Gifts for Runners: Please the Runners in your Life this Holiday Season!

Some love it, some loath it; for some it comes easy, and for others it’s their crucible. However, no matter where on this spectrum you fall, chances are there’s a list of people you need to give presents to this Holiday season. You might want to shop for someone else or just share some inspiration; in either case, this article can help you navigate your search for gifts for runners. Whether they’re just starting out or are a seasoned marathoner, we can help you find something that they will surely love.

(Please note that no products on this list are sponsored. The Berkeley Half Marathon doesn’t get any commission, compensation, or other benefits for mentioning these products.)

Written by Lucas Collins
Edited by Pavlína Marek

Can’t Miss with a Good Pair of Shoes

Shoes are probably the first thing you think about when it comes to running gear. They’re one of, if not the most important thing to consider. There is a sea of choices when it comes to picking shoes: insulated shoes versus more breathable ones, shoes with a shock-absorbing tread for harder running surfaces like asphalt, concrete, or any other pavement or more flexible ones for trail running. The runners in your life might even need some shoe spikes if their running trails don’t provide good traction.

In short, the options are extensive, and that’s not even taking into account the aesthetics they might like. Since shoes are a highly personal choice it would be hard to know exactly what your giftee might want or need, even if you’re a runner yourself. If a pair of shoes is what seems appropriate to get this season, I would suggest you get them a gift card to their favorite running store or online retailer. Thus, they’ll be able to choose the perfect pair while still receiving a great gift from you! 

A woman in Holiday pajamas puts on running shoes

Socks Come with the Territory

Socks have become something of an assumed ‘meh’ gift. However, for runners, good socks can be a serious idea! Much like other clothes, especially runners clothes, they can cost a decent amount off the shelf and feel harder to justify than larger items like pants or a jacket. For those reasons, good socks can make a great stocking stuffer or add-on for another item.

As with running shoes there might be some specific requirements you want to be aware of, but in general you should be pretty safe getting them anything that will hold up well and be comfortable.

Toe socks have become more popular in recent years, especially those by Injinji. For runners who aren’t in favor of toe socks, these PAPLUS Ankle Compression Socks, or many other socks like them, should be well-appreciated this Holiday season.

Winter Gear for our Brave Cold-Weather Runners

While the Bay Area runners enjoy warm and pleasant weather throughout most of the year, many people have to brave winter conditions to train for and run their races. The right gear can ensure they stay warm even in such weather.

Running Jackets and Pants

Something like this BALEAF running jacket can do just that. You want to look for jackets with a water-resistant outer layer to keep snow and rain at bay and an insulated inner layer to trap heat. Be sure it’s something that breathes or wicks away moisture, as trapped sweat defeats the purpose of that water resistant outer layer. 

Other good features to keep an eye out for are:

  • stretchy material, so the jacket doesn’t bunch up uncomfortably and leave exposed areas around the midsection or neck
  • sleeves with thumb loops or velcro or zippers at the wrist to prevent the same from happening around the arms
  • hoods or high neck hems for wet and windy conditions
  • pockets to secure items while running or simply to warm the hands

If you’re on the hunt for running pants instead of a jacket, you can pretty much look for the same features you’d want in a jacket to find a good pair.


Since you can’t really keep your hands stuffed in your pockets while running, gloves make for great gifts for runners. (Maybe they can go in together with some socks?) The criteria for gloves are fairly simple: insulated, tight at the wrist, and snug around the fingers so you aren’t battling a loose glove while fumbling for a zipper or tying a shoe. I would also add touch screen capability to that list, as having to peel off a glove to use your phone while your hand freezes is nobody’s idea of a good time. These SIMARI gloves check off those requirements ‘handily’. 

Things Other than Clothes

Shoes and clothes are crucial for runners, but what if they already have everything they need and want in that department? Fear not; the good news is, there are many more gifts for runners! Here are some cool, non-apparel gear they’ll surely like.


I find a majority of people like to listen to music on their runs to distract them, keep a certain pace, or just add some energy to their movement. The prevalence of wireless Bluetooth headphones has made listening to music a much easier and more enjoyable experience. No more wires that get tangled, ripped out of your ear, and pull you out of the zone.

Beats are a popular choice and have been for a while, with good audio quality and battery life, with a quick charge feature that helps ensure you won’t have to go on a run without your tunes. Their reputation comes with a price though, so if you’re looking for something that’s cheaper, a pair of JBL earbuds is a great choice. They also have a feature that allows ambient sound to pass through, allowing you to stay aware of your surroundings.


For recovery, a good electric massage gun can help relax muscles and ease any post-run soreness. As a bonus, they’re great to have around for any other aches and pains life might throw your way. The prices of these devices range quite a bit, but some mid-tier massage guns like this Hypervolt Go 2 will give you the quality you’re looking for without having to spend a fortune.

Foam rollers are another great addition to any runner’s gear. They don’t require electricity and are effective without breaking the bank. You’ll be able to find foam rollers in nearly any running or outdoor equipment store; for example, REI has several on offer!

Watches and Other Fitness Trackers

Lastly, this list would be incomplete without fitness trackers. Many have turned to these devices to track their progress and refine their routines to make the most of each session and see the best results each and every time. You can use one that is incorporated into another device, like an Apple smartwatch, or get a dedicated one.

Much like running shoes, what each person wants out of theirs can be very individualized. Based on what features are important for their future wearer, different running watches will be appropriate. Unless you can stealthily find out which of the following products best matches what the runner in your life wants out of it, the best course of action might, once again, be a gift card—perhaps even one personally made by you. Fitbit, Coros, Garmin, or Suunto are all popular choices with different features.

Gift shopping is always a giant bag of questions. Hopefully this list has provided you with some good suggestions, or at least helpful ideas on what to get when shopping for gifts for runners this Holiday season. 

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