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The Best Gifts For Runners

Father running with child
You give them the gift of of a love of running and when Father’s Day rolls around they give you running socks – everyone wins (Image credit: Getty Images / Marcus Chung)

Sometimes knowing a keen runner can be a bit of a drag. Generally those times arise in the build-up to a big race when all they’ll talk about is that race, especially if it’s the full 42.2km and maranoia has set in.

At other times, however, it’s a real blessing. Those times include any occasion that requires the purchase of presents, such as birthdays, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, because keen runners never tire of getting more running stuff. As long as you get the right stuff, that is. 

You can go all-out and pick one of the priciest running watches or pairs or running shoes, or you can simply stick to this list of superlative gifts for runners – helpfully ordered from most affordable to most expensive to help you find a gift that suits your budget as well as the recipient (prices on the internet change regularly, so please forgive us if everything isn’t perfectly ordered when you’re shopping).

Or if you’re short on time, then we strongly recommend just picking up a set of the best running socks. No runner will ever be disappointed by unwrapping great socks.

If nothing below seems right, browse our suggestions of gifts for cyclists, gifts for swimmers, fitness gifts, grooming gifts or experience days which make for great gifts (and can be bought at the very last minute). 

The Best Gifts For Runners

Bottle of Poo-Pourri Shoe Odor Eliminator

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Runners have to deal with smelly shoes, and while you might worry that gifting them with a solution to this problem could be deemed a tad insulting, trust us when we say they’ll simply be happy to have a way to deodorise their shoes regardless of the source. This spray from Poo-Pourri – creator of a popular bathroom odour eliminator – uses natural essential oils and enzymes to destroy the lingering stench of exercise, so the lucky recipient can keep returning to their favourite running shoes without any fear of getting funny looks. The spray also works on bags, which is handy for runners who carry sweaty kit home from the office after running during their lunch break.


The Rise Of The Ultra Runners book cover

(Image credit: Guardian Faber Publishing)

If you know a runner who has already completed several marathons and is looking for a new challenge, buy them this excellent book on ultrarunning. Author Adharanand Finn, who has penned a couple of our other favourite running books, attempts to discover what drives those hellbent on running vast distances, and tackles several ultramarathons himself, including the daunting 171km Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.


Ultimate Performance Reflective Laces

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Runners spend more time than most tying and untying shoelaces, so save them a few seconds every day by buying them this set of quick-lock laces. As well as speeding up the time it takes to slip shoes on and off, especially in the winter when runners’ fingers go numb quickly, these also have the advantage of never coming undone on the run.


Running Stories book cover

(Image credit: The Running Charity)

Running Stories

At least two people get a gift here, and we don’t mean it’s going to get regifted on the sly. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to The Running Charity (opens in new tab), which helps young people who are homeless. The book itself is a series of real-life stories, which shows how running can enrich radically different lives in many ways. If you’re after a feelgood gift, this is it.


Ultimate Performance Race Number Magnets

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Ultimate Performance Race Number Magnets

Show us a runner who claims they pin their race number on perfectly first time every time and we’ll show you a liar. We all faff around with safety pins for several minutes before a race, making a load of holes in our expensive running T-shirts and vests, and sometimes our fingers as well. Solve that problem for someone by getting them these magnets. They’ll thank you every time they use them to attach a race number in fuss-free fashion.


Periodic Table Runner T-Shirt

(Image credit: Personal Best)
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Periodic Table Runner T-Shirt

Sure, this is a tad niche, but nailing a gift is often a case of hitting the right niches. So if you’re buying a present for someone who is a fan of both chemistry and running, this novelty T-shirt should go down gangbusters.


Stance Running Socks

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Who doesn’t love unwrapping a pair of top-quality socks? Stance socks have the technical details runners look for, like being constructed from quick-drying material that keeps blisters and unpleasant odours at bay. Plus, the fantastic range of designs means you’re certain to find a pair your giftee will like.

