Nothing starts a new running season quite like new stuff, and nothing screams of optimism like opening a new box of shoes. From race bibs to watches to sneakers (sneakers!), iRun presents the 22 Hottest Running Gifts not for your daughter or girlfriend—but for yourself. Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season, we appreciate very sincerely your support.
22. Theragun Mini
This magic wand of recovery, technological dream of extended running careers, is now available for under two hundred bucks, portable, and can get you—and keep you—out on the Yellow Brick Roads.
21. Race bibs!
A goal without a plan is a dream. We know this. What are you racing this spring? Are you racing Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Blue Nose, what?! Here’s a list of spring races from Duluth to Rome. If you take nothing else from this Gift Guide, please—please!—register for a spring race. It will add value to everything else running related you buy.
20. Nike Alphafly 3
Almost too frightening to take out of their box, the latest from the Swoosh is touted as their Greatest and at this point, super shoes do just about everything for you except provide a motor. The drop early January in Canada and were worn by Kelvin Kiptum when he missed sub-two hour marathon by .35 seconds.
More so than any sneakers, cutting back on alcohol consumption with the Athletic Brewing collection and normalizing not drinking alcohol has brought my weight down. In 2023, AB was at many Canadian races. You’ll see them more frequently at the races in the new year. Who else is doing Dry January? Athletic Brewing holds the ice cold key to avoiding white knuckling it.
18. Everything ASICS
Your 2023 Golden Sneaker Award winning brand of the year balances innovation with regards for the classics, affordability, sustainability, comfort and speed. We’re loving the NOVABLAST 4 and ferocious METASPEED Edge+, but according to the hardcore readers of iRun, when in doubt: ASICS is the choice.
Among the many hazards of winter running, freezing cold hands rank very highly on my list of Most Hated. Merino wool with natural fibers make these mitts soft and gentle and breathable and warm: want to survive running through the Canadian winter? Comfort is right at your fingertips with these high-pile mitts.
Ensuring you hit those February workouts, a first-rate Balaclava makes you immune to the elements and also immune to any other runner’s bragging rights: this is about as hardcore as it gets, hence the Balaclava is currently sold-out online at the Salomon online store. Keep checking back. Salomon knows winter and all their gear—shoes, coats, socks—are first rate.
15. Peloton Tread
Are we really recommending a $4,000 treadmill? Look, we don’t know your financial situation but we do know plenty of CEOs run. This is the top of the top and we tested this Peloton revelation. From their instructors to programming, sound quality to running belt, for the price of a trip to Mexico, you can stay in Canada, run indoors, and stay in shape for life.
The only thing on the Gift Guide that’s free is also the only thing that you probably already have: an iRun subscription. So, we lied: this one isn’t for you, but there’s gotta be someone you love. Give them iRun, and watch the number of friends you have to run with grow.
Official race hotel of the Calgary Marathon, rooms are now going for less than $175. Is there anything better than sitting at the bar in your medal after the race and applauding other runners who stagger up to the bar, also wearing their medal, ready to share a pint and their story? See you there.
You’ve seen Love, Actually, and the kids are driving you crazy for another viewing of Elf. Forget Chariots of Fire. Outside Saint Ralph, this is the Best Running Movie of All-Time.
Every year a fuss is made about the newest brands in running watches and every year Garmin wins the Golden Sneaker for Best Running Watch. Very hard to knock out the champion; when in doubt, choose the industry’s leader: it’s what we do.
In the know athletes and outdoorsmen and women are shopping at Decathlon, the French export slowly giving Canadians excellent discounts on quality gear. We all know we have to cross-train. Is this the year you take up cross country skiing? Decathlon is the place to begin.
The leaders in the compression game are behind the best innovations and prices and the most knowledgable staff in the game. These sleeves and socks are game-changers. See what half the running world keeps from the other half, then get onboard.
My personal running revolutionary product of the year, these AirPods are easy to use, don’t fall out, stay charged and sound great. Transformative.
You can get dehydrated in the cold just as easily as in the warm weather and a hydration pack keeps you in motion, whether on the slopes, a run, or just taking the kids to the park. Mountain Equipment Company remains packing the good stuff; this backpack featured is under $70: terrific.
A drum we keep beating: certainly, if your finances are in order, your running will improve because you’ll be less stressed, sleep better and have more money to buy more stuff. Winston’s a runner and a friend and his asset map is something he’ll make you for free. Just try.
Along the lines of your money woes, sleep aids will benefit any runner and the MediPharm Labs CBD products are the best in the business. During one tumultuous year, this sleep formula kept me afloat. Here’s what Lanni Marchant says about CBD.
4. Factor Food
How nice is it to have meal preparations delivered? Totally customizable and designed for athletes with specific diets, this luxury is opulent and wonderful and takes the guesswork out of all your eating decisions. This is what I wrote about them last spring.
Maurten recently hired Sarah Donaldson to be their Canadian rep and she’s not only speedy, knowledgable and a powerful runner (even though her husband Jeff edged me out in a 2019 race), but only works with the best in class, like BlackToe Running. Maurten are the gels used by Kipchoge. ‘Nuff said.
The future of leak prevention, if you know, you know. This Canadian company will change your life. There’s no need to stop running in the new year.
All of this stuff is fun and it’s great to spend money on yourself and support your passion, but we all know the world is in dire straits and people need help. Many races, like the Waterfront Marathon linked above, have a charity component. Raise money. Donate money. Donate sneakers. Help other people.
Good karma will make you stronger than any workout.