If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us it’s that the greatest gift of all is being able to get out running – whenever, wherever, no matter how far or fast we go.
Covering road and trail in turn, here are some of our top picks for presents toimprove your running, or a loved one’s running, in 2021 and beyond.
Best gifts for road runners
If you or the runner in your life are seeking maximum comfort to run further, check out the ASICS GEL-Nimbus, packed with shock-absorbing GEL technology. It’s stability counterpart, the ASICS GEL-Kayano, features a firmer foam (DUOMAX) on the medial (inner) side of the foot, which provides additional stability and prevents excessive pronation.
The highly responsive HOKA Carbon X has a carbon fiber plate embedded in the midsole and its benefit is simple: it propels you forward and accelerates your toe-off to make fast-paced running effortless. Ideal for quick sessions, tempo runs and races, it can withstand more mileage than a pure racing shoe. For a lighter, more responsive and stiffer option, opt for the new HOKA Rocket X. Featuring less foam than the Carbon X, it’s the perfect race-day companion. It offers an incredible snappy underfoot feel and is perfectly suited to pushing the pace over shorter distances..
For all-round comfort
For reliable comfort on any run, you can’t go wrong with the popular Brooks Glycerin. Packing DNA LOFT cushioning (Brooks’ softest ever midsole), a plush fit and super soft transitions that make every stride luxurious – it doesn’t get softer than this.
The Run4It team can help you determine whether a neutral or stability shoe is right for you. In-store we offer a free analysis and shoe fitting called +runlab, currently available by appointment only. Book in at run4it.com/book.
For immediate guidance, checkout our article below dedicated to this very subject!
Every great pair of running shoes deserve a great pair of running socks! The Balega Enduro is a firm favourite. It perfectly moulds to the contours of your foot, offering an excellent fit with Balega’s signature V-Tech Arch Support. With its optimal cushioning, hand-linked seamless toe construction and high heel tab, it ensures a perfect fit and great comfort on for every run.
Road and urban runners can embrace the darker mornings and early evenings of Autumn safely, with high-visibility gear. The Ronhill Life Nightrunner range is great for runs in the dark, featuring 360° reflective print and iridescent reflective strips, making it easy for cars, cyclists and pedestrians to spot you in motion.
For many runners music helps the miles go by! AfterShokz offer a welcome and safe alternative to traditional headphones and earbuds, by using bone conduction technology to deliver music through your cheekbones, keeping your ears completely open to hear ambient sounds, for maximum awareness!
Garmin Forerunner 245
“If it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen”
For those who want to track their runs, know more about their fitness and performance, and improve on previous times, the Garmin Forerunner 245 is a firm contender. This GPS running smartwatch tracks advanced running dynamics and evaluates your training to let you know if you’re under or over training. It’s like having a coach on your wrist!
The music version (the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music) stores up to 500 songs on your wrist and syncs with Spotify (premium subscription required) so you can tune in with wireless Bluetooth headphones (like AfterShokz) while you run and leave your phone behind!
Check out our seasonal offer on Garmin ~ Save over £30 on selected GPS running watches!
If you’re not sure exactly what kind of trails you or the runner in your life will be running on, it’s hard to go wrong with the Saucony Peregrine 10 – it’s by far one of the most versatile trail shoes on the market. The multi-directional lugs on the outsole means the Peregrine performs exceptionally well on steep, muddy slopes without feeling like a pair of football boots when you hit tarmac or harder-packed sections of trail. A light, well-cushioned, low profile shoe that will perform well on any adventure.
Most rugged or go long
For the runner who likes to disappear off to the woods for hours on end and come back talking about rough, rocky mountain trails, a pair of HOKA Speedgoat 4s could change your life. The Speedgoat 4 has a full Vibram Megagrip outsole which is super sticky on wet rocks and highly durable. The combination of HOKA’s Metarocker geometry alongside an oversized midsole makes this a really cushioned, smooth ride.
Most nimble or go fast
For the mountain goat who likes to be fast on their feet on rolling trails and technical descents, consider a pair of Salomon Sense Pro 4s. Close to the ground with a modest stack height and a low 4mm heel-to-toe drop. The midsole uses Salomon’s Optivibe cushioning which minimises vibration – one of the main causes of muscle fatigue while running – without sacrificing on delivering a responsive, snappy underfoot feel.
Don’t miss our seasonal offer on selected trail shoes ~ Save over £20 on the Saucony Peregrine 10 & HOKA Challenger ATR 5.
When the shoe rack is overflowing with running shoes, drawers are full to the brim of technical tees, and the GPS watch makes your computer look like an abacus… what’s left? The obsessive runner can always do with more running socks, and for those focused on the trails there are few better performers than the Hilly Off Road Anklet. This is a warm, cushioned sock made from merino wool, which is extremely breathable and anti-microbial. This is a hard-wearing sock that’s ideal for off-road adventures through the winter months.
Living in the UK means trail running through the winter months will be wet and windy. So why not treat yourself or the deserving runner in your life, to the best waterproof jacket in the game? The GORE® Wear R7 GTX SD Trail Hd Jacket is totally waterproof and windproof, highly breathable and form-fitting, abrasion and tear-resistant enough to be used with a light backpack or running vest, stows into its own front pocket for easy storage, and weighs just 175 grams (size dependent). And because the GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY fabric causes the water to persistently bead on its outer surface, it’s dry and ready to pack away in just a few quick shakes.
This jacket pairs very well with the GORE® R5 GTX Infinium Tights. They utilise Gore Wear’s Windstopper technology throughout, and have extra protection on the areas most vulnerable to the cold. These comfortable, form-fitting tights are completely windproof and water resistant – a great gift for anyone with plans to go running up their local hills on a freezing cold February morning.
SHOP GORE® WEAR
Salomon Hydration Vest
The Salomon Advanced Skin 5 Set is one of the most versatile race vests available. For the runner looking for something capable of carrying all the necessities to stay safe in the hills but light enough to keep things stripped down for race day, this is definitely one for the wishlist! The pack’s innovative closure system adjusts to the wearer’s body shape precisely and quickly. The whole construction uses stretchy, breathable materials that minimise bounce and allows constriction-free breathing. It takes two 500ml bottles on the chest and features two stretchy pockets below, giving fuss-free upfront access to nutrition, gloves, and anything else they might need in a hurry. The large stretch back pocket has enough capacity to hold any mandatory kit and even has an insulated pocket to keep a 1.5 litre bladder (sold separately) nice and cool.
Garmin Forerunner 945
The Garmin Forerunner 945 makes an extra special gift or treat! It can run on full GPS mode for 36 hours – three times as long as most other sports watches – making it a game changer for covering ultra-distances. Factor in that it’s about 37 percent lighter than most watches in the Fenix range, the highly detailed mapping features, the altimeter (so you can see how much you’ve climbed in real time, before uploading to the app), storage space for 1,000 songs, the ability to record open water swims, more metrics than even the biggest tech nerds will have time to utilise, and there’s very few watches on the market that can compete with this.
Gifts for all
Give the gift of motivation with a subscription to a popular running magazine such as Runner’s World or Trail Running magazine. Or pick up one of these recommended sporting reads, guaranteed to inform and inspire…
This season, Run4It is celebrating all the wondrous gifts that running can give us – from the people it brings into our life, to the places it takes us, to the lessons it teaches us. Share what gifts running has brought you with us on Instagram, using @run4it_ and #thegiftofrunning.