Best Gifts For Runners of All Levels For Under $20

Jen SmithFrugality, Personal Finance5 Comments

best gifts for runners

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While there are a lot of ideas on the best gifts for runners I thought I’d take a simpler approach and write a gift guide for amateurs and periodic runners like myself.

As I write this I’m gearing up for a 4-mile run in preparation for a 6.55-mile race I’m doing the day before this post goes live. I like running and doing races but I’m never going to run a marathon and my half marathon days might even be over.

Since I’m not a die-hard runner I never get myself the cool running accessories that all the cool kids have. I use free things I get from goodie bags or take an extra gel energy pack on the race course (you need them for training runs too!)

Half Marathons

these are a few of my favorite things

But there are some things I should get that I’ve been putting off. They’re not even an investment. Everything listed here is makes running easier or safer in some way and costs less than $20. So if you have an amateur runner in your life you’re gonna wanna check this list out.

Also, this gift guide is part four of a 5-part gift guide series I’m doing for the holidays.

Gifts for Runners

Running Light

When daylight savings time ends in November it gets darker much earlier. I like to run at night but the time change brings more people out making it unsafe to run without a light. The best lights are those that go unnoticed while running.

This long and thin clip light comes in a two-pack so you can wear both or save one for when you inevitably lose the first (just me?) Or this armband that his tiny lights in it! Some people don’t like running with anything on their arm but this one looks so lightweight.

I currently use a small light on an elastic band I got at an event and it bounces up and down when I run. I’ve gotten used to it now but one of these would work a lot better.

Waist pack

So recently Travis was running and he tripped and fell. He was fine but he was carrying his phone in his hand and the screen was not fine. That was a $150 run. He will hate me for telling this story but it drives the point home, you need a running pack.

I track my runs so I love this clear front waistband because I can see where I’m at. I don’t love that it doesn’t allow touch sense to get the phone back on if the screen goes dark so I turn off the sleep mode. It kills my battery but I go home and immediately charge it.

If you don’t care about seeing your screen this waist pack is a popular choice among runners. Don’t be the wife who tells her husband “you should’ve worn your waist pack” right after he shatters his phone. Learn from our mistakes.


Medal Holder Extension

We runners sure do love racing, and by racing, I mean paying money to run early in the morning for a “free” t-shirt and a medal you’ll never wear again. But those medals must go somewhere.

Race Bling

All my race bling and some of Travis’

Your runner probably already has a medal holder but if he or she doesn’t this is the perfect time to get one! If they do then it’s probably time to get them an extension! My medal rack is bursting at the seams but I don’t have this type of holder. So maybe make it a combo pack if your runner has too many to deal with.

Gifts For Marathon Runner

Bib Sleeves

I don’t save many bibs but some people do. In this case, bib sleeves are an awesome gift to preserve these precious pieces of paper.

Moisture-Wicking Tank Top

I have a problem buying workout clothes. I’m just going to get them sweaty so why buy good stuff? Because it’s worth it. My mother-in-law got me a moisture-wicking tank top last year and it is one of my favorite things to wear for any physical activity.

More than just feeling good, the material lasts longer through all the washings it gets and living in Florida I prefer to not wear t-shirts most of the year because it’s so dang hot. Also, I’ve never received a free tank top from a race, so this would be a welcomed gift.

Foam Roller

I have a cheap foam roller and it does job but for those times I have a knot that I need a little extra on, this is the type of foam roller I need. It has different textures to roll out different muscles based on the intensity you want. I don’t usually get this passionate about foam rollers but we have one at my gym and I love this foam roller.


The struggle in finding sunglasses that are cheap, light, won’t bother you during a run, won’t fall off your head, and don’t look totally stupid is real. These sunglasses are both cheap and look somewhat decent so you’ll have to let me know if they fit my other requirements. Or get them for me and I’ll let you know.


I got a visor when I signed up for a race earlier this year and boy oh boy do I love it. For one, visors and hats are practical when there’s a light drizzle for keeping water out of your eyes or if you don’t have sunglasses that meet all the requirements I mentioned earlier.

The thing that sold me on the visor was that I can wear my ponytail as high as I like whereas I’m more restricted in a hat. I hate being restricted. And Travis has a lot of hair which is just short enough to fall out of a ponytail easily so the visor is nice for him too.

Shoe Deodorizer

Do your shoes stink? Do the shoes of the runner you love stink? Are you having a hard time getting friends to come over and you don’t know why? It’s prolly your shoe stank.

But never fear because these cute little shoe deodorizers will keep your sweat traps smellin fresh and your relationship fresher. I don’t know why I felt the need to really sell you on these because they kind of sell themselves. And they’re not just for shoes, You can use them in gym bags too.

Compression Socks

Compression socks can be pricey and runners can always use new socks (am I old if I ask for socks for Christmas?) When you find a good deal on compression socks it’s best to pounce on them. I like to have mostly short socks and one pair of long compression socks for half marathons.


Moisture Wicking Headband

You know that song Slow Hands by Niall Horan? When that song comes on, instead envisioning “sweat dripping down our dirty laundry” I envision all the sweat dripping down my face as I run. I know there’s no context there but it’s what I think.

Since headbands slip of my head easily this thick moisture-wicking headband would be perfect for me (cough, cough, nudge.) It’d also be great in the cold to keep my ears warm!

Running Gloves

I really can’t say I want these badly but it’s a given that one day a year I wish I had them. Regular gloves are too warm to run with and make sweaty hands really gross. These running gloves eliminate those problems.

Handheld Water Bottle

This is the exact water bottle I use for long runs. I like that it’s small and I can attach it to my hand instead of holding it. It’s also discreet enough that I’ve hidden it along a route to pick up when I need it.

Gift Card

As of writing this, Gift Card Granny has 25% off Nike gift cards, 20% Patagonia gift cards, and an Amazon “Secret Deal” for $15 off $50 in Amazon gift cards for Prime users. Gift Card Granny is great to give discounted gift cards or buy them yourself and use them to get gifts. I love to shop through Ebates then pay with a gift card from Granny. It’s savings on savings!


These are great gifts for runners! Saving this one for the Holidays.

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