More of the best running socks


BAM Technical Bamboo Trainer Socks

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BAM Technical Bamboo Trainer Socks

Bamboo socks make great gifts because they are a delightful surprise. As well as being extra soft and moisture-wicking, bamboo viscose has antibacterial properties resulting in stink-resistant socks. It’s these technical trainer socks from BAM’s range that are on our wish list. Made of a blend of bamboo viscose, Merino wool, polyamide and elastane, they combine comfort with function: they’re shaped for arch support, terry-lined and padded in all the right places, with extra reinforcement at the heel.


Parkrun Flatbands

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Parkrun Flatbands

To get the most out of parkrun events, you need to register and bring along a print-out of your barcode so the organisers can scan it at the end of the run and log your time. If you know a regular parkrunner (and can get your hands on their seven-digit parkrun ID number in a legitimate way), get their details printed on a plastic card (£4.50), tag (£4.50), wristband (£14), or flatband (£16). The latter is like a watch strap, so you can adjust it to make sure it’s comfortable, with your info inset on the inside. It’s the gift of convenience plus you’re helping to support a fantastic event. 


The Runner’s Cookbook book cover

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Regular runners eat a lot of food, and you can help them make the right choices when it comes to that food by buying them The Runner’s Cookbook, which is packed full of recipes that will help runners fuel their training and racing correctly so they can perform at their best. It’s especially useful for those about to embark on a long marathon training plan, who need to start thinking about how to eat to support the extra demands on the body. Of course an added bonus is that if you happen to live with this runner, you might benefit from all the delicious and nutritious meals they’ll be making. Everyone’s a winner.


Runderwear

Is there any greater gift you can give a runner than removing the risk of chafing in the most sensitive area of all? Runderwear underwear is seamless and made with a sweat-wicking fabric so the wearer need never worry about irritation again. You can get Runderwear briefs, g-strings, hot pants, long shorts, boxers and extra long boxers.


Epic Runs Of The World book cover

(Image credit: Lonely Planet)

Few gifts manage to combine the inspirational and the practical as well as this bucket-list book. Featuring travelogue-style write-ups of each route (including four in the UK and 13 elsewhere in Europe) along with useful details to help you attempt it yourself and a couple of similar suggestions, this gift can only be bettered by the addition of a couple of tickets to one of the destinations. St Davids in Wales, perhaps, for a coastal 13-mile (21km) loop, which you can read about in this exclusive extract.

More of the best running books


Sweaty Betty Swiftie Run Cap

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It may look like an ordinary baseball cap, but this running cap is lightweight and comfy, and the fabric is quick-drying so you won’t end up with sweaty hat hair. It’s compatible with a ponytail, and you can adjust the toggle at the back for a better fit. The hat has reflective elements and comes in five attractive colours.

More of the best running caps


Guppyfriend washing bag

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A gift for both the runner you know and the environment at large. Pop your synthetic running gear in the bag before putting it in the washing machine and it will catch plastic microfibres shed by the clothes during the wash so they don’t end up polluting rivers and oceans. It might not be as snazzy as unwrapping a new bit of running gear, but once you explain what the bag does we’re sure any runner you know will appreciate it.


Flipbelt running belt

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Given that most running shorts offer, at most, one tiny pocket that’s too small to take anything bar a single key, a running belt is a very useful accessory to have on hand – especially when it comes to carrying all the fuel and entertainment required to get you through long training sessions in the build-up to a marathon. The Flipbelt sits against your skin so it won’t jump around in annoying fashion on the hoof, and its long narrow pockets can fit a remarkable amount of stuff. As an added extra, it also doubles as an excellent travel belt if your running giftee also enjoys globetrotting.

More of the best running belts


Sweaty Betty Run Gloves

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Sweaty Betty Run Gloves

If you suffer from painfully cold hands on your winter runs, these fleece-lined gloves are just the ticket. Although cosy, they’re lightweight and sweat-wicking, so you shouldn’t overheat. The fingers are touchscreen-compatible and the palms have gripping dots so your phone won’t go flying.

