The holidays are approaching and it’s time to start your shopping. If you’ve got a triathlon-loving family member or friend on your shopping list, you’ll find tons of great ideas on this list of the 35 best gifts for triathletes.
Whether you need something that’s around ten bucks for your triathlon club’s white elephant gift, or you’re looking for a bigger-ticket item for the hubby or wife – you’ll find awesome ideas on this list.
This post was originally published in 2018 and is updated every year. It was last updated in November 2020.
35 Best Gifts for Triathletes
*Disclosure – Some of the brands below provided samples. In addition, some of the links are Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn commissions on qualifying sales.
Triathlete Gifts Under $25
*Note product pricing and availability may change; in general these items may fall in this price range.
1. Swiftwick Socks
These have been a standard on my gift recommendations pretty much every year – and for good reason. Their socks are some of the best quality that I’ve come across, with a fabric blend that holds tight to the feet to prevent blisters. They also maintain their quality for years – not like other socks that you wear for a few runs and they’re already stretched and thinning out.
In 2020, they also launched their Pursuit Four Ultralight, a performance sock made with merino wool. Merino wool is great as it pulls moisture away from the feet, and has temperature regulating properties to keep feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It’s another great option to try out, especially for any winter cycling.
2. Triathlon Training and Nutrition Books
I’ve previously talked about my favorite triathlon training books, so I won’t go into a ton of detail here. But whether you’re buying a gift for a new triathlete or you’re buying one for an experienced athlete looking to PR – there is a book to fit their needs.
Here are some of my favorites:
- The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel — *My #1 pick for a new triathlete!*
- Triathlon Training in 4 Hours a Week by Eric Harr
- Your Best Triathlon by Joe Friel
- Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week by Week Training Guide by Matt Fitzgerald
- Strength Training for Triathlete’s: The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance by Patrick Hagerman
- Eat to Peak: Sports Nutrition for Running and Triathletes by Chrissy Carroll (<– hey, that’s me!)
- Run Fast, Eat Slow by Shalane Flanagan (awesome cookbook for athletes)
(Don’t forget to read this triathlon book post if you want more details on many of these!)
3. Race Belt
A race belt is used to attach a bib number, making it easy for a triathlete to quickly snap it on for their run. There are also versions for training that come with a pocket for things like a phone and keys. You can grab either type on Amazon from a variety of sellers. The Sport2People belt has very good reviews. There is also a very simple Zoot race belt that’s extremely inexpensive as an “add on” item if you’re already planning to order some other things on Amazon at the same time.
4. Body Glide
This stuff is the athlete’s secret weapon against chafing! Body Glide is a must have for pretty much any runner and triathlete, and clocks in super inexpensive. It’s a great stocking stuffer and something that almost every triathlete will end up using at some point during their training and racing.
5. Fueling Products
When training or racing over an hour, it’s important for athletes to take in some fuel. This will help your triathlete power through their race, providing extra energy to the muscles. Fuel products are inexpensive and make great gifts for triathletes, because you know they’ll get used! Here are a few examples:
- GU Energy Gels – Probably the top choice of many athletes, energy gels are light to carry and provide a quick, concentrated energy source.
- CLIF BLOKS – Developed by the makers of Clif Bar, these gummy-like blocks are another great fueling option. They’re packed quick-digesting carbohydrates and offer a candy-like texture that’s pleasant to eat.
- Honey Stinger Waffles or GU Stroopwaffels – If you are also a triathlete, you know as well as I do that those gels get old after a while – plus, not everyone loves the texture of them (me: raises hand). Waffles are a sweet treat that tastes amazing during a long bike ride or long, low-intensity run.
- Gatorade Endurance Drink Mix – This is a nice, cost-effective option for drink mixes. The endurance formula is ideal for long-course triathletes, as it’s formulated with higher amounts of sodium and potassium.
If you don’t want to order online, you can also find many of these (and more!) at any local running or multisport store.
