Let’s be honest, men aren’t super helpful when it comes time to shop for a gift. When asked what they might like, the typical response of, “I don’t care,” leaves a well-intentioned gift-giver both frustrated and at a bit of a loss. On top of that, runners are as quirky and particular as they come—each with a preferred shoe brand, sock cut and cold weather solution.
We’re here to help.
From pepper spray to smart watches—and everything in between—we’ve compiled a list of the coolest gift ideas for the runner in your life to help ensure that you’re the real MVP when the wrapping paper comes off.
Garmin vivoactive HR$249.99 1 of 17
For the GPS Smartwatch that literally has it all, look no further than Garmin. The vivoactive HR watch uses Elevate writer heart rate technology that allows you to lose the chest strap heart monitor—and those insights are constantly available from the Garmin Connect app. The watch allows you to take calls, follow social media alerts—and even customize the face display with any image from your smart phone.
Cooler than that? The vivoactive HR was built with sport-specific perks. While running, the built-in accelerometer and GPS allows you to track data both indoors and out. Vibration alerts for heart rate, pace and run/walk intervals come in especially handy. But you will also want to keep it on your wrist for biking, swimming, skiing and golfing.
Yes, even on an off-day at the links the vivoactive HR will prove valuable with over 40,000 downloadable course maps worldwide. The golf app can simplify your view of the green and help track your score.
Saucony Freedom ISO$160 2 of 17
Simply put: The Saucony Freedom ISO is destined to become one of the best running shoes you'll ever wear.
Anyone familiar with the company's EVERUN Cushioning is also familiar with that feeling of additional kick near the end of a run. For those unfamiliar, EVERUN feels a lot like life support for your legs, returning energy—a sort of bounce and liveliness—throughout the run, which is particularly noticeable as distance increases.
With that in mind, the Saucony Freedom ISO was engineered with a full-length EVERUN midsole—the first of its kind. The result, as you might imagine, is magic. The shoe delivers a smooth, consistent, energized ride. It is also supremely versatile, with far more flexibility than you'd expect and a largely unstructured upper that feels almost minimalist.
With a release date of Dec. 1, this shoe will be the hit of the holiday season.
UA No Breaks Balaclava Hoodie$79.99 3 of 17
Under Armour really knocked it out of the park with the No Breaks Balaclava Hoodie. Essentially two products in one, the built-in balaclava fits high and snug around nose and cheekbones to keep you warm on those frigid runs, while the hoodie fits comfortably snug.
Your new favorite cold weather run garment leverages UA Microthread technology, which is a fancy way of saying that the fabric dries fast and stretches with you without clinging. Understated reflective graphics will keep you visible when it counts, but won't leave you looking like a traffic cone when it doesn't.
Beats Powerbeats3$199.95 4 of 17
Nothing kills a great run faster than rogue earphones. The buds we all know and love cannot be trusted for strenuous activity and, too often, over-the-ear headphones fit terribly. Beats changed the game with Powerbeats Wireless and they've continued along the path of excellence with the latest iteration: the Powerbeats3 Wireless.
The already great fit has been improved and the sound is outstanding—not just for Bluetooth sports headphones, but for any headphones. The Powerbeats3 are good to go for 12 hours on a full charge and a charge of just five minutes is good for an hour of playback. The upgrades over its predecessor are subtle, which is preferable, because if it ain't broke…
McDavid Recovery Max Tights$99.99 5 of 17
For endurance athletes, recovery is everything—and if you can look cool while you're at it, well, that's what we call a win-win. With that in mind, all McDavid does is win lately. The Recovery Max Tights are a must for any runner thanks to McDavid's Targeted Compression and Recovery Technology that utilizes body mapping to specifically increase blood flow to the glutes, thighs and calves. Meanwhile, hDc Moisture Management Technology keeps you cool and dry, and built-in side pockets provide the versatility we've come to expect.
With all of that fancy-pants jargon, you'd probably anticipate the requisite sacrifice of a few style points, but you'd be wrong. In addition to all black, McDavid gives you the option of staying fresh to death with a couple of flashier graphic design options.
Roka Phantom$275 6 of 17
There are a few common struggles that endurance athletes share—many of which can be traced back to sweat management. Perhaps no struggle is more frustrating than slipping, sliding sunglasses. Those fashion-forward aviators that you rock to brunch simply will not work while pounding pedals or pavement. So, instead, we must juggle our shades—one pair for putting in work, another for walking to work; never, under any circumstances, to be switched.
That is, until now.
Roka, one of the most well-respected endurance brands in the game, has solved this conundrum once and for all by—wait for it—providing sunglasses that are both functional and aesthetically acceptable. The Phantom, specifically, is a game changer. A performance aviator, the Phantom weighs just 20 ounces and is constructed with GEKO Pads on the nose and temples that prevent sliding altogether.
