If you are like me, getting new running gear at Christmas is always a highlight! Getting new gear gives me new motivation and makes running even more fun. This year, I asked three of our partners – Fleet Feet Fox Valley, Run Away Shoes and SCHEELS – to weigh in with recommendations for their top Christmas Gift Ideas for Runners. Here is what they recommended:
- Essentials: Run Away Shoes Expert Claire starts off our list with a gift bundle of running essentials. “When someone is bit by the running bug, they gradually accumulate all the latest gear and accessories,” says Claire. “You can help them with essentials including some gels in their favorite flavor, socks, anti-chafe sticks, and a headband. These will most definitely be used and appreciated by any runner.”
- Socks: This is one essential that warrants its own category. All of our partners recommended this essential item for the runner in your life. Here’s a crash course in some of their favorites. Bombas for fun styles and they donate a pair when you buy a pair; Balega Hidden Comfort for cushioning that gives a little extra love for your feet; Feetures for compression right where you need it; Fitsoks for soft, moisture wicking socks at a great price point; and Smartwool for long-lasting socks that keep your feet dry.
- Headlamps: “My favorite headlamp is the Black Diamond Storm 400,” shares Taylor a SCHEELS Expert. “With 400 lumens of light output, it’s one bright headlamp. It illuminates my path and makes me extremely visible to oncoming traffic. It does use replaceable batteries, but I like that for long events where there is not time to recharge batteries, and because I forget to charge things and I can swap out batteries quickly. If you prefer the rechargeable route, the Biolite 330 headlamp is the way to go. It is very lightweight and fits great.”
- Reflective gear: “Keep safe by highlighting your core and moving parts,” says Taylor, from SCHEELS. “The Nathan Streak Reflective running vest is great because it goes over your clothes and makes you visible, whether it is warm or cold. I like to pair that with Nathan’s Hypernight Reflective convertible flip gloves. The reflective accents help motorists see you and I love the flip over pouch, especially for cold runs. When my hands get a little warm, just flip the pocket back and they cool right down. Safety and functionality!”
- Cold weather gear: Leah from Fleet Feet Fox Valley has several hats and gloves on her list. Both are great essentials for any runner, especially in the winter. “Smartwool has a knit, Retro Beanie with super-soft Merino wool, that keeps your bean cozy and warm this winter,” says Leah. “For gloves, the Mizuno Breath Thermo Wind Guards are amazing because they lock in warmth and comfort by blocking the wind, wicking away moisture and it uses fabric technology that reacts with your escaping body heat vapors to generate heat. No more cold hands distracting you from your workout.”
- Hydration: “Hydrating shouldn’t be a chore,” says Leah of Fleet Feet Fox Valley. “Make it fun with the Nathan BigShot Drink Guide water bottle. This bottle guides you through your day, sip by sip, to keep you hydrated with fun, gentle reminders printed on the side of the bottle providing hydration goals for each hour of your day to help you manage your daily water intake.”
- Recovery: After a run, make sure the runner in your life has help recovering. “I love the tiny but mighty, Roll Recovery R3 to target soreness and pain,” says Leah. It’s unique, asymmetrical shape focuses pressure on the inner, middle and outer parts of your foot, stretching the most injury-prone areas to prevent overuse injury and ease pain.” SCHEELS Expert Brett, recommends the Hypervolt. “Percussion therapy is a form of therapy that lengthens muscles and increases blood flow, to keep you loosened up and reduce soreness significantly,” explains Brett. “This is a great option for any athlete!”
- A Race Entry.“Is your runner ready for their first race?,” asks Claire. “Are they ready to try a new distance? Is it just something fun they can use to stay motivated? When you gift a race entry, you’re also gifting an experience and are giving back to the community by supporting the non-profits the event is connected with.”
- New Routes to Explore.“I love exploring new routes,” says Claire. “A State Park Pass can open up miles and miles of new trails and places to explore. And it’s an excuse for an excellent day trip away from their usual routes.”
- Gift of Time.“Do you have a runner in your life who has everything?” asks Claire. “Give them the gift of time! Is your BRF (Best Running Friend) a parent? Offer to watch their kids so they can run without a stroller or away from their treadmill.”
Special thanks to our guest contributors: Julie Sieg at SCHEELS Fox River Mall in Appleton for connecting us to SCHEELS experts, Leah Schapiro from Fleet Feet Fox Valley and Claire Koepp at Run Away Shoes and Events with stores in Appleton, Green Bay and Oshkosh.
About the author: Tara Perre is the Race Director of the Community First Fox Cities Marathon presented by Miron Construction. She was previously the vice president of communication and marketing for Community First Credit Union. In addition to working closely with the marathon, Perre enjoys running, having completed two marathons, five half marathons, two relay marathons and numerous 10Ks and 5Ks.