their running journey.
Top picks for secret Santas and stocking fillers
These gifts all come in under the £30 mark, so are ideal for secret Santa draws that are into their running, or as stocking fillers if you’re in a pinch.
Socks get a bad rap as Christmas presents go, but a good pair of running socks are an essential part of a runner’s wardrobe, and you can never have too many. Running socks use moisture wicking materials to move sweat away from the skin, and typically have a fit that’s anatomically dialled to the shape of the foot.
Some of our top picks include:
- Hilly Marathon Fresh: a great lightweight sock featuring a Polygiene treatment for anti-odour.
- Feetures Elite Light Cushion Mini Crew: a higher fitting sock ideal for trail running or for those preferring more coverage. It doesn’t hurt that the Mini Crew boasts some of the most striking designs we range.
- Balega Enduro: it perfectly moulds to the contours of the foot, offering an excellent fit with Balega’s signature V-Tech Arch Support.
Hats and gloves (£20-£26)
These are an easy win as running gifts go. Just a pair of gloves or the hat, or even a matching set if you’re feeling generous. Good running gloves and hats will be lightweight but add just the right amount of extra warmth. They'll be moisture wicking, and not too thick to compromise your ability to open your pockets and find your keys.
Some of our favourites include:
- Ronhill Bobble Hat: always a perennial favourite but new colourways mean this classic has never been more gift-worthy.
- Ronhill Afterhours range: reflective options for a beanie, headbands, and gloves in a range of colours.
Lock Laces (£6.99)
These elasticated laces feature a locking mechanism that turns any sports shoe into a slip-on with adjustable tension. Triathlon circles know Lock Laces well as they make the transition from bike to run far smoother, but they could be an underrated stocking filler for runners who can be a bit lazy when it comes to lacing up their shoes.
If you see the person you’re buying for frequently kicking their runners off without untying their laces this could be the running gift they didn’t know they needed. A game changer and a bargain.
It always helps to have an idea of what people have already read, but a good starting point here would be to check out our article on 10 inspiring running books.
For the person who has specifically asked for running shoes
The obvious gift idea for a runner is last for a reason…
Running shoes can be very, very specific to a runner. Feet present infinite problems and running shoes present finite solutions. Some people are only able to run in one or two models that cater to their gait. The importance of matching the right shoe to the right runner is what our business is built on.
That being said, not everyone lives local to a Run4It shop, and every runner enjoys unboxing a brand new pair of running shoes on Christmas day. You're literally putting the tools in their hands to run off whatever gargantuan feast lies in wait for them. If delivering that experience is non-negotiable, I’d recommend you check what model they’re currently running in. You could potentially get them that shoe or its update in a fresh new colourway.
But, failing all the above, so long as you at least have their shoe size, here are some of the most giftable running shoes in our range and why they might be a good shout.
Carbon-plated shoes for racing and faster sessions
Any runner looking to hit PBs or get the most out of their faster sessions will appreciate a carbon-plated shoe. They maximise energy return and can help minimise the strain on muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
We stock a broad range of carbon-plated shoes, but highlights include Nike's Alphafly NEXT% 2 and Saucony's Endorphin Pro 3. Both shoes use Pebax-based superfoams, making them incredibly responsive, soft, and light weight, with the carbon plates giving extra leverage and structure to make these two of the fastest pairs of shoes money can buy. Either would make excellent gifts for runners chasing that elusive PB.
Trail running shoes for escaping the asphalt
A good pair of trail running shoes can give someone the means to mix up their training, and as running off-road minimises the risk of overuse injuries due to uneven surfaces, things like stability are not a big consideration. They just need to be comfortable, and have the appropriate outsole and midsole for the intended terrain and distance.
Two options that seldom fail to hit their mark are the Saucony Peregrine 12 and the Hoka Speedgoat 5. Simply put, these are two of the most versatile shoes you can buy. Short of the sloppiest, steepest hillsides, there's not much these two can't handle between them, making either pair an excellent gifts for runners.
If the runner in your life is hitting a really broad mix of terrains, opt for the Peregrine. Its slightly longer, chevron-shaped lugs really dial it in to the muddy British countryside. If they prefer rockier, more hardpacked trails and like to go longer, opt for the Speedgoat. It was designed for racing 100 miles over rugged terrain so it thrives on coastal paths and jagged mountain trails.
Running shoes for daily pavement-pounding
This is where it can get a bit complicated. As the shoes for daily runs are the shoes covering the most miles, It's very important to get this right. You'll read as many bad reviews as good ones for any given shoe, because everybody's feet are different. This can make them a tricky subject when it comes to selecting gifts for runners.
If you're overwhelmed by the amount of choice, have a look at this article. It breaks down the categories and can help you narrow down the options.
A Run4It gift card and +runlab booking
This is the safe and sensible option if you're in easy reach of one of our stores. Especially if the intended recipient is new to running or just picking the sport back up.
The average price for a pair of proper running shoes is around the £130 mark, so a gift card to a value in this neighbourhood and a booking for one of our +runlab appointments puts their feet in the best hands.