Best Gifts for Runners 2020: A Complete Guide

Best Gift For Runners 2020: A Complete Guide

Best Gifts for Runners

We’ve put together a complete list of the best gifts for runners for 2020. If you need gifts for someone in your life that loves running on roads, tracks, or trails, we’ve got you covered. This list offers a bunch of great options that will work for upcoming Christmas, holiday, or birthday gifts. 

We’ve rigorously tested all the items on the list and know they perform well. Our team includes several testers who run daily and race often (minus during pandemic lockdowns). We know what’s important to the runners in your life. If you have follow up questions about any product on the list, ask us on Twitter

We’ve also reviewed a ton of other running shoes this year and many other products not featured on this page. With that said, let’s unveil our list of the best gifts for runners in 2020.

Best Gifts for Runners 2020

Best Running Mask: UA Sportsmask

In a world with an ongoing pandemic, everybody needs a reliable mask, especially runners

The UA Sportsmask from Under Armour is one of the many mask options that popped up among footwear and apparel brands after the pandemic hit us full force. A new product category was created almost overnight and now we have a ton of options.

The UA Sportsmask is the most comfortable, well-built option available. It’s lightweight, but still sturdy enough to stay put during heavy exercise. The mask is also comfortable around the ears, comes in various sizes to fit most faces, and offers 6 different colors.

High quality, high durability masks that allow you to breathe while running are tough to find. We’ve tried a lot of them during the pandemic and this one is the best.

Best Speed Day Shoe: Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next%

Nike sponsored this slot and wanted us to highlight their top of the line everyday running shoe.

The Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% is the daily training version of Nike’s elite marathon shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%. The Tempo deserves its spot atop Nike’s everyday running shoe lineup. It’s got the best cushioning of any non race day Nike running shoe. It also sports a durable, grippy outsole. 

If you’re shopping for a wide-footed runner, be careful, because the Tempo has a narrow midfoot. Also, while the shoe has great materials and generous breathability, $200 is a lot for a daily trainer. But it’s worth it. It’ll be a fun, speedy ride for the runners in your life.  Read full review for more details.

Best Foam Roller: TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Every runner needs a foam roller in their recovery toolbox to release muscle pain and tightness.

Foam rollers are now ubiquitous at tracks around the world. The key to buying a foam roller is finding one that’s durable enough to last for years.

The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is the most durable foam roller you’ll find. The GRID has a multi-density EVA foam layered on top of a rigid, hollow TPU core. The hollow core makes it perfect for travel as you can stuff clothes inside it when you place it in your suitcase. 

The GRID foam roller is also half the size of a typical foam roller which comes in handy for both travel and storage. It’s got the best foam roller form factor and will last a long time, exactly what the runner in your life needs.

Best Reflective Clothing: Brooks Run Visible Collection

Reflectivity is essential for all early morning or late evening runs.

The Brooks Run Visible collection is the coolest reflective running apparel on the market. The 3M, volt, and white just pop. And it’s not just about great looks. It works too. The high-contrast, high visibility colors combined with reflective details in critical movement zones (like joints) ensure the wearer looks like a runner. Brooks’ scientists say this helps differentiate people better in low or no light to provide extra safety.

The clothing collection includes cold and warm weather options and fits true to size. This is a great way to get the runner in your life something stylish and safe.

Best Running Watch: Garmin 245 Music

Every runner needs a reliable GPS watch to track their mileage.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 sits in the middle of Garmin’s line of GPS watches but still offers the most important features. Garmin watches have the best tracking data and the best way to view the data, Garmin Connect. It gives the majority of competitive runners all the data they could ever want and more.

While the Forerunner 245 isn’t great for listening to music or for triathletes, all other runners get exactly what they need. Thanks to your gift, your runner will keep improving by monitoring mileage, pace, and heart rate. Read full review for more details.

Best Interval App for Apple Watch: Intervals Pro

The Apple Watch can’t measure running intervals out of the box. You need an app for that.

Intervals are short intense efforts followed by equal or slightly longer rest periods. Think of running one lap around the track as fast you can, resting 60 seconds, then repeating the pattern multiple times. Intervals are an important part of any runner’s training plan.

Most GPS watches track intervals. But the Apple Watch can’t. If your runner has an Apple Watch, they need Intervals Pro. It only takes a few taps to create custom interval workouts. Giving your runners this $8 app will give them more flexibility and make their lives easier.

Best Percussion Massager: Exogun

Massage guns increase blood flow to specific muscle areas to reduce tension and inflammation.

Percussion massagers are now a staple of athletic recovery. Lots of companies offer percussion massagers with prices up to $600. Which should you choose?

Typically the more you pay, the quieter your massager. You also get more speeds and a carrying case. So the idea is to find one that’s less expensive but relatively quiet, has multiple speeds, and comes with a carrying case. 

When you go through all the options like we have, one stands out. The ExoGun DreamPro. It’s got all the bells and whistles. And it’s typically priced from $150-$200. Grab one for your running friends and they’ll be thanking you after every run. 

