Runners, all we need is a pair of shoes and our running shorts right? WRONG! Look in any runner’s closet and you’ll find packs, water bottles, salt tabs, headlamps, windbreakers, foam rollers and more.
Best holiday gifts for runners
Let’s face it, even though running is about as minimalist as it gets, we still need gear and lots of it, especially if we are doing ultra distances, alpine running, or winter running.
Here are a few of our picks for the best holiday gifts for runners from undiscovered companies ...
1. Carson Footwear USA made minimalist running shoes
Looking for a unique shoe designed by and for true running enthusiasts? Check out USA made Carson Footwear. These zero-drop, slipper-like shoes are as comfy as you can get and the unique material used in the soles provides extra shock absorption. Everett Carson created the company when he couldn’t find what he was looking for in a running shoe. While hatching the idea for his company one naysayer told him, "yeah right, when Iguana’s fly" ... hence his first style, the Iguana Racer!
2. Northern Lites USA made snowshoes
Some Runners, myself included, don’t stop running just because winter roles in. But what to do when the snow gets deep? Strap on a pair of snowshoes, of course. The Race Direct model from Northern Lites is not your standard “slowshoe” ... these things fly! Plus they ditched the annoying bindings with this model and instead created a way for you to take your favorite pair of running shoes (or an old pair in your closet) and mount them right to the snowshoes. I took my trusty pair of trail running shoes from the summer and made them my dedicated winter running shoe. Watch out summer trails ... there will be no hibernating for you this winter.
3. Kahtoola Micro Spikes aka tire chains for your feet
While we are talking about winter trail running, another great gift idea is a pair of Kahtoola Micro Spikes. Think tire chains or lightweight crampons for your running shoes. The 12 spikes and welded stainless steel tame the iciest trail or road. I've tackled some seriously nasty ice in my now 5-year-old Micro Spikes and they hardly show any wear. My wife and I did an 8-mile run to one of our favorite lakes on Thanksgiving day without a single slip. Plus it just feels awesome bombing down your favorite trail with spikes on your feet.
4. Farm to Feet USA made merino wool socks
If you’ll be running in the snow, or even just the cold, a good pair of wool socks is a must. Wool insulates even when it's wet and chances are your feet will get wet. Our favorites come from Farm to Feet, a company that uses sustainably sourced USA merino. It tracks every stage of the supply chain and even the ink on its packaging comes from the USA. You can feel good about what you put on your feet, and your feet will feel good you too.
5. Bambool baselayers made from bamboo and merino wool
Add something else to the closet if you’ll be running this winter ... baselayers. It’s more important than ever in the winter to have baselayers that a) insulate when they get wet and b) wick moisture away from your body. By far the softest yet high performing baselayer in my arsenal is made by Bambool. Primarily made for skiing, this top pulls double and triple duty for me all the time across a wide range of sports and activities. Combining all the best properties of merino wool and bamboo you’ll love how the fabric feels on your skin, and it’s surprisingly warm for its weight.
6. Voke Tab, the easiest, healthiest way to get a caffeine boost
Did you wake up a bit late for your morning run? No time to make a cup of coffee? Voke Tab to the rescue! Each tablet contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee to give you a nice little pick me up. With real organic ingredients and its small packaging, these are great to keep in your running kit. Long distance runners, I'm talking to you.