20 Not-So-Obvious Gifts for Runners


By Elizabeth Jenkins

If you are reading this, you fall into a very specific category. You may or may not be a runner yourself, but you are surely looking to put a smile on a runner’s face. While there are always the obvious gifts like shoes, clothes, GPS watches, compression gear, hydration belts etc, there are many things runners use that most people wouldn’t understand. Here are 20 gift ideas that aren’t what you maybe would initially think to get for the runners on your shopping list.

  1. Crock-pot/Slow Cooker: Yes, a crock-pot. They are so easy and they make delicious meals while your running friend gets in her long run. I know avid runners who literally use their crock pot every day. Is your runner friend single? They make small ones for one-two people!
  2. Crock-pot/Slow Cooker recipe book: While not all cook books are created equally, this one is a great book!
  3. Shower wipes/Baby wipes: Not everyone has time to shower after every run. A package of shower wipes or baby wipes are much appreciated! Especially for people who run during a lunch break, or for those who like to run errands after their run.
  4. Socks: While socks may be boring to the average person, runners have love affairs with their socks. Not just any sock will do. They MUST be technical, cotton free, and perhaps even merino wool. Feetures, Balega and Darn Tough are all excellent, just to name a few.
  5. Sun Block: This might seem boring too, but runners don’t like wrinkles and sun damage any more than you do.
  6. Running Store technical shirts from different running stores around the country: Everywhere I go, I look for the local running store. Shirts from running stores are so fun to wear around and make for great conversations on runs.
  7. Blender Bottles: Runners drink protein drinks and recovery drinks and the blender bottle is perfect for on-the-go recovery.
  8. Road ID Bracelet: We always talk about safety, but many runners do not run with ID. The Road ID bracelet is a fantastic and economical solution. Stop in the store to see all the models and get free shipping!
  9. iTunes gift card: Runners ALWAYS want more music!
  10. Gift cards to restaurants: Having gift cards on hand for post run meals or pre-run carb loading is like finding a $20 bill in your pocket. No Negatives. Italian or pizza will generally always do the trick.
  11. Pepper Spray: To keep the creeps and animals away.
  12. Head lamp: Running at night is so much easier and safety with lights. Also, it can allow for night-time trail adventures!
  13. Fabreze Sport Fabric Freshener: Spray it on technical clothing to keep the smells away between washes. It helps you wash your clothing less often, especially those pieces that don’t need to be washed EVERY time you wear them.
  14. Yoga Studio Membership: All runners need to stretch more. It’s a fact.
  15. Massage gift certificates: All runners need more massages. It’s a Fact.
  16. Energy Gels: Pretty much any consumable items runners use on their runs are very well received because they will be used!
  17. Magazine subscriptions: Runner’s World, Running Times, Trail Runner, Ultra Runner, Fitness Magazine, Shape, Track and Field News, Inside Triathlon….
  18. Dansko Clogs: These shoes are great for both men and women who are on their feet a lot during the day. Their harder sole construction provides comfort all day without foot fatigue! There’s a reason why doctors and nurses wear them almost exclusively. It’s because they are amazing.
  19. Dry Shampoo: Take my cell phone away, take away electricity, but don’t you DARE take away my dry shampoo. Get it at almost any grocery store (Smith’s) and spray it in your hair to absorbe the sweat and grease and look like you just showered after your killer run.
  20. Race entry: Pay for their race entry in their dream race! They will worship the ground you walk on!


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