Finding the perfect gift for a fitness fanatic (like a new fitness or health tracker) 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 19 favorite items, all designed to help get your gym-goer giftee into high-gear (or get a newbie started on the right foot).
Best fitness and wearable tech gifts
Headphones can make or break a workout (who hasn’t had the frustration of having them fall out, get tangled or run out of battery 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 rigorous workouts and respond to voice prompts.
Give the gift of boutique fitness to friends who love trying new workout trends — from running clubs to spin classes and strength training classes — but are less enthusiastic about shelling out the chunk of change for a class. Connected to more than 10,000 fitness studios in over 50 major cities globally, there’s likely to be a Classpass hub near you (or one you can try while traveling!). With gift cards available in electronic form (and sent right to the recipients inbox) you can choose whatever amount you’d like to give (and get it there STAT if you’re running low on time to send a gift).
From automatically recognizing and tracking half a dozen exercises to keeping up with more than 30 others, Samsung‘s latest Galaxy Watch Active2 is a great gift for any tech-forward person who cares about their fitness. It works with all Android smartphones, iPhones, and Samsung smartphones. And this watch is packed with features and capabilities: Bluetooth connectivity for music and media, water resistance allowing it to be submerged up to 50 meters, built-in microphone and speakers for phone calls, interchangeable bands for personal customization and more.
Opting for a digital scale will make keeping track of your weight much easier. Step on and step off, and led t he scale do all the work. It calibrates automatically and a backlit LCD display makes it very easy to read. Want to have your scale automatically keep track of your numbers? Consider Etekcity’s highly-rated smart digital scale.
When it comes to your office, sitting down creates some requirements to keep you healthy and out of pain. One thing you can do to get some movement into an otherwise motionless workday is desk fitness. And to that, the highly-rated Cubii Pro under-desk elliptical is a good start. It provides a low-impact workout for you at your desk (or at home) with smooth gearing that stays quiet so it won’t bother your coworkers. On top of that, Bluetooth connectivity mean you can connect it to your smartphone and keep track of your workouts, routines and achievements.
Personal trainers can run you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars — which is why the person on your list with lofty fitness goals in the new year is going to appreciate you for gifting them an annual subscription to Aaptiv. The app will give them unlimited access to thousands of workouts and programs, created and guided by certified trainers. All they need to do is download the app, enter their goals, pick the type of exercise they are looking for that day (from running, to boxing, to yoga and meditation) based on length, intensity and music type, and a trainer will guide them step-by-step through the workout. The app brings personal training to them, wherever they are — whether it’s in the gym, outside on a trail or in their living room.
Best fitness clothes, shoes, and accessories to gift
For running aficionados, it can be difficult to find a run-belt that’s both practical and comfortable. You want something that’s 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 in slim, snug fit. With four belt openings, the pocket is large enough to hold large-format iPhones and Android smartphones 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.
You don’t need to be into fitness to enjoy a good pair of winter gloves, especially when they allow you to use your devices with specially-designed fabric at the fingertips. This pair from Cevapro are made out of a wool-lycra blend and designed to be wind- and water-proof. For runners and cyclists, gloves that keep their fingers from freezing over is a must. These are designed to keep your digits warm at up to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
These cropped leggings from the workout brand Lululemon 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 cool and won’t shrink.
The Glycerin’s Double Jacquard Mesh upper is designed to keep things breathable, flexible, and stable. That latter feature is a strong feature of the Glycerins, their neutral support type allowing for maximum cushion and specially designed pressure points in the show are built to absorb impact and disperse it away from your foot. Cindi Binder, a footwear expert at Healthy Feet at Canyon Ranch, chose a similar Brooks brand shoe to recommend in BETTER’s guide to walking shoes and sneakers for women.
The soft fabric of the Flex Sport Bra is combined with high-impact and moisture-wicking features to give you a fitness bra that’s very supportive and comfortable. The cups are molded and seam-free and a customized support mechanism allows you to choose how and where you want to the bra to keep everything in place. On top of that, it’s designed with Compression and Encapsulation Tech, which is what SHEFIT calls the tech behind the bra’s smooth appearance and flattering shaping properties. The fabric stretches four ways, too, and internal mesh reduces bounce to keep you comfortable while you’re working out.
SAXX has something few underwear companies can boast: a specialized patent on a new way to stay comfortable all day, whether you’re working out or not. It’s called the Ballpark Pouch, and it keeps everything down there separated. Shaped like a hammock, it’s compartmentalized at the groin. With breathable and stretchable properties, the Kinetic model is designed with 4-way stretch fabric and quick-drying, odor-resisting and supporting properties. Other models of SAXX underwear cover most people’s needs, from all-day fits to travel-perfect pairs and more intense fitness models.
These sweat-wicking and lightweight shorts are a great fit for your guy’s athletic arsenal: They feature a T-shirt loop (for easy storage when he gets hot during summer workouts), a zippered pocket to store cards and cash, an interior key catch, side vents and a mesh back yoke panel for extra breathability, and an anti-chafe liner. They also come in seven colors and patterns to match your man’s personality, some of which come with reflective designs for those late-night runs.
Best fitness equipment to gift
It’s hard to perfectly recreate gym offerings at-home or in the office, but customizable dumbbells are a great start. This pair from Bowflex, the SelectTech 552, allows you to adjust each dumbbell from five to 52.5 pounds — and for the first 25 pounds, you can adjust in 2.5-pound increments to get a truly personal weight for your goals. From the versatility of a well-designed product to a 4.7-star average rating from more than 4,800 reviewers, this is a great gift for many types of fitness-forward people.
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.
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 weighs 1.1 kilograms) 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.
A suspension trainer system that uses your bodyweight, TRX’s straps allows for efficient, effective total body workouts anytime, any place — no bulky gym machines required. In addition to an upgrade suspension anchor, door anchor and a 35 page full-color TRX Workout Guide, you’ll also get a mesh bag to take it all with you on the go, for a full-body workout that can be set up off any door, tree branch, rafter, beam or secured elevation point in just 60 seconds. A study published in the journal Human Movement Science found that doing a suspended pushup using TRX bands activated the abdominals 184 percent more than doing a standard pushup. Hello, summer body.
This stylish backpack — made from water-repellent fabric — is designed to go from the gym to the office. It offers five separate compartments, including a padded laptop pocket, a zippered space on the bottom to store your sneakers, an internal holder for water bottles and several internal mesh pouches. It also boasts a hidden external pocket perfect for storing your phone, keys or work badge for quick and easy access on the go. Reviewers love the thick straps that make carrying around heavy items less of a pain in the neck (literally). Plus it’s chic enough to carry to work or bring to post-gym drinks without having to hide it under the table.
Once you learn the easy ways to use to use a foam roller, it can help you relieve neck, back and knee pain, as well as relieve sore muscles all over your body. The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is a compact and multi-density foam roller to cover virtually any need. More than 3,600 reviewers have left it a 4.6-star average rating and it comes with access to online tutorials on the many ways you can benefit from using a foam roller, with instructions on how to best do so.