It’s the holiday season and we thought it might be fun to put together some great gift ideas for that runner in your family or maybe just some things you might want to add to your own wish list. We tried to hit a mix of price points and cover everything from headphones to footwear, so there should be something for everyone. So without further ado, here is our holiday wish list for 2015.
BOCO Performance Headwear
BOCO is a mainstay in the performance headwear category and you’ve probably seen them before at numerous sponsored races, but they offer a number of awesome possibilities for the runner in your life. With the temperatures dropping, the performance fleece beanies are a very easy choice as a stocking stuffer and will keep your runner’s ears nice and toasty during their winter runs. The inner headband is fleece lined which gives you a little extra protection from the cold. My personal favorite in their lineup is the Technical Trucker and the reason for this is really the fit and styling. Not only are they well-crafted for long runs, providing you ample airflow and ventilation as well as moisture handling, but they just look great. I recommend getting a couple of these because they go just as well with a pair of jeans as they do out on the trail. The performance beanies are $24 and the Technical Truckers are $25. They are both available direct from BOCO.
This one is really for all the trail folks, ultra runners, as well as hikers and campers of course. The LifeStraw is basically a life saving device, in that it offers access to any water source when you are in need. It features an internal filtration system so you never have to worry about waterborne disease. So now while you’re out on the trail and you run out of water and you see a stream up ahead, you won’t need to worry about having an entire pump system with you or iodine tablets or boiling anything. You simply pop the straw in the water and drink. It’s as simple as that. It’s basically your doomsday, glad I have this in my back pocket, type device that you hopefully will never have to use, but when you do you know it will work. They do offer a number of other options in larger capacities as well, but the simple straw is perfect for a runner given its compact design. The basic LifeStraw is $19.95, make sure to check out the Steel version as well.
Trigger Point Rollers
There are actually a couple products from Trigger Point that fit the bill here and both can be a lifesaver. The GRID X Foam Roller we use regularly on the team and it is perfect for working out those calf and hamstring tightness issues as well as your IT band. This is perfect for after any long run and during the rehab of an injury. It hurts a little, but in a good way and they won’t regret having it. The next is the GRID STK Foam Roller and this one is definitely for your quads and while you can use it on your lower leg and other body parts as well, I find it really works the upper thighs the best. It definitely doesn’t provide the same level of true pressure as a traditional roller, but it really let you get in and work as hard as you want on those upper thigh muscles. Both are great to have and comes in a couple sizes. The GRID X is $49.99 and the STK is $34.99.
Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones
Bose is obviously a mainstay in the headphone market and the QuietComfort line have long provided travelers and cubicle workers with beautiful crisp sound, but they’ve never been something you’d want to wear outside. Their new sport line changes all that and gives you the superior sound quality of their higher end headphones in a sweat-proof sport package. With five great colorways to choose from and an in-line mic and volume controls, these things have covered all the basics. In our testing on the performance side, we found the sound rich and deep with fantastic bass. Additionally the simple in-ear lock design works well and we found no shifting around during runs, so a real plus on the fit side. We are really looking forward to Bose releasing a wireless version of these headphones as we think it will be unstoppable, but this is a great place to start. These are $116.95 and available direct or at your local electronics store.
Brooks Drift Shell Rain Jacket
If that runner in your life is complaining about all the rain we’ve been having, then the answer to that is the Brooks Drift Shell. This thing handles water like there’s no tomorrow and throughout all our testing, we found it to be bulletproof against wind and rain even in very heavy levels. It never soaked through and you can basically shake the water When you’re done. It actually does a great job retaining warmth as well, so even though it’s so lightweight you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that it will keep you nice and toasty in those mid 40s to low 20s temperatures when properly layered. It does not have a hood, but I’ll pair it with a BOCO Performance Fleece and I’m set for the cooler days. Most of the folks in the office also found it to be quite stylish and not to in your face and it actually became stable workwear for a few people. One big plus is the cuff design in that it’s a light neoprene that keeps any water from getting through. One note, is that we found it runs a little bigger, so a medium would give you a little extra room If you’re typically a medium. It has plenty of pockets and some reflectivity as well. It’s available for $135 from Brooks directly.
