The Hard-to-Shop for Athlete Gift Guide

by | Dec 2, 2022 | Gear

Athletes are notoriously hard to shop for, especially if they’re the type of athlete who loves gear and always has the latest and greatest. And they’re also usually pretty darn particular. This isn’t an insult, by any means, because we’re firm believers that everyone should ideally have the gear they need for the training they’re doing (and it should fit well and feel good!). But it can be a pain when you’re trying to find a gift for that particular athletes. The ‘Hard to Shop for Cyclist’ is so picky about cycling gear and likely has all the things they need so you might need to think about things that they will enjoy off the bike. Ditto the ‘Hard to Shop for Runner.’ So, we’ve compiled a list of favorites in all budget ranges that are great gifts for any athlete—and that are unlikely to already be in the athlete’s gear closet or wardrobe!

(Have another type of athlete you’re shopping for, or need more ideas? Check out our other gift guides right here)

Takeya Travel Bottles

Cyclists and runners are picky about the way they drink on the move, but during the day, a water bottle is never a bad gift! I really love this stainless steel water bottle, and it’s just a little bit different! It’s super easy to drink from and at 32 ounces, gets you through a lot of the day without taking up your entire desk. I normally go for black, but I actually got the blush pink one for something a little different recently, and I love it! They’re also priced really well for how solid they are.

Get it here (and in Canada)


Strava Mug

Upload a file from an epic ride or run you did with your buddy (or that he’s always bragging about) and get it put onto a mug. It’s an unbeatable reminder of an awesome adventure!

Get it here

Race Bib + Medal Display

Have a friend with medals and bib plates all over the place? We really like this small bib and medal display: It doesn’t take a ton of space, but it keeps every medal and bib organized and displayed really neatly.

Get it here (and in Canada)


Sunglasses Rack

For the cyclist or runner who has a million pairs of sunglasses and always seems to scratch the lenses (raises hand)… and who really likes to keep their gear super organized (raises hand again!), we love this acrylic sunglasses rack that’s both organized and a little bit baller. You may not be able to afford to splash out on that new pair of Oakleys for your running buddies, but you can help them show off their current pairs.

Get it here (and in Canada)

Good’r Cycling Sunglasses

Speaking of sunglasses… I put off getting Good’rs for a while, assuming that they simply wouldn’t be as good as the fancier ones I’ve enjoyed in the past. But when I scratched the crap out of my beloved Oakleys and was searching for a replacement, Good’r finally got me. And if you have a new cyclist in your life who needs some sunglasses—or your partner is always losing his or hers, or scratching them, and you’re looking for cheap but solid replacements, these are fun. (I also got the blue-light blockers from Good’r and really have been digging those!)

Get them here


Yoga Tuneup ‘Alpha’ Ball

This ball travels with Peter everywhere we go. It is a versatile ball that works for almost any self-massage you will need to do, making it awesome for the athlete you know who is always, always sore.

Get it here (and in Canada)

Yoga Tune Up Alpha Ball by Jill Miller by tuneupfitness

Charging Station

If you’ve ever gone on a ride or run with your gift give-ee and had them lose power in their computer/light/phone/watch, a charging station where every sporty thing they own can charge at once is an awesome present. We love having these stations set up in our place—it makes it so much easier to ensure that when it is time to ride or run, there’s no lag time as we wait for headphones to power up.

Get it here (and in Canada)

Virtual Yoga Gift Card + Hit Reset Book

We had author and yogi Erin Taylor on the Consummate Athlete Podcast a while ago, and her book Hit Reset covers all things yoga for athletes. I loved the book so much that I had to buy an extra copy to lend out so that I always had one copy at home. It’s fantastic for someone who loves yoga, or for an athlete you know who really, really should stretch more. Now, last year I mentioned YogaGlo as a great online yoga streaming option, but this year, I think an even better option would be gifting a virtual subscription to a local yoga studio that’s doing online options (like past guest Sue Amato’s Valley Om!). It’s a great way to support small local businesses while getting your stretch on.

Buy here: Hit Reset Book



I weirdly love these shower notes and as an athlete who’s in there debriefing post-runs often, I’ve found they’re super useful for remembering that work thing you almost forgot about during your run or ride. Also great for swimmers, come to think of it, since often swimming laps makes you think of a billion to-do tasks, and having a quick way to jot down notes between sets is awesome.

Get it here (and in Canada)


Mug Warmer or Small Kettle

When my friend went remote back in at the beginning of the pandemic, this was what I shipped to him. A mug warmer is a must if you’re the kind of person who makes a cup of tea or coffee, then starts in on work and forgets about said mug until it’s gone cold and gross (*raises hand*). Seriously, best present ever. (Especially when paired with one of our Consummate Athlete mugs!!!) I also love a small electric kettle for anyone with an office not directly next to the kitchen, for quick tea-making capabilities without wandering around the house and deciding it’s time for a snack/break/cleaning time.

Get it here: Mug WarmerSmall Bodum Kettle




Bluelight Blocking Glasses

I put this one in almost every year, but I still love my blue-light blocking glasses. The glasses have gone a long way towards curing my eye strain due to long days working on articles, book layouts, graphics, podcast and video edits, etc… I also find, especially now that we’re stuck at home and not travelling, that having these glasses for working hours sort of helps me move between work time and leisure time since they tend to blend these days. Think Clark Kent to Superman transformation!

Buy here: Bluelight blocking Glasses (and in Canada)


Travel Shoe Dryer

I’ll list this one over and over again because very few people will get it for themselves, but it’s a total trip/race saver. If you’re in a hotel frantically trying to dry shoes after pre-running a course, or back at an (electricity-having) campsite after a long day of hiking, it is SO nice to be able to ensure that your shoes are dry and ready the next day. And it can also run on your car’s cigarette lighter! This is perfect for runners, cyclists, hikers, literally ANY outdoors type, and the travel option takes up no space.

Get it here (and similar in Canada)


Camping Wine Glasses + Coffee Mugs

I really love these tumblers because they’re multi-purpose for classier car camping/vanlife. I love that these are good for enjoying morning coffee in smaller mugs and the occasional glass of wine in something a little fancier than a water bottle. (I don’t love the clear plastic wine glasses for camping because they aren’t multi-purpose!)

Maars Bev Steel Stemless Wine Glass Tumbler (in matte black, of course)




A Good Knife

I DO NOT mean buy a friend a knife block that you scored on sale. A Good Knife. Georgia Gould told me years ago that she travels with a good quality chef’s knife and that was a gamechanger for cooking on the road, and that advice is dead-on. It’s such a useful tool and can make a road trip go from garbage gas station meals to nutritionally dense salads for under $20 from the grocery store. We have this JA Henckels one that I love, and it’s been in use for 4 years now and still amazing. It’s currently on sale for $66 (from $105!!)

Get it here (and in Canada)

Custom Door Mat

I put this in the Runner Gift Guide, but it’s worth a repost here! I had no idea that custom mats were a thing until I had the idea that I wanted one, and discovered they do exist on Etsy. I had this pictured mat made for a friend who just completed an amazing FKT, and you can do similar for your running friends! I was so happy with how this turned out, and the quality is fantastic for the price. You can completely customize the text with a list like this (Water, Snacks, Garmin, for example), or something motivational (Have a Great Ride!) or really, whatever the heck you want.

Get it here (starting at $25)

From The Consummate Athlete:

In addition to shopping our online store for mugs, sweatshirts and tshirts, you can also:



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