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Gift Guide: What to Buy Your Favorite Runner

running shoes for gifts

Best Gifts for Runners: Shoes

Sure, we gave you a list recently of amazing running shoes, and while those options are obviously fantastic, these shoes are just as worthy of consideration.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 ($119.99): Mizuno’s much-loved neutral running shoe is back with a few well-received updates and a swanky look that I’m seriously digging. Light (7.8 oz.) but sturdy, the Wave Rider 18 provides cushion enough to be comfortable for even long runs, but I’m still able to feel the road well enough to adjust my footing, which can be a problem with an overly cushy shoe. Plus, it’s flexible — I was able to put these on and go for miles on my first run in them with zero blisters or discomfort, almost like they were already broken in. People are calling these their favorite Wave Riders ever, and while I only have 30 miles or so on mine so far, I’m inclined to agree.

Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 ($119.99): Weighing in at over an ounce lighter than the Wave Rider 18 (6.6 oz.), the Wave Sayonara 2 is designed to create a little more of a race-day feeling in your everyday run. There’s not a lot of cushion, but don’t mistake that as me saying they’re uncomfortable — far from it! I’m loving these, primarily for shorter runs where I really want to feel light on my feet and am trying to keep my cadence really high, because they truly feel like a performance shoe. And, I mean, I don’t know who Mizuno had working on the aesthetics for their most recent releases, but day-um. These are hot!

Altra Superior 2.0 ($110): If you haven’t heard of Altra Running yet, get ready, because this brand is blowing up … and I’m pretty thrilled about it. Every shoe in their lineup features a zero drop, which places the forefoot and heel the same distance from the ground, but doesn’t take all the cushion away, so it’s not a barefoot or minimalist shoe. And, just as importantly, each style has a foot-shaped toe box that mimics the outline of your foot without manipulating it in any way.

I’ve been doing a lot of running in their Intuition 2.0, a road shoe with moderate cushioning, but recently got my hands on the brand-new version of the Superior 2.0, a trail shoe with light cushioning, and I might adore it even more than the Intuition. If you’re shopping for a trail runner — especially one who’s been wearing regular running shoes for hitting the trails — you’ve got to consider hooking them up with a trail shoe like this. The toe box allows my feet to really spread out and feel the trails (although there is a removable StoneGuard to provide more protection on trails that I … don’t want to feel quite so much), and the strategically placed canted lugs provide noticeable grip. If minimal cushioning isn’t your gift recipient’s jam, Altra also has trail (and road shoes) with moderate and heavy cushioning.

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!

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