Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Welcome to our Gift Guide for Runners! We think about running 24/7 and tried our best to give a good range of non-shoe related gifts for both the holiday season and year-round, because while shoes are fun, it's also the stuff that we go to time and time again before, during, and after the run that can make a run as well.

Editors Note: NONE of the following links used in this Gift Guide are affiliate links. We wanted to provide a gift guide of our absolute favorite things to share and decided to make this edition completely ad-free. Thanks for reading!


Mizuno Infinity Hoodie
Drymax Socks: Feetures is great as well, but we are big drymax fans and
love their durable quality and great grip.
Honey Stinger Waffles: The easiest and most delicious pre/active/post run snack in the game.
Goodr: Make running fun and protective all at once.
Great fitting, super affordable sunglasses for all runners.
Mizuno Infinity Apparel: Affordable, super lightweight, sustainable running clothes
with pieces for every part of the year.
Gloves: Cold weather running means it's time to bundle up. Keep your hands insulated is a must. Check out this Running Warehouse collection to see what fits your temp and needs best.


Rabbit High Country LS Flannel 
Price: $85

The Rabbit High Country LS Flannel is a high powered flannel long sleeve for everything from running miles through the cold winter months to formal events. As a Pacific Northwestern at heart, owning flannel as a significant portion of my wardrobe is incredibly important. On top of that, I have had a quest to find apparel that would work for both running as well as formal attire. This is my go to shirt for long workdays and long runs in colder weather. The rabbitWool is incredibly durable, comfortable against bare skin and does a great job of wicking away moisture during runs. The fit is now slightly large, so those interested may want to consider going true to size or a size down for a snug performance fit. I have been equally comfortable using the High Country LS flannel as a base with a suit jacket as I have hitting a hard run on the trails after work. For those that want the best of both worlds with incredibly comfortable performance wool, the Rabbit High Country LS Flannel will make a great gift for yourself or anyone else. 

Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink Mix Coffee

Price: $33.95 (12 servings)

Close followers of the podcast and the Doctors of Running team know that my body is 90% coffee at this point. We have dedicated several episodes discussing recovery in all its forms, whether it is training, sleep, cognition or nutrition. Post-Run nutrition is incredibly important in timing recovery, restoring glycogen stores and preparing for the next run or workout. The Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink Mix Coffee is my go to recovery drink after runs. With the colder months now, it makes a great addition to a warm mug of water, mild or dairy alternative. The taste is chocolatey with a moderate coffee flavor for those who like Mochas or Caffeinated Hot Chocolate. Add in 45-50 mg of caffeine per dose, the Skratch Labs Coffee Recovery Drink provides a nice boost to kick start your recovery and get after all the things you have to do in order to prepare for the holidays.

Looking for more hydration options? Check out our guide here.

Nathan Pinnacle 12 Liter Hydration Race Vest

The Nathan Pinnacle 12 LIter Hydration Race Vest is a performance vest for faster and race efforts. It is light, compact and stays secure regardless of the pace. As a professional runner, my wife has moved into the area of road ultramarthons. She has done incredibly well, with a 2nd place finish at the 2021 US 50k Road Championships and a 3rd place finish at the 2022 US 100k Road Championships. As her pacer, that means I have had to do all her longer workouts with her. Balancing this training with a PhD dissertation, clinical work, working as a professor/teaching and keeping up with Doctors of Running has meant that keeping nutrition and hydration on point at all times is incredibly important for both my physical and cognitive performance. Keeping up with her running faster efforts for longer also means that the pack could not weight me down. The Nathan Pinnacle is light and stays out of the way while also having a ton of storage space. The 1.6 L hourglass fluid bladder has been excellent for carrying my hydration drink of choice (Pocari Sweat) while the remainder of the vest still has plenty of room for nutrition, keys and other items. The water resistant pockets in the front have been a life saver for keeping my phone and keys dry over long efforts, especially with the surprising heat we experiencing this summer in Southern California. Eventually my wife will convince me to race a road Ultra and when that happens, this will be my nutrition vest. So those looking for a comfortable pack for long and faster efforts, this is well worth a look as an excellent holiday gift.