6. Compression Socks
While the research isn’t quite clear on a performance benefit for running in compression socks, there is a lot of research supporting better recovery with compression socks. These Physix Gear Compression Socks are very reasonably priced and highly rated on Amazon – perfect for an athlete new to compression gear. If you know someone who’s very serious about their compression socks, you may want to see if they have a particular brand they prefer.
7. Triathlon Inspired Jewelry
From a 140.6 bracelet to a triathlon pendant necklace, these gifts are easy, inexpensive ways to show your love for a triathlete. It’s also awesome to commemorate an event, like if the athlete in your life just completed a certain race distance.
I love the bangle bracelet pictured above, which contains the swim/bike/run pendant along with pendants with a silhouette of each discipline. You can find a ton of different options on both Amazon and Etsy these days.
8. Reflective Vest
For many of us, training has to take place on the periphery of the day – either before the sun rises or after it sets. Keep your athlete safe while running in the dark with a reflective vest so that cars can see them. (PS – Want to know why I recommend the two pack? If one gets wet from sweat or rain, you’ve got a dry backup to use in case the other doesn’t try quick enough.)
9. Pull Bouy
Essentially an infinity-shaped piece of foam, a pull bouy is used for swim workouts. The swimmer places the pull bouy between the legs and then focuses on only using the upper body to power the swim. It’s great for improving upper body strength and working on form, and one of the best inexpensive gifts for triathletes out there.
10. Swim Bouy
A swim bouy is different than a pull bouy; it offers a visual safety float that can help others see where you are in the water. For open water swim training, I like having this on me so that those on land can see where I am (in the event of an emergency or anything like that). This version is pretty inexpensive and you probably shouldn’t trust it to keep gear dry inside, but if all you’re using it for is a safety beacon, it’s a great choice.
11. Swim Goggles
Clearly, any triathlete is going to need a quality pair of goggles. (I have forgotten them twice for training swims at a local pond, and let me tell you – there is something very creepy about swimming like that, haha).
Everyone’s face shape is a bit different and certain googles may work for one person and not another. But one option that would make a great gift are the Aegend swim goggles, available on Amazon. They’re inexpensive and have great reviews. Most users say they are comfortable and don’t fog up – super important! Plus, they offer UV protection for the eyes.
12. Lock Laces
Lock laces are an elastic shoelace that keeps your shoes at the optimal tightness. They have just enough elastic give in them that you can quickly put the shoe on without damaging the heel. A lot of athletes love these because they make transition quick, as you don’t have to waste the minute tying your sneakers.
13. Water Bottle
Any triathlete knows hydration is important, both on an everyday basis and during their rides and runs. These NGN sport water bottles are the perfect size at 24 ounces to include on the bike, and you can order them in different color combinations to match the bike. It’s a squeeze and squirt style bottle that’s really easy to drink from on the bike, and it also doesn’t leak all over the place.
14. Scale Swimming Training Books
This is a newer product and is such a fun, unique gift for triathletes! The company produces waterproof swim workout books with a built in stand so you can place the book poolside with your workout. They offer beginner, intermediate, and proficient versions of the books with different workouts based on fitness level. It’s a great option for athletes that want some variety in the pool (and perhaps, like me, are forgetful about their workout once they hop in the water, haha).
Triathlete Gifts Between $25-100
*Note product pricing and availability may change; in general these items may fall in this price range.
15. Noxgear Tracer360
If you want to take a step up from the basic reflective vests mentioned earlier, try something like the Noxgear Tracer360. This is a brightly lit, color-changing safety vest. Because of the electronic lighting, it keeps runners highly visible to cars on the road for up to a mile away! It can be used in in all weather and fits over any outfit.
16. Subscription to Triathlete Mag
This is the magazine dedicated to triathlon training, nutrition, and lifestyle. It’s an easy gift that an athlete is sure to love. They recently changed the set up of the magazine subscription to two different subscription model options:
- Triathlete pass – This option includes a print magazine subscription, exclusive member-only content on Triathlete.com, and industry discounts. At the time of publish, this option was $49/year.
