clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Filed under:

The No-Sweat Gift Guide For Exercise Enthusiasts

Nine presents to pick up for all kinds of fitness buffs — lazy ones included.

Getting a friend a fitness gift is a one-two punch of holiday expertise. Not only are you handing over something you know they'll eventually use, but you'll counteract all that never-ending eggnog that December seems to bring, making the trip back to the spin bike that much more pleasant.

Thankfully, with the recent explosion of athleisure, fitness gifts are a billion times better than the usual zip-up jackets and mesh gym bags. From futuristic outdoor gear and art gallery-worthy layers to sneakers bedazzled with pearls, there's something for everyone...including the pal who's waiting until January 2nd to explore her exercise options.

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

For the woman who's all-in on athleisure


This splatter-print jacket looks all kinds of Alexander Wang but somehow costs the same as the shoes-water-class trifecta at SoulCycle. It's mind-boggling that this isn't a break-the-bank investment but, instead, is one of those pure Target gems that only comes across once in a lifetime. Pick one up for yourself and grab another for the fashion-forward fitness freak who you know will live in it — and maybe get a big enough boost of street style confidence to finally join you at SLT.

RBX Scuba Bomber Jacket, $39 at Target

For the gym friend who unexpectedly bought you a holiday present


Ack! The only thing worse then surprise burpees is a sweat-session buddy upping your friendship to holiday-gifting level. Save the drama and stock up on a few of these bold headbands to keep you covered in case any others pop up this season. Made by ivivva — Lululemon's tweenage line — they're just as high quality and performance-ready, but with cooler designs and, thankfully, a lower price tag.

Back 2 Basics Headband, $8 at ivivva

For the super-fit bride-to-be


Forgo the expensive serving bowls and instead get your nuptials-having friend what she really wants: some bonkers wedding sneakers. It ticks all the bride boxes (white! glamorous! covered in pearls!) and will make her feel like a queen for longer than a day when she heads to her final weeks of grueling personal training. Bonus points — and serious bragging rights — if she slips them on after midnight on her wedding night.

Pearl Slip-On Sneaker, $350 for pre-order at Tory Sport

For the fitness masochist who runs outside in the winter


If you think a FitBit is as technologically advanced as workouts could get, just try stepping outdoors in these leggings. The confoundingly smooth material needs to be experienced to be believed, as it feels so thin and alien that it's practically a second skin. It has all the good stuff luxe leggings are known for — muscle compression, mesh panels for breathability, gravitational magic that makes your ass look great — but best of all, they'll keep your loved one mega-insulated during insane outdoor jogs. You could get them a treadmill instead, but these look way cuter in gift wrap.

Zero Gravity Pinnacle Tights, $160 at Sweaty Betty

For the neurotic gym mom


Though you've told her a hundred times that it won't happen, she read one too many stories about gym lockers being broken into and now she won't let any belongings out of her sight. Save your poor mother from dragging a day bag with her to treadmill row and instead get her a sleek, sophisticated fanny pack to strap onto her waist. This one holds just the essentials (credit card, cash, keys, mace) so it won't weigh her down, and secure zippers will alleviate all her fears of being hacked while strengthening her hamstrings.

Mesh Fanny Pack, $7 at Forever 21

For the Classpass defector who's embracing a low-rate gym membership


If putting the pedal to the medal at boutique classes was costing her friend a larger cut of her paycheck than she could handle, inject some glamour into her newly questionable shower situation with a badass bathing cap. SHHHOWERCAP's whimsically-printed hair protectors evoke glorious 50s daydreams and will keep her tresses bone-dry in the sometimes freezing, sometimes boiling gym showers. It's not the same as an open bar of free beauty products like the boutique studio good ol' days, but it's as close as she's gonna get.

Showercap, $43 at SHHHOWERCAP

For the skier who doesn't take herself too seriously


You can draw attention to your technique on the double-blacks, but seasonal skiers are destined to fade into the tree-speckled background...unless they turn it out style-wise in a suit of this vibrantly 80s nature, She may only have a few seasons on the slopes under her waterproof one-piece's belt, but she's going to get everyone's attention — not to mention a winning Instagram post — out of this one for sure.

Sunrise Shredder Suit, $179 at Tipsy Elves

For the exercise early riser


When the temperature drops, two terrible things happen: snow turns into hard icy mountains on every sidewalk, and a girl's go-to indoor stretch pants are officially too thin to be worn through a citywide tundra. Thankfully, Athleta's fleece-lined leggings are akin to putting your entire body in a Christmas stocking, yet they still look like a pair of fancy riding pants Blake Lively would wear home for the holidays. Style, comfort, and the ability to not freeze your ass off? Now that's a holiday miracle.

Ski Line Polartec 2 Tight, $84 at Athleta

For the dance cardio obsessive who needs to be front-row


There are fitness fashion collaborations...and then there are Bandier's massive, jaw-dropping partnerships. The athleisure kingpin facilitated a dream coupling between clothing brand Ultracor and London-based artist Malarko. and the result is this trippy technicolor jacket that'll give anyone street style envy and potentially a contact high. Give it to your bestie to bust a move in and they'll feel like they're at Millennium Dance Complex twerking to Rihanna alongside the world's most talented youngsters. We don't know the math, but we're sure this is about one million times cooler than rolling up to the front in a built-in-bra tank — and it's as limited-edition as anything Opening Ceremony would ever sell.

Stealth Nano Malarko Print Jacket, $260 at Bandier