Home » Holiday Gift Guide for Lifters and Athletes 2021 | Shoes, Knee Sleeves, and More!

Holiday Gift Guide for Lifters and Athletes 2021 | Shoes, Knee Sleeves, and More!

As we head into the holiday season, a lot of us, myself included are starting to feel the holiday stress that comes with gifts. To help you out, I wanted to put together a 2021 gift guide for lifters and athletes. I wanted to put together a dynamite list of really solid products that I use to crush my lifts, runs, and training.

Below, you’ll find training shoes, knee sleeves, barefoot shoes, weightlifting shoes, and more. All of the products discussed below are things that I use on a weekly and regular basis and that I trust for my performance. There are no products here that have not been vetted, tested, and used by myself for my training, so you can be assured that all of these products excel.

For this 2021 gift guide for him, we’re going to cover six product categories that I review products in and have expansive knowledge or use personally.

Cross-Training Shoes

Below are three of my favorite cross-training shoes that you really can’t go wrong with. These models excel for heavy lifting, CrossFit workouts, and tackling more versatile training.

1. STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer

The STR/KE MVMNT has quickly become one of my favorite cross-training shoes over the last year. This model features a medium-density midsole for supporting a variety of training settings and has a highly maneuverable sole construction. For anyone that loves to vary their weekly training, the Haze Trainer will be awesome for supporting them.

Additionally, the upper construction is durable overall and this model has a simple clean aesthetic to it. I’m also a fan of the width of the toe box in this model and find it plenty wide for most lifters and athletes.

  • Best For: The lifter that wants a great shoe for a bit of everything.
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 11.2 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewSTR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer Review

STRIKE MVMNT Haze Trainer

$150

STRIKE MVMNT Haze Trainer
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Cross-Training Workouts
  • Athletic-Focused Sessions
  • Shorter Runs (<3 miles)

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Custom Orthotics

 

2. Reebok Nano X

The Reebok Nano X is an all-around solid cross-training shoe for CrossFit and heavier lifting. This model features a durable Flexweave upper construction and has strategic upper material layering for preventing early breakdown. The high-density midsole in this model gives this shoe a nice stable construction for heavy lifting as well.

For maneuverability and versatile training, the Reebok Nano X features a split outsole construction that helps provide the shoe with a bit more responsiveness. Since the Reebok Nano X1’s release, the Reebok Nano X’s price has also gone down in some colorways which also makes it an awesome budget-friendly option.

  • Best For: The lifter that loves CrossFit and heavy lifting.
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 13.9 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewReebok Nano X Review

Reebok Nano X

$130

Reebok Nano X
4.6
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Functional Fitness Workouts
  • Casual Agility Training

Falls Short

  • For Day-to-Day Comfort
  • Being Budget-Friendly (depending on sales!)

 

3. Nike Metcon 6

The Nike Metcon 6 is a tried and true model for lifting and CrossFit. This shoe’s midsole and outsole construction are very stable and you can easily lift over 500 lbs in this model without compression issues. The upper construction is also durable while providing some breathability.

Another perk of this model is the additional Hyperlift insert that comes with this shoe. This can help turn the drop in this model from 4mm to 12mm which is awesome for making this model a pseudo weightlifting shoe. The Metcon 6 can be a great option for anyone that doesn’t want to invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes, too, but once an elevated heel.

  • Best For: The lifter that wants a shoe for CrossFit, heavy lifting, and casual weightlifting.
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm (with removable 8mm Hyperlifter insert)
  • Weight: 12.8 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, but Toe Box Fits Slimmer
  • Read My ReviewNike Metcon 6 Review

Nike Metcon 6

$130

4.6
Stability
4.5
Versatility
4.1
Durability
4.3

Best For

  • Lifting Heavy
  • Functional Fitness Workouts
  • Casual Agility Workouts

Falls Short

  • Daily Comfort
  • Longer Runs
  • Budget-Friendliness

 

Weightlifting Shoes

Another awesome gift idea for the athlete and lifter that is getting more into training or strength sports is weightlifting shoes. Weightlifting shoes also referred to as lifting shoes and squat shoes, support exercises like squats, snatches, clean & jerks, and other movements where a heel wedge is desired.

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

The Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 is one of my favorite weightlifting shoes for 2021. This model is durable across the board and it’s a consistent performer for a variety of training needs. For stability in lifting, I personally like the thicker mid-foot strap in this model and the heel construction.

For anyone that is getting more serious with their barbell training or wants to compete in strength sports like weightlifting, powerlifting, or CrossFit the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 can be a good model to look into. For a comparable pair of weightlifting shoes to the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2, I’d suggest checking out the Nike Romaleos 4.

  • Best For: The lifter getting more serious with their training or starting to compete in strength sports.
  • Heel Height: 22mm (.86 inches)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, athletes with wider feet may want to size up a half size
  • Read My ReviewReebok Legacy Lifter II Review

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

$200

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2
4.5
Stability
4.6
Durability
4.5
Quality
4.5

Best For

  • Weightlifting
  • Squats
  • Accessories With an Elevated Heel
  • Heel Height: 0.86″

Falls Short

  • For Functional Fitness Workouts

 

Budget-Friendly Weightlifting Shoes

Since weightlifting shoes can be quite pricey, I wanted to provide some of my favorite budget-friendly options. Two fantastic options to explore include the Rogue Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes and the Adidas Powerlift 4s.

Both of these models have price points that are right around $100 USD and they deliver constructions that are consistent and durable. Basically, if you go with either of these models, then you won’t have to compromise performance or durability due to their price.

  1. Rogue Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
  2. Adidas Powerlift 4

Knee Sleeves

Similar to weightlifting shoes, knee sleeves can be an awesome supportive piece of strength gear for the lifter that is getting more serious with their training or is wanting to compete in strength sports. There is a wide range of knee sleeves on the market so to not overwhelm, I’m including two of my favorite options below.

Gym Reapers Knee Sleeves

The Gym Reapers Knee Sleeves are a great intro budget-friendly knee sleeve. This model has a price point of $50 USD and they have a solid construction for their price. With these knee sleeves, you won’t need to sacrifice performance due to their budget-conscious price point.

The Gym Reapers Knee Sleeves are built with 7mm neoprene and they provide a nice layer of support. They’re not as rigid as other 7mm neoprene knee sleeves on the market, but for the recreational lifter, I think they’re a great option.

SBD Knee Sleeves

The SBD Knee Sleeves are a fantastic option for the serious lifter or the lifter in your life that wants to compete in strength sports. The classic SBD Knee Sleeves deliver a rigid 7mm neoprene that is durable and will support heavy training.

The best part about the SBD Knee Sleeves is that they’re competition approved in multiple strength sports federations. So, if you’re buying these for a lifter than plans to compete soon, then they’ll likely be able to wear these for their training and competition.

Barefoot Shoes

Barefoot shoes can also be another great gift idea for the lifter or athlete in your life. Barefoot shoes can help strengthen the feet and can provide a lifter and athlete another environment to expose their feet to with training and daily wear. If the lifter and athlete in your life have mentioned anything about training their feet, then barefoot shoes can be an awesome option.

1. Xero Shoes Prio

The Xero Shoes Prio is a good barefoot shoe for the budget-conscious shopper buying for a first-time barefoot shoe wearer. This model has a price point of $89.99 which makes them one of the more budget-friendly barefoot shoes on the market. The Xero Shoes prior is designed to support training and daily wear.

I personally like this model because it has a removable insole and it’s fairly durable. For these reasons, you can use this model to acclimate to barefoot shoes and use them in a variety of settings without having them break down too quickly.

  • Best For: The barefoot shoe beginner and budget-conscious shoppers.
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 8.85 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewXero Shoes Prio Review

Xero Shoes Prio

$89.99

4.7
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Heavy Barbell Work
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Casual Runs
  • Barefoot Shoe Newbies
  • Cost Efficiency

Falls Short

  • For Dedicated Barefoot Runners

 

2. Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3

The Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 can be a great barefoot shoe to look into for the CrossFit and cross-training-focused athlete and lifter. This model is designed to tackle daily wear and more CrossFit-style training and has an upper construction to accommodate this style of training.