- Active pass – This option includes everything above, plus access to free training plans and workouts, two VeloPress books (US only), free and discounted event entry opportunities, and more. At the time of publish, this option was $99/year.
17. Oofos Flip Flops
Ooofos are kind of like the official flip flop of the triathlon community. 😉 They provide far more support than the average flip flop, and are perfect for walking around post-race while you wait for the awards ceremony. Many runners and triathletes that suffer from issues like plantar fasciitis also find relief in wearing these at home rather than walking around barefoot.
On a personal note, my dad bought these for me and my husband last Christmas, and we both love them. They’re so insanely comfortable!
18. Foam Roller or Massage Roller
This year I’ve been trying to be better about things like stretching and foam rolling after training, in order to keep the muscles limber and prevent stiffness. (You can check out more deets on foam rolling over in this post about tight calves and runners).
Foam rollers are larger and use your entire body’s weight as the resistance on which to roll against. You can get standard ones like this which are essentially just a long foam oval, or you can get vibrating ones which some people may find helpful.
Massage rollers (like this one pictured below) are generally a stick that you roll along the muscles, using your arm strength to create pressure as you push it down along the muscle. There’s also products like the “Froller”, which uses gel filled rollers that can go in the freezer before use, essentially combing self-massage with an ice pack.
Either of these can be a great gift for triathletes! The foam roller is probably a bit more versatile as far as use, while the massage roller is way more travel friendly for athletes that fly a lot.
19. StrideBox Subscription
I feel like subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving, since the recipient gets a little surprise in the mail each month! StrideBox is an athlete-focused subscription box that features products like new fuel choices, sport laundry detergent samples, anti-chafing products, lip balms, and more. You can see an example of a month’s contents in the photo above.
You can purchase a 3-month subscription for around $60, or a 6-month subscription for $120.
20. Bagel Delivery
Y’all, us triathletes (well, most of us 😉 ) love our carbs. Not only are bagels delicious, but they help to fuel those long weekend training sessions and are great for race mornings. If you’ve got a triathlete in your life that is in the midst of a heavy training season, consider sending them some authentic NY bagels, delivered right to their door.
My mom ordered this for me for Christmas one year and let me just say – BEST. GIFT. EVER. I’m not sure where she ordered them from, but I found a place called NY Bagels and Buns that has great reviews.
21. Medal Rack
Has the triathlete in your life been racking up race medals? Many of us end up socking these away in a drawer, but it’s much more fun to be able to display them! Gift your triathlete with a medal rack to let them hang up their bling and show off all that hard work.
The rack above is my customized Team Beef one (the running team I’m on) – but there’s tons of options you can order on Amazon. Here are two of my favorites:
There are also companies that make custom medal holders. Try looking at Etsy or some of the online sellers that do this – as a note, I don’t have experience ordering customized ones, but I’m sure you can scope out the reviews for the company you’re hoping to use!
22. Race Registration
Gifts for triathletes don’t have to be gear. You can also go for something less tangible, but still oh-so-appreciated – like a race registration. Some race companies (especially those that put on multiple events) may offer gift certificates so that the recipient can select an event of their choosing. For example, if you’re local to the New England area, I know MRA Multisport offers gift credits that you can redeem for their races – and it only costs $45 to buy $50 worth of credits.
Or, if you know your pal has been talking about doing a particular race but hasn’t yet signed up, you can give ‘em a Visa gift card that covers the registration cost with a note about the intent. Depending on the race, you could be looking at anywhere from $50 for a local sprint tri to several hundred for a long course race – but figured I’d keep it in this section since most sprints will run under $100.
Obviously 2020 has presented some challenges for most areas with races, so it may not be feasible to secure registration for an in-person race this year. If that’s the case, you could consider purchasing some virtual race registrations. It may be tough to find virtual triathlons (though there are some out there!) but you can easily find some fun virtual road races.
23. Gift Certificate for an Hour Massage
Depending on where you live, this may range from around $50-60 up to $100+ dollars, but in most locations, it will average around $75-90. After all that hard work training, nothing feels as amazing as a relaxing massage. This is pretty much always on my wish list!
