Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Road Trail Run 2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners: Over 60 Gift Ideas in 12 Categories with Mini Reviews

Article by Dominique and Sam Winebaum, Sally Reiley, Jeff Valliere, Jeremy Marie, Ben David, Mike Postaski, Renee Krusemark, Marcel Krebs, & Markus Zinkl

Holiday Gift Guide for Runners

The RTR team went to town this holiday season to bring you this holiday gifts guide. The ideas kept on coming as we pondered great ideas for runners , hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts, most tested over many miles in all conditions during 2023.

We ended up with well over 60 gift ideas (with mini reviews) across 12 categories for the runners in your life!

  GPS Smart Watches and Music 

     Hats, Gloves, Socks

       T Shirts,Tops, Shorts

         Tights and Pants

           Jackets, Vests 

             Packs, Vests, Poles

               Form Tools, Insoles and Recovery Footwear


                  Run/Hike Lighting  

                    Nutrition and Hydration

                       Non Alcoholic Beers

                          Books, Podcasts, Subscriptions

Products in the guide are identified as review samples (RS)  or personal purchases (PP)

Purchases at links in the article to our affiliate partners and on our site help support RoadTrailRun and are much appreciated. Happy Holidays!

RoadTrailRun Custom Fractel Custom Bucket ($49) and Cap ($39)

After thorough testing on roads and trails in the US and Europe this fall and summer, we now have our first RoadTrailRun branded merchandise-Road Trail Running Cap and Buckets. 

Cap:$39                                                             Bucket:$49

These high performance Fractel Running Australian designed lids are comfortable, adjustable, very moisture wicking and sun protective. Caps is one size. Bucket in two sizes with the S/M a great gift idea for active kids. At our store:  Custom Bucket ($49) and Cap ($39)

GPS Watches, Music

Coros Pace 3 ($230)

High Performance on a Budget

The Pace 3 is the budget watch in the Gift Guide. It really leaves nothing behind compared to far more expensive other options when it comes to the basics (and then some) of accuracy, light weight, and  comprehensive and improving tracking and training on watch and in app system 

Its battery life hits 25 hours in All Networks GPS and up to 38 hours GPS alone with daily wear in smart watch mode up to 1o 18 days both proved out in my testing.  Optica wrist heart rate has been accurate, helped by it being one of lightest and thinnest watches available at mere 39g with nylon strap and 13mm thick.

Compared to the Pace 2 it  gets 4Gb on off board music storage, a  touch screen, turn by turn directions (breadcrumb routes), all new GPS and HR sensing chip sets, and a Pulse Ox sensor. All these goodies along with its GPS and HR tracking performance and comfort on the wrist add to a far more than the basics at a great price. A great gift idea for any runner . RS Pace 3  Multi Tester Review

The Coros Pace 3 is available from our partners



Sports Shoes UK SHOP HERE

Running Warehouse US  SHOP HERE 

Top4 Running Europe SHOP HERE

Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Garmin Forerunner 265 ($450)

Sam: I am fortunate to test just about all new running and multi sport GPS watches and the fully capable, light and bright 265 stands out and was the watch on my wrist the most of 2023.

It includes essentially all of the key training, recovery, and smart watch features of pricier  Forerunners such as the 965, theFenix and Epix except map based navigation although it does have breadcrumb navigation.

The AMOLED display with its sharp (416 x 416 pixels vs the usual 240 x 240 )  bright viewing in all light con ditions and especially dim light and indoors  where transflective screens struggle and its lightweight at 47g are the standout features. AMOLED displays when active are essentially “illuminated” and thus such watches (Apple Watch) have short battery life. Not so here as I met or exceeded the Garmin spec of 13 days in smart watch mode as well as GPS-Only GNSS mode of up to 20 hours and SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode of up to 16 hours.

Given the light weight and 12.9mm thickness, optical wrist heart rate has been very solid. Not only Garmin’s algorithms have much improved over the last couple years but as they are so light and thin, especially for those of us such as me with thin wrists, those improvements under the hood are magnified in terms of accuracy.

GPS  distance and track accuracy has also been excellent.

The Forerunner 265 is a great gift  for the dedicated runner and especially if your runner has a three more year old watch including Garmins  as here not only is accuracy improved through much newer GPS and optical heart rate chip sets but you get a vibrant bright screen that shines in dim light and is up to the task in bright. And unless you are doing long ultras, there is plenty of battery life here and yes you could splurge on the yet more amazing Epix 2 Pro or 955  here you will not be missing much beyond its on watch mapping.  Also available in a smaller diameter S version. RS

Garmin Forerunner 265 

Running Warehouse US SHOP HERE



Sports Shoes UK/EU SHOP HERE

Running Warehouse Australia SHOP HERE

Suunto Race 

$549 Sapphire Titanium, $449 Stainless Steel 

Suunto is Back! Long Battery Life, AMOLED Display, Maps, Very Competitive Pricing 

Jeremy: I might be a bit Suunto biased since the Ambit 2,  but after going to Garmin for more than a year with a Fenix 6, and testing different brands such as Polar and Coros (albeit quickly), I can’t really see anything that fits my needs more precisely. And the latest Race is a banger. AMOLED screen, 40h battery life with a top-tier GPS track, known Suunto usability and now the extensions using SuuntoPlus app and Guides, mapping onboard… The Race hits hard at the competition with its very aggressive price.It’s backed up with the best mobile App (personal opinion) that now offers short and long term training insights and the best route building capabilities. PP