More of the best running gloves


Man straps on Wahoo TICKR chest strap heart rate monitor

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To get the most accurate heart rate reading possible, runners need a chest strap heart rate monitor. The tracking on watches has got better in recent years, but it still doesn’t match the precision of a strap, and once you’ve linked a chest strap to your watch you’ll be able to judge your effort level on runs perfectly (the person you’re buying for will appreciate this – trust us). The Wahoo TICKR is a great heart rate monitor at a great price. It connects quickly and easily to devices over the two main wireless networks used (Bluetooth and ANT+), and in our testing we’ve found it to be as accurate as more expensive straps. There’s every chance the runner in your life will have moaned about the quality of the heart rate tracking on their watch at some point, so pick this up and make sure you never have to hear those moans again.

More of the best heart rate monitors


OOfos OOahh Sport Flex Black

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Runners put their feet through a lot of hard work, and after an especially tough run or race there’s nothing better for them than slipping these recovery sliders on. The ample cushioning is shaped to support arches and generally make things a little easier on your lower body in the hours after a challenging run. They’re also good for relieving the pain of plantar fasciitis. Does the runner you’re giving to suffer from that condition? If they do, you’ll already know about it.

More recovery sandals


Woman wearing Shokz OpenMove Bone-Conduction Headphones

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Most runners already have a set of headphones, but those are probably boring “traditional” headphones that you need “ears” to listen to. These puppies, in contrast, use your bones to vibrate music straight to your skull. It’s not a gimmick either: this allows the ears to remain entirely open to other sounds when running – like that car coming up the road behind you. They’re also the only headphone brand allowed in all UK Athletics races, many of which ban regular headphones. If the runner of your affections has been really good this year, Shokz more expensive cheekphones (as they’re not called), but for our money these offer the best value.

Read more in our Shokz OpenMove Air review | More of the best running headphones


BAM Longaford Waterproof Recycled Jacket

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BAM Longaford Waterproof Recycled Jacket

Made from 98% recycled materials, this lightweight, breathable 2.5L jacket has a 10K waterproof rating so you’ll stay dry in a downpour. The waterproof coating is PFC-free to avoid doing any harm to ocean life – kudos to BAM for the eco-friendly effort. The jacket has zip pockets, ventilation flaps, an adjustable hood, cuffs and hem and it packs away into its own side pocket for easy storage. But above all, who can resist that deep teal colour?

More of the best women’s running jackets | More of the best men’s running jackets


Garmin Forerunner 55

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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If you’re looking for a watch to get a new runner, the Forerunner 55 is the one to get (or maybe its predecessor the Forerunner 45 if you’re on a budget, because it’s often in sales). Garmin’s entry-level running watch tracks all the key stats you need for the sport, and offers daily suggested workouts and training plans for 5K, 10K and half marathon events to help new runners improve and prepare for their first races.

Read more in our Garmin Forerunner 55 review


Stolt Alpha Backpack

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Stolt Alpha Backpack

We used to run-commute regularly and if the runner you’re buying for does too, we can assure you that they will be delighted with this backpack. The 20-litre capacity (25-litre with the expandable front pocket) means you can carry a laptop and everything else you need for a day at work, and it sits comfortably on the back when running even if you pack it to the limits. It’s not cheap, but it’s easily the best commuting running rucksack we’ve come across – and we’ve tested a lot of them – so it’s worth the outlay.

More of the best running backpacks


Garmin Epix 2

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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Willing to splash the cash on the best running watch available? Then it’s going to be either the Garmin Epix 2 or Garmin Fenix 7. We lean towards the Epix 2 ourselves because its AMOLED screen is brighter than the display on the Fenix 7, but the Fenix does offer significantly longer battery life. Both are amazing watches, packing in all Garmin’s top sports tracking and training analysis features, along with colour maps for navigation and music storage.

Read more in our Garmin Epix 2 review

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.

With contributions from