We've run miles and miles (and miles) without a hiccup, literally forgetting at times that we're wearing sunglasses at all—which, you know, is fine since we can now wear our performance shades whilst ordering a mimosa.
New Balance M4M Seamless Jacket$85.99 7 of 17
New Balance's Made for Movement collection is magic in it's entirety—perhaps best exemplified by the M4M Seamless Jacket. The jacket is supremely versatile and fits snugly in order to prevent chafing. Of course, the snug fit may also be cause for some runners to bump up a size based on preference.
NB does its part to keep you safe, too, with reflective details hidden into the design so that you're none the wiser until they're doing their job.
Polar M600$329.95 8 of 17
The new Polar M600 sport watch provides everything you'd expect—from activity tracking to phone notifications—but Polar didn't stop there. The M600 comes equipped with added GPS features and functionality, a heart rate sensor and third-party app integration via the Android Wear platform.
The water resistant watch is relevant to a variety of disciplines, including running and cycling. Polar Flow also makes an encore on this wearable, allowing users to train for any event up to marathon distance with customized training plans to help them meet their goals. The ability to store and play music is also a nice perk, which means you can leave your smartphone at home.
While high-performance athletes may opt for other devices, this watch boasts more than enough functionality for the average runner or cyclist to enjoy.
Brooks Spartan Pants$75 9 of 17
The Brooks Spartan Pants' lightweight, stretch polyester offers protection against all kinds of adverse weather conditions. The pants are semi-fitted with a relaxed fit through the leg that tapers at the ankle. Zip ankles are great for easy removal and zip hand pockets keep items secure while you run.
Simply put, you'll want to wear these from the couch to the grocery store and everywhere in between.
Sabre Pepper Gel$19.99 10 of 17
Maintain peace of mind on your run with a little Pepper Gel, compliments of Sabre. This model features an adjustable strap that fits over your hand, keeping it within reach at all times. The gel formula does not atomize and prevents wind blowback towards the user, which is a common complaint with most pepper sprays on the market.
This product comes in a variety of colors and would make a much better gift than pajama pants.
Mizuno Wave Rider 20$119.99 11 of 17
It should have come as no surprise that Mizuno would deliver yet another Wave Rider hit with its 20th edition of the brand's most popular running shoe—and, yet, there we were, jaws on the floor. The Wave Rider 20 was the last heavy hitter to make its way into the fall lineup, but Mizuno saved one of the very best for last.
Safe to say the new, more pliable Wave plate is a success and the U4icX foam cartridge located in the shoe's heel absorbs and softens foot strike to an extent that you have to experience to believe.
Perhaps best of all, despite the shoe's sturdy, structured build, the Wave Rider 20 maintains a fast, flexible feel, which is no small feat.
Brooks Drift Running Gloves$50 12 of 17
All gloves are not created equal. Need proof? Here you go.
The Drift Running Gloves come equipped with the much-needed tech-tipped thumb and index finger, which is nice. The differentiator, though? That would be the flip-over windproof mitt cover that provides a little additional protection against the elements if need be.
These gloves have no rival.
Mizuno Breath Thermo Running Socks$17 13 of 17
No one wants to open up a box of socks—unless, of course, they're receiving Mizuno's Breath Thermo Running Sock. Consistent with the rest of the collection, the Breath Thermo sock generates heat for a surprising level of warmth relative to its light construction, and the arch compression is as good as it gets.
These aren't just any ol' socks.
Saucony Race Pace SS Tee$68 14 of 17
First things first: The Race Pace tee is an advanced performance running shirt—not a weathered cotton blend T-shirt that's been your go-to Sunday funday selection for years. With subtle pinhole mesh and a reflective trim around the front pocket, this shirt is everything the serious runner could ask for.
The former bears mentioning because it looks and wears just like that go-to tee. From the split hem to the perfect fit and feel, this is a shirt you'll be reaching for on your off-days, too.
Oakley Latch Perf 5 Panel Hat$30 15 of 17
The five-panel hat by Oakley is the perfect go-anywhere hat for the active man. Whether you're going for a run, hitting the trail or visiting the park on a rest day, you'll want this cap covering your dome.
The perforated side panels provide maximum breathability to help keep you feeling as cool as you look—even on the hottest days.
Lumo Run$99 16 of 17
This clip-on wearable wants to be your running coach—no, seriously.
The Bluetooth-enabled sensor clips onto the back of your pants and pairs with your phone, collecting data over the first 10 minutes of your first run together while it learns your tendencies, speed and overall quality of your form. From there, your virtual running coach is on the job, monitoring your form and grading you across five metrics.
While it may be a bit much for the casual runner, it's the perfect solution for any runner in training—or anyone who runs frequently enough to risk injury with incorrect form.