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Employee Picks for the Holiday Season

November 22nd, 2013

Posted by Allie, Friday November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving is next week, Hanukkah starts on Wednesday, and Christmas will be knocking on our doors really soon. Christmas songs are on repeat on my ipod and my shopping is done, so basically Christmas is tomorrow in my mind.  You might say I’m crazy, but I say, have fun with those crazy crowds, and I’ll enjoy my hot chocolate by the fireplace!

For those of you who aren’t as holiday-nuts as I am, waiting for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, we’ve put together some of our top picks for 2013.

Taro, our resident blogger, tweeter and video personality, went for a footwear-apparel combo pack.

Nike Tailwind SS V-Neck – Once reserved only for the fashion elite, v-necks deserve to be more prominent in running apparel. The neckline of this Nike Tailwind tee sits perfectly – deep enough to give you some Euro-flair, shallow enough to be accessible to those switching from the lesser crewneck. In addition, the poly-cotton blend might be confused for the fur of a pubescent otter (though of course no otters were harmed in the making of this fine piece of apparel). Intelligently positioned air holes grace the armpits to keep you as a cool as a Klondike bar, and a rear zipper pocket gives you a place to store the compliments awarded when wearing this shirt.

Salomon Snowcross CS – Full disclosure: I don’t live anywhere near the snow. I’ve never lived near the snow, and because of my fragile and sensitive body (it truly is a temple), I will go out of my way to avoid the white stuff. But the Salomon Snowcross CS could make me reconsider. Dude, just look at it! This thing is a weapon. With the underfoot spikes, you will laugh in the face of ice. Look at the hightop design! All the snow will try to get in your shoe but the built in gaiter will block every attempt. This shoe is ready to do battle with snowmobiles, avalanches, and Santa Claus himself.

Tera, our retail store manager, took a little more, ahem, realistic outlook on her gift choices for 2013.

Hoka Kailua Trail – I have so many ultra-running friends that use and absolutely love Hoka trail shoes. I have a road shoe right now, the Bondi 2, but really want to experience the reduced pounding and less leg fatigue on the trails. This one in particular has a reduced midsole height compared to the other Hoka’s so hopefully it won’t make me feel so vertically challenged on the trails.

Nathan VaporShape 2L Vest – I’m in desperate need of a new pack for trail outings. My current Nathan Intensity has seen better days. I’m interested in the VaporShape for the comfortable fit and reduced bouncing of the 4-point strap system. Also, it’s pretty cool that it has a front holster for a water bottle if you need one. The little electrolyte compartment on the chest strap is also a plus! I’d probably go for the white one since it has a really fresh look.

Erik is a footwear buyer here at the ‘House and like Tera, his wish list has a couple trail goodies on it.

Petzl NAO – When you are heading out for a long night run and you want to light up the trails, the Petzl NAO will light the way and then some. Long lasting and high powered, the NAO is fully customizable to meet your needs. Among the many cool features of this headlamp, the REACTIVE technology automatically adapts light output while you’re running, turning down the brightness when you are focusing up close and cranking it back up when you need to see distance. It’s more efficient and improves battery life.

UltrAspire Alpha 2013 – With 70oz of hydration in a rear bladder and a minimal design, the Alpha will keep you set on the trails for the adventure of your choice. This pack is designed to disappear – they’ve added a sweatproof webbing this year so that the pack doesn’t absorb moisture and get heavy. There are also larger holes in mesh to reduce pack weight and increase breathability. I’ve been really impressed by how good UltrAspire products were right out of the gate and how much thought they put into making them better and better with athlete input.

Juli, one of our Customer Service Representatives and Live Chat operators, has her eye on an apparel/electronic combo.

North Face Impulse Active 1/2 Zip Hoodie – This is the perfect piece for San Luis Obispo winters. Because it’s rarely below 45 degrees around here, all you really need for fall and winter is a great long sleeve. (Yeah, we know. It’s awesome). The material is thin and breathable, yet still warm enough that you won’t dread setting out on an early morning run. The 1/2 zip allows you to remain cool when the temperature rises, and the hood adds a bit more protection from the wind.  But the best thing about this piece is the fit. It’s perfect for me. This also makes it an ideal piece for those of you who might need to put a bit more thought into layering than we do around here.

Garmin Forerunner 220What can I even say? This definitely goes without explanation. We are as excited about this update around here as you are. No one could knock the 210, and here Garmin comes along and introduces another revolutionary run watch. We’re talking about a lighter watch with fabulous functions such as a built in accelerometer, vibration alerts, autopause, personal record tracking, a hinged wristband and live tracking. Oh and it looks GREAT. Basically, this watch will do everything except run for you. Maybe that feature will be added to the 230!

Lastly, Dan, another of our Customer Service Representatives, is going for a footwear/apparel combo pack this holiday season.  He’s training for his first 50 miler; follow his training here: @DanHerronRuns

Merrell Ascend GloveSo, I’m a minimal guy. I’ve been looking for a zero heel-to-toe drop shoe with a little cushion underfoot! I’ve been a New Balance guy when it comes to my trail shoes…but it looks like I am going to have to cheat on New Balance with Merrell…sorry I’m not sorry! I really like how the shoe fits. The heel collar is snug, but the toe box is wide, allowing some room for my toes. I’m a big fan of the Vibram outsole, which provides solid protection and a decent amount of traction. The shoe is super nimble and will allow me to handle the trails pretty well.  Also, since I’m training for a 50 miler with Juli, I’ll need a new pair of shoes to train in.

Pearl Izumi Fly Reverse Jacket – If you haven’t seen this jacket in person, it’s kind of hard to comprehend how cool it is. You can’t beat the reflectivity for the price of the jacket. Plus, who doesn’t want a reversible jacket? The fabric is extremely comfortable and breathable, which is a big deal for me. Also, since I do my training runs at 5am, it would probably be a good idea for me to have a reflective jacket that hopefully prevents me from having a brutal encounter with a car. Even more, on the trails, the vibrant color will help me stay visible to other runners. It’s important to let people know you have style!

For more gift ideas, check out our complete Holiday Gift Guide (Men’s and Women’s) and our Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide.  If all else fails, give a Gift Card to your favorite online running retailer! Happy Holidays from all of us at the Running Warehouse!

Allie Running Apparel, Running Shoes ,