Best Holiday Gifts of 2023 for All Your Favorite Runners

Person running towards present under a tree

What better way to start off one of your loved one’s 2023 training with the perfect holiday gift?

Everything in this runner’s holiday gift guide is either something I have, my husband has, my best running friends have (and have witnessed their amazingness), or is something that I really, really want but don’t have yet. I hope you find the perfect gift for the runner in your life!

Must-Have Running Gifts

This is the MUST HAVE gear the runner in your life wants and needs. (They may not know this yet, but I’m telling you it’s true and you can be the one to prove it to them.)

1.) Garmin Watch

If you have a runner in your life, they need a Garmin watch. I know everyone loves their Apple watches, but the GPS on those just doesn’t cut it (not to mention the HR tracking is poor, too.) And that Strava app so many runners like to use on their phones? That’s not accurate either. Runners who train, want and need to know exactly how much they’re running and at what pace. There is just no better option than a Garmin.

Here are my top 3 recommendations in different price ranges:

  • Value: If this will be their first Garmin watch and you know they don’t need all the bells and whistles, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is perfect. This is my go to watch for road running.
  • For the Music Lover: Garmin 255 Music – sync this baby up with your Spotify account and you’re ready to run.
  • Best: Garmin Fenix 7 Multisport – I have the older version of this watch (Fenix 6 which you can get a typically get a great deal on) and it is amazing. Plus, it’s an incredibly nice-looking watch, too, so I wear it even when I’m not running. This can be used this to track whatever sport you’re doing – not just running. It’s also great for a trail runner who needs mapping and elevation tracking capability.

2.) Patagonia Down Sweater Vest for Women and Men

Training can’t stop just because it’s cold. Marathon training during a Colorado winter brought beautiful, sunny days but it also brought freezing days with biting wind. But I couldn’t just skip my run on those cold days, and my Patagonia vest was 100% my favorite piece of running gear to get through those runs. Up until then it was strictly a fashion piece in my closet, but it quickly became a necessity. These vests are definitely an investment, but they are worth it! You can also find some less expensive options on Amazon, just make sure you’re choosing the down-filled so they get that warmth.

For more winter gear options read: Top 10 Tips to Survive Cold Weather Running

3.) Nathan 4L Pinnacle Hydration Vest for Men and Women

My life was forever changed when my hubby got a similar vest to this one year for Christmas. Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but before this I was using a simple one-bladder Camelbak hydration pack, and though it worked great, it only held one liquid. Since I use liquid nutrition from Tailwind for my long runs and marathons, I needed something that could hold two separate liquids. The Nathan 4L vest has room for a bladder if you want to add one and has two separate bottles in the front. It is lightweight, feels great, and holds everything I need to have a great run! (If you’re shopping for a trail runner, the higher capacity 12L vest would be a solid choice.)

4.) FlipBelt

I don’t personally have a Flipbelt because I prefer to wear pants or shorts with pockets, or wear my hydration vest if it’s a long run. But I know several runners who love these! They are a great size for stashing your phone, an energy gel, a small water bottle such as a Fitly flask (my fave small water bottle), id, and key.

5.) Tracer360 Reflective Vest

Running at night requires good visibility. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a runner who frequently is out the door before dawn or still running after dusk, this is a great one. Too many runners I know that run in the dark don’t wear enough reflective gear which can be really dangerous. The Tracer360 reflective vest comes in three sizes and then is adjustable from there to fit perfectly over whatever the runner is wearing no matter the season. It can be adjusted to six different colors and even has flashing options. I love mine!

Run with a pup? They also have a light-up vest for dogs to keep them safe, too.

For more night running gear options, read: Running at Night Safety: Tips and Gear for Running in the Dark

6.) Bluetooth Headphones

Do you know someone who still runs with corded headphones? In 2023, it might be time to literally cut that cord loose. If the runner you’re buying for listens to music blue tooth headphones (or earbuds rather) are a must. I started using the Aeropex bone conduction headphones a couple of years and they were a game changer. Because they are “open ear” I can hear my surroundings and because they don’t go in my ears I never have to worry about them falling out. Thinking the person you’re buying for would prefer in-ear headphones? You can’t go wrong with the PowerBeats Pro.

For a full list of the best Bluetooth headphones read: The Best Bluetooth Earphones for Runners (That Won’t Fall Out)

7.) Running Shoes

Did you know that runners should be replacing most shoes once they have around 400 miles on them…some even less? Which means chances are that the runner in your life is due for a new pair soon (I just bought two new pairs in the middle of the night last night when I couldn’t sleep…those holiday deals got me!)

Right now I’m loving the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 (a past model means a great deal, but here is the newest model of the shoe) for speed days and the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 for easy days.

