The Holiday Gift Guide for 2018

Trying to figure out what to get that crazy mountain, ultra, trail runner family member or friend in your life this year for the holidays? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Below you will find our top gift ideas for this holiday season in the Holiday Gift Guide for 2018.

Shoe Ideas

The Topo Athletic Ultraventure is a great shoe, period. Read more about it here.

The Topo Athletic Ultraventure is REALLY comfortable.

The Salomon Ultra Pro has kind of flown under the radar it seems. With a wider than normal fit compared to most of Salomon’s line of trail running shoes this is a really comfortable and high-performing shoe for long miles on the trail.

The Salomon Ultra Pro performs well and looks great!

Under Armour is stepping up their game when it comes to trail shoes. The Under Armour Horizon BPF trail running shoe is a welcome addition and a step in the right direction for UA.

The Under Armour Horizon BPF  is a nimble, fun trail shoe that provides just the right amount of ground feedback.

Clothing Ideas

Icebreaker Cool-Lite

I’ll go ahead and say it, Icebreaker’s Cool-Lite fabric is the best fabric / combination available today for both daily wear and nearly every performance activity. Cool-Lite is a combination of merino wool, TENCEL (a wood fiber), and nylon. It is soft, temperature-regulating (really, it’s crazy), odor-resistant, biodegradable, and way more breathable than a normal 100% merino wool fabric. I have two of the Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere t-shirts that I literally live in for days in a row every week.

Icebreaker’s Cool-Lite fabric is really amazing.

Running Shorts

You can never have too many pairs of running shorts, right?

The Patagonia Strider Pro running shorts have been around for a few years now, going through two iterations, and are still the best shorts available today. The pockets are stretchy and plentiful, two lengths are offered, and they look and perform great. 

The Patagonia Strider Pros are still the best shorts available today.

rabbit is really stepping up their game and making some good-looking, functional running shorts. The verts and FKT shorts especially are well-suited to mountain, ultra, trail runners.

The rabbit FKT 5″ running short.

Running Jackets

The perfect running jacket does not exist, trust me, I’ve been looking for awhile. However, depending on your use case Ultimate Direction makes two jackets which are about as close as you can get to perfect for their intended uses.

The Ultimate Direction Moonlight jacket is the ideal emergency layer to bring with you on peak-bagging sessions, in a backpack when traveling, or stuffed in a pants pocket for when the sun goes down. What sets this apart from other ultra lightweight wind shells is the inclusion of the back vents. 

The Ultimate Direction Moonlight Jacket weighs just 2.2 oz / 62g

The Ultimate Direction Ultra Jacket V2 is one of the best running-specific waterproof jackets available today. Smart features like the underarm vents, flexible / brimmed full-coverage hood that allows airflow over your head, and the built-in flip mittens set this jacket apart.

The Icebreaker Tech Trainer Hybrid Jacket is freaking sweet. Much like the Cool-Lite t-shirt mentioned above you will rarely see me these days not wearing this jacket. It’s a super high-performing jacket for running in cool to colder weather as well as a stylish everyday option around town. There truly is something magical about merino wool.

Winter-Specific Running Accessories

I hope you nor a loved one have ever experienced near-frozen ‘delicates’ while out on a winter run. Do them or yourself a favor and invest in a good pair of windbreaker underwear like the Craft Active WS Gunde.

A good pair of non-chafing windbreaker underwear are worth their weight in gold. You’re going to have to trust me on this one.

Similarly, a pair of insulated, wind-breaking gloves or mittens are an essential piece of kit for those extra cold days to wear or stuff in a pack for when the blood flow to your extremities is reduced after running hard. Salomon makes both a RS Warm Glove and a RS Warm mitten that work great in cold, winter weather.


Buff makes the best headwear in the business as far as I’m concerned. The original Buff was recently re-engineered and it’s softer and more comfortable. A Thermonet Buff is great for the colder days with the extremely lightweight insulation built in. And a Polar Buff has you covered (pun intended) in the coldest weather.

The Original Buff has been re-engineered to be better than ever.

The Petzl BINDI headlamp is great to have with you during these short days. It half the weight of competing headlamps and easily stows in a pocket.

The Petzl BINDI weighs just 35g and puts out 200 lumens.

Recovery and Self-Massage Tools

Recovery and self-massage tools are always great to have around the house and good stocking stuffers.

Oofos sandals may look ridiculous, just ask my wife, but they are really comfortable to wear when you want to give your feet a break.

Oofos sandals look ridiculous but they are oh so comfortable to wear whenever you want to add some extra cush in to your daily life.

The new Trigger Point Carbon Deep Tissue foam roller is sure to make even the toughest trail runners beg for forgiveness.

Just looking at the new Trigger Point Carbon Deep Tissue foam roller looks (good) painful.

A foam ball is arguably more versatile than even a foam roller. You can really pinpoint the areas of focus and target those areas of myofascial release. Pro-Tec makes a great option called the Orb Extreme 5″. Tennis balls, la crosse balls, and golf balls work well here too and are more affordable options.

Snowshoes and Winter Traction Devices

Running on snow is easier than you think with a high quality pair of snowshoes. Two great options I’ve personally tested include the customizable options from Dion Snowshoes or the Crescent Moon EVA Foam Snowshoes.

Dion makes sweet, customizable racing snowshoes where the frame can be combined with the cleat in a combination of your choosing.
Crescent Moon make a snowshoe that is made out of the same midsole foam as you running shoes! They float great in harder packed snow.

Your normal winter trails more packed down or just looking for some extra grip on steep or icy terrain? Kahtoola Microspikes are great to wear and/or bring along in a pack for when maximum traction is needed and have proven to be extremely durable in my testing.

Kahtoola Microspikes are the best winter traction devices for trail running in icy conditions.

Stay tuned for a holiday ’18 stocking stuffer gift idea post soon!

Meet Your Reviewer: Ben Zuehlsdorf

I am an avid running gear junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running or racing around the local trails in Marin County, California or talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last few years.

Disclaimer: Some of these product(s) were provided to URP (me) for testing purposes. All words and thoughts are my own and no compensation was offered nor received.

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