Thursday, November 18, 2021

2021 Gift Guide for Runners & Mini Reviews: Books, Recovery and Compression, Sunglasses, Recovery Shoes and Sandals, Hats.

Article by Sally Reiley, Peter Stuart, Cheng Chen, Jeremy Marie, Marcel Krebs, Sam and Dominique Winebaum 

2021 Gift Guide for Runners: Books, Recovery and Compression, Sunglasses, Recovery Shoes and Sandals.

Please help support RTR this holiday season. RoadTrailRun may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article.  

Books for Runners

Rise and Run, the newest cookbook (third in series) by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. 

Sally: I am a HUGE fan of Shalane’s past cookbooks, especially the first one Run Fast, Eat Slow,  and I always have a batch of superhero muffins in my freezer at the ready for morning pre-run fuel. And I live on the molasses ginger granola! And the Kale farro salad with lemon miso dressing, the peanut noodle sauce… I could go on and on.  So many great things in these books! The newest one does not disappoint. There are some 24 recipes for variations of my beloved SuperHero muffins! And what I love about these books is that they are much more than cookbooks - they are guidebooks for a healthy way of life that includes nutrient dense whole foods, healthy fat, listening to your body, avoiding restrictive diets - it’s meant to be a forever habit. This third book includes morning routines of our favorite marathon SuperHuman SuperHero Shalane (6 marathons sub 3:45 in 42 days?! OMG!), from her strength training and stretching to her sleep to her meal plans to recommendations for mental health, even including marathon training plans. I plan on gifting this amazing book to so many friends on my holiday list!

Rise and Run Available at Amazon HERE

Run Fast, Eat Slow Available at Amazon HERE

Cheng: Perhaps due to the language gap, Ethiopian running has always been more elusive to me than the Kenyans have. Add to that distance a society less economically accessible and it becomes a world magnitudinally difficult to grasp. Here, Michael Crawley solves the impossible by being not only an Amharic-speaking ethnographer, but doing so with the fitness of elite training. From hence emerges a tale of running in a foreign land so unique where the very definition of an athlete’s ‘condition’ bends the mind.

This is truly an amazing fly-on-the-wall recounting of Ethiopian training.

Out of Thin Air is available from Amazon HERE

Training for the Uphill Athlete 

Marcel: an excellent book for every trail runner and ski mountaineer.

Steve House and Scott Johnston share a ton of wisdom regarding setting up a training schedule and all the fundamentals like setting the right heart zones (the part regarding ADS (=aerobic deficit syndrome) alone is worth reading it), complementary strength training and lots of biologic background. These “hard facts” are combined with lots of “war stories” and insights into the training of Kilian Jornet himself.

Caveats: This is a “workbook”, not an easy read; I went through it a couple of times and found new wisdom each time. Furthermore, it teaches concepts instead of completely laid out training plans, but this comes with the beauty of having a very flexible toolkit at hand in every situation which can be adopted as your skill level progresses.

Training for the Uphill Athlete is available at Amazon HERE

Fixing Your Feet 

Marcel: This book is an invaluable source of information for every runner who has any kind of problems with their feet. While not being a medical book, it offers countless options for nearly any problem related to your legs. Especially if you are injury-prone like me, this is an excellent book to find new angles to the most common problems of runners beside the well-known recommendations you can find everywhere on the internet today. It’s also quite cheap (~10 bucks) and was just re-released and updated.

Fixing your Feet is available from Amazon HERE

Daniels Running Formula

Jeremy: It’s been my one and only “running” book when I started to run more seriously, and before being remotely coached.

The cover emphasizes training plans for many distances, but I think the real value in the book is elsewhere. The level of explanations on the utility of the different paces, their physiological impacts, why some intervals should last longer and others not, is topnotch and so much enlightening, as long as you have a little bit of interest on those topics. It brings lots of clarity to VO2Max concepts, speed and neuro-muscular usefulness evn for long distance runners, the necessity to go slow in order to go faster (weird idea isn’t it?). 

Plus, it uses a nice table to determine all your paces for training efficiently, based on race results rather than on a test, and of course, offers loads of pre-made plans...and all the tools to build your own, which I’ve done at times.

Daniels Running Formula is available from Amazon HERE

Running with Sherman: How a Rescue Donkey Inspired a Rag-tag Gang of Runners to Enter the Craziest Race in America

Jeff B: Christopher McDougall’s latest running-adjacent books, keeps his formula of mostly fun story with a little takeaway you can apply into your own running life. My dad, a lifelong non-runner, actually read this one before me and still contends he wants to get a burro and maybe even take it up to Fairplay for the big race one of these years. It isn’t quite the page turner as McDougall’s Born the Run or Natural Born Heroes (both incredible books if you are looking for a fun story rather than life advice), but still a lot of fun to be found.