Suunto Ambit3 Run Watch
Suunto has been really on their game this year with the release of the Ambit3 Run specific model and we’re loving the performance we see from it. The watch is beautifully designed and comes in several colors, but if you’ve ever debated making a jump from Garmin, then this watch might be the reason. It’s got a nice big screen that’s fully customizable and the Movescount companion app works really well along with it. One of the shining stars for Suunto has always been data collection and the Ambit3 Run covers off on everything you’d be looking for. On the GPS side, we always experienced very little delay in acquisition which is a huge plus as no one likes to stand around waiting for your GPS. The Run is available with and without the HSo whether it’s for the trail runner or the roadie in your life, they will love this watch and I bet if anything it might even become their normal everyday. The design is simple and understated and while the face is large, it’s exactly what you need when you’re running. Suunto has also been having some great deals for the holidays, so definitely take a look while you can. It is $349 and available direct.
Altra Olympus 2.0 Trail Shoe
We obviously have some favorites here in the office, but there was no mistaking for anyone that Altra has really knocked it out with the new Olympus 2.0. Just released, this shoe offers maximum cushion in a slightly re-tooled design, but more than anything these things are built for stomping out trails at distance. They are also great for those runners looking to just get into trail running. The maximum cushion is, more than anything, welcome comfort for bridging treacherous terrain but at the same time, the Olympus stays nimble and quick and gives you maximum control. I’ll say from the time these things hit your feet, their plushness will leave you aching for the hills. It has all of the fantastic Altra features including the nice wide FootShape toebox, their velcro gator system (Gaiter Trap) on the back, and of course they are Zero Drop. Get them direct from their website for $150.
As much as its great to have an amazing running watch, we all tend to forget about the rest of the day. For that, we would invite you to take a look at the iFit Classic. It’s basically a fitness tracker that doubles as a very sharp professionally designed watch. The inner dials provide activity and caloric data behind break resistant glass and you use the side buttons to switch between information display. The iFit is waterproof to 5 meters so you can shower with it and it also logs your sleep patterns as well. It also has vibration alerts to make sure you get up and move and then auto detects the type of movement and tags accordingly. I love the idea we are getting a little bit of luxury out of fitness devices, I get a little tired of every display being so digital. The iFit Classic is available in white or black and is $199 direct.
Born to Run
Okay, so most runners have probably read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, but I listed here because it’s just a great story and if you haven’t read this or the runner in your life hasn’t, then I would definitely tell them to take a look. It primarily focuses on what we call ultra running and centralizes around trail, but the focus is a lot larger. It’s about re-examining how you run and personally has affected the technique and style of many runners for the better. There is some loosey-goosey science, but the overarching story is fantastic and the characters you meet are compelling. They’ve already licensed it for a movie, so have a read before that comes out and see what you get out of it. The overarching goal of the book is to allow people to run longer and safer and that should make runners happier for a long while to come.
Voke Energy Tablets
I just wanted to throw these out here is a great little stocking separate idea. These Voke tablets are somewhat new to the market, but they’ve already made great in-roads and I definitely recommend people trying these over some other energy boosters. The best part about Voke is that they’re all natural and made with truly 100% real ingredients. It’s as simple as popping one in your mouth chewing it up downing some water and boom, you got a little boost, about the same as a cup of tea. There is zero sugar in them and they are basically made from caffeine, cherry, and guarana and colored with beet. Taste wise, I would say they come in as a berry in flavor and consistency is closer to those chewable vitamin C you may have had when you were a kid. You can subscribe to these from the Voke website or just grab a tin from your local Whole Foods or other natural food store.
So there’s some quick recommendations for gift ideas. We would invite you to also look at some of the reviews we’ve done recently around Stance, Feetures, Balega, Injinji, and Smartwool socks. Everyone always jokes about getting socks as a gift, but nothing will make a runner happier than a fresh pair on a crazy winter morning.