Here’s the biggest advice you need when choosing a gift for runners: Do not buy them shoes. Finding shoes is like finding a spouse. It’s best left to the two direct parties involved. They, after all, are the ones who will be spending all that time together once they’ve tied the (very literal) knot. Instead, to wish them many happy miles, we recommend one of the following 10 pieces of gear.
MORE: The Best New Running Shoes of 2017
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Tracksmith Top Loader Bag
This sure is an upgrade from the plastic grocery bags you use to toss stanky, muddy gear. The Top Loader includes a treated-leather bottom compartment to separate shoes from the rest of your clothes.
Credit: Courtesy of Tracksmith
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AfterShokz Trekz Air Wireless Headphones
There are few things more annoying on a long run than a jangling headphones cord. A good pair of wireless headphones solves the issue, but even better, hook up with the growing array of music-enabled smartwatches. That means you can leave the bulky phone at home. One of our gear editor’s favorite pair? The AfterShokz. They conduct sound vibration through the bones below your ear, keeping your ear canals open and free to hear oncoming hazards.
Credit: Courtesy of AfterShokz
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District Vision Keiichi Standard Sunglasses
District Vision’s founders are on a mission to meld meditation and running, offering monthly workshops in New York City. But the centerpiece of their company is the sunglasses. Designed using Japanese principles and feedback from urban running crews, the shades themselves meld two other key running principles: fashion and function.
Credit: Courtesy of District Vision
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Epson ProSense 17 GPS Watch
Perhaps the best GPS running watch on the market at its price point, the Epson ProSense 17 checks all the boxes: an easy-to-read display, accurate location, and a long battery life.
Credit: Courtesy of Epson
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Janji Ita Rover Hoodie
Yes, you’ll want to run in this when the temperature dips in to the 30s, or as a base-layer when things get even colder. But when you’re not logging miles, the brushed interior fabric is so cozy, this hoodie from Janji is just as ideal to wear as you hunker down by a fire.
Credit: Courtesy of Janji
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Sarah Marie Design Studio
It’s hard to find someone who captures a runner’s inner thoughts more than New York City-based designer Sarah Marie. Her collection of T-shirts, apparel, and accessories are perfect for the women runners in your life (though she does include an assortment of products for men, too). Each one contains universal truths about the sport. We particularly love the “Run all the Miles Drink all the Beers” T-shirt.
Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Marie Design Studio
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Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human
You make like to run, but can you explain why? Author Vybarr Cregan-Reid ties in philosophy, literature, and science to explore that question. The result is a text about running that’s (almost) as satisfying as the real thing.
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
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If there is such thing as a Swiss Army Knife of running gear, it is the multifunctional headwear from BUFF. The stretchy, soft microfiber fabric can act as a scarf, headband, bandana, sweat cloth, or ear warmer. The original multifunctional headwear comes in dozens of patterns, and the company has expanded to include colder-weather and reflective styles.
Credit: Courtesy of Buff USA