Gear

Ask A Gear Guru: What Are The Best Gifts For Triathletes Under $100?

As we get into the heart of the gift-giving season, we take a look at a handful of affordable gifts for the multisport person in your life.

You’re not in gift-giving panic mode (yet); you’ve still got time. Even with shipping as slow as it’s been lately, if you hit “Add To Cart” in the next two days, there’s a good chance you’ll get That Thing in time to avoid the dreaded “Here’s a card in place of what’s coming!” But you also don’t have time to browse every brand of multisport paraphernalia to pick through what could be new and cool. You need to know what’s new and cool now. With that in mind, we’ve sifted through the year’s tri-related offerings to bring you a quick hit list of the best gifts for triathletes under $100.

If you’re looking for an even bigger assortment (and you have more than a minute to spare), check out Triathlete’s comprehensive Holiday Gift Guide with Editor’s Picks, extended product reviews, and more.

Best Gifts For Triathletes Under $100: The Swim

TheMagic5 Custom-Fit Goggles

Starting at $65, themagic5.com

Buying the triathlete in your life a pair of regular old goggles is the gift-giving equivalent of a tie for Father’s Day. Sure, they’ll smile, and they’ll (probably) use it, but the only time they’ll really think about the gift giver is when the goggles fog up or leak or don’t fit right. It’s a no-win situation. Magic5’s custom-fitted goggles, on the other hand, are a great gift because you can’t screw up the size, it’s a totally novel concept that no one else does, and it’s probably something they might not buy for themselves. Give a gift card, the recipient will scan their face using a slightly dystopian app, and the custom-created goggles will arrive shortly thereafter! Instant hero.

StrechCordz with Paddles

$55, amazon.com

Photo: Brad Kaminski

If you haven’t been using swim cords or a similar dryland band in 2020, then you’re probably severely out of shape. In a year that’s been unpredictable, there’s something super calming about having a really nice set of swim bands that are consistent, well-made, and aren’t a pain to attach to wherever the pandemic might take (or not take) you. There’s a good chance the triathlete on your list has a set of old swim bands he or she was using when they thought a pool closure was simply a temporary inconvenience—do them a favor and get the upgrade.

Triathlon Swimming

$27, velopress.com

Photo: Brad Kaminski

It doesn’t matter if the triathlete in your life is a Kona age-group podium placer or they’re looking to do their second race (sometime, hopefully) in 2021, from what we saw at Challenge Daytona last weekend, even the pros need help with their open-water skills—even more so if they’re been away from the race course for a long time. Featuring the brain of one of the foremost experts in open-water swimming, Gerry Rodrigues, and co-authored by former pro and current Triathlete editor, Emma-Kate Lidbury, this book will help keep your all-important open-water skills razor sharp, so you don’t “start swimming to Egypt” in your first race back.

Best Gifts For Triathletes Under $100: The Bike

Feedback Sports Range Torque + Ratchet Wrench

$80, amazon.com

Feedback Sports Range Torque + Ratchet Wrench are one of the best gifts for triathletes.

If your giftee has a carbon bike, the best thing you can give him or her is a good, easy-to-use torque wrench set. Though it may only cost $80, a set like this could conceivably save your triathlete thousands by preventing costly damage to carbon components. And while having a torque wrench is good, it doesn’t mean much if it’s so tough to use or isn’t well-organized enough to use all the time. Save your triathlete from themselves, and pick up a good set.

Tifosi Sledge Sunglasses

$70, amazon.com

It’s tough to get sunglasses into a gift guide for under $100, but that’s what Tifosi does best. In fact, when we tested these earlier in the year, we found that they were only marginally less quality—in terms of lens clarity—than sunglasses over twice the price. This pair includes three lenses, one clear and two other variations, and the bendable soft earpieces guarantee a good fit. Best yet, Tifosi is finally up to snuff when it comes to style with the Sledge, so your giftee will be looking sharp.

Enve SES Road Tires

Starting at $75, enve.com

Enve wheels are one of the best gifts for triathletes.

Ok, tires might not exactly be the sexiest gift to give a triathlete this winter, but set someone up with fresh rubber that’ll not only prevent flats, increase cornering, and comfort (get 25c or bigger, trust us), and make them faster. According to Enve, the new SES Road tires will save a watt, due to the tread pattern tripping the air as they spin. These are also near best-in-class for puncture resistance in the lightweight category. With a wide range of sizes from 25-31c, these tubeless ready tires (you can also use with a tube) are an inexpensive, but noticeable (and quantifiable) upgrade.

Best Gifts For Triathletes Under $100: The Run

Biolite Headlamp 750

$100, rei.com

The Biolite Headlamp 750 is one of the best gifts for triathletes.
Photo: Brad Kaminski

In terms of adjustability, power, and versatility, the Headlamp 750 is one of our favorite new things this year (read our extended review for more). While you can easily use it for backpacking, this headlamp is tailor made for runners—with it’s split battery-light design to stabilize the weight as you run along and a built-in rear “taillight” that helps keep others aware of your presence from any angle. It uses a USB charging port and can operate anywhere from 2-7 hours on high (150 hours on low) and has a front light that does a red flood, a white spot, a white flood, a spot-plus-flood, a white strobe, and a blinding 750-lumen, 30-second burst.

Decathlon Kalenji Run Warm+ Jacket

$40, decathlon.com

The Decathlon Kalenji Run Warm+ Jacket is a great gift for triathletes.

Yes, that price is right, $40 for a very very warm run-focused jacket with a bevy of features like a removable hood, thumb loops, and underarm and side vents. Decathlon is definitely the go-to brand for buying a gift (especially under $100) that looks and feels like you spent way more than you did. For the price of a jacket that you’d think was simply some type of catch-all “sports” jacket, this run-specific piece has fantastic details to get warm and stay warm. Read our full review for more.

Brazyn Morph Collapsible Foam Roller

$70, brazynlife.com

Photo: Brad Kaminski

Get ready for your mind to be blown: Yes, this is a circular foam roller that can…wait for it…collapse flat for easy storage/travel. We all know that a foam roller is essential equipment for any triathlete who wants to stay injury-free, but like anything, they’re only effective if you use them when and where you need them. The Morph fits into a gym bag, onto a shelf, or into your race-day backpack far easier than its (now-antiquated) non-collapsible counterpart. Plus the recipient of this gift will appreciate the mind bending novelty behind the design.