If there’s a trail runner in your life, you should know right now that you can’t just slap a bow on any ol’ running gear and call it a present. Gifts for trail runners need to do more, be more. Because trail runners need more layers, more insulation, more tread, more clothing and gear that stands up to the elements and the harsh conditions (and surfaces) found in the great outdoors. So if you really want to wow ’em, get them one of these gifts for trail runners, no matter what you’re celebrating this season.
Gifts for Trail Runners
On Running Vest
This vest became one of our tester’s go-to options for long runs right out of the gate. It keeps you cool and comfortable on hot days, it’s ultralight, and despite the incredible amount of pockets, it never felt bulky or heavy. She said it provides a bocce-free fit, almost like wearing a second skin, and offers complete freedom of motion. Easy-access pockets and bungees offer a place for snacks, gels, hydration packs and flasks, all within easy reach, plus it’s versatile, what with the customizable bungee system. The only downside: it could use some more reflective details for night runs. Bonus: It’s made of recycled materials. Find the vest on REI here.
Ombraz Armless Sunglasses
Armless sunglasses made of recycled materials that also stay put on your face no matter what you’re doing outdoors (including trail running)? Yes, please! And these puppies are supremely capable and comfortable: they never fell off, never slipped down noses (even on super sweaty faces and extra-long runs), and when you don’t need them they hang securely around your neck. Add in polarized lenses, 5 frame styles in several colors, including a dope, limited-edition frost, and two sizes (narrow and wide) to fit a variety of faces, and you’ve got yourself a winner! If the recipient runs in the mountains, throw in a pair of removable side shields, too, which cut side glare like magic. Bonus: the brand plants 20 mangrove trees for each pair sold, which technically makes these shades carbon negative. Find Ombraz here.
ZenToes Toe Spacers
You know we’re all about barefoot shoes here at Terradrift (do you know how hard it was not to put at least three pairs on this list? Let alone not even one?!). But even if your run-crazy friends and family aren’t fellow barefoot enthusiasts, all of our feet could use some love. And while plenty of folks are aware of the wonders a good cork massage ball is for rolling out tense foot muscles (also a good gift, fyi), toe spacers have long been underrated in our opinion. They can not only help with hammer toes and bunions, but they assist in returning toes to a natural position, which can help healthy feet achieve better balance, stability, foot flexibility and strength. We like this pair from ZenToes for how comfy and squishy they are and that they can be worn inside socks (and even barefoot style shoes), but do be gentle with the spacers to make them last as long as possible. Get a pair of ZenToes here.
Knog Bandicoot Run 250 Headlamp
The tech in this unique headlamp is seriously useful for those who run after (after dark…or before sunrise). For starters, it’s rechargeable, which means no batteries required. Plus, the whole power pack pops out of the stretchy silicone band and plugs directly into a USB port to charge, which means you never have to bring along a cable, either. Which ALSO means less e-waste heading for landfills! And yes, it’s also a stellar performer. At 250 lumens it’s bright enough to run streets or trails plus has multiple white and red light settings. It’s no-bounce, easy-to-adjust, and maybe our fave feature: there’s a halo mode that combines the front bright white light with red lights on the sides that illuminates the clear silicone, which makes you more visible during evening or early morning runs. Score! Order a Bandicoot Run here.
Outdoor Research Shadow Hoodie
If they like to run in the cold (but don’t like the cold) and you’re ready to gift a big-ticket item, get them a solid, cozy, active layer they’ll never want to take off. Might we suggest the Shadow Insulated Hoodie from Outdoor Research? It layers snuggly over their favorite fitted shirt, has thumb holes and stretchy panels on the sides and under the arms to offer freedom of motion and help dump excess heat, and a high collar and soft adjustable hood for those really cold days. Bonus: it serves as a stellar mid layer for hiking, backpacking, and climbing, too. Is it the perfect multi-sport jacket? We can’t say for sure, but it sure comes close, especially given that it’s made of mostly recycled materials. One downside: there aren’t any reflective details, so it’s best for runners who prefer to get their miles in in daylight hours. Find the Shadow Hoodie for women here and men here.
Need More Ideas?
This gift guide for runners not enough? Need more ideas? Sure ya do. Lucky for you, we have an even longer list of great gifts for outdoorsy folks in our annual gift guide, here. Plus years and years of past gift guides! So no matter what type of outdoorist you’re buying for, you’re sure to find something they’ll love. Just remember to shop responsibly, consider buying used instead of new, and enjoy real reason for the season: togetherness. And holiday light displays. Obvs. Happy holidays!
This post contains affiliate links, which means when you clicky-click and make a purchase, we may receive some compensation. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you any extra, but you will be supporting Terradrift! That’s what we call a win-win!
Alisha is a freelance outdoor journalist and photographer based in Ogden, UT. She loves backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and snowboarding (even though she’s terrible at it). She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. alishamcdarris.com