Best Compression Sleeve for Training: GO Kinesiology Calf Sleeve

Leg compression sleeves are a fashionable athletic staple worn by greats like Michael Jordan and Eliud Kipchoge.

If you’re going to help the runner in your life look cool with a compression sleeve, at least get them one that packs supportive features.

The GO Calf Sleeve includes built in Kinesiology tape to reduce pain from shin splits, achilles tendon issues, and calf muscle tightness. The sleeves do fit super tight for compression purposes, so check out the size guide to ensure you buy the right one.

This is the type of fashion forward, but useful, gift that the runners and road warriors on your list will appreciate.

Best Running Shorts: Under Armour Speedpocket

Lots of runners still carry their phone on every run. These shorts and pants can help with that.

Do the runners you’re shopping for use their phones to track their run or listen to music while running? 

If so, the Under Armour SpeedPocket will change their world. Under Armour has ingeniously built a water resistant expandable center-front pocket into the waistband of a large selection of their shorts and pants. The pocket’s even big enough to fit today’s max-sized phones. The speedpocket keeps the phone dry and secure with no bouncing while your runner racks up the miles.

Best Hybrid Running/Cross Training Shoe: On Cloud X

Running and workout shoes aren’t usually fashion forward. Here’s one that is.

The On Cloud X is easily the best looking cross training shoe on the market. It’s got a sleek look that looks great dressed up with jeans for casual wear. That said, it still performs in the gym and on the roads.

On mainly makes running shoes and this is the second generation of their hybrid workout and running shoe. If your runner also likes to do a lot of weight workouts, this could be the shoe for them. It’s got a high build quality to handle all the typical movements they’d make while working out or running. Read full review for more details.

Best Sports Drink: BODYARMOR

Everyone that exercises occasionally needs a sports drink to rehydrate after an especially tough workout.

The best sports drink for most people is BODYARMOR. BODYARMOR offers multiple great tasting flavors, uses potassium as the key electrolyte, uses no artificial sweeteners or artificial colors/dyes, and keeps the calories, carbs, and sodium reasonable. 

All BODYARMOR flavors are made with 10% coconut water. BODYARMOR is vegan, gluten-free, soy free, and certified Kosher. Our favorite flavor of BODYARMOR is Tropical Punch but Fruit Punch, Orange Mango, and Pineapple Coconut are also really good. That’s plenty of options to help stuff a stocking. Read full Sports Drink guide for more details.

Best Recovery Product: Normatec Pulse 2.0

Dynamic compression squeezes your legs in all the right ways to increase blood flow and boost recovery.

People call the NormaTec Pulse 2.0 leg sleeves magic boots for a reason. The way they envelop and squeeze the legs feels amazing.

All any runner needs to do is sit there for 20 minutes and let his or her legs get massaged. When done, they’ll feel refreshed and happy. It’s the perfect tool for the people who consistently beat up their legs with speed work and long runs.

It’s super expensive at $1000, but if you’re thinking of a big gift for that special someone, the recovery benefits they get from it will get you lots of love and attention.

Best Running Socks: Bombas Performance Running Socks

Comfortable running socks are absolutely necessary to feel good while running.

The “need to have items” in performance running socks are extra cushioning at the toe and heel, arch support, and a heel tab to prevent blisters (if it’s an ankle cut sock). Bombas Performance Running Socks check all those boxes. They even go the extra mile with their Hex Tec midfoot band that nicely hugs and supports the arch.

At $16 per pair, they’re priced like other performance running socks. But they’re the perfect thickness, feature a seamless toe, and are super durable. Your runner will thank you during and after every run. Read full review for more details.

Best Running Headlamp: BioLite Headlamp 330

Anyone that runs in the dark needs a headlamp.

If the runners in your life are putting in early morning or late night miles, they need a powerful light. The light you choose for them needs to be able to light dark trails and make a runner noticeable on roads. The BioLite Headlamp 330 is a super powerful light with a low profile, no bounce setup that feels like wearing a sweatband. The BioLite 330 is also rechargeable and has seven light settings that can all be dimmed. The battery lasts between 4 and 40 hours depending on the brightness setting.

While the controls are a little finnicky, this is a gift you can be sure will easily light the way for your runner.

Best Reflective Running Vest: Freetrain VR Vest

A vest can be a great way to run with a phone and minimize its presence.

If you run at night and don’t like carrying a phone, wearing it on your arm, in a waist band, or in your pocket, the Freetrain VR Vest is going to be the best solution for you. The VR Vest has a few flaws like not working well for runners above 6’5″, but it’s lightweight, easy to wear, and offers unparalleled phone access.

At $40, it’s priced about the same as most armbands and waistbands. The Freetrain VR Vest or the non-reflective V1 may be just what the runner in your life needs. Read full review for more details.

Other Gift Guides

Need more gift ideas? Check out our other gift guides: