Fitness: Holiday gifts for the active people in your life

From $20 socks to a smartwatch priced at $1,099, these suit a range of budgets.

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It’s that time of the year again when you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for your favourite fitness fanatic. Admittedly, the gym crowd is tough to please. So are swimmers, runners, cyclists, triathletes and the rest of the cardio crew. But don’t sweat the small stuff — here are some great gifts for a variety of budgets to help put smiles on the faces of the active people in your life.

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Apple Watch Ultra

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Designed for the ultra-athlete, this high-end Apple Watch offers a wealth of specialized features for triathletes, scuba divers, backcountry hikers, serious runners and ultra-marathoners. There’s a larger, more durable watch face and longer battery life than the rest of the Apple Watch lineup. The Ultra also has bigger action buttons for ease of use while wearing gloves, a built-in siren audible to 180 metres, enhanced GPS and a compass that not only keeps you from getting lost in the woods, but also has a Retrace Steps option that helps you find your way back to home base. Plus, it’s water resistant to 100 metres and will provide depth and water temperature readings to 40 metres, the maximum depth for recreational divers. With the addition of the Oceanic+ app, it becomes a full-featured dive watch. Admittedly, the Ultra is one of the more expensive smartwatches on the market, but for the athlete with everything else, it’s the icing on the cake.  

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$1,099; available at the Apple Store, Best Buy, other Apple retailers.

Hydro Flask wide-mouth water bottle

I’ve tried a lot of water bottles in my time, and this is one of the best. The wide mouth makes it easy to add ice, and the insulated bottle keeps the water ice cold (or hot, if you prefer) for hours, making it the perfect companion on the sidelines of the soccer pitch, in the dugout, at the end of the pool or courtside.

The Hydro Flask comes with a lifetime guarantee and tons of colours to choose from, including a kids’ model, with options for a narrow or wide mouth. The top can be clipped to your sport bag with a carabiner (not included) for easy transport.

$53.95; available at MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op), Sports Experts.

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On Cloudflyer waterproof running shoes

Treat your favourite runner to shoes that make it easier to navigate slippery, slushy conditions without a loss of performance. On running shoes are all the rage in Europe, and for good reason. Their soft landings and explosive takeoffs speak to runners of all ages and abilities, as does the promise of giving you the sensation of running on clouds. But the selling features of the Cloudflyer go beyond its light, cushiony, stable feel — the waterproof and windproof upper and aggressive tread are perfect for a Canadian winter.

$219; available at running stores across Canada.

Run for It All (women) and Cold Terrain (men) hooded gloves

The perfect gloves for outdoor exercisers need to be warm, but not too warm, with a dash of functionality thrown in for good measure. Lululemon has a couple of good options with features like grippy palms and tech-ready fingertips, making it easier to start and stop a smartwatch or change a playlist while on the go, and an extra flap that extends over the fingers for added warmth when needed. They’re also lightweight enough that you can stuff them in your pocket when you warm up and put them back on when you need the extra protection from the wind or cold. Reflective details that help exercisers stand out in the dark are a bonus. (A word to the wise: These gloves are designed for winter workouts that generate body heat, not walking the dog in the cold.)

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$52; available at Lululemon.

Darn Tough socks

Darn Tough socks are some of the best gosh-darn socks for the active set. Touted as the “most durable, comfortable and best fitting,” they’re available in a variety of lengths (no show, ankle, crew or knee height), densities (thick, thin, padded) and colours, so there’s a sock for every activity and season. They also come with a lifetime guarantee. Once you go Darn Tough, you never go back.

$20 to $40; available at MEC.

Franklin Sports pickleball bag

This well-designed bag is a great gift for avid picklers. There are three pockets, with room for a racket or two, balls, phone, car keys, sunglasses, water bottle and more. Easy to sling over either shoulder, it’s not so big and bulky that it’s tough to bring on a bike. It also has a built-in hook to hang the bag on the fence, which is a cool and very functional feature. Comes in four colour choices.  

$48.99; available on Amazon.

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