Athleta Made to Move mask
A very 2020 gift for athletes: a mask for outdoor workouts. I love Athleta’s Made to Move mask for women, whose nose bridge and adjustable ear hooks make it the most comfortable option I’ve tried. It’s sold as a $25 three-pack in two color themes: warm reds and purples, and cool blues and blacks. For a unisex alternative, this Under Armour mask looks promising (just get the sizing right). I also like the look of this adjustable mask. You only have two sizes to choose from here; less of a chance you’ll get it wrong.
Buy Made to Move masks (3-pack) at Athleta – $25
Apple Watch Series 6
For people who are only ever going to own one watch, the Apple Watch is consistently the best all-purpose option. It’s a stylish timepiece with deep iOS integration, an irresistibly fun step tracker and a workout app that supports 15 activity types. As a fitness watch, it’s less robust than purpose-built devices like Garmin’s Forerunner line, but it’s good enough for most people. Plus, built-in GPS and on-board music storage make it possible to leave your phone at home while you exercise.
Like last year’s Series 5, the new Series 6 has a built-in ECG test to detect irregular heart rates, and this version also adds an always-on altimeter (great for hikers) and a blood oxygen sensor that runs in the background, even while you sleep. It’s also just generally faster (and faster-charging) than the last-gen model, with slightly longer battery life to boot.
The only caveat, of course: Your giftee needs an iPhone user for them to use an Apple Watch. If your loved one is an Android person, we recommend the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
Buy Apple Watch Series 6 at Amazon – $385 Buy Apple Watch Series 6 at Walmart – $385
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.
And remember, this is just the midrange model — you’re not missing much by skipping Garmin’s highest-end…