Shop for Running with Sherman at Amazon HERE

I Hate Running and You Can Too: How to Get Started, Keep Going, and Make Sense of an Irrational Passion by Brendan Leonard

Jeff B: I’ve never read a book before that I felt like I had written. While I love running, I also kind of hate it at times, and this book explores that deeper than I’d have thought possible. Love hate relationships aside, Brendan Leonard has plenty of advice and suggestions that most runners could find useful. Not to mention you’ll likely find a few passages that seem like they were written about you, which makes you realize maybe we all share the same idiotic tendencies.

Shop for I Hate Running and You Can Too at Amazon HERE

Fun and Useful Gifts for Runners

BUFF Multifunctional Headwear

Peter: A couple of BUFF go a long way. The most versatile cover up for any combination of head, neck and or face for those chilly days. 

Sam: Dominique and I almost always have a Buff around the neck for hikes, nordic skiing and running to protect from sun and wind and act as a sweatband. 

In winter, as Peter says, they are the most versatile piece of adaptable headwear (above transformed from neckwear to a sort of hat).  They are available in Merino for those deeper cold days although the summer weights are fine in winter as well. Truly the ideal runner’s gift!

Buff of many types including their excellent caps available from 

Running Warehouse HERE

Backcountry HERE


Amazon HERE

Skratch Labs Crispy Rice Cake Mallow

Peter: Tasty and easy to consume on the run. At least on the trail.  

BVSport Collector DBDB Socks

Jeremy: Top quality French made socks, in a special collection with comics inspired graphics from Des Bosses et des Bulles, a french comic book based on trail-running.

Recovery Tools

Theragun Pro ($599) and Theragun /Mini ($199)

Marcel: Theragun Pro is my go to solution when muscles are sore or stiff. The TheraGun offers enough power to loosen even very harned muscles if you “enjoy” such kind of deep tissue massage. 

It also offers different attachments for different areas of the body and different use cases. For example, the very soft one is invaluabe for sore calves. The attachments also work with the TheraGun Mini which is a perfect travel compagnon. 

Good thing is, that both should be significantly discounted on Black Friday (i bought the Pro at this occasion last year), so hurry up and get them if you can afford them.

Shop for Theragun

Amazon HERE

Running Warehouse HERE

Hypervolt--nice and quiet


Jeff B: The first gen Hypervolt is still a beast in the Beck household after nearly four years. The battery isn’t as long-lasting as it used to be, only a couple hours between recharges, but the little motor that could still punishes our calves, glutes, and backs multiple times a week without fail. I never learned the finer points of back massage, but bracing the Hypervolt with both hands and having my wife lean back into it gives a more thorough and deeper massage than anything I could do with my hands and maybe even my elbow. My office has a number of athletes in it, and I find myself bringing the Hypervolt with me every few weeks to pass it around.

Shop for Hypervolt Massage Guns

Amazon HERE


Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses ($379 with Transitions lenses, non prescription)

Ray-Ban Stories are smart sunglasses in the classic Wayfarer style (other styles available)  with dual 5MP cameras for still and 30 sec video clips, 3 microphones, hands free voice command, call answering, music control and listening. They have 2 excellent speakers in the temples (so good on the road situational awareness). They really look like classic sunglasses and not ugly monsters as earlier attempts at such glasses were. 

With the optional photochromic Transitions lenses I chose, the Ray-Ban darken and lighten according to the light conditions.

They are a great standalone sunglass and fantastic for on the run and on the go picture and video capture as well as of course music and phone connection. Just touch the temple or say “Hey Facebook, video” and it will do so and flawlessly, max 30 seconds for each video. 

Below some samples: photo and video taken in Park City, Utah on the run no stopping just ask it to shoot.

They are based on tech developed by Facebook. While video and photo capture can be phone free, music and phone control and listening requires you to carry your phone. Prescription lenses are also available.  Video review and demo 

Available from Ray-Ban HERE  Best Buy HERE

TIFOSI Sunglasses ($25 and up)

Peter: A big shout out to Tifosi . They make affordable, lightweight running and cycling glasses that protect the eyes and give good, clear vision. They are way gooder than other glasses--if you know what I mean…

Jeff B: 100% with Peter, Tifosi makes sunglasses that punch above their weight...or rather their price point. Very clean optics that look much more expensive than they are. 