Jeff V: I have been testing the Race now for nearly a month and will be writing my full review soon, but I have to say I am very impressed with the Race.  With an AMOLED screen, the Race is Suunto’s 2nd watch with AMOLED after the S7 (focus on smartwatch vs sports watch with the S7 having only  ~1 day battery life or less depending on how long you use the GPS, whereas the Race is a fully featured dedicated sports watch with amazing battery life (comparable to the Epix Gen 2 Pro 51mm), top of the line GPS tracking, a large screen in a reasonable size watch body, easy to use buttons/interface with rotating bezel and a very competitive price at $549 Sapphire Titanium, $449 Stainless Stee.l  RS

Initial Suunto Race Review 

Suunto Race available


Top 4 Running Europe SHOP HERE

Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Garmin Epix  Pro (Gen 2) Sapphire Edition | 51mm - Carbon Gray DLC Titanium 

$1,100 as tested, versions at $899 - $1100 depending on size/base/sapphire - ti

The Ultimate Sports Watch

Jeff V The Garmin Epix Gen 2 Pro 51mm is, at least in my opinion and for my usage, the ultimate GPS sports watch.  With a bright vivid 1.4” AMOLED screen, exceptionally good battery life, accurate multi band GPS, accurate optical heart rate, detailed easy to read onboard maps, a reasonable weight (in the sapphire/ti version and even more so when coupled with a nylon band just 64 grams), infinite levels of customization and configurability.  

Oh, and can’t forget the built in LED flashlight that I have come to rely upon.  If the 51mm is too big for your preferences, you can opt for the 47mm or 42mm versions (with the only concessions being screen size and battery life).  Yes, it is pricey, but dang, with so much to offer and unbeatable style, it is a worthwhile investment if it is within your budget (otherwise go for the lesser priced, but just as capable Forerunner 965). Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2) In Depth Review  RS

Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2) available





Suunto Wings Bone Conduction Headphones:  $199

Jeff V The Wings have become my go to headphones for running and biking, leaving the ear unobstructed for awareness of your surroundings and thus safety.  Easy to operate with intuitive controls, a light, yet sturdy design and long battery life make these the perfect choice for outdoor activities. RS

T Shirts,Tops, Shorts

Tracksmith Strata T ($108)

Sam: The Strata T is Tracksmith's most technical top. It is very light, thin, silky, soft and stretchy.  While not “roomy”,  its stretch made my true to size medium easily true to size.

Strata is treated with Coldblack UV protection from Schoeller  which provides UVA- and UVB-protection to reduce heat build-up and provide sun protectionI. It also has a silver ion odor protection.  It proved extremely comfortable and smooth on the skin in this summer’s heat and humidity and I appreciated its sun protection. It is also one very tech T you can wear more casually as well. RS

Strata Tee and Strata Collection available at Tracksmith SHOP HERE

Ultimate Direction Cirriform Tee  ($55) 

Dominique: A high performance Tee with plenty of ventilation to maximize breathability, the Cirriform Tee is extremely lightweight (3.5 oz/100g), and super comfortable.  It drapes nicely and provides just the right amount of coverage, namely not too short and not too long.  The fit is perfect and the feel of the fabric is pleasant.  

Flatlocked anti-chafe seams and a seamless shoulder design maximize comfort, and more specifically when wearing vests and packs including as shown below my UD Fastpack 40 (RTR Review), which is by the way another great gift idea.  

I have been wearing my Cirriform Tee running, hiking, walking, as well as for tennis.  It is much lighter and feels cooler than my Ibex Merino Tee and is a better option in hot summer weather.  The fabric has been treated with SILVADUR™, an antimicrobial technology to control odor. However, I find that I need to wash my Cirriform Tee more frequently than I do when wearing a Merino Tee.

A lightweight Tee with great breathability and a chafe free design to keep you comfortable,  it is a great option for long days wear in hot weather conditions.  Reasonably priced for a high performance tee at $55, I anticipate to get a lot of wear and use out of it  as I have with my UD Nimbus Tee.  Available for men and women in short sleeve, singlet and long sleeve versions. RS

Men’s and Women’s Cirriform Tee, Singlet and Long Sleeve 

Ultimate Direction SHOP HERE

ON Ultra Tee $100

Jeremy: Light (115g - 4oz), stretchy, soft to the skin, breathable and with excellent moisture-wicking ability. This top packs all you would ever ask for in hot weather apparel. Review  RS

On Running Apparel including men’s and women’s Ultra Short and Tee available

Backcountry SHOP HERE

Oiselle Wazzie Wool Long Sleeve ($112)


Sally: Oiselle is an amazing company, by women for women. This wool blend top is a mainstay of my winter runs, keeping me warm and seemingly dry, oftentimes as my base layer under a running jacket in colder temperatures. The sleeves are nice and long and have great thumb holes so that your hands are almost covered like a mitt. 

And no matter how wet and sweaty it seems to be post run, it remains stink-free and does not require frequent washing. My Colorado based daughter says she has four of these tops and wears them for running and hiking and as a skiing base layer and even as a casual top. The fit is generous, so consider sizing down. RS

 Women's Harrier Tee - Tracksmith ($78)


Sally: I admit to being a huge fan of the Tracksmith brand, especially their two tops known as the Harrier and the Brighton. Both are wool blends and feel amazing and soft on your skin. The Harrier is 89% wool/11% nylon and ideal as a cool weather top, while the Brighton is a lighter seamless engineered merino mesh of 52% wool/28% nylon/20 % polyester and is ideal as a baselayer. I have several of the Brighton tops emblazoned with the names of Boston, London, and Chicago on them, and must admit I would much rather wear them to boast of a World Marathon Major finish than an “official” shirt.  I love the time of year when you can run in shorts and a long sleeve (yet sadly we have begun tights season now here in Massachusetts). 

I have the Harrier Tee in short sleeves and wore it whenever a singlet wasn’t enough. No odor, quick drying, comfortable, attractive! Easy fit without being compressive nor too loose. And it comes in great colors! RS and PP (multiple)

Soar Running Trail Top ($200)

Ultimate Trail Top

Designed for wearing a hydration pack yet at the same time to maximize breathability, moisture transfer and comfort   the Trail Top hsa durable, anti-abrasion, pilling resistant upper chest and shoulders made of 90 denier French Woven Air fabric. 

The lower front and back, abdomen, and sleeves are made of  a lightweight, ultra-breathable 3D woven 70 denier fabric. 

It is designed with a center seam across the body to reduce chafing and allow different top and bottom shaping and includes darts at the back. All seams are carefully placed  and the hem taped to reduce chafing. It was thoroughly tested and iterated for 18 months by its designer, Tim Soar.

When I requested the sample I told SOAR I prefer a looser, less snug fit in tops and especially in zip Euro style tops. Instead of my usual medium they sent a large and I am glad they did!

The Top drapes easily and due to the fabrics never having a sticky cling even during 2 runs in unseasonably warm 80 F / 26 C temps. I particularly noted the easy open feel of the sleeves, no cycle jersey snugness there,I am sure the medium would have worked equally as well if you prefer a snugger fit. 

In a word: Stunning! Airy, highly breathable, never sticky, easy to wear on the run and quick to try. It even performed fantastically as a layer under the Soar Trail Rain Jacket staying dry enough during a run in the rain at moderate temperatures. 

For the runner seeking the ultimate in a full zip trail shirt or for any runner ready to un zip and  air things out in the heat look no further than here, that is unless you want to go even airier  in a Tee and Long Sleeve in Soar’s Hot Weather Tops (RTR Review)

The North Face Summit High Trail Run T-Shirt ($80)

Marcel: Light, breathable and with the perfect colorway for hot and sunny days. Also features small silicone strips at the seams to prevent the shirt from slipping upwards. RS

The Summit High Trail Run T Shirt available

REI men’s women’s SHOP HERE

Bottoms: Shorts, Tights, and Pants


Marcel:A perfect complement to the TNF Summit High Trail T-Shirt, it features a very breathable yet robust stretch woven FlashDry-XD™ fabric with enhanced moisture management  and comes with a wide zip pocket and two open mesh pockets. 

Available at Running Warehouse SHOP HERE

ON Ultra Shorts ($120)  

Jeff V:  The On Ultra Shorts combine carry capacity/functionality, comfort, fit and style, resulting in one of my go to shorts for daily runs or longer adventures. 

The highlight feature of the Ultra Shorts for men and women  are the 6 built in pockets, 4 stretch pockets around the side/forward perimeter of the waist band, a rear zippered pocket, as well as an outer right side thigh pocket, plus a pass through “pocket” on the rear, possibly for poles, but more practically for a minimal windbreaker or soft flask.Review

On Ultra Shorts are available at our partners



Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

ASICS Metarun Split Shorts ($72)


Marcel: My go-to shorts for most runs in the summer, especially if i do not have to carry much stuff even though it offers the option to carry several gels and provides a zip pocket at the back. It is light, comfortable and very airy. (RS)

ASICS Metarun Shorts 

Running Warehouse SHOP HERE

Tracksmith Reggie Half Tights ($78 unlined, $88 lined)

Ben Tracksmith Reggie Half Tights (arguably my favorite piece of running gear of the last five years. It  holds up very well, is good in virtually all weather,  and has ample sized pocket in the back, and is available with or without liner. PP

Run Hats, Gloves, Socks

Shuyu socks 

Dominique: SHYU Running socks are a new brand of high-performance socks specifically designed to complement the colorways of super shoes from brands such as Adidas, Asics, New Balance and Nike so you can streamline your look on race day.  

SHYU’s raison d’être, and predominant category, is their “racing” performance running socks, with a line-up of coordinate colorways matching those of super shoes.  These high end performance socks for “racing” day that are extremely comfortable, lightweight, breathable, and fit incredibly well.  Prices range from $18 to $24 a pair.

I tested a pair of SHYU “racing” performance socks in red/pink/white wearing them on my daily runs and I could not turn them over fast enough in the wash with just one pair!  

For those training days and for regular trainers, SHYU has a line of “training” performance running socks available in neutral colors, black and white, and in two “cuts” no-show tab and half-crew.  Training available in a pack of 3 pairs, $30 for no-show tab and $40 for half-crew.

Make sure to take proper care of your SHYU running performance socks by washing them inside out in cold water and with no tumble dry.  I am adding SHYU among my favorite brands of performance socks (I have a few) and will find out how they hold after several months of wear. 

Darn Tough Socks

Renee: Nothing beats a quality pair of socks. DarnTough are my go-to socks. I have at least one pair of each of the “weights” (all personal purchases) and use them all year around aside from super humid summer days when I prefer to wear ankle socks (all of my DarnTough socks are crew length). Like most high-quality wool socks, DarnTough socks maintain body temperature and reduce odor. I recommend them for running and daily use. The durability is great, and although they should be washed delicate cycle and air dried, they hold up well with the occasional wash and dry with my regular laundry loads.


Shop for Darn Tough Run Socks


Running Warehouse US SHOP HERE

Fractal Running L Series Legionnaire Hats (summer and winter versions) $55-$65

For the ultimate in sun and cold protection go Legionnaire! 

The summer version features PolarTec PowerDry for rapid drying and sun protection. 

The winter version features a thick PolarTec Wind Pro fleece for the ultimate in winter warmth.  

Both feature full neck coverage and side of face panels which can be snapped under the chin. 

Summer & Winter Fractel Legionnaire Hats at  Running Warehouse 


SOAR Jacquard Pattern Merino Beanie ($48)

Sam: Luxuriously soft and stretchy this beautifully patterned beanie is of medium thickness so ideal for winter runs in a wide range of temperatures and of course great also for nordic skiing and around town. It is a wonderful stocking stuffer that will keep your runner cozy and last for many years.

FlipMitts ($29.99)

Sam: A great stocking stuffer for the runner, hiker, and gym goer. Ingeniously simple and versatile, Flip Mitts protect your hands from sun, poles, and cold and in all seasons and can even be rolled around your wrist as a sweatband,

This surprisingly durable light soft glove/ mitt can serve as a summer comfortable trekking pole glove and did so during our trek in Tuscany and hikes and runs this past summer. We have found that the hands are the first thing to get sun burned without protection if using trekking poles all day as they are tilted towards the rays. As they get damp with sweat there is even a slight cooling effect.

Come cooler weather, flip the fold down rear over your fingers for some warmth while still retaining grip. RS

WhitePaws RunMitts ($40)

Mike P: I discovered WhitePaws  last winter. I suffer from colld hands and have experimented with all manner of gloves to keep my hands and fingers warm. The RunMitts are different and especially effective as they focus on wrist coverage which is usually a spot where the cold can seep in. 

They feature a flap to cover the fingers when it’s extremely cold, and no thumbhole, which keeps all the fingers in for extra warmth. I used these during a 50k where the temperature was 9 degrees F at the start! They worked great! I now use them anytime the temps go sub-freezing.

Shop for WhitePaws Run Mitts


Alpine Hats - Skida  ($38)

Sally: Living in New England, a lot of my running is done on cold winter mornings. I never leave the house without a Skida alpine hat! I saw a new print this fall that I just had to have, so I am embarrassed to admit I now have nine different Skidas. Skida hats and accessories are made in Vermont but now sold everywhere, perfect for casual wear as well as performance. 

I prefer the Alpine, lined with midweight fleece that wicks moisture and blocks wind, for cold weather running and cross-country skiing, but others prefer the unlined Nordic, especially if they “run hot.” The Nordic is also good under a ski or bike helmet. They come in two adult sizes as well as adorable kids’ and babies’ hats. PP

Skida Hats including the Alpine 


Many colors now 50% off

Books,  Podcasts, Subscriptions

The Runner Box  ($32 per box, $192 for the annual subscription)

Renee: My husband buys a RunnerBox subscription for me each year (personal purchase). Boxes arrive every two months, costing about $32 per box ($192 for the annual subscription). For runners who have long runs (or two long runs) per week, and RunnerBox offers a fun way to try new fuel and items. I’ll go through the snacks in each box within one week. I hardly race, so “dialing in my nutrition” is not a factor, and having exciting treats on the trails helps me look forward to long runs. Some of the items have an upcoming expiration date, so I think the cost is most worthwhile for those who have consistent long runs or fuel needs. Bonus if you have multiple runners in the house who can share the items. 

The Longest Race | Book by Kara Goucher

Choosing to Run: A Memoir: Des Linden

Sally: Books by badass woman runners are having a moment, and these two are not to be missed. Any runner, particularly female runners, should read these two books. And while you are at it, tune in to the most amazing and entertaining running podcast by Des and Kara called 

Ben: Of the myriad running biographies and memoirs that have come out in the last year, I feel Des Linden’s Choosing to Run should not be missed by any running/reading enthusiast. It’s very much in the style of Des: no-nonsense, straightforward, unassuming and extremely inspiring. The book follows the lead-up to her historic 2018 Boston Marathon win. It’s well written, readable and touches on universal themes of perseverance, goal setting and following one’s passion (even when less than easy).

Nobody Asked Us with Des & Kara | Podcast on Spotify 

Sally: You can’t help but love the banter between these two heroines of the sport! 

Another fantastic podcast is 

Ali On The Run | Blog & Podcast for Runners

Sally: Ali Feller quickly has become my best friend (or so it seems - she must have millions of best friends now) and I look forward to every new podcast. Her “Everything You Need to Know About” episodes of the major marathons are super comprehensive, and her positive energy and enthusiasm for running and runners is infectious. 

Form Tools, Insoles, Recovery and Recovery Footwear

Oofos OOmg Sport ($140)

Dominique: I just love my OOFOS!  Over the years, I tested a wide range of models from OOFOS, especially from their “Sandals” category, including the OOriginal Sport Sandal, OOahh Slide Sandal, and OOcandoo Sandal.

This year I received a pair of OOmg Sport Low Shoe in fuchsia, which I brought on a 10-day trip to Tuscany that included 2 days of travel by train, sightseeing, and walking five days on the Via Francigena, from Lucca to Sienna.  Lightweight recovery shoes that stowed easiy in my backpack (35L) and worked wonders as my second pair of shoes after long day walks (14-19 miles),  but also plenty stylish when wearing a summer dress sipping Aperol Spritz on the piazza.

This was back in May and I kept wearing my OOmg Sport throughout the summer for their superior comfort.  

A similar model is now available with laces, the OOMG Sport LS Low Shoe ($150) in 7 attractive colors.  RS

Shop for OOmg Sport including also a lace up version at OOFOS HERE

Hoka Ora 3 Recovery Slide ($60)

Jeff V:  The Ora 3 is my go to house slipper and especially good for standing at my computer desk for long periods, as the foam is soft enough to feel very comfortable, but firm enough to provide support and longevity.  They run big though, so consider sizing down.

Available in many colors for men and women at 

Running Warehouse  US SHOP HERE

Running Warehouse  AUS  SHOP HERE


Fleet Feet SHOP HERE

Sports Shoes UK SHOP HERE

PR Gear Float Form Harness ($14.99 USD  Sale Price: $11.98 USD)

Sam: The Float Form Harness is a creation of Golden Harper, founder of Altra Running. Golden is now on his own, continuing his efforts to help runners with form and foot health, distilling the learnings from thousands of run form seminars. Golden demonstrated the principle of “wrists to ribs”, which based on his vast experience,  is the number one and actionable thing runners can do to achieve more efficient form, increased cadence, and lower impacts by reducing overstriding. To help us get there he has sincere created the Harness    

“Simply put the big opening of the FloatRun harness on like a jacket (both straps behind your back---one above the shoulders and one below) & place thumbs in the loops under the armpits. Don't stretch the thumb loops while focusing on keeping the elbows back & moving the arms as little as necessary, no more than a few inches”.

I have used the harness extensively the last few months. I tend to have my arms fly down and to the side. With the harness, I get a gentle reminder with each arm swing to keep arms aligned and compact. Inexpensive, easy to use, nothing to “learn”, this simple gift idea will help make your runner run “tall and proud” and better aligned in the direction of travel.  

 PR Gear Bridge Soles ($19.98)

Genuine help for any feet

Jeff: Taking  a clear and pragmatic approach, the PR Gear Bridge Soles another  creation along with Float Form harness from Altra Running's founder, Golden Harper) are 3/4 inserts that slide underneath your shoes' standard insole to provide extra support and cushioning. While they are lightweight on the scale (and price tag - only $20) they punch way above their weight in performance, with the best metatarsal pad solution i have experienced for neuroma sufferers and other foot issues.

Personally it all but eliminated my neuroma, something the other pads and treatments hadn’t been able to do for more than a week or two. 

While many other inserts on the market cost much more and weigh substantially more while also requiring trimming in order to get the right fit, Bridge Soles takes more general sizing approach with a few different sizes that should cover pretty much all runners. Lastly, they appear to focus on the performance of the foot, and to accentuate your foot's normal action, as opposed to overly restrictive support insoles. 

Inexpensive and easy to use make Bridge Soles one of the easiest recommendations for a gift for virtually and and every runner because we *all* have some foot issue. 

Available at PR Gear  ($19.98) Bridge Soles

Reboot Go Lite & Reboots One

Marcel: As far as recovery is concerned, there are lots of fancy gadgets available. One staple though are massages. While no device can 1:1 replace a manual massage, devices like the Reboots Go (for traveling) and Reboots One (stationary) offer a welcome combination of compression and relief. That makes it the perfect tool to use when sitting on the sofa after an exhausting run or ride. The Reboots are especially convenient as the offer specific programmes and intensities from which you can choose or programme them on your own. 

Reboot Go Lite & Reboots One

Recovery at the Push or a Button

Marcel: As far as recovery is concerned, there are lots of fancy gadgets available. One staple though are massages. While no device can 1:1 replace a manual massage, devices like the Reboots Go Lite €789,00 (for traveling) and Reboots One €899,00 (stationary) offer a welcome combination of compression and relief. That makes it the perfect tool to use when sitting on the sofa after an exhausting run or ride. The Reboots are especially convenient as the offer specific programmes and intensities from which you can choose or programme them on your own. RS

Available at Reboots HERE

Jackets, Vests and Pants

Men’s & Women’s Brooks Run Visible Insulated Vests  ($160)

Any Light Run Visibility and High Performance Versatility 

Every year  as the days get shorter, the light dimmer, roads narrower with snow Brooks releases its Run Visible Collection of everything from shoes, to shirts,to tights, to outerwear to accessories all with a combination of tested contrasting colors and big black out reflectivity. Over the years we have tested and enjoyed all kinds of Run Visible, This year Brooks offered us Insulated Vests for men and women to test.

In addition to the high contrast colors and reflectivity, the Vests have highly breathable, quick drying bands  of insulation across the upper chest and back, the gray areas shown below in the men’s above and below noting that the center back white strip in the men’s is not insulated but has a breathable wind resistant fabric which extends from neck  to the hem.

The women’s version has somewhat more insulated narrower more angled bands across the front with the insulation extending all the way to the hem  whereas the men’s insulated area stops at the upper chest although below that the pockets are lined with grid mesh.

The women’s vest back construction is very different with instead of insulated areas all the way across the back as in the men’s we have a black wind and water resistant fabric lined with a lightly insulating grid mesh with behind the insulated areas also a grid mesh.

The fit in the women’s medium, Dominique’s usual size was appropriately snug fitting with a Brooks midlayer long sleeve while the men’s was more generous with a light Brooks baselayer. We were both comfortable during runs in the mid 40’s F and could run the combination considerably lower in temperature. Very comfortable.

Both vests feature extensive 3M blackout reflective strips, dual deep front pockets with one having a no bounce inner mesh pocket, and two super useful front snaps behind the zipper to run with the vest unzipped yet kept in place.

The Run Visible Insulated Vest is one super versatile piece of run gear combining, with of course high any light or no light visibility but also storage and adaptable insulation and ventilation it can be an  essential piece of any runner or walker’s kit. RS

Shop for Brooks Run Visible including the Insulated Vests 


SHOP HERE 30% off through Nov. 20

 Running Warehouse 


Rab Vapour-Rise Summit Jacket ($220)

Jeff V: The nicest softshell hoody I have ever worn, with superb temperature regulation, warmth to weight, next level quality, style and functionality with a soft, fuzzy interior.  

I have worn it running in temps in the single digits with just a long sleeve wool base layer and was very comfortable, yet on warmer days do not overheat.  

This will be my go to this winter for trail running, hiking, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing.

RAB Vapour Rise Summit Jacket and Vapour Rise Collection


Rab Incline Vapour-Rise Pants ($170)

Jeff V: The Incline VR pants are a midweight softshell jacket that match the jacket, with a fuzzy fleece lining for warmth and comfort.  

These are a bit warm for running, though will be great for those coldest winter mornings and especially good for mountain hiking, snowshoeing or just day to day wear on those frosty winter days. 

RNNR Heavy Weight Hoodie  ($85)

In a world of wildly technical synthetic fabrics how about some cozy, soft and stretchy “technical” 14% cotton content in the mostly polyester mix? 

Super comfortable, this thick cocoon’S cotton is Dri Release which dries up to 4x faster than cotton and is moisture wicking to regulate skin temperature while remaining very soft. 

It has other tech features not commonly found in old school sweatshirts such as toggles to tighten the yet softer lined hood and two side pockets, one zippered.

The fit is generous but not sloppy for my usual medium. I weigh 162 lbs and am 5’9””

It's a great gift idea for run warm ups and cooldowns,morning runs and of course lounging around! And why not my fun purple color or the lime to brighten up dark winter days! RS

Brooks High Point Waterproof ($198)

Mike P: I love the breathability features of this jacket. There’s air venting along the chest as well as the back. Along the inside of the zipper, there’s not one, but two snap buttons so you can fully unzip and not have the jacket flapping around. Due to the good venting, I also like it as a cold weather jacket because I find it doesn’t get too steamy. RS

Shop for Brooks High Point Waterproof

Running Warehouse SHOP HERE


30% off through Nov 20

Tracksmith Rapid Transit Pants ($168)

Sam: Tracskmith is of course known for their Ivy inspired performance run apparel but where I think they actually shine brightest is in their multi purpose “apres run”, commuter and travel Rapid Transit gear. 

Always made of high performance run worthy luxurious fabrics, comfortable and stylish every piece I have tested not only performs but gets many unsolicited compliments. 

The Rapid Transit Pants are no exception. Made of a soft 4 way stretchy fabric they look sharp and stay sharp. And if need be they are more than up to the task  to move fast to catch that plane, run home tor go out on the town.

They are worth every penny for their multi purpose versatility and style. Available in 2 weights regular and heavyweight for men and women. I have the regular and it is 3 seasons fine.  RS

Tracksmith Rapid Transit Collection SHOP HERE

Arc'teryx Norvan Windshell Jacket

Marcel: It’s extremely light (90g), packs very small, fits well and is pretty effective at what it is supposed to do: protect you from wind and short rain showers. In contrast to a lot of other windbreakers which are so light, the fabric is comparatively firm and does not stick to your skin as soon as you start to sweat. RS

Arc'teryx Norvan Windshell Jacket 


Ryzon Phantom Lightshell Active pants   200€/$230

Jeremy: My perfect winter running pant. Loose fit at the thigh, closer at the calves, they never bothered me while running, no flapping whatsoever. For temperatures as low as minus 2-3°C, I find they’re perfect and never reached for something warmer. They’re very light and pair perfectly well with their jacket sibling.  Review  RS

Shop for Phantom Lightshell Active Pants HERE

Ryzon Phantom Lightshell Jacket  (Review at link) 200€ / $230 forncurrent hooded version)

Jeremy: Breathable, water repellant, light, packable and  with a nice amount of stretch. Just like the pants, the lightshell fabric from Ryzon is incredibly efficient at providing both protection from the wind and cold temperatures while staying perfectly breathable.

By adjusting the first layer under the jacket, I’ve been able to cover up all my winter/cold season running, save from the most rainy days where a proper waterproof jacket is unbeatable.

Shop for Phantom Lightshell Jacket (hooded version)  HERE

For Cyclists

MAAP Apex Jacket 2.0 Now €201.00 EUR €335.00 EUR

Jeremy: This is a personal purchase for my riding activities (which, actually, is more than half of my yearly sport volume). I’ve switched my Alpha ROS2 jacket from the cycling apparel behemoth Castelli) to the MAAP one and never regretted it. 

Lighter, more breathable, way cooler looking if you’re into understated looks, they also use a very good membrane from Scholler without any environment-harming material, and they have a crash policy. Generally speaking, MAAP apparel is top notch, albeit quite costly. 

The  Apex is now on sale at MAAP €201.00 EUR €335.00 EUR  


DripDrop Hydration Powder (32 count one time purchase $35.99, subscription $26.99)

Powerful & Easy to Carry Electrolyte Boost

Sam: DripDrop was invented by a doctor who during humanitarian missions saw dehydration as a key cause of deaths and rapid rehydration as key.  DripDrop has donated 4 million servings to humanitarian efforts and comes in many flavors including in variety packs..

DripDrop powder has 2-3 x the electrolytes (of the usual sport drinks) some glucose to allow the drink to be absorbed into the bloodstream 2-4% faster with the powder also having fewer particles for speedier absorption.  And it had to taste good or at least decent.

I used DripDrop extensively after hot humid runs this summer and it indeed tastes good and kept me from having to excessively drink lots of water as I usually do. 

Put one 10g stick in 8 oz /250ml of water, although I usually diluted it a bit more. I keep a packet or two in my backpack during hikes just in case. 

Vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten, Soy, and Dairy Free DripDrop comes in many flavors as well as variety packs.

Watermelon and Lemon were my favorite tastes.

Shop for Drip Drop HERE

Helos Muesli 

Delicious Breakfast Stocking Stuffer

Sam: The ideal gift for runners on the go. Morning run done off for the day so why not start with a delicious and easy to prepare breakfast. This deluxe take on Swiss Muesli from Quebec is made with all  certified organic ingredients. Each packet has 20g of plant proteins, 13 vitamins and minerals, and 1 billion CFU probiotics.  