24. Triathlon Team Membership
With the sport of triathlon growing each year, so do the number of triathlon teams around. For example, did you know Massachusetts now has more than 40 triathlon teams in the state?!
Maybe your athlete would appreciate meeting new people and receiving some guidance from a team environment. Teams often have coached workouts during the on-season, such as a track workout or a guided bike ride. You’re able to utilize the team programming as much or as little as you’d like in most cases.
Triathlete Gifts Over $100+
*Note product pricing and availability may change; in general these items may fall in this price range.
25. Roll Recovery R8
This is a new addition to the list, and one that we personally got last year. Think of the Roll Recovery R8 as a hybrid between a foam roller and a true deep tissue massage. It’s a spring configured tool that has a dual roller set up, so when you use it on your muscles, it puts a lot of pressure on both sides.
You can use it across lots of body parts like your calves, quads, and hamstrings. Because of the spring configuration, the device applies all the pressure. You don’t have to rely on your body weight or using your upper body to “roll” along it like a normal foam roller; instead you just sit and use it on the muscles. It’s less “work” than a normal roller and is great for stiff muscles!
26. Hypervolt Hyperice
Massage guns have become more popular the last few years, and for good reason. Percussive therapy (a fancy way of referring to the concurrent vibration and massage that these guns use) creates deep bursts of pressure to the muscles. This may (though is not proven to yet) help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Interestingly, it also may be a useful strategy for warming up before a race, since it promotes circulation and stimulates the muscles and nerves.
Out of all the ones on the market right now, I think my favorite is the Hypervolt Hyperice. It’s compact, quiet, and has several speeds along with varying head attachments for different muscle groups.
27. Tri Suit
A tri suit is either a one-piece or two-piece set of clothing which is made with fabric that quickly dries. It can be worn during all portions of the race, including the swim.
If you’re going to get this as a gift, just keep in mind you really need to have a solid idea of sizing for your athlete. As a heads up, most triathlon gear for women is sized a bit small, so keep that in mind (for example, my tri suit is actually men’s sizing rather than women’s, specifically because I’m curvy and it fits me better!).
If you’re not sure on the sizing, I’d recommend maybe giving a gift certificate to put towards a tri suit.
My personal favorite tri suit that I’ve owned came from Fusion, but they recently just exited the US market. Here are a few other places where you can order high quality tri suits:
- Pearl Izumi
- De Soto
- You can also find a lot of different brands and options at Triathlete Sports.
28. Maloja Gear
Maloja produces high quality cycling and running gear (as well as skiing attire if you do that in the off season!). I love that their products are functional and stylish – think modern, not loud, and likely to be loved by any athlete. Pictured above is the OrtensiaM.AOP cycling jersey – I love the bright yellow color and fun print. It’s lightweight and breathable, and it’s built with SPF 40 protection. The fabric is also made to support odor prevention/retention, which is amazing.
If you’ve got a triathlete that’s already got a tri-suit, it might be nice to get them some winter cycling gear from Maloja. My top pick for their current line is the NalbariM jacket – It’s a long sleeve, windproof multisport jacket.
One tip – In general, I find the sizing of European brands runs a bit smaller than the US brands. I think Maloja’s gear is a bit more generous than some other European brands but you still may want to order a size up (especially if you’re buying for a curvier athlete).
29. T-Shirt Quilt
If you know of an athlete that’s been racing for a while, odds are they’ve got an overflow of t-shirts from races. Why not get them a gift certificate for a company like Project Repat, which makes custom quilts from old t-shirts. It’s a great way to turn a bunch of old shirts into a cozy blanket (perfect for winter up here in the Northeast)!
The one above is a Project Repat quilt that was made for a blogger pal of mine, Kim from Kooky Runner – you can read more about her experience getting a t shirt quilt made in this post.