The only caveat to the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 is that its toe box isn’t the widest for barefoot shoes. So, if you know the person you’re buying these for has a wider foot, then you may want to look into something like the Xero Shoes 360 as this is another barefoot shoe designed for CrossFit.

  • Best For: The lifter that wants a barefoot shoe for CrossFit and cross-training.
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 6.95 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewInov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 Review

Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3

$120

inov 8 bare xf 210 v3
4.8
Stability
4.9
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8

Best For

  • Functional Fitness
  • Heavy Resistance Training
  • Daily Wear
  • Shorter and Mid-Range Runs

Falls Short

  • For Delivering Maximal Toe Box Width
  • For Lateral Training

 

3. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

For the lifter and athlete that wants a barefoot shoe for both lifting daily wear, it’s tough to fault the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III. This is one of my current favorite barefoot shoes because they look clean and they work in a variety of settings. I personally like that you can wear these casually and that they fit in well with most outfits.

Additionally, the upper construction in this model is durable and Vivobarefoot uses recycled materials to create this shoe. They’re not the most budget-friendly option, but when it comes to delivering a strong performance the Primus Lite IIIs excel.

  • Best For: For the lifter that wants a barefoot shoe for lifting and daily wear.
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 8.85 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, but there are no half sizes (except for 12.5)
  • Read My ReviewVivobarefoot Primus Lite III Review

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

$145.00

vivobarefoot primus lite 3
4.8
Stability
4.9
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8

Best For

  • Heavy Weight Training
  • Daily Wear
  • Casual Workouts
  • Lighter Runs and Athletic Training

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Longer Barefoot-Style Running Workouts

 

Ten Thousand Shorts

Another great gift idea for the active guy and athlete in your life is a pair of Ten Thousand Shorts. Ten Thousand makes a variety of training shorts that will excel in a variety of settings. This makes them a nice, safe, and dynamic option for the lifter and athlete that wants a consistent pair of shorts to tackle their training.

To simplify this section, I’m providing three of my favorite pairs below with the contexts in which they work best. I don’t think you can go wrong in either of these Ten Thousand shorts below.

Ten Thousand Interval Short (2)
Ten Thousand Tactical Short
Ten Thousand Distance Short
Ten Thousand Set Short
Ten Thousand Session Short (1)
Overall TF2 Score
4.8
4.6
4.7
4.8
4.4
Versatility
Versatility
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Versatility
4.5
Versatility
4.9
Versatility
4.4
Quality
Quality
4.7
Quality
4.5
Quality
4.8
Quality
4.7
Quality
4.4
Price$68$72$72$72$68
Best For
  • Shorter/Mid-Range Runs
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Agility Workouts
  • Classes
  • CrossFit
  • Outdoor Training
  • Barbell Training
  • Rucking and Hiking
  • Mid-Range Runs
  • Long-Distance Runs
  • Track Workouts
  • Versatile Training
  • Swimming
  • Shorter Runs
  • Day-to-Day Wear
  • Cardio Training
  • Long Outdoor Sessions
  • Agility Workouts
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GPS Watches

For data-driven athletes, runners, and lifters, GPS watches can be an awesome tool to use and invest in. There are a lot of GPS watches on the market, so to keep it simple, I’m going to provide two of my favorites that I’ve used for my training and that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

best trail running tips for beginners

Two GPS watches to check out include the Garmin Forerunner 245 and the COROS Apex Pro. Both of these watches can provide you with a ton of data including your heart rate, running metrics, training status, and much more. The Garmin Forerunner 245 is a bit more budget-friendly, while the COROS Apex Pro is pricier but delivers more features.

Takeaway Thoughts

Hopefully, this 2021 gift guide helps you explore gift ideas for the lifters and athletes in your life. I wanted to put together a list of products that I thoroughly enjoy for my training and have vetted. If you go with any of the gear on this list, then I really don’t think you can go wrong.

If you have additional questions about any of the products mentioned in this 2021 gift guide, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly)!

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

nv-author-image

Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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