I also know it can be really tough to buy shoes for another runner unless you know exactly what they love to wear (and you know their size). My recommendation is to be a sleuth and find out this information somehow or you could just get them a giftcard to a place like Running Warehouse which has tons of shoe options for them to choose from. I know giftcards aren’t the most creative gift out there, but at least they’ll get exactly what they want!

8.) Foam Roller

Every runner needs a foam roller. There is just nothing better, in my opinion, to get deep into those sore muscles and tissue that you get after a speed session or a long run. And they are really inexpensive…making them an easy gift for your favorite runner. I have a longer foam roller, but the shorter ones are great for portability. Here is the one I have.

9) Shirt with a Watch Window

So runners don’t NEED shirts with watch windows, but they do need shirts. So why not get them one that has thumb holes, a pocket for their phone, AND a watch window? This was on my Christmas list last year and now I have two of them. Great for cold-weather runs with gloves and a vest and you can still watch your paces on your Garmin.

This is the Element Crew for Men but no watch window for him, I guess!

Also LOVE the Flyout Long Sleeve from Oiselle.

Best “Just For Fun” Runner Gifts

Do they NEED these items to run? No, but they may just give them that extra motivation they need on a day when it all seems like too much. I love these gifts simply because they’re an excellent reminder of why we love this crazy sport so much and that we’re not alone in the pursuit of our goals.

1.) Running Books

There are plenty of amazing books to be read about running, here are just a a few of my top recommendations!

  1. Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor – for the runner who needs to be inspired.
  2. Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi – for the runner who wants to follow principles to be a lifelong runner.
  3. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – for the runner who loves all things business, inspiration…and Nike shoes.
  4. Born to Run by Chris McDougall – for any runner of any level! This book is simply amazing.
  5. Running Rewired by Jay Dicharry – for the runner who wants to start adopting more technique and strength training into their running regimen.
  6. Run Fast. Eat Slow. by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky – for the runner who loves to cook.

2.) Erica Sara Running Jewelry

These pieces of jewelry are so unique and beautiful. I don’t have a piece myself yet, but I sure hope to get one after I finally get that Boston Marathon under my belt. There are specific race designs, but for the runner who probably didn’t get to run the race of their choice in 2023, there are plenty of other options the female runner in your life will love to receive.

3.) Medal Wall Display

I had been wanting one of these for years, but it’s just not the type of thing you normally buy yourself, you know? It definitely wasn’t something I needed so I just never bought myself one. Last year, my parents got my husband and I a “couples” one, and now we can proudly display all of our medals from the last umpteen years of running in our rec room. This is a fantastic present if you want to give the runner in your life something special that they will actually use.

Best Stocking Stuffers/Small Gifts Under $25 for Your Fave Runner

1.) Tifosi Sunglasses

This is my favorite place to get sunglasses. They are affordable, stay put, don’t fog up, come in lots of fun colors and styles and best of all, they don’t scratch up easily like other brands I’ve tried. My favorite style is the Swank.

I also love a fun pair of Knockarounds, but you just have to take really good care of them so they don’t scratch.

Sunglasses make a great stocking stuffer and you really can’t have too many pairs, can you??

2.) Strava Subscription

Strava recently changed their pay structure, and what you get for free is pretty minimal now. So if you have a runner in your life who doesn’t have that little orange logo by their picture on Strava, maybe you can be the one to give them one so they can start using all the benefits Strava has to offer. Print it out on a piece of paper and wrap it in a pretty bow and you are set to go!

3.) Nuun Hydration Tablets

Nuun tablets are great for staying hydrated while out on a run, but they’re also great for keeping runners hydrated when they’re not putting in the miles. In order for runners to reach their potential, hydration throughout the day is important. And let’s be honest, most of us have a hard time getting in the water we need to be each day. Nuun just makes it easier because it’s so delicious. These come in little cylinder packs that would be simple to pop in a stocking.

4.) Smartwool Socks

I have too many running socks, said no runner ever. I’ve tried others, but I always come back to Smartwool. They are just great, all-weather socks! I personally love the micro no-show socks, but my husband likes the crew. And if it’s really cold, I even wear the over-the-calf ski option and they are perfect!

If the runner you’re buying for always love to jazz it up, definitely check out Zensah socks…so many fun prints!

5.) Fitly Soft Flasks

I just found out about these this year and these were perfect for those medium long run days. You know the ones – where the run is long enough that you should be bringing water, but not long enough that you want to wear your full hydration attire. For my half marathon, I used two 5-ouce Fitly bottles that fit perfectly into the side pockets of my shorts. I put water in one and my favorite hydration drink in the other. The 8.5-ounce ones would definitely fit, too, and I plan to get those next.

Wishing you, your friends and family, and all the runners in your life a happy and healthy 2023 holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter, and miles of smiles.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays in 2023!

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