Finding the perfect gift for a fitness fanatic (or a new toy for yourself) can be a difficult proposition. Whether it’s running, cycling, yoga or tennis, athletes take their craft seriously — and often have seriously specific preferences for everything from gear to accessories.
So we saved you the anguish of blindly wandering around a sporting goods store by rounding up a slew of incredible, covetable and (most importantly!) highly-rated fitness gifts. From smart water bottles to the best fitness watch, these are our 14 favorite items, guaranteed to get your gym-goer into high-gear (or get a newbie started on the right foot).
BETTER editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, BETTER does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.
FITBIT VERSA SMART WATCH
An impressive fitness offering from the popular wearables company, the Fitbit Versa Smart Watch offers a slew of activity-tracking goodies — including step-, 24-hour heart rate-, sleep-, calorie-, distance- and female health-tracking. Plus, music playlist storage and sync, Fitbit Wallet for payments, Starbucks and Pandora apps, fitness coaching with on-screen workout, GPS, email and text message notifications and even guided breathing sessions personalized based off your heartrate. The watch lasts up to four days between charges and is also water resistant up to 50 meters, and its built-in sensors automatically start and pause activity tracking, so the fitness enthusiast on your list can get right to their workout.
For running aficionados, it can be difficult to find a run-belt that’s both practical and comfortable: big enough for the essentials but not so bulky it will interfere with workouts. Available in a variety of colors, the Flipbelt fits the bill, featuring a lightweight zipper pocket that goes all the way around the waist, and a slim, snug fit. With four belt openings, the pocket is large enough to hold even the biggest iPhones and Android phones without moving or jiggling, and is also useful for those requiring something to hold non-workout essentials like insulin pumps, lip balm or an ID.
BOSE SOUND SPORT WIRELESS HEADPHONES
Headphones can make or break a workout (who hasn’t had the frustration of having them fall out, get tangled or die in the middle of a workout?). Specifically designed for strenuous activity, these popular Bluetooth wireless headphones are both sweat and water resistant, have a six hour battery-charge life, stay securely in place during even the most aggressive workoutsand respond to voice prompts. Tech writers consider these the most comfortable wireless headphones on the market.
For the committed runners braving the dark and cold to log their miles (and women running alone who could use an extra safety measure), these gloves will help keep them warm and safe. With a long cuff for extra warmth, a reflective palm strip, and a palm pocket for money and keys, these text- and tech-friendly fleece gloves hold one LED light in each, which projects light up to 35 feet. Bonus: they are also great for outdoor yard work or walking the dog at night, or digging through the attic to pack away those Christmas decorations.
LULULEMON ALL THE RIGHT PLACES CROP II
These cropped leggings from the beloved workout brand feature a zip-free waistband pocket large enough to store a cell phone, keys or small accessories. Great for a variety of workouts, the high-rise fit features zoned compression — meaning everything stays comfortably and flatteringly tucked in throughout abs, hips, butt and thighs — as well as moisture-wicking, four-way fabric that stays cooland won’t shrink.
BLAST GOLF TRACKER
For the golfers on your list: This is one of the best golf swing analyzers according to experts like Golf Digest. Blast attaches to your grip and focuses on the timing of your stroke through analysis, coaching, communication and management tools. A Smart Video Capture records videos of the swing, allowing golfers to target metrics such as stroke timing and tempo, and the tracker pairs with your phone, charging wirelessly.
SUGARMAT TRAVEL YOGA MAT
The yogi on the go will love being able to leave the bulky mat (which typically weights 3.1 kg) at home and toss this eco-friendly, lightweight version (that weight 1.1 kg) into their gym bag or carry on. Its rubber bottom prevents the mat from moving, while the top is made from an ultra-absorbent synthetic suede that provides more grip the sweatier you get. Sandwiched between is a high-density cushion for joint protection and support. Every mat comes with a cheeky, suede travel bag and can be personalized with a monogram feature.
SAUCONY LIBERTY ISO
According to Runner’s World, the best new running shoe this year is the Saucony Liberty ISO, designed with a stretch mesh fit system to adapt to the shape of each runner’s foot. The addition of independent bands that wrap the midfoot help to keep it in place, giving you a firm, secure feel, making these a great shoe for long-distance runners (so the ambitious goal-setter with a marathon on their resolutions list should grab a pair). But wear-testers gave it high marks in nearly every category, so it’s also a smart pick for recreational joggers, walkers and commuters.