Best Graduation Gifts For Runners 2023

Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet

By The Fleet Feet Editors Updated on

Help your graduate prepare for their future while supporting their love of fitness with the best graduation gifts for runners.

New students and recent grads can always use more gear, and balancing their studies or work while making time to run or exercise is no easy feat. Your graduating runner has put in the hard work, and now it's time to celebrate.

Whether they graduated high school and are heading off to college or just starting their career, celebrate their accomplishments with the perfect gift. From running gear for their first 5K or 10K to the latest tech and gadgets, we’ve compiled our favorite thoughtful and practical gift ideas to help you figure out what to buy for your grad who likes to run.

Here’s our list of the best graduation gifts for runners:

[This article is part of our 2023 Gift Guide for Runners. See all the best gifts for runners by price, category and more. Can’t make up your mind? No worries. Check out our gift cards for a gift that keeps on giving.]

goodr Sunglasses

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From runs across campus to coffee with friends, great style is easy to achieve with goodr’s lineup of fun and affordable sunglasses. These running sunglasses are no-bounce, no-slip and most pairs come with polarized lenses.

Vuori Shorts

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They’ll thank you time and time again for gifting them a pair of Vuori shorts.

The Clementine Short for women and Kore Short for men have a modern look so they will actually enjoy wearing them, and their performance features work for just about any sport or activity. They’re made with Vuori’s soft and ultralight performance fabric that wicks away moisture, dries fast and has anti-odor properties for a cool and comfortable workout every time they lace up their running shoes.

Sprints Hat

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Every runner needs a reliable running hat. As fun as they are functional, Sprints Hats let them show off their personality with cool designs and patterns so they look good while they train hard.

Garmin Forerunner 265

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They’ll never be late to a class or meeting again. The Garmin Forerunner 265 blends sleek style with performance to give them all the benefits of a smartwatch, including wrist-based heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking and more. The watch easily syncs with a phone for notifications and can store up to 8GB of music.

Garmin’s Training Readiness Score helps them calculate their sleep, recovery time, heart rate and stress to analyze how prepared they are for a tough training session. Plus, it has a safety tracking feature that shares their exact location with friends and family so you can keep track of them while they're out running or follow along with their race progress.

Read more in our Garmin Forerunner 265 review.

Hydro Flask 21oz Water Bottle

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If you gift your runner the Hydro Flask 21oz Standard Mouth, they’ll likely own it for life. But not just because they come with a lifetime warranty. These insulated water bottles are built like tanks and can keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours.

Feetures Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab

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Don't let your grad get caught wearing two different socks on laundry day. Runners can always use more socks, and the Feetures Elite Light Cushion No Show Socks are one of the best running socks out there. These high-performance socks are anatomically designed for the perfect fit that hugs their arches and never slips down the back of their running shoes.

Shokz OpenRun Headphones

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Shokz Bluetooth headphones have an open-ear design and use bone conduction technology so they can safely run and still hear their surroundings, like cars and other pedestrians. The OpenRun Headphones have a lightweight and comfortable fit with nothing going inside or over the ears to distract or annoy them. So your grad can run, work and commute while enjoying music, podcasts, audiobooks and phone calls all day long.

rabbit EZ Tee Short Sleeve

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The rabbit EZ Tee is so soft and comfortable that they might forget they’re wearing it. Sweat-wicking, fast-drying and available in plenty of different colors, the EZ Tee makes it easy to pick out a running gift for your grad. We loved it so much that it made it onto our list of the best running clothes!

Hyperice Hypervolt GO 2

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Hyperice Hypervolt GO 2 Runners are constantly dealing with tight and sore muscles. The Hyperice Hypervolt GO 2 is like gifting a lifetime of free massages. Small and compact, this portable percussion massager is perfect to throw into one of the best running or gym bags so they can warm up and recover on the go. The small design is perfect for the small space of a dorm room or first apartment too.

Birkenstock Arizona Birkibuc Sandal

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Birkenstocks are practically part of the uniform for high school and college students across the country. But they’re also loved by runners who wear them as active recovery sandals. The Arizona Sandal’s classic style goes with just about any outfit (including socks and sweatpants), while its legendary footbed cradles the heel and supports the arches for all-day comfort.

HOKA Transport X

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The HOKA Transport X can do it all.

This unisex running shoe is stylish enough for everyday streetwear and speedy enough to pick up the pace. Its versatility makes it an easy choice not only for runs and workouts but for hanging out with friends and walking to class. The Transport X’s bouncy midsole foam provides plenty of cushioning and comfort for long hours spent on their feet, while a dual-forked carbon plate gives them an extra gear whether they’re running long or running late.

If you’re not sure what size to get your recent graduate, just gift them a Fleet Feet gift card and they can do the rest.

How We Picked the Best Gifts

Fleet Feet is the expert in running (and gifting). With over 250 stores in communities across the country, Fleet Feet is the largest running store in the U.S. with over four decades of experience outfitting runners with the best running shoes, apparel and gear. We focus on running and walking gear, so we can be the experts and bring you the best running and walking advice possible.

What makes the perfect gift for a runner comes down to the personal experience, goals, preferences and style of that runner. At Fleet Feet, we have been helping runners pick out the right gear for decades, so we know a thing or two about making picking out the perfect gifts for them.

Additionally, thanks to 100,000+ runners participating in our local running clubs and training programs each year, we can see firsthand how the newest running shoes and gear perform for all different types of runners, each with different goals in mind.

Collectively, our experienced team of Fleet Feet editors has tried, tested and fallen in love with running gear from the world’s top running brands. We use a combination of real-life use, quality of materials, seasonal trends and our own top-seller lists to pick out the best graduation gifts for runners. With all that in mind, we picked gear that lived up to our personal (and professional) expectations. Plus, as people who live and breathe running, we know what we would like to unwrap ourselves.

From running shoe and gear reviews to workout tips and inspiration, we are your go-to source for running knowledge and motivation.

Standing Behind Our Picks

Fleet Feet knows running. We picked the best running gifts for grads based on over four decades of experience outfitting runners of all abilities, ages and sizes.

If you buy gear from us and you don’t like the way it looks, fits or performs, bring it back within 60 days for a full refund.

Plus, we offer free shipping & returns on all orders over $99 on, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.