The 9 Best Fitness Gifts for Women, According to Olympian Allyson Felix

From Bala Bangles to Kiehl's Creme de Corps, everything an active person would love to unwrap.

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Best Gifts For Athletes with Allyson Felix

Courtesy of Athleta

We know how challenging finding the perfect gift can be. Then, add in specific hobbies you may know nothing about, and you could be scrolling through Amazon for endless hours trying to find something that might be remotely useful to them. Athletes — whether they run, swim, bike, or anything of the sort — definitely have us scratching our heads because not only are most of them picky, but if you’re not an expert on their sport, you might accidentally pick the wrong thing. (Stressful!)

Well, we tapped Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, owner of Saysh and ambassador for Athleta, to help you out. She definitely knows a thing or two (or maybe, ten) about being an athlete and overall active woman, so she spoke to InStyle about what makes for a thoughtful gift for any active person from foam rollers to bath salts to a new pair of leggings. Everything will take your giftee from the gym to their post-recovery ritual easily.

Read on for the best gifts for athletes, according to Allyson Felix:

OPTP LoRox Aligned Foam Roller

OPTP LoRox Aligned Foam Roller

Take it from Felix: “foam rolling is so important.” If your giftee doesn’t foam roll yet, they definitely should. And if they’re already on the foam rolling wave, upgrade their post-workout routine with this actually attractive, high-end roller from OPTP that doesn’t “sacrifice style” for function, according to Felix.

“Recovery is just as important as the workout itself. Foam rolling gets all those little muscles, almost like a little massage. We do so much during our workouts, we need to take the time to give ourselves a little self-care,” says Felix. “You’re going to thank yourself later.” And they will definitely thank you for this gift that Felix says “hurts so good.”

Kiehl's Creme de Corps

Kiehl's Since 1851 Crème de Corps Hydrating Body Lotion with Squalane


For another no-frills, yet slightly elevated gift, opt for Kiehl’s Creme de Corps, a cult-followed body lotion that’s “not complicated” but luxurious all at the same time, according to Felix. “I moisturize once a day and feel hydrated throughout the day,” she adds. Taking care of your skin is just as important as your muscles. Made with squalane and cocoa butter for noticeably softer skin, the body cream has an extremely creamy texture that will keep them hydrated (and hooked) all winter long. You can buy your giftee portable sizes to throw in their bag for their post-workout shower or you can splurge for the one-liter pump that’s sure to last them a few months to keep in their bathroom — trust us, go for the big one.

Therabody Theragun Mini Massager

Therabody Theragun Mini


Felix uses a Theragun “probably four days a week”, especially the mini, because “it’s lighter” than the regular sized one, she says. “You can throw it in your bag. You can travel with it. And you don’t have to use it for a long amount of time, but it’s really effective.” The mini is not only cheaper than the full-sized gun, but it also allows you to get deep into any problem areas, providing that much-needed relief. 

Any active person will benefit from a massage gun, but Felix noticed a lot more young athletes have started to use it, too. “Your young athlete who is playing basketball or doing multiple after-school activities can just throw this in their bag and use it in the car home or on the bus to a game. It’s also a really good habit to teach active teenagers,” adds Felix. It even comes in four different colors, so you’re not tied to just black.

Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution Pre & Post Workout

Dr Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution, Pre & Post Workout


Much like the foam roller and Theragun, Felix thinks recovery-focused Epsom salts are a necessity. Although not the sexiest bath salts out there — we have some of those here, though, in case you’re all about the aesthetics — Felix hopes you look past the packaging and think about the messaging gifting these bath salts gives: “It shows you care about the products they’re using. If athletes can do one thing for themselves, I think it should be an Epsom salt bath. It will do wonders for you for the next day.” 

As Felix puts it, sometimes all you need is a “straightforward, easy, but effective” product. And Dr. Teal’s is just that. 

