Winter is no time for an endurance athlete to be stuck indoors – this gear will get them outside.
You know how cranky they can get if they don’t get out for a run, ride, or ski! For that endurance-obsessed person in your life, here is a guide to gifts that can keep them outside through the winter – and, indeed, all year long.
Merino Wool Buff ($29)
Useful for covering the head as well as masking the face from arctic winds on especially biting days, Buff’s merino wool adaptation of its original versatile headwear is something every runner, in every climate, can find a use for.
Kahtoola Microspikes ($69.95)
Crampons for running, these slip-on spikes fit over shoes and make your runner all but invincible on the most treacherous of icy chutes and trails. They work amazingly well and have become our go-to for winter training.
Icebreaker Oasis Long-Sleeve Crewe Baselayer ($90)
Humanity has spent a couple decades trying to invent a better baselayer than wool, but the results…well…stunk. Merino works as a next-to-skin layer in a variety of temperatures and doesn’t retain odor. Unless you have a separate storage facility for your winter running gear, that last point is important.
Fitsok Isolwool Trail Cuff 3-Pack ($25)
There is no shortage of quality wool socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable year-round. But filling your sock drawer one premium pair at a time gets expensive. Fitsok shines through for offering their product in a three-pack for the same price of approximately 1.5 of their competitors’ pairs.
Suunto Ambit3 Sport ($400, $450 with heart rate monitor)
It used to be tough to find a watch that tracked all the things you wanted – distance pace, elevation gain and loss – but didn’t include unnecessary bells and whistles. No more. The Ambit3 Sport is functional for running, cycling, and swimming, and features a mobile app to quickly upload data to Suunto’s MovesCount app (and from there to Strava), which also lets you customize the watch’s features from your phone. Heart rate monitor optional.
Pearl Izumi Flash ¾ Tight ($60)
Men are starting to realize what women have long known: ¾ tights (“manpris,” to the dudes) are highly-functional for those days that are cold but not freezing. Pearl Izumi’s Flash offers minor compression, lots of discrete pockets, and – yeah, I’ll say it – plenty of style.
Craft Active Extreme Windstopper Gunde ($59.99)
Endurance sports in the cold can be a harsh experience in the nether regions. For men on the coldest of cold days, the Swedish ski company utilized all their arctic know-how for the ultimate set of undies to protect you from the biting wind.
Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Jacket ($150)
As a top layer, this jacket repels cold and wind, and does so in a lightweight package that packs into its own front pocket in case things warm up, and it includes a hood for extra coverage. It also performs as a solo layer in cold rain. Salomon’s mountain heritage shines through in this piece that’s designed to perform well but pack light.
Nike Dri-Fit Knit Long-Sleeve ($90 men, $80 women)
We were as reluctant to admit it as the next person, but Nike has returned to its running-centric roots to produce some incredibly nice gear. Among that is its line of Dri-Fit Knit tops, which fit and feel like heaven. This makes a great solo top on crisp fall days, a solid midlayer in colder climates, and even serves well grabbing a burger and a beer in uptown.
Brooks Joyride Mitten ($35)
Regular gloves don’t always cut it below a certain temperature; these mittens keep your fingers in closer proximity and work over a pair of thinner gloves if the going gets really cold. Made from odor-resistant wool and featuring a ventilated mesh palm, these mittens are just plain versatile.
Petzl Tikka RXP ($99.95)
Sometimes – especially in the winter – a run has to happen before the sun is up (or after it goes down). At 215 lumens, the RXP is a powerful lighting option for trap-laden trails that won’t break the bank. As a bonus, it’s rechargeable, saving you money on batteries in the long run.