30. Swim IT
Swimming is by far my favorite aspect of triathlon. I’ve been a fish since I was a kiddo, swimming down in the ocean in Florida every summer, well accustomed to strong currents and changing tides.
Even despite all that, I still get a little nervous about swimming in open water for training. You never know when the weather might shift, or if you experience a weird set of cramps, or if some medical emergency suddenly arises.
When I found out about the Swim IT, I immediately knew it would make my top list of gifts this year. This is a compact swim safety device that is worn around the back of the right leg. If you start to experience an emergency, you can pull on the tab which will deploy and inflate a life jacket.
The best part is that the Swim IT is legal in USA Triathlon races, as long as it is not actually deployed. That can give a lot of new athletes the peace of mind they need – for racing and training. (And if an emergency ever did arise, a DQ is certainly the last of your worries.)
31. New Bike Helmet
If the triathlete in your life is still using an older, cheaper bike helmet – maybe it’s time for an upgrade. While all bike helmets have to meet safety recommendations regardless of price, the more expensive helmets will generally offer a better fit, both in terms of comfort and aerodynamics.
The Giro Vanquish MIPS Adult Aero Cycling Helmet comes highly rated. Most athletes who have reviewed note that it’s a comfortable fit and is great on windy days thanks to it’s aerodynamic design. It also has a visor to help keep the sun out of your eyes and your vision clear.
You can also browse through a local multisport store or bike shop to see if any helmets jump out at you, and get tips from their employees on the best option for your budget.
If you want to order online but you are looking for other options than the choice above, check out this post from Tri Gear Lab with more details about some of the top bike helmets for triathletes.
32. Custom Sea Bags Tote or Duffel Bag
How cool is this – these bags are actually made from recycled sails. The company works with a passionate community of local boaters who bring in old sails, then they clean ‘em up and sew them into bags. And I love the company’s commitment to US-based materials – they use one of the last remaining thread manufacturers in the U.S. and one of a few rope manufacturers in New England.
The bags are super durable but also stylish – making them great for a triathlete on the go. You can work with their designers to have a custom design on the bag, from a fun running mantra to a race number to a swim/bike/run silhouette. It’s just a fun everyday way to represent the love of the sport.
Plus, they also make duffel bags, which your triathlete could use as a transition bag!
33. Bike Box or Bag
If you’re breaking out the big bucks for a family member, and you know that they are planning to travel often for races – consider gifting them a bike box or bike bag. These are used for flying with a bike so that you can check your bike as luggage.
You’ll probably want to be relatively close to the person as you’ll need to a) know that they feel comfortable breaking down and reassembling their bike, and b) sniff out their preferences for a soft-case bag versus a hard-shelled box. They’ll run you a few hundred dollars at a minimum, so it’s an investment you want to make sure is the right one.
34. Triathlon Watch
A great watch can be a useful tool for athletes – and these days, they keep growing in features. Not only can they count mileage but some can keep track of things like heart rate, estimates of lactate threshold, zone based training metrics, and more.
You’ll want to think about what your recipient would need in a watch, their level of tech-saviness, and your budget when buying one. On the pricier end, something like the Garmin Forerunner 935 bundle (pictured above) is a highly rated choice.
On the less expensive end, something like the Garmin Forerunner 15 will give a less competitive or newer athlete the main features they need – GPS and heart rate monitoring while running or cycling. (This is the watch I personally own and while it’d be fun to test the fancier gear, I also don’t feel like I *need* it at this point.)
35. Personal Coaching
If you know an athlete that’s looking to take things to the next level in 2021 – yet hates spending money on themselves – consider investing in a coach for them. Coaching will not only provide an individualized training plan, but will also provide the accountability and support to help the athlete excel.
Coaches are also ideal for that person that’s been talking about maybe-possibly-sorta-one-day wanting to do a triathlon – but has been scared to take the leap. It will give them the little kick they need.
There you have it! My 35 top picks for the best triathlon gifts this holiday season. I hope this list gives you shopping inspiration for those triathletes on your list! Don’t forget to pin this post so you can refer to it later.