Fluid Performance Drink Mix
Price: $31.99

The Fluid Performance Drink Mix has been my go to for fueling in the second half of this year. The mix is a combination of sugar and electrolytes to keep you from cramping and bonking. The solution is meant to mix one scoop (about 25g sugar) into 12-16oz water solution. I have been able to use 2 scoops in 8.5 oz soft flask with zero issue. Fluid mixes really well without clumping and is really light on the palate and stomach. The flask fits perfectly in my Naked Running Band (see BJ's choices to learn more), which is also a big bonus for me.

rabbit Fall EZ Tee Long Sleeve
Price: $55

The rabbit EZ Long Sleeve is a piece of apparel I have used quite a bit. The shirt works well when going for easy days running and also doubles well for lifestyle wear. The material is really soft on skin and something you just like having on, regardless of movement. It breathes decently well and doesn’t overhead when running, though I wouldn’t quite do workouts in it unless it is on the colder end of conditions. This is one of my most worn long sleeves.


Path Projects Rokko Wool Beanie
Price: $28.50 (sale)

Since going bald, I've appreciated having a hat to protect my head from the sun and the cold. I've also noticed that materials that I previously have been fine with and enjoyed have a very different feel when right on the skin. Often times they are too scratchy, itchy, or stick to the stubble of hair as it grows a bit. The Rokko Wool Beanie has been great for the fall and winter season. It is soft on my scalp and fits really well. It also doubles perfectly as a casual beanie and one that I can use for my morning runs. It is warm, comfortable, and stylish.

Ciele RDCap SC

Price: $50

Of the many caps that I’ve ran in this year, this is the one that took the cake for me. Compared to some other Ciele caps, there is a bit more depth to accommodate multiple head sizes with still comfortable fit for smaller heads like mine. Functionally, it works very well to absorb sweat and block the sun. Stylistically, it double very well for casual wear and even some dates with my wife.

ROKA Rory 2.0
Price: $28.50 (sale)

I have been using ROKA glasses for the past 4 months, and I'll never go back to another brand. There are a few reasons why. First, I have a narrow head, and they offer their glasses in "regular", "small", and "XL". This allows me to find a pair that fits my face well and that I feel most comfortable in. Speaking of comfort, the glasses are extremely lightweight. This is both wonderful for daily wear as the glasses disappear on the bridge of my nose, but it is also great for running. There is no bounce, no slipping, and they stay secure the whole time. Before having ROKA glasses, I was primarily a contact lens wearer, but the comfort, style, and function of these glasses make it easier to throw these on every day no matter what I'm doing.

"Do Hard Things," by Steve Magness

Price: $19.89 (prices vary)

The subtitle of this book is “why we get resilience wrong and the surprising science behind toughness”. This is one of the best books I’ve read in 2022, and I’ve also had my athletes that I coach read it as well. His method of taking research findings and making them practical and meaningful is masterfully done, making this book impactful for a wide variety of folks. The concepts found in this book stretch far beyond running in their applicability, but he uses running as an analogy throughout given his background. If you want to get a meaningful book that addresses the psychological aspects of running, this is a fantastic option. I listened via audible and really enjoyed it as an audiobook, though there are many times I wish I could have underlined things he said!  Andrea Item 1: The Feed Zone Cookbook Link:


Trigger Point Grid 13" Foam Roller
Price: $36.99

The Trigger Point Grid 13” foam roller is perfectly designed for travel. It’s 13” length allows it to easily fit in a carryon or suitcase, and its hollow design saves space by allowing you to pack items inside of it. I typically roll up my running clothes and put them inside the roller. The roller has a multi density grid pattern, which gives you several options depending how much pressure you want on a given muscle group. There is also a flat surface for those who prefer a less aggressive feel. The core of the roller is made of a very stiff material, giving it a very solid and secure feel for such a lightweight, hollow foam roller. I bring it with me any time I fly and am impressed with its durability, space saving, and performance.