Easy to prepare: just empty the packet into the included glass jar, fill with milk to the line, cap and leave overnight in the refrigerator. Come morning it’s ready to enjoy or carry off to work, 

Each of the flavors in my sample box was spectacular and not overly sweet. There are 8 flavors with my favorite, the Maple Almond. I suggest gifting a 12 pack six flavors box ($65). Also available by subscription 

Renee: ​​I tried Holos Overnight Muesli (maple + almond) for the first time this year when it arrived in one of my RunnerBoxes (personal purchase). Unlike some quick-mix, high nutritional fuels, the Holos tasted good to me, and it’s a super convenient way to get in good calories before the day (or a long run). 

The price is steep though (starting at $4.42 per meal), which is why I recommend it as a gift. I consider Holos one of those items that I would use, but don’t want to pay for because I’m cheap like that. 

If you have a runner, or have any active person in your life, you can’t go wrong with Holos as a stocking stuffer. I think the servings are filling, so I can use one serving/packet for two days instead of one, which does make the cost more reasonable. 


Non Alcoholic Beer

Athletic Brewing Co.

Sally :  Runners love beer and beer is part of the post run running “culture.” But many runners now realize that alcohol is NOT a performance enhancing drug and does not have a place in their training diet. I vividly recall runner Alexis Pappas saying that one night of a few drinks costs you two weeks of training. I love beer, but not the effects of the alcohol, so I was thrilled to discover Athletic Brewing Co and their NA beers that actually taste good, like true craft beers. My favorite is Upside Dawn, a gluten-free lager, but I also love the Athletic Lite. Other popular ones are the IPA Run Wild and the Hazy IPA Free Wave. Athletic Brewing Co beers are everywhere these days! You can find them at Whole Foods and Trader Joes, as well as at your local liquor store, and now on tap at many restaurants. You won’t regret it!   PP

Mike P: I second this! I’ve mostly transitioned to NA beer over the past couple years, especially after starting to use a sleep tracker. The effects of alcohol on training are just too obvious to ignore, especially when you have the numbers in front of you. In Boise I can get Run Wild 6 packs for $8.99 so keep an eye out for that deal.

Thrive Beer (Europe-€14,90 EUR)

Jeremy: I’ve stumbled upon this on Jan Frodeno’s IG, and decided to give it a go. I was in search for good alcohol-free beer, as it seems usual ones don’t go well with my stomach  anymore.  There is 10g of protein in each can, which is more useful than ethanol after a race as far as physical recovery is concerned.

It turns out that they’re quite good. They taste a bit like a light white beer, very fruity, not sweet at all. I can’t really judge the benefits of the protein in them but it’s usually admitted and proven that taking proteins after a workout or a race is good for recovery. 


Hydrapak 42mm & 28mm Filter Caps ($35, $40)

Sam:  Hydrapak makes most of the soft flasks and reservoirs used by run brands. They also have their own branded line. What is neat is that all of their 42mm run flasks and collapsible bottles (compatible models) , and with the 28mm to  many different size reservoirs (compatible models) can be outfitted with a high performance filter. 

The filters remove 99.99% of E Coli & Parasitic cysts as well as Giardia Lamblia (99.9%) . Filters  last approximately 1,500 liters of fresh water at a rate of >1 L per minute.

I have two Sky Flask 500ml leaving one with the filter attached. Hiking or traveling, screw the correct sized filter to a 1 liter soft bottle or even up to a 4L Seeker bottle or using  the (28mm) connect to many reservoirs from run suitable up to 10L group reservoirs

The siping proved easy and smooth. No over pull to get water going. Keep a filter in your run, hike, and travel kit with your Hydrapak flask, bottle or reservoir and it will always be ready to give you clean filtered water.


Water-To-Go Bottles 

Bio Plastic 18.5 oz / 55cl ($56) and Active Water Filter Bottle (25oz/75cl) $56

Bike bottle cage compatible

More about non run uses, these classic water bottles extensively filter for all kinds of bad stuff including viruses. They use a heavy duty filter is good for the equivalent of 400 single use plastic bottles. Testing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed the “Water-to-go Ltd bottle removed more than 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and Cryptosporidium oocsyst from contaminated water. There was also a significant or total reduction in free chlorine by the filter.”

The smaller 55cl bottle shown below is made of sustainable sugarcane bioplastic with its filter identical.

Water-to-Go bottles make an ideal gift for the far flung traveler, commuter, and cyclist or if you just want filtered water on the go and always at hand.RS

Water-to-Go Bottles SHOP HERE

Packs, Vests, Poles

Camelbak Octane 22 ($170)

Jeff V: The Octane 22 bridges the gap between running vest and day pack, with a nice array of pockets on the front of the shoulder straps, hip belt and great volume and organization of the rear pockets.  The versatility of the Octane is excellent, great for full days of hiking with some jogging mixed in, or for travel, and also ready for adventure once you get there.  Hydration capacity is excellent, with flask carry pockets on the front (flasks not included) as well as an included Fusion 2L Reservoir.

Sam: I totally agree with Jeff. My Octane 25 has been my pretty much exclusive travel and day hike pack for the last 2 years. Its front pocketing system dramatically increases the access to whatever you need on the go over conventional backpacks. And if you need to carry a big load it for sure is an excellent run pack as well. RS. Review

Camelbak Octane 22


Salomon S/Lab Pulsar 3 Running Vest ($160/160€)

Marcel: Very light and breathable it is the perfect choice for shorter races and training runs up to three hours (depending on temperatures, of course). 