Intelligent Change Inc. The Five Minute Journal

Intelligent Change The Five Minute Journal


When you’re as busy as Felix, sometimes five minutes is all you have for yourself. “I don’t have time to journal — I just can’t carve out that kind of time in my day — but five minutes? I can do that. It makes me slow down to reflect and take a second for myself,” she says. This journal prompts you each morning to reflect on what your goals are for the day, what you’re grateful for, and any daily affirmations. At night, you swing back to share the highlights of the day and anything you learned. By giving this to any active person who is always on the go, you’re promoting healthy habits. “You’re telling them that they deserve those few minutes to themselves every day,” Felix adds. “We should all make it a priority.”

Sure, a new pair of shoes might seem a bit intimidating to purchase for any athlete. But these are different, we promise. “This shoe represents me finding my voice — I’m meeting women where they are with this design,” says Felix, founder of the brand. Saysh creates sneakers created specifically to suit women’s feet and needs because women’s feet are different than men’s — not as broad with arches that tend to change over time, for example — yet most shoes are created based on a man’s foot.

Your athlete (especially a runner) probably already has a pair of sneakers they love, so these will be a just-as-comfortable, made-for-her option that she can wear on her way to the gym, after a workout, or even for a light walk outside on her rest day.  “I want people to pause for a second and see the woman who is wearing the shoe. It's an amazing gift for a woman to know that this is something that's specifically made for her,” says Felix. “It's also just a fun lifestyle sneaker as well.” The shoe will fit effortlessly into her rotation.

Felix received Bala Bangles as a gift herself after retiring from her running career and can confirm that they do in fact make an excellent gift. “It gives active women a new tool to train and use,” she says for anyone looking to take their at-home workouts to the next level. But it might not be something she would think to buy herself. Plus, they’re actually cute, coming in different colors like baby pink, ice blue, cheery yellow, and sage green. You can choose between one and two-pound weights, depending on their level. 

If you’d like to take your gift up a notch and have a little wiggle room in your budget, check out Bala’s kits, which offer coordinated workout accessories (think: a chic yoga mat, a matching jump rope, and hand weights to go with the bangles) that your giftee wouldn’t be mad about leaving out. 

CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30


You’re probably thinking, Drugstore sunscreen — seriously? Yes, we’re serious. (We never joke about SPF.) Hear us out: any active woman probably loves to spend time in the sun, and what better way to say, “I care about you, your lifestyle, and your skin,” than a really good sunscreen? Felix uses CeraVe products almost religiously because “it gives me a nice base for being out in the elements,” she says. As a “so active” person, Felix is all about keeping it simple yet effective. Use this CeraVe sunscreen as a stocking stuffer or mini gift for whichever holiday you celebrate. It’s not the fanciest option out there, but it gets the job done and when your athlete is on the move 24/7, she might appreciate a bare-bones option that’s easy to replace once she’s out. (But if you’re thinking you need something a little more elevated, we have plenty more tested sunscreens for you to choose from here.)

Athleta AF X Athleta Legend Ranier Split Tight in Dusk Violet

Legend Rainier Split Tight in Dusk Violet

Felix calls these leggings “a game changer” because not only are they “great for training and protect against the elements, but they’re also very stylish,” she says. She has trained year-round in different elements and is always on the lookout for top-notch leggings that keep her legs warm without being too heavy to workout in — these Athleta leggings hit that perfect balance. (Full disclosure: Felix works with Athleta.) We’ve raved about the Athleta Salutation Stash Tight before when researching the best leggings, but these have a bit more pizzazz. “They have this really plush Supersonic fabric that is really soft on your skin and it feels super cozy, which keeps you warm, but it's also able to move with your body, so it's great for that cold weather training,” explains Felix. 

Any fitness enthusiast would appreciate a new pair of leggings to wear during their favorite workouts. Felix actually plans to give them to her best friend this year. “She's always on the go — she's dropping the kids off at daycare, going to work, and getting a workout in between those things. So I think this is a perfect gift for her.” But if you’d prefer to shop around, we round up our other favorite activewear brands here.

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