Holidays 2016: 20 Gift Ideas for Endurance Athletes


Shopping for an endurance athlete can be challenging.  This is because the same people who take their training seriously also take their gear seriously.

If this sounds familiar and you’d like to avoid another year of feigned gratitude and post-holiday returns, we are here to help.  Our holiday gift guide will set you on the right track.

Specialized Socks
Can you imagine a more disappointed child than the one who unwraps socks on Christmas morning?  Yet for an endurance athlete, socks represent a rock solid gift.  They are affordable, memorable and personal.  Unfortunately for the giver there are also roughly infinity different styles and brands.  Navigating the landscape requires the marriage of the recipient’s goals with some expert analysis.  Luckily Runner’s World did the legwork, putting many through their paces and declaring a winner in each of 15 categories.

Headlamp/ Safety Light
Outdoor training in winter requires illumination to help athletes navigate their path and avoid trouble.  For under $100 a headlamp is a fabulous gift option.  While models vary, the three key things that separate them are brightness, battery life and weight.  For our money the Olympia EX550 hits the mark on all three while also remaining affordable.  It includes a rear red safety light and an adjustable 550 lumens of power.

Winter Headgear
When exercising outdoors it is frequently difficult to manage gear to match every scenario.  You start off freezing, you quickly get hot and you lack the time to stop and adjust.  You need something that is light, can be used in flexible ways and is easily adjusted.  The original buff meets all of the above criteria, can be used throughout the season and checks in at just $25. Configurable as a full balaclava, hat, earmuffs or even a do-rag it is great for cyclists, runners and Hell’s Angels alike.

Gear as Problem Solver
Another great option for gifts is the gear that solves a common problem in a unique way.  Most the recipient may not even know existed.  We found several we love.

The Undress
The Undress makes a simple promise to women- “change clothes without getting naked”.   It is the perfect gift for the busy fitness enthusiast who sneaks a workout into the smallest of windows.  With the Undress, users can transition from fitness gear or a bathing suit to active wear virtually anywhere.  The product is so innovative it nearly blew up Kickstarter, and yet only costs around $65.

Pedal Power Chargers
Remember how Gilligan powered each of the Professor’s harebrained inventions using only a stationary bike made of coconuts?  Well just a scant 40 years later, today we are all Gilligan.  Each of us can harness the energy from a bike ride to charge our cell phone and devices.  While you may have heard of this before, recent innovations have made this easier and more flexible than ever. took a look at several popular models.

The Flip Belt
The Flip Belt represents a way for athletes to bring their phone, credit card and cash along for their workouts without being weighed down or inconvenienced.  All your essential gear slips into a super low profile belt that you wear. Think of it as a fanny pack for non-nerds.

Stocking Stuffers
No holiday gift guide would be complete without a few smaller items that can be used to fill stockings and help ol’ Santa out

Lip Balm– Keep ‘em kissable
Jump Rope– The old school fitness relic that’s still viable today
Disposable Hand Warmers– Portable heat is always appreciated
iTunes Card– Refill an inspirational music library
GU/ Cliff– Energy shots
Massage Gift Certificate – Sponsor an athlete’s recovery
Jerky– Nature’s ultimate paleo snack
Kind Bars– Natural bars that promise “ingredients you can pronounce”
Reflective Leg Bands– Safety + draw more attention to your calves

CrankBrothers Multi Tool – A cyclist must have
Ass Savers– The under-seat fenders with a cool nickname

Born to Run–  The book is seven years old but still a must read
Throw-Away Gloves–  Start a race warm, then ditch ‘em