Got a weekend warrior or a hard-core athlete on your holiday shopping list? We shopped local sports and fitness stores for gear and gadgets that will make workouts more fun -- and maybe even more productive.
Run in the sun
Oakley's Flak Jacket sunglasses have a "hydrophobic" coating that keeps your lenses free of water, sweat and even skin oils that could smudge them. No rims on the bottom of the frame mean a better view if you're looking downward and a more comfortable fit when you're moving. Interchangeable lenses sold separately. Oh, and we think these look great, too, with their matte white frame and jade lenses. $150, Fort Worth Running Co.
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For yoga class or the gym (or ballroom dancing lessons!), Canadian-based Lululemon has some of the most stylish garments we've seen. They're constructed with luon -- a four-way stretch fabric that is supersoft but also wicks away moisture. Lululemon's clothing is also preshrunk, so what you buy is still going to fit after you take it out of the dryer. Here's an outfit that will look stylish whether you're downward dogging or having a casual lunch with friends. Multicolored Power Y Tank with removable cups, $52; reversible Groove Pant with flare leg and waistband pocket, $98; fitted Define Jacket with zipper garage to protect chin, front-zip pockets and cuffins (long cuffs with thumb hole), $108. All from Lululemon.
Bring on the cold
As a friend of a friend used to say (he was a bigwig at Patagonia), there's no such thing as bad weather, there's just inappropriate clothing. Under Armour and North Face, like Patagonia, are brands known for making warm but light and breathable outdoor gear. Try these:
This Under Armour Cold Gear jacket with quarter zip, $69, provides warmth without weight. The lime green is fashion forward and a good choice for making yourself seen.
A trio of good-looking caps from North Face: reversible chili pepper red and gray, $18; crocheted beanie in white; red, pink and ice blue with fleece lining, $24; teal and light blue earflap beanie with pom pom on top and fleece lining, $22.
All from CD Ski & Sports
Pack it up
The Eddie Bauer Convertible Duffle is lightweight, has a handy front-zip compartment for shoes or sweaty clothes, and converts to a backpack. 24-inch bag in lake blue, $39.99. Target
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Bula's microstretch long-sleeve top with jaunty, cheerful stripes comes in this crew-neck version or in a quarter zip. It's a great layering piece (although it's almost too cute to cover up). $50. Luke's Locker.
Make the pool a happier place
Lap swimming is so much more fun when you can listen to your favorite tunes instead of the sound of your own breathing. The Interval 3G Waterproof headphone system by H20 Audio straps onto the back of your goggles and holds an iPod Shuffle (3rd generation, which you can still buy on amazon.com). The built-in headphones come with five sizes of Elastomer earplugs. $99.99, on sale at press time for $79.99. www.h2Oaudio.com
Guys can look good, too
Lululemon makes this Metal Vent Tech long-sleeve shirt from a lightweight material that it says has "anti-stink" and "anti-static" properties. The preshrunk shirt, which wicks away moisture, also features extremely subtle but useful mesh venting. $72. Pair it with Lululemon's midlength Response Short, good for running, gym or yoga. Also preshrunk, and with wicking properties, this short (shown here in red but available in other colors, too) has a zippered side pocket. $64. Both from Luke's Locker.
Santa, are you listening?
Lululemon's stainless water bottles keep you hydrated in style and send a message: "Love," or "Sing Dance Floss And Travel." $25 each. Lululemon.
Keep your hands warm and dry with Champion's wicking running gloves. $14.99. Target.
Gaiam's yoga socks with grips on the sole give five-toe traction and keep your feet toasty. $9.99. Target
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A vest keeps the core warm while allowing for great ventilation. So much the better if it is lined with luxurious faux fur. Pair this one with some black tights and a top with a pop of color. Pearl Izumi black ultrasoft shell vest with faux fur lining, two zippered hand pockets and reflective elements, $120. Pearl Izumi's Infinity Tight in a thermal fleece light fabric features an 8-inch zipper at the ankle, a zippered back pocket and reflective elements in a pretty design, $80; Brooks Essential Run half zip in Glacial Water/Blue Ice has pretty ribbon trim at the neckline and extra long sleeves with holes for thumbs, $55. All from Fort Worth Running Co.
Watch where you've been
The Garmin Forerunner 410 is the company's newest GPS-enabled runners watch. It records your pace, distance, time, heart rate, elevation and more, and wirelessly uploads the info to your computer. Customize your training pages with up to 30 kinds of data. You can also use this to find your way home: The GPS will lead you back to the starting point of your run if you so choose. Works with Mac or PCs. $374.99. Luke's Locker.
For the hard-core athlete
Trigger Point Performance Therapy products are like home-based physical therapy and massage. The idea is to use the tools to massage aches and pains, and to relax stressed-out muscles. The styling of the products is sleek and hip, too.
The Grid is a high-end, bright orange foam roller with varying widths and densities. $40.
Trigger Point Performance Therapy's kit includes instructional DVDs, foam block and massage tools, including two massage balls (for calves, shoulder, back and upper body), the footballer (for lower leg, Achilles' tendon, shins, calves, heel and foot) and the quadballer (for quads, IT band, hamstring, hips and piriformus). $160. All from Fort Worth Running Co.