It’s hard to buy the right gift for someone who has everything, but if there’s a runner in your life (even you!), here are a few ideas – besides socks – you might want to get them. We aimed for a list of things not every runner has, but most would love to have! And you can always add socks to their stockings –
Hypervolt Percussion Massage Device
This quiet massager has 5 different massage heads and 3 intensity levels to give you a near-silent massage for warm-up, warm-down, or to relieve sore muscles. A full charge can last up to 6 hours, so you can keep it in your gym bag at the (home) office and still have it handy after work.
“It’s like getting a massage,” says Charlotte Running Co.’s Assistant Manager Dana Pettice. Retails for $349 at Charlotte Running Co.
If you’re running off into the sunset this season, you’ll want a good pair of sunglasses. Fleet Feet’s Retail Experience Manager Kim Smith likes Goodr glasses because they’re lightweight, colorful, and bounce-proof, and come with a choice of polarized and/or reflective lenses.
“They’re designed by runners, for runners,” says Smith, “So they won’t slide off your face when you sweat.” Chase Cline at Omega Sports agrees, saying they’re out the door quickly after they come in. Tons of fun colors to choose from, too, starting at a very reasonable $25. Pair them with a strap from Chums for $12 or less at Omega Sports and they’re guaranteed to hang around.
Or specifically, music players that won’t distract you from hearing your surroundings, like Aftershokz bone conduction headphones. These headphones transmit through the bones near your ears, instead of covering them, so you can still enjoy birds singing or, more importantly, cars coming up behind you.
Aftershokz come in several styles and colors, starting at $80 at Fleet Feet in Rock Hill or Vac and Dash in Albemarle.
Reflectivity is a HUGE safety consideration now that nights come sooner after 5 p.m. than most runners would like. Vests, armbands, and running lights will allow you to be seen as you pound the asphalt around town.
A super-comfy, minimalist NAT Vibe vest gives 360-degree visibility starting at $25 at Run for Your Life. https://shop.runforyourlife.com/product/337753/NATHAN/NAT-VIBE-VEST
Pair with a NAT Neutron Fire RX headlamp with 5 light settings for $55. https://shop.runforyourlife.com/product/337834/NATHAN/NAT-NEUTRON-FIRE-RX
Or try a Nathan HyperBrite Strobe clip for $15, https://www.fleetfeet.com/products/nathan-hyperbrite-strobe-light
LightSpur LED Foot Light for $20, https://www.fleetfeet.com/products/nathan-lightspur
or Amphipod Flashing Armband for $16, all at Fleet Feet. https://www.fleetfeet.com/products/micro-flash-arm-band
If your favorite run isn’t right outside your front door, your car seat cover probably has stories to tell just from smell alone. A quick-use, waterproof, washable seat cover might be your favorite runner’s best friend in the car – and appreciated by anyone else who drives it.
“Turtle Towels make a great gift,” suggest Peter Asciutto of Vac and Dash. “They go over your car seat after you exercise.” Turtle Towels come in a colorful zip pouch that fits over the head rest to keep the rest of the cover in place on your seat. They retail at $29.95 at Vac and Dash, the only North Carolina distributor.
Ahhhh…. For Feet
Runners’ shoes are as personal as it gets, but once they’re off, those feet need relief! Try gifting an off-the-clock shoe that makes sore feet go ahhhhhh…. like recovery sandals by Oofos or Hoka One One, says Charlotte Running Co.’s Dana Pettice. Omega Sports sells the Oofos flip flops and new slides, too. Prices start at $50.
And for the Rest of You
Your runner’s tired muscles could use a massage, and a recovery stick or roller may be just the at-home item they’re looking for. Basic styles from Pro-Tec, Addaday, and TriggerPoint start at $20 and go up from there depending on size and complexity. Try a Marathon stick for $35, or The Orb Massage Ball for feet for $20. You can find sticks and rollers at most running stores, including Charlotte Running Co., Run for Your Life, Omega Sports, and Fleet Feet.
Tri, Tri, Tri Again
For the triathlete, InsideOut sports carries a few extras that will carry you through your run and into biking and open water swimming. Manager Mark Hoffman suggests starting with hydration: an XLab system to keep drinks and snacks handy on the run or ride. “They’re great for triathletes, have fancy attachments, are aerodynamic, and look cool,” says Hoffman – “all things triathletes like.”
Pair a hydration gadget with some Aquasphere Kaiman Goggles made just for Open Water swimming, at $21.99, and an Italian-made Kask bike helmet in 3 distinctive designs tailored to your use starting at $79.99.
It’s a Snap
Literally… a snap, to pin your race number to your jersey. Tired of safety pins putting holes in your best running jerseys or pullovers? Try BibBoards Bib Number Snap-ons. They’re sold out online but you can find a set of 4 at Vac and Dash for $10 or 2 sets for $15.
While you’re there, grab some Sport Hooks to display all of your medals. The metal rack full of display hooks are topped with laser cut designs and phrases to give your runner an inspirational boost, starting at $63.95 at Vac and Dash.
Cash n Carry
If you want something of the best-little-stocking-stuffer variety, Chums has several gifts under $12 to keep things simple for your run club Secret Santa exchange. Surf Short Rip Stop wallets for $9.99 are a top choice, says Chase at Omega Sports. Silicone phone card holders and phone lanyards, along with neoprene sunglass straps are all small, cool gifts that are easy on the wallet.
Runners can always use more shorts and jerseys, but it may be time to retire that favorite half-zip fleece. If you’ve washed the life out of it but it still seems to stand up on its own, try getting a new one. Charlotte Running Co. and Run for Your Life stock great apparel from Brooks and New Balance, to name a few. Also try some Nike Dri-Fit shorts or Under Armour Coldgear leggings from Omega Sports.
Okay, I know we said we wouldn’t go there, but socks ARE a great idea because they are used every day and wear out sooner than other apparel. Moisture wicking brands are your best bet, with thickness depending on what your runner likes or needs. Feetures and Balega from Run for Your Life are two great brands to stuff in your runner’s stocking, starting at $13. For something a little different – add a pair of Injinji toe socks for $12 and up.