We surveyed the web and scoured the recent The Running Event for the most unique and practical gifts for the runner in your life. Yes, shoes, shirts, and shorts are all great gifts for runners, but use this list to find unique running gadgets!
Remember to buy from a local store or from the manufacturer's website. Amazon has been doing a poor job of policing fakes from their website. Check out our 2017 disaster with them on this blog post. And it's not just us. Birkenstock cut all business relations with Amazon this year for the same problems Runbell has faced.
1. NANOspikes from Kahtoola - $49.95
I love these NANOspikes. 2017 is a La Nina year and the West is going to get dumped on with snow and ice (hopefully). Falling on ice is no joke. Still being able to run even though your trail or city path is full of ice is AWESOME! Running to/from work is perfect because Portland comes to a standstill with a small amount of snow or ice.
The spikes fit over your normal shoes so can adapt to whatever footwear you happen to be wearing. I don't recommend them with Vibram Five Fingers or while running barefoot. I tried them on over my Vibrams and they feel ok, but are really shaped for a normal shoe.
I wear a size 12 and picked up a large size. The NANOspikes are recommended for city running and the MICROspikes are recommended for trail running.
The spikes on the NANO are made from an extremely hard tungsten carbide (one of the hardest materials out there) and the elastic is not silicone but made from Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
Pick up your pair at their website here.
2. NipEase - Discreetly protects and conceals nipples - $7.95
A lot of people have a hard time saying "Nipple" so the great people at NipEase shortened the name of their nipple protection system to a simple NipEase.
Their product is simple but effective. Bandaids, lube, and other techniques can work, but NipEase is better.
Your friend receiving this gift will definitely laugh and then admit it's a pretty damn necessary product on longer runs. I'm lucky to have only one experience with nipple chafing in my life to date. But I still remember the pain.
I was running a simple half marathon on flat terrain. The nipple chafing started at 5k in. I had to take off my shirt. The sun started to beat down on me and by the 10th kilometer I earned my first DNF ever. There was no way I could finish that race. When you chafe, the pain is excruciating. At only $7.95, NipEase is an easy stocking stuff gift idea.
3. Knuckle Lights - See and Be Seen - $39.99 to $59.99
The winter solstice is almost upon us. The nights are longest on December 21st this year. In Portland, darkness surrounds us early. If the moon is not out, the city is pitch black.
To date, I have been running with my detachable bike light. I grab the light off my bike frame and run the streets. Knuckle Lights are better because you don't need to hold on to the light. As their name suggest, the lights fit over your knuckles with an adjustable strap. They have 280 lumens which basically means pretty dang bright. The light is not focused but fills out about 10 feet in width.
They are easy to hold and come in a pair, one for each hand. I ran with one knuckle light on the left hand and signaled to cars when crossing busy streets. My right hand, of course, had a Runbell on to Be Seen and Be Heard.
Knuckle lights was founded by Dan who lives in West Linn just a few miles south of us in Portland. Great product by a great guy. Buy their product from their website.
I prefer the rechargeable advanced knuckle lights - here for $59.99.
If you prefer buying batteries then get the standard knuckle lights here for $39.99.
4. Runbell - Be Heard
Running lights are great so that other people can see you. But can they hear you? With Runbell, proactively alert others that you are coming through. With a simple reach of your thumb, Runbell can be heard through crowds and background music. I've even pierced the noise of large construction equipment barrelling down the street. The common sound of a bell is easily recognizable. Enjoy the looks of other pedestrians as a runner passes instead of a bike.
Pick them up at www.run-bell.com for $25 with free US shipping.
Plus they are a great way to say "I love you" to your loved one.
5. Goodr Running Sunglasses - $25
The team at Goodr is just a fun-loving group of people. I was honored to cheer on the runners of their Goodr Games Whiskey 1-mile run. Dressing up like cowboys and cowgirls, runners took a whiskey shot every quarter mile and ran with stuffed horses. It was awesome. The winner amazingly downed 4 shots of whiskey and ran a mile in just over six minutes.
Too many times runners take themselves too seriously. Goodr Glasses remind me why I run. Running is fun.
Grab a pair of Whiskey Shots with Satan or Phoenix at a Bloody Mary Bar for you and a friend. Use the discount code LookGood2017 for 10% off your order at Goodr's website.
6. Skin Slick - Ant-Chafe Continuous Spray Skin Lubricant - $8.99
With all this talk about chafing, one more product to help cut any chance of chafing on the run is a Skin Slick. You can apply it with a spray so it's easy to use. Even if you don't run, this spray can still help you.
Which part of you blisters the worse during your long runs?
Skin slick sells in 15oz bottles for just $8.99. Grab one now at their website.
7. Bib Boards - Safety Pin Replacements - $9.99
Racers know this problem all too well. Safety pins suck. If you only wear one shirt, the metal from the pin with chafe your nipples like no other (of course unless you wear a bra or use NipEaze). Second, safety pins inevitable ruin your clothes and prick your fingers.
At just $9.95 Bib Boards make a great stocking stuffer for runners who love to race. If your friend doesn't race, they probably don't need this product.
Pick them up at Bib Boards.
8. SpeedCup by HydroPak - $20.00 for a 4-Pack
I love trail running. The races I ran in Japan were sure not to offer cups on the trails. Why run in the forest just to litter the trail with paper cups? A volunteer may or may not be picking up after you. Small, portable cups are absolutely necessary for trail running events. I've used a foldable cup, a titanium cup, but now I just love HydroPak's TPE cup. It's lightweight, foldable, and stands up on its own. The small finger strap is also good for clipping on to your bag. An extra joy is they sell in 4-Packs. Buy one and you have a gift for four of your favorite running friends.
Buy now at HydroPak!
9. Rogue Fitness High Density Foam Roller - $19.99 to $21.99
A year ago my wife started rolling. It's a perfect tool for stretching out your muscles after a tough run, workout, or just about any day of the week. What I love about foam rollers is you can use your body weight to apply pressure. I've tried other gadgets to roll out tight muscles. Each one is a battle to apply more and more pressure as you work out knots. A roller is so easy to vary the pressure since you can use your full body weight or something less. I was skeptical on the benefits of a foam roller at first. While it can be a bit painful at the beginning, the roller is really an excellent way to aid in recover so you can get out and run again.
Rogue Fitness offers some great selections. They are very dense and made of high grade foam so that it should last for years without losing its shape.
Check out their website - Rogue Fitness
10. KT Tape Cotton Elastic Sports Tape - $12.99
Unfortunately, I am currently on the disabled list. While I finished my last 50k trail run, I had to limp across the finish line. KT tape is like a brace for your muscles. The tape lasts for three days and will withstand your time in the shower.
If you have a running friend who complains about no longer being able to run due to sore knees or bad feet, give them a try of this KT tape. It might just let them find their love of running again.
Buy now at KT Tape's website.