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When it comes to buying the best holiday gifts for runners, it can be hard to feel like you’re finding the “perfect” gift. These top performers are guaranteed to please.
Asics Novablast 2
We looked forward to every run in this super-comfortable shoe. The Novablast 2 delivers an ultra-plush ride that stops just short of feeling mushy. The segmented outsole design—there’s an independent pod of rubber in the forefoot—gives the thick EVA midsole a smooth and snappy flex during toe-off. Most shoes that run this soft will sacrifice stability. Not the Novablast 2. A flared sole and a TPU overlay at the rearfoot work together to stabilize the heel, counterbalancing the wobbly nature of such a soft midsole foam. The two-ply woven mesh upper and heavily padded heel counter adds yet more comfort. $130
Under Armour OutRun the Storm Jacket
This jacket is water-resistant, but it lacks a membrane to seal out drizzle for extended periods. Still, we love it for rainy-day running, because the superior breathability ditches sweat during speed work, and the stretchy blend of polyester and elastane feels soft on skin. A DWR finish, articulated cuffs, and a protective hood keep showers at bay. It all adds up to a suitable companion for your daily endorphin chase. $100
Oiselle Pockito Knickers
Elite runners love this activewear brand, and their capris won’t disappoint. The brand’s smooth, light compression fabric will be pleasing to your legs and skin. But the real highlights are the pockets (yes, plural). With a zip pocket on the waistband and a small and a big pocket on either leg, you can fit the entire contents of your purse in these leggings. $82
Garmin Forerunner® 945 LTE Smartwatch
This lightweight smartwatch lets you leave your phone at home when training. LTE connectivity keeps you in touch with loved ones, and the Assistance Plus feature communicates with emergency services if needed.
Jack Wolfskin Sky Flex Longsleeve
This base layer became our go-to for fringe weather seasons where you’re looking for something that’s warm when you start out, yet lightweight and breathable as the temperature rises. It’s made from a stretch fabric that fits well, washes easily, and seems to handily wick away sweat to prevent you getting chilly. If you’re looking to layer up, it’s also a great option and works well under run jackets or heavier-weight gear. The fact that it has a price tag of $26 also makes it a steal-of-a-deal. $26
Nathan Pinnacle 12L Vest
This vest has a large vertical compartment for poles, easily reachable side pockets for layers, and several spots to carry snacks up front. Two water-resistant shoulder pouches protect valuables, and the hourglass-shaped 1.6-liter bladder is less prone to sloshing. The back panels are tapered so there’s less room for moisture to cling to you. $200
Kane Revive Shoes
These recovery shoes are designed to help stimulate and support your feet outside of your workouts. Comfortable and easy to slip into, they’re made from renewable-sourced sugar cane to help ensure sustainability of materials. And sure, maybe some crowds won’t be awarding you extra style points, but these Croc-like kicks are beyond comfortable—your feet will thank you. $70
Smartwool Women’s PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks
Socks may not be an exciting gift, but for runners, a good pair of socks may be one of the most crucial articles of apparel. For runners who like barely-there socks, these micro anklets are now new and improved—and some of our absolute favorite. The technology built into the wool makes them more durable, reducing toe tear. $17
Ibex Balance Crop Bra
This 100 percent merino-wool bra offers enough compression and support for medium to large chests without squashing or sacrificing comfort. The tagless, seamless design prevents itchiness or chafing, and you can wear it all day—the wool dries quickly without leaving sweaty smells behind. $70
We’ve used a lot of trail apps over the years to pull up during those “Wait, did I miss a turn?” moments, but Gaia GPS has by far been the most useful. In addition to providing accurate, super-detailed, and easy-to-read maps, Gaia recommends trails for us to check out, records our routes so we can file them away under specific categories (like “easy runs” or “epic climbs”), and lets us share our favorite trails with training buddies so they can get in on the fun, too. But my favorite feature? At the premium level, the maps also work offline. If you’ve ever gotten lost on a trail with no cell phone reception, you know why this is a big deal.
Outside+ members get Gaia GPS Premium Access. Click on your profile in the upper right, click on “My Perks” and then “Discounts,” and then redeem your promo code. Not an Outside+ member? Become one (or upgrade your Women’s Running membership).