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12 great gifts for runners

As the holiday shopping season winds down, I have compiled 12 recommendations for Christmas presents for those special runners in your lives. I have tried and used all of these products. For the sake of transparency, I have noted which brands I represent as an ambassador.

Also, if you are looking for good deals on running gear, services and races, check out my discounts page.

Here are my top 12 gift ideas:

  1. Patagonia Houdini jacket. With winter here in the United States, runners are adding layers to protect themselves from Mother Nature. When rain or freezing rain is in the forecast, I reach for my Houdini jacket. I purchased this last year and have worn it during driving and freezing rain conditions. The jacket has kept my top dry during wet races and long training runs, and I have continued to use it regularly for such conditions. It’s rather light so you will most likely need a layer (or more) underneath this time of the year but you won’t need to worry about those layers getting wet.

  2. Patagonia Nine Trails shorts. These are my go-to shorts for the majority of my runs. The comfortable shorts are made out of recyclable materials, repel water and can be packed into their own back pocket thanks to a compressible fabric. The two front pockets are big enough for keys or nutrition, and my iPhone slides nicely and securely into either of the front pockets or the back pocket.

  1. Rabbit shirt. I purchased several items from Rabbit over the past year or so and could not be more pleased with their performance. The gear is light, protects me from chafing and is tremendously comfortable. I ran a good portion of my first 100-miler at Rio Del Lago with a short-sleeved Rabbit shirt and sported a Rabbit tank top during a 50K in September. Both garments performed exceptionally well. Use this link to get 10 percent off your order of gear for runners.

  2. *Coros Apex watch. I absolutely love my Coros Apex. It has superior battery life, easily syncs every time and provides excellent data. Just how good is the battery life? After my 26-hour run at Rio Del Lago, my Apex still had 23 percent battery life remaining. Check out their website and use code CAP-Howard to receive a free watch band ($30 value) with any watch. You must add both the watch and the band into the cart and apply the code at checkout to redeem the promotion.

  3. Aftershokz Aeropex. I have several different models of Aftershokz, including the most recent, the Aeropex. Like its predecessors, the Aeropex features bone-conduction technology that allows the user to hear surroundings like traffic, other people and wildlife. I recently received a pair of Aeropex and can vouch for their higher quality sound, deeper bass and diminished vibration. Whether you use these for running, hiking, biking or even swimming, the waterproof technology comes in hand.

  1. *InsideTracker. I have used the bloodwork analysis and personalized recommendations from InsideTracker for several years. As athletes, we ask our bodies to do a lot for us. But we don’t often haver a true grasp on how training, racing and recovering is affecting our key biomarkers. With InsideTracker, I have learned about areas where I have been deficient (like Vitamin D) so that I can make changes and improve my health. Visit InsideTracker to learn more and use my link to get 15 percent off.

  2. Nike Kiger trail shoes. In my spare time, I review running shoes for Since the website owner pays for the shoes that the reviewers wear and then write about, we are free to provide honest feedback. There have been high-quality shoes that I have received and reviewed, and other kicks that didn’t measure up. Of the several dozen that I have tested, the Nike Kigers stand out to me as the best in class. It’s class, of course, is for runners who want to go fast on runnable trails. If that’s your thing, try out the Kigers.

  3. Hoka One One Clifton road shoes. While my experience in reviewing road shoes has been far less than the trail variety, I still have judged a variety of kicks made for the pavement. For my recovery runs on the roads, my go-to is the Hoka One One Clifton. Hokas are well-known for their cushioning and the Cliftons do not disappoint.

  4. Drymax socks. Whether you are on trails, roads, sidewalks or the track, Drymax has you — and your feet – covered. I have tried out at least eight other sock brands but Drymax is superior. Their socks protect my feet better than others. And, as the name implies, when the sock gets wet, it quickly dries the foot.

  1. *UltrAspire Legacy Race Vest. This is the vest I wore throughout the 50K and 100-miler this fall. It came as no surprise to me that the vest had everything I needed — decent storage space, comfort and easy-to-use bottles. The one-size fits all vest is better than others I have tried from several of the major brands that produce similar running gear. But that is what you would expect from a company founded by an outdoorsman who made his own vest as a teenager.

  2. **Squirrel’s Nut Butter. Chafing is no joke. As a runner who has put in more annual miles than ever before – 33 percent more and counting — I definitely appreciate how SNB keeps me chafe-free. Even better, they have a vegan option for those who prefer it. Just don’t eat the vegan or regular salves. Simply slather it on your toes, feet and other body parts that are prone to chafing.

  3. *Honey Stinger waffles, gels and chews. I first noticed a Honey Stinger waffle being consumed by another runner at the start of a marathon. I thought it was strange that she would be eating something so close to the start of a race. Since then I have discovered just how digestible their waffles are; in fact, I usually have one as I am getting ready for my morning workout. As a Celiac, I really appreciate the gluten-free options that Honey stinger offers for their waffles, chews and gels. Now, they just need to create a gluten-free protein bar.

*Currently serve as ambassador.

**Ambassador application pending for 2020.

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