The runner, swimmer, cyclist or gym rat in your life is probably the easiest to shop for, because there are so many devices and accessories to choose from — almost too many. That's why we whittled down the list of best gifts for fitness buffs across a range of prices, so you can pick the perfect present.
From sporty smartwatches and affordable fitness trackers to waterproof wireless earbuds, this is the best gear you can gift your loved ones this holiday season. Better yet, we expect many of these gadgets to be discounted for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
SPIBelt running belt
Some runners hate to wear running armbands, either because of the fit or the sweat (which is really real). Running armbands also can't fit much more than a phone. That's why this highly rated running belt is so convenient — it stretches to fit waists up to 47 inches, plus you can tuck a giant smartphone, keys and a snack inside. Bonus: It won't flap around while you pound the pavement. Is the SPIBelt essentially a fanny pack? Yes. But this running belt can't be beat for functionality's sake.
Aukey Latitude EP-B40
Aukey's ultra-cheap EP-B40 earbuds are perfect for outdoor running. Unlike most sub-$30 Bluetooth buds, they offer solid sound (thanks to Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and 8-millimeter drivers) and near-perfect personalized fit (with three ear tips and three fins included in the box). The earbuds offer 8 hours of battery life. And while it takes a while to charge them back up (1.5 hours), you can juice them up to an hour's worth capacity with a 15-minute charge for a quick run.
TrailHeads running gloves
No runner wants to deal with regular wool gloves while putting in outdoor miles in subfreezing temps. These TrailHeads running gloves are made of a stretchy PolarTec material, which is also touch-screen-friendly. Silicone on the palms and fingertips means you won't drop your phone or anything else in your hands while running. You can snag a pair in women's or men's sizes, making them a perfect, versatile gift for cold-weather runners.
Every athlete needs to hydrate, and there's no better water bottle than the popular Hydro Flask. The bottle's stainless-steel insulation keeps drinks cold or hot — plus, the straw lid makes it easy to suck down electrolytes between reps or while hiking on trails. In addition, the Hydro Flask comes in a variety of colors, which makes HydroFlask extremely personal. (Just add stickers, and you’re in business.) I find the 32-ounce version to be perfect for outdoor activities, but you can downsize with an 18-ounce option or upsize to 40 or 64 ounces for your thirstiest pals.
Osprey Daylite backpack
Outdoor adventurers need a place to store their stuff, and there's no better affordable hiking backpack than Osprey's Daylite. It sports a comfortable mesh back to keep you from getting sweaty, a hydration pocket for extra water and an internal sleeve for stashing a tablet or small laptop. Even better: This small pack comes in a variety of colors instead of the basic black, brown and olive green. And Osprey's lifetime guarantee means you can send the Daylite to the company for free repairs.
Withings Body scale
Caution: I wouldn't give a smart scale to someone unless they specifically request one. But if a loved one has added such a scale to their holiday wish list, Withings' Body scale is the one to get. Not only does it display your weight on the display, but the scale also syncs to the Withings Health Mate app, which graphs weight and BMI trends over time. That's a helpful feature when you're trying to lose or maintain weight. It even records data from Withings' fitness trackers, if your friend or relative is already using one.
Not everyone needs an Apple Watch. But if your friends and family want to test the smartwatch waters, the Amazfit Bip is the best cheap smartwatch you can buy for them this holiday season. With built-in heart rate sensor, onboard GPS and smartphone notifications, this Apple Watch-esque watch isn't just a solid activity-tracker — it also lasts up to a month on a charge.
Garmin Approach S20
For amateur golfers, Garmin's affordable Approach S20 is the perfect GPS watch. It has thousands of preloaded courses available, which helps you track each round accurately. What it lacks in fancy features like full-color maps it makes up for in useful tools like built-in GPS (for finding the course you're on) and a shot tracker, which uses your wrist movement to keep score. The Approach S20 also offers lengthy battery life, a heart-rate sensor and sleep tracking, which make this golf watch more than just a one-trick pony.
Jabra Elite Active 65t
If your loved one is finally ready to make the leap to wireless earbuds, it's hard to beat Jabra's Elite Active 65t. These small, unobtrusive earbuds fit comfortably in each ear, then nestle in a charging case when you're not wearing them. The case stores 10 hours of battery life, in addition to the 5 hours in the pods, which gives the Elite Active 65t up to 15 hours of juice before dying. With resistance to water and sweat, and integration with Alexa, these earbuds are practically perfect.
If your friends and family love working out and also own iPhones, it's tough to top the excellent Powerbeats Pro. Apple's first completely wireless fitness earbuds hook around the ear for extra stability, and the audio quality is very, very good (though still bass-forward, a signature of Beats). The Powerbeats come in a sizable charging case that offers lengthy battery life — 9 hours in each earbud plus an additional 18 hours, for a total of 27 hours between charges. With seamless iPhone integration, and a practically magical setup process, Powerbeats Pro are worth buying for Apple-loving fitness buffs.
Fitbit Versa 2
You can't go wrong with a Fitbit. Whether your loved ones use iPhones or Android devices, Fitbit's newest smartwatch will work with either platform. The Fitbit app is an excellent activity- and sleep-tracking dashboard that also allows you to compete against each other in fitness challenges. The Versa 2 doesn't have onboard GPS, but its beautiful display and Alexa integration make this fitness-focused watch worth buying.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
For the Android owners in your life, the best smartwatch you can gift is Samsung's newest Galaxy Watch Active. The second-gen smartwatch sports a stunning round display with a touch-based bezel, offline Spotify playback and a forthcoming ECG feature that could be able to detect atrial fibrillation. This watch also has solid battery life, lasting up to five days on a charge. For stylish looks and excellent integration with Android phones — especially Samsung's Galaxy devices), the Galaxy Watch Active 2 makes for a wonderful stocking stuffer.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
For the more advanced athletes in your life, Garmin's newest sport-focused smartwatch would make a great gift. With offline Spotify playlist storage, excellent sleep-tracking features (including data from a pulse ox sensor) and the ability to customize workout programs, the Vivoactive 4 goes beyond most other smartwatches with granular running data, including your respiration levels. The battery life is also impressive, as this watch lasts up to seven days on a charge. For runners or cyclists who want a well-rounded smartwatch, the Vivoactive 4 is worth the splurge.
Apple Watch Series 5
The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch you can buy for iPhone owners. The Series 5 is perfect for casual athletes and people who want a well-rounded smartwatch with a fully stocked app store that can accurately track workouts. The Series 5's marquee feature is an always-on display, with a built-in electrocardiogram sensor for diagnosing atrial fibrillation and a compass, which is useful when hiking, camping or stargazing. The Series 5 is expensive, but it's a worthwhile splurge for someone you love.
Peloton is expensive. But it's worth it. The stationary bike works your entire body with the addition of exercise classes you subscribe to in the Peloton app (an additional $39 a month). You can lift weights, do yoga and take extremely fun spin classes, all using the bike and app. Each Peloton instructor is motivational without being irritating, and by the end of 30 minutes (or 45 or 60), you'll be drenched in sweat, which is more than I can say about a halfhearted cardio circuit at the gym.