My pair of Swick aren’t that dark, but they take the sting out of bright days.

Shop for Tifosi Sunglasses

Running Warehouse HERE

Amazon HERE

Blumaka Konnect Insoles

Jeff B: The Blumaka Konnect are interesting in a number of ways. While they bring added weight, at 46g each they are roughly three times the weight of standard insoles - but that extra weight means they are much more substantial than the cheap and flimsy included inserts. The extra heft of the insole overall makes each shoe just a little more cushioned, but not mushy by any means. 

The texture keep your foot planted, no sliding around whatsoever. I would recommend sizing up at least one full size, my true-to-size pair leaves some gaps in front of the insole on every shoe I tried them in.

Mission Vented Cooling Performance Hat ($25)

Sam: Not the lightest cap out there, or even run specific, but one of my all time favorites for its go anywhere do anything classic ball cap style. It is truly remarkable in its moisture absorption and evaporation and built in cooling properties which are activated by sweat or wetting with water. I sweat a lot, wear glasses and often run in humid conditions and the Mission vented has never let me down or sweat through. All my many other run, hike, and daily wear caps have been on the shelf for months now since I picked up the Mission Vented

Shop for the Mission Vented Performance Cooling Hat at Amazon HERE


CEP Ultralight Compression Calf Sleeves ($40)

I always wear calf sleeves for races but very rarely for training. I have always felt the compressive effect was more about reducing shock vibrations than blood circulation.. I often had calf cramps during races before sleeves but literally never since. 

I have read that even moderate compression can be effective in this regard and have gravitated to the light compression and light weight of Compressport sleeves although I have tried many over the years.

In fact, my very first compression sleeves were CEP, well over a decade ago. While run oriented, they were clearly medical grade or close in their tight compression, thick, hot, and as a result, while effective quite miserable and something I wanted to immediately pull down or off after a race.

When CEP offered their Ultralight series sleeves and socks for the test I was intrigued. I saw base stats of: 

  • 20% less volume than CEP 2.0 calf sleeves

  • 20-30 mmHg compression so moderately to quite compressive. I tend to prefer 15-20 mmHg.

  • Guaranteed for 6 months (150-200 washes)

Digging deeper (and all the deep details are here)  I see they have 3 different built in treatments:

And bonus as we know carbon is extremely light its inclusion helps make the sleeves and socks very, very light in weight and very thin compared to “normal” compression sleeves and socks of comparable compression.

So how have they performed? Very well indeed in 2 half marathons and a very warm and humid 10K. I have never felt the usual heat and moisture build up of conventional sleeves that wanted me to immediately take them off once done. 

They absorb remarkably little moisture and what little there is has no place to build up and weigh me down due to the much thinner than normal material which while it provides plenty of compression, is also easy to see through.They dry very quickly as well.

CEP Ultralight Sleeves and full CEP line available from 

Running Warehouse HERE

Sandals and Recovery Shoes

Topo Athletic Rekovr 2 ($115)

The Rekovr was in last year’s gift guide and returns again in 2021 as the ultimately versatile recovery shoe. With chill in the air, but really anytime of year, you can’t go wrong with the blended wool upper here over a supportive trail shoe midsole and full Vibram outsole of the Rekovr. Highly anti microbial (proven over months of barefoot use in all seasons) they are super comfortable and proven durable and in a pinch you can even run/hike in them in a pinch..

Our Adam Glueck did this after forgetting his trail shoes and after any adventure wear them to drive home in safety and in comfort.  RTR Review

Topo Rekovr 2 available

Amazon HERE

Moosejaw HERE

Campsaver HERE (coupon available)

Decker Lab Recovery Sandals

Blending the max cushion and performance of a Hoka (Deckers Lab is the skunk works innovation lab for Hoka and other Deckers brands) with edgy style and natural materials, including looped wool,  the Deckers Lab sandals are available in a wide variety of styles. Shown above the KO-Z GLDTR ($120). 

In her review GLDTR review  Dominique said:

“The KO-Z GLDTR 3 is not about dragging your flip-flops walking to the beach but getting the most of your footwear in a multi-faceted kind of way.  Supportive and comfortable, it is also responsive and energizes your steps and works as a recovery shoe as well.  Quite secure, my feet are not sliding sideways as with other types of recovery flip-flops.”

Wide variety of Deckers Lab Sandals, Slides, Mules, and Shoes for men and women available Running Warehouse HERE

Deckers X Lab HERE

Check out our other 2021 Holiday Gift Guides for Runners and Savings Page! HERE

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products
FREE Shipping on orders over 99, 30 days return policy, no questions asked.

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: