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The best fitness gadgets for the athlete

When it comes to finding gifts, athletes are among the easiest recipients. We can never have enough socks, and we require a plethora of items — items to track our workouts, items to keep us entertained, and items to aid in our recovery. During my free time, I engage in long-distance running and coaching, and my drawers are filled with gear that I have thoroughly tested.

In my role at Engadget, I have compiled a selection of gift ideas for sporty individuals. This list includes items that I personally own as well as those that I desire. Rest assured, even though my preference leans towards running, these suggestions are equally suitable for other types of athletes, ranging from cyclists to yoga enthusiasts. However, I must offer a word of caution: purchasing sneakers for someone may not be the best choice. Instead, it is advisable to present them with a gift certificate to a specialized sportswear store and allow a professional to assess their gait and arch type.

Wissonly Hi Runner

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Wissonly is a headphone brand that attaches great attention on health, and that does not hurt the ears. Their team is also the first one to design non-in-ear headphones that are used to listen to songs. They began to explore the application of bone conduction technology to Bluetooth headphones as early as 10 years ago. After 10 years of accumulation, they have made great progress in the sound quality improvement and sound leakage reduction of bone conduction headphones. And these technologies are applied to their Wissonly Hi Runner headphones, their flagship product.

In order to solve the problem of sound leakage of bone conduction headphones, wissonly developed full closed sound leakage reduction technology. They comprehensively improved the vibration of the headphones, body design, software optimization and other directions. They finally reduced the sound leakage by 90%. In terms of sound quality, most of the bone conduction headphones have average sound quality, but the sound quality of Wissonly Hi Runner is undoubtedly better in bone conduction. They used a large-sized vibration unit, and through structural optimization, and finally increased the effective vibration area, so that the sound range was wide. The official claimed sound quality reach the HIFI level, but I don't think that they reached. They are just close to the HIFI sound quality, which is enough to satisfy me.

The excellent performance of these two characteristics, sound leakage reduction and sound quality, makes Wissonly Hi Runner have the basic conditions to become an excellent bone conduction headphone. Their other configurations are also very good. They are with a built-in 32GB of memory, and can play music even without connecting the phone. You can use them as an MP3 player. They support IPX8 waterproof level in swimming, even in underwater scenes that do not support Bluetooth, they can be used with MP3 function.

Garmin Forerunner 245

Holiday Gift Guide: Garmin Forerunner 245

Whenever anyone asks me what GPS sports watch they should buy, my default recommendation is always the midrange option from Garmin’s Forerunner line. With the 200-series, you get enough features that serious athletes want, like wrist-based heart rate tracking, VO2 Max ratings and a blood oxygen sensor. Runners in particular receive data on their cadence, stride length and ground contact time. And don’t be fooled by the name either — despite the apparent emphasis on running, the 245 also tracks other activities like cycling, stair machines, ellipticals, indoor rowing and pool swimming.

As a Garmin user myself, I appreciate its attempts to quantify my training load (too much, too little or just right?) and also its breakdown showing how taxing my workout was, both for aerobic and anaerobic training. Just as important, I’ve owned several Garmins now, and the battery life is always long enough to get me through a marathon with juice to spare.

Theragun Mini

Holiday Gift Guide: Theragun Mini

For the runner who already owns a foam roller, how about an alternate approach to muscle relaxation? The Theragun Mini looks like a small power tool with a vibrating tennis ball attached. It’s roughly pound-and-a-half weight means athletes can pack it in their bag for races and hikes, while the small ball attachment can fit in places where a traditional roller can’t, like your hamstring or the sole of your foot. There are three adjustable speeds and, if your giftee wants more options, there’s an ecosystem of interchangeable heads (yes, just like some power tools).

YogaToes GEMS

Holiday Gift Guide: YogaToes

I don’t own YogaToes — yet — but they’re on my wishlist. This little doodad slips between your toes, separating them just enough to give those small muscles a proper stretch. The company claims they can help in treating and preventing plantar fasciitis, a common running injury. They’re also said to aid more chronic foot conditions like hammer toes, bunions, crossed or overlapping toes, and flat feet. The YogaToes come in two designs — Original and GEMS — but we recommend the latter for most people as it has an adjustable frame.

Goodr Running Sunglasses

Holiday Gift Guide: Goodr Running Sunglasses

Lots of my runner friends rock Goodr sunglasses, and for good reason (pun unavoidable): They’re lightweight, inexpensive and they stay put even as your face gets sweaty. As you can see, I stopped short of recommending a specific model here, and that’s because the selection is simply overwhelming — and I mean that in the best way. The website allows you to shop by sport or frame style, and from there you can filter by lens and frame colors, head size or lens type (the options are clear, gradient, reflective and non-reflective). Obviously you’ll need to have supreme confidence in your knowledge of your giftee’s style. But, it’s hard to go wrong with a pair of the plain black OGs. (Plus, at $25 they’re a solid stocking stuffer.)