The Feed Zone Cookbook


As an athlete with a full time job and low motivation to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I look for recipes that are simple, nutritious, and easy to make. The Feed Zone Cookbook is written by Dr. Allen Lim and Biju Thomas, who work with pro cyclists during some of the world’s toughest races, including the Tour de France. A couple of my favorite recipes are buffalo and sweet potato tacos and sweet rice porridge. The book also includes a chapter on portables, which are items that are ideal for those of us who are tired of bars and gels. The rice cake recipe and its many variations are one of my favorites because there are so many ingredient options - peanut butter and jelly, scrambled eggs, fig and honey, etc. This book is well known among cyclists but less known among runners, so I wanted to share the cookbook love with DOR readers!


Path Projects Graves Shorts and Pyrennes Hoodie
Janji Mercury Run Jogger
Price: $98 (Holiday sale: $64)

These joggers have been my go-to easy day pants for over two winters now. They've held up beautifully for me and will surely be my constant driver this coming season. The pants are soft and feature two simple zip pockets. They do well from 30-50 F and fit true to size. They are simply just very comfortable. I've used them for runs, walks, and outdoor work and have come back to my home office and gone straight to work without thought many a time.

Path Projects Graves Shorts
Price: $43.50

I'm clearly in a pants mode this holiday season and no one can stop me! While the Mercury joggers have been a staple of my winter runs, the Path Projects Graves shorts dominated my summer this year. How are they different from other shorts? For one thing, they have no inner lining! I've run hundreds of miles chafe-free. They also have fantastic pockets, including a sturdy phone pocket that sits directly in the back that actually is well-supported enough to hold a phone. It's one of the few shorts that I can grab for anything and not have to fuss with a running belt. They are also durable, with a unique tech material that is built for trails I've been able to run everywhere and through everything without any issues.

Nathan QuickSqueeze Insulated Handheld 12oz
Price: $28

Here in South Carolina, even the shortest of runs can feel sizzingly hot in the summer. In the past I dealt with it by shortening my mileage, but this year I took things into my own hands and started taking hydration on more of my summer runs. I was able to get far more mileage than normal thanks to the Nathan handheld. While 12oz isn't a lot, it was just the perfect amount to capture an easy run, letting me go the mileage I wanted for the day without overheating or feeling dehydrated. I liked how the bottle just wrapped around my hand and was easy to switch hands if I wanted to distribute the weight during the run. The fact that it takes less than 15 seconds to grab, fill, and immediately go out the door with is a big deal. Would I much rather run free? Sure, but getting out the door for a run quickly can be a chore and if it takes something like the Nathan handheld to do it well and stay consistently hydrated, I'm all for it.


Ryan wearing the NoxGear Tracer 2
NoxGear Tracer 2
Price: $49.95 (sale)
Tracer 2 Lamp accessory: 

The Noxgear Tracer 2 is a staple to my early morning running attire. For the majority of the year, my runs are performed before the sun rises so being seen and safe is a large concern for me. The Noxgear Tracer 2 helps to solve this goal in two ways. First, it helps keep me visible to traffic and other runners using its unique 360 design. This allows me to be seen from all angles but especially from behind where the largest light is. Second, with the help of the attachable Tracer Lamp (purchased separately) I no longer need a headlamp. This accessory attaches to the Tracer 2 vest helping to brighten the trail ahead. As far as fit, the Tracer 2 is highly adjustable. I am able to adjust the size based on what I am wearing underneath. I have no issues fitting it tight over a T-shirt in the summer and a jacket in the winter. This allows it to be versatile for year round use. As an added benefit, both the lamp and the Tracer 2 are rechargeable so there is no need to purchase or change batteries. The Tracer 2 vest has a very long battery life as I can go a couple weeks before needing to recharge. I typically recharge the lamp after each run so I have enough power the next time. For those runners,walkers, and bikers out in the early morning and late evening, the Noxgear Tracer 2 is a great piece of equipment I highly recommend. 

