As a fitness writer, these are the gifts that I'd like to find under the tree this Christmas

Woman lacing up running shoes beside pile of Christmas gifts
(Image credit: Shutterstock / PAstudio)

As TechRadar's fitness and wellbeing editor, I'm lucky enough to be able to test a huge amount of top-notch workout tech (plus some that's not so great). It all gets returned after testing, but it makes writing a Christmas list so much easier when you've actually had your hands and/or feet on the year's best gear – which is why I'm sharing my personal wish list with you here.

If you're struggling to come up with ideas for yourself, or can't think what to buy the runner, cyclist or swimmer in your life, these suggestions might be a handy starting point. I'd advise against giving a fitness tracker as a gift, though. At best, your loved one will already have one, and at worst they'll find it as offensive as being presented with a neatly wrapped basket of Odor-Eaters.

Power Plate Mini+ massage gun

Power Plate Mini+ (Image credit: Power Plate)

1. Power Plate Mini+

A massage is bliss after a workout, or when your shoulder are stiff from sitting at a desk all day. That’s where percussion massage guns come in, allowing you to give tense muscles a therapeutic pummelling without enlisting expert help. Many of the massage guns out there are pretty large, and not something you could easily throw into your work bag or a take to the gym without its own carry case.

The Power Plate Mini+, on the other hand, is so small and light that you can keep it just about anywhere – your desk drawer, a locker, your workout holdall, or anywhere else you can stash something measuring 15.3 × 9.3cm. That compact size wouldn’t mean much if the Mini+ was underpowered, but its highest settings have a real kick.

Under Armour ColdGear Long Sleeve Base Layer in black

Under Armour ColdGear Long Sleeve Base Layer (Image credit: Under Armour)

2. Under Armour ColdGear Long Sleeve Base Layer

Lots of runners happily wear shorts and singlets all year round, but I’m not one of them – I love my layers. I live in the UK, and although temperatures here are very rarely extreme, my preferred outfit from November to March is leggings (ideally thermal), gloves, a lightweight hat, and a T-shirt over a long-sleeved base layer. This particular one is cosier than most – almost like a very light fleece – and would be great under a short-sleeved top.

In my experience, Under Armour garments are true to size, so if you want to surprise a friend or relative, you should be able to get the right fit by sneaking a look at the label in one of their current tops.

Petzl Swift RL Headlamp in orange

Petzl Swift RL Headlamp (Image credit: Petzl)

3. Petzl Swift RL Headlamp

A good head lamp is essential for night runs, and this one from Petzl is among the best. Not only is it designed to fit securely around the back of your head (many lamps with simple elasticated straps will slip down your forehead as you run), it automatically adjusts its brightness depending on the ambient lighting conditions so you don't need to fiddle with buttons as you run and slip in a puddle. Don't ask.

It’d be ideal for camping as well. Ever tried setting up a tent in the dark? I don’t recommend it.

Reebok Floatride Energy Grow in white and blue

Reebok Floatride Energy Grow (Image credit: Reebok)

4. Reebok Floatride Energy Grow

I enjoyed reviewing the Reebok Floatride Energy Grow so much, I bought myself a pair afterwards. The design doesn't shout 'eco-friendly', but this is a shoe that's made from at least 50% plant-based materials, reducing reliance on virgin plastics. It's lightweight and comfortable too, weighing much less than some eco-friendly running shoes like the Allbirds Tree Dasher. It's great for everyday trekking around town as well, and I wore mine until the collar and the upper came in holes (a result of near constant use, not a failing of the design or materials).

Picking up running shoes as a gift is tricky though, so if you think you know someone who'd appreciate a pair of these, it's best to outright ask them. They may refuse to run in anything but Asics because of the way they fit, or they might need a stability shoe if they're prone to overpronation (the Floatride Energy Grow is neutral).

HoMedics Deep Sleep Mini

(Image credit: HoMedics)

5. HoMedics Deep Sleep Mini

Sleep is an essential part of training, and I rarely get enough. When I'm really struggling, I tend to reach for the Rainy Mood app on my phone, which is excellent, but a dedicated white noise machine like the HoMedics Deep Sleep Mini would be even better. Not only does it simulate the soothing patter of raindrops to help clear your mind, it can also generate white, pink, and brown noise to ease you off to sleep and block out distractions. It's also small enough to tuck away into a bag or suitcase for press trips, when jet lag or just being in an unfamiliar hotel room can leave me awake at night.

For a more personal bedtime soundscape, check our our guide to the best sleep earplugs. Unlike simple foam earplugs, several of these can play relaxing noises to help you nod off, or offer active noise cancelling so you can sleep in silence.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)