It is also very comfortable around the neck area. 

Holds two small 0,25l soft flasks at the front (supplied) a large 0,5l flask at the back as well as a jacket. It is $160 and available in 5 sizes. (Full Review) RS

Pulsar 3 Vest 



Marcel: Excellent carbon running poles featuring the very effective LEKI shark grip for optimized power transmission. It’s the perfect training partner for the more fragile LEKI Superlite poles and also a very good racing option on its own for more technical terrain. RS

Mike P: I actually broke one of my Superlite poles (RTR Review) in training and ordered the slightly beefier FX.ONE (non-superlite) as a replacement. They are a bit heavier and thicker, but definitely more sturdy and probably a better option at least for training. I used them in the very rugged Grossglockner Ultra Trail 100K and they survived - and helped me survive!

Leki UltraTrail FX.ONE


REI members, log in and use coupon code GEARUP23 at checkout to save 20% on this item thru 11/20.

FLEXTAIL Gear - Zero Pump ($42,99 w/o Battery, $49,99 w/ Battery)

A little helper for your outdoor adventures

The ZERO PUMP is a compact and lightweight outdoor pump designed for backpackers, weighing only 1.2oz and measuring 1.02 * 2.95in.

The ZERO PUMP lived up to its promise of being easy to use during my outdoor adventures. Its compact size proved to be a significant advantage, easily fitting into my backpack without adding unnecessary weight. Despite its small form, the pump demonstrated remarkable power, outperforming other pumps I've used in the past.

Available at Flextail


UltrAspire Lumen 600 Waist Light ($160)

Mike P: I highly recommend a waist light for any dark night trail running, and especially for overnight ultra racing. The amount of light output you get, plus the depth perception and shadow casting can make vision almost as good as during the day. I used UltrAspire’s Lumen 800 for several years, before receiving the 600 this season. I prefer the 600 now as it only uses a single battery up front which is easier to manage and also feels better in terms of weight distribution. The light control is also up front as well as an integrated charger port. I have the 3.0 version which uses micro USB, but the newer 4.0 now uses USB-C.  The UltrAspire’s waist belt / front panel combination is just right - no bounce at all, nicely flexible and doesn’t feel like it’s squeezing your midsection. RS

Shop for UtraSpire Lumen 600 Waist Light


Running Warehouse SHOP HERE

Backcountry SHOP HERE


Stoots Concept 

Jeremy My go-to headlamp for…anything that requires a headlamp. Made in France with high quality LED choices, combined focus and wide lighting, very good run times, no nonsense operations, and sturdy (aluminum-based) waterproof construction. All sold at a very fair price considering the quality and engineering behind them  I have had one for 6 years now which still runs like new, and the one I gave to a friend of mine is even older and still runs perfectly. PP


Julbo Density REACTIV 0-3 High Contrast ($250)

Sam:  I have long been a huge fan of Julbo’s Reactiv photochromic lenses and have used many models so equiped. And please don’t laugh as I wear them ‘over’ my prescription eyeglasses so light weight and a fit close enough and secure enough is key.  The new lighter frame and thinner lens Density are by far the best fitting “over’ sunglasses I have ever worn. Of course without extra “layers” they are lighter yet.

Their thinner than previous lenses and wide format provide an extremely clear uninterrupted view when worn in front of my eyeglasses as there is no lower or side framing

And of course, if worn as intended, even clearer. 

I always choose the highest possible light transmission in a photochromic lens for use at dawn/dusk and in the woods and here the 0-3 High Contrast lens (3d from the bottom below) transmits  86% in low light conditions and 4% in bright sun, the widest range of any Julbo Reactiv lens. 

I find far less of a need to take them on and off in and out of forests in rapidly changing light conditions than even earlier Julbo Reativ.

A clear evolution forward in super light weight, durable, high performance shades, the added benefit of photochromic Reactiv makes them the best sunglasses I have ever worn. PP

Shop for Julbo Density

Backcountry SHOP HERE


Smith Pinpoint RX ($278 and up)

Jeff V:  If you are looking for a prescription pair of sunglasses, with a prescription lens and not just an insert,  that can pull double duty as an everyday stylish pair of shades and just as easily take on just about any sport or activity, the Pinpoint RX is a top choice.  They are super light on the face, snug and secure with a quality build and superb Chromapop optics that bring out contrast and definition, especially handy for trail running. RS

Pinpoint RX is available at Smith Optics HERE

Koo Nova Sunglasses $200

Jeff V: Featherweight with frameless a wrap-around shield design and Zeiss lens for the highest optical quality, the Koo Nova is high quality, durable and provides an unobstructed field of vision for cycling and running.  The Italian company is somewhat new, but is catching on in the pro cycling world and running world as well. RS Review

Nova available at Koo HERE

Dynafit Ultra Pro Sunglasses ($220)

Jeff V: The Ultra Pro are large offering maximum protection for those looking for glasses with full coverage in windy conditions, above treeline, backcountry skiing, cycling, etc…  At 31 grams, the Ultra Pro are not the lightest, but they still feel light and comfortable on the face. They are very secure and frameless on the lower half delivering exceptionally good unobstructed visibility.  One of the main draws is the photochromic lens that varies from 75% light transmission (or VLT) to 15%, so basically just about clear and clear enough for use in the dark and when fully dark at 15%, they are dark enough for all but the most blinding glacial high altitude conditions. RS Review

Ultra Pro Sunglasses available at Dynafit SHOP HERE

Thanks for checking out RoadTrailRun's 2023 Gift Guide & for considering shopping for gifts at our many partners

Happy Holidays!

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!

Some samples were provided at no charge for review purposes, others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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