A Few of Our Favorite Things

The holiday season is upon us and sometimes shopping for gifts can be overwhelming. We at Run Oregon decided to share a few of our favorite things to help give you some gift ideas for your favorite runner or perhaps help you create your own personal list for Santa.

For Your Feet

Annette: My absolute favorite running socks are Darn Tough. I am honestly sad whenever they are all in the wash and I have to wear other socks. Several of us tested them earlier this year.

Matt: I reviewed a variety of shoes this year, but two really stood 0ut – Athletic Propulsions Lab Techloom and the new Mizuno Wave Rider 20. Both of these running shoes powered me through the running season. Additionally, Fortis Sneakers by Aureus, a casual and extremely comfortable shoe, helped class up my closet a bit and kept my feet happy when I wasn’t logging miles.

Joe: Was it cheating to review the 7th iteration of a running shoe I’ve loved since the first version came out several years ago? You never know when a shoe company will change up your favorite shoe, but luckily Saucony has remained true to what makes their Kinvara my favorite shoe for both training and racing. The combination of light weight, comfortable fit, and generous cushioning won me over from the start, and the Saucony Kinvara would be a welcome find under most runners’ Christmas trees. And while you’re at it Balega socks would make a great stocking (and Kinvara) stuffer.

Kelly: I won’t recommend a specific shoe (although I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked the Hoka One One trail shoes I tested this year); rather, I’d vouch for a gift certificate to a locally-owned running store near the home of your favorite runner. Despite glowing reviews, if a shoe isn’t right for you, it’s not going to work. The employees at running specialty stores are trained to get you in the right shoes for more enjoyable miles of healthy running.

Running Tights

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Annette: I am in love with Athleta‘s running capris. My current favorites are the Be Free Knickers and the Relay Capris. Both have a zipper pocket in back and large side pockets perfect for stashing gels and even big enough for your phone. I recently purchased the Camo Relay Capri. They are super cute and ridiculously comfortable.

Matt: While I don’t wear running tights, I am currently obsessed with another pair of leg coverings – the All Day Every Day Pant from Public Rec. I am pretty sure I am wearing these 5-6 days/week at this point and I just can’t get enough. They are comfortable enough to wear as casualwear and can even be cold weather running pants in a pinch.

Post-Race Must-Haves

Annette: My can’t-do-without item is The Undress. I reviewed this “mobile changing room” for Run Oregon in March. It is my go-to for being able to change wherever I am after getting muddy and wet at an obstacle course race or a trail run.

Matt: The first thing I want to do after each race is peel off my nasty gear and slip into something comfortable for the drive home. This year, American Giant’s Lightweight Tri Blend Full Zip Hoodie and my Robies from Lounge County did the job admirably!

Running Jackets

Joe: Over the years I’ve accumulated a nice variety of running jackets, but in the past few months I’ve been lucky enough to review two jackets for Run Oregon that quickly claimed a spot among my all-time favorites, the Montane Dynamo Via Jacket, and the Outdoor Research Men’s Centrifuge Hoody. I could write a novel about why I love these jackets, but bottom line, either of these would make a great gift!

Matt: My favorite long-sleeved item wasn’t necessarily a running jacket, but a hoodie is a great alternative and a Pacific NW staple. I tested out the Lightweight Tri Blend Full Zip  from American Giant (I’m actually wearing it as I am typing this), and love how it looks and feels. In fact, it has one of my favorite items to wear after a cool run.

Running Fuel

Joe: I’m hard to please when it comes to energy bars, but I loved the Tahoe Trail Bars I reviewed earlier this year, and a box of these would be a welcome gift for the hungry runner in your life!

Kelly: The GoMacro Bars were my favorite new running snack from 2016. They’re GMO-free, soy-free, and vegan, and they’re delicious. Coming in a close second were the Munk Pack Outmeal Fruit Squeezes. Both are shelf-stable and are good to keep in your running bag or drawer at work.

Matt: It may not actually be running fuel, but there is nothing like celebrating a little after a race or a long training run. And nothing says celebrating like Ice Cream! I tried out Halo Top Ice Cream this year and was amazed at how delicious low-calorie ice cream could be. I mean, a whole pint for less than 300 calories? AND it tastes good? You can’t go wrong there. These are showing up more and more in local stores (Safeway, Roth’s Salem, etc), so check them out!

Abby: I’m pretty “old school” when it comes to fuel. I love lemon-lime flavored Gatorade (prefer the powdered kind where I can mix my own) and Haribo Gold Bears. However, I do love Honey Stinger Snack Bars which are low in sugar, GMO-free and gluten-free and each bar has 89 grams of potassium-which all runners need to keep cramp free.

Reading About Running

Joe: If you’re looking for an inspirational and thought-provoking novel for the running reader on your list, “Million Dollar Marathon” by Phillip Maffetone with Richard A. Lovett would be a great choice.

Kelly: My two favorites from the year include The Boy Who Runs, the story of Julius Achon (who lives right here in Portland when he’s not in Uganda), and Run the World, an entertaining exploration of elite and casual running around the world by Becky Wade. Both are full of inspiration and very well-written, and are definitely books to share with others.

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