Amphipod Hydrafrom Ergo Minimalist Handheld Water Bottle
Price: $24-25

This is a small, 16 oz, easy to carry water bottle with a name much larger than the bottle itself. When I was searching for a way to stay hydrated during my longer and hotter runs I came across the Amphipod water bottles. I typically run very minimal as I don't enjoy extra accessories weighing me down. The Amphipod water bottle fits this goal as it is compact and easy to hold. The strap surrounding the bottle wraps around the hand keeping the bottle secure without needing to “hold onto the bottle”. For me, I found that 16 oz was enough water for the majority of my runs and if I needed more, I could often find a water fountain along the route. The only complaint I have with the water bottle as the liquid inside can become quite warm. This is mainly due to the minimal design having no thermal insulating properties and also to your hand contact warming up the liquid. I found adding some ice to the liquid does help with this in the short term. During many of my runs this was only a small complaint as I was just happy to have some hydration along the way.  Overall this is a great water bottle that is easy to hold and stays secure nicely while running. 


Petzl Headlamp
Price: $124.95

This is a perfect gift for the runners who are out there before the sun comes up. This headlamp has been a staple to my early morning runs for years. The Petzl headlamp is lightweight and has an adjustable strap which helps keep the lamp in place while running. The adjustability allows for the headlamp to fit over ear warmers/hats in the cold temps too. Many headlamps move/bounce while running, however this one doesn’t even budge and the cushion makes it even more comfortable. It features a sensor that analyzes surrounding light and adjusts brightness to your needs. In addition, the light is reflective and allows oncoming cars to see you from a great distance away. The battery is rechargeable and can hold a charge for up to 50 hours worth of running!  

Brazyn Collapsible Foam Roller
Price: $69.95

Every runner has (or at least should have) a foam roller laying around somewhere in their home. However, one of the biggest challenges for races requiring any travel is where to pack/fit the foam roller. It takes up lots of space and is awkwardly shaped. In comes the Brazyn Collapsible Foam Roller, which makes recovery convenient! It collapses to be totally flat and takes up virtually no space at all in a carry-on bag, backpack, or a suitcase. I discovered this staple item last year when figuring out how to get my foam roller across the country with me for a marathon. Since then, it’s come with me to every race, workout, and I always have it on hand. This is an ideal gift for the runner on your list who travels a lot or does many races!


BJ wearing the Powerbeats Pro
Naked Running Band
Price: $54.99

I actually received this as a Christmas gift last year, and it’s come in handy countless times. The design is simple yet versatile: an elastic mesh band that’s basically just a bunch of stretchy pockets. You can fill those pockets with almost anything: keys, ID cards, gels, phones, water bottles, etc. I use mine the most for holding my phone. I find it much more comfortable to keep the phone at the small of my back instead of on an armband or a side shorts pocket. The mesh is so light and the fit unobtrusive that you quickly forget it’s there, with no bouncing or moving around. Tired of carrying things in your pockets on the run? Grab the Naked Running Band.

Powerbeats Pro Headphones
Price: $200

A good pair of running headphones is as essential to me as a good pair of shoes. The Powerbeats Pro from Apple are my gold standard for workout headphones. They’re truly wireless (meaning no connecting wire between them), give you 9 hours of listening time, and have both playback and volume controls on each headphone. If you’re an iPhone user, you get all the benefits of Apple’s magic with the H1 Bluetooth chip. On top of all that, they sound fantastic, with all the low-end energy you’d expect from a pair of Beats to keep you hyped for your entire run. To top it off, they’re incredibly durable. I’ve had my Powerbeats Pro for more than 3 years and they’re still going just as strong as they were on day one. They’ve been drenched in rain & sweat, been dropped, and probably been gnawed on by my toddlers–still pumping out the jams. They’re on the pricier side at $200, but well worth the premium.


We hope these recommendations were helpful! Thanks for visiting Doctors of Running. If this is your first time here, Doctors of Running focuses on shoe and gear review from the perspective of Doctors of Physical Therapy. We use our training to help provide insight on the positive and negative effects of footwear and help deliver ideas to make sure your runs are healthy and sound. We do reviews and posts weekly and educational information via our social media daily. Follow us for more info!

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Read More: Best Affordable Running Shoes Under $100

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