Gift Shopping for the Senior Athlete – Thinking Local

It must be the holiday season.

Jingle Bell 5k
Jingle Bell 5k (Photo credit: J Bull)

Every morning, my inbox is filled with special offers for outdoor gear and running apparel, just in time to buy for family and friends or to replenish my cold weather supply.  After several clicks, I can usually learn where the product is made.

Earlier this year, Tom Vanderbilt’s article “Born in the USA: The Amazing New Economics” appeared in Outside Magazine. He writes about a trend with some sporting goods and outdoor equipment companies to either establish in or return to manufacturing in the United States.

One of the companies he discusses was on my radar screen.  Last year, my stocking included a new ProTec headlamp.  It works really well for moonlight snowshoeing.

Although not a total zealot on the topic, and fully aware we live in and benefit from a global economy, I have a hard time justifying that long-sleeved tech shirt making its way on a barge thousands of miles just to give me a warm, breathable layer.  My point of view is, all things being equal in quality, to choose the product made nearby, then in my country, then from neighbors in my hemisphere.  

People who are interested in purchasing and eating locally grown foods are known as locavores.  

Buy Local!

Is there a similar term for those of us who attempt to feed our running needs with locally grown equipment and apparel?

I’m careful to stay faithful to this philosophy but I do make the occasional stumble. Admittedly, I have yet to find a running shoe that works for me and is made this side of either ocean.  But generally, I – and those who occasionally gift to me – have done pretty well.

Here are a few of the items found in my clothing and gear cache that were manufactured locally and nationally:

Running along river’s edge facing downtown Exeter

Darn Tough Earlier this year, I Darn Tough Socksvisited Exeter, New Hampshire. After a run along the river, I cut through downtown where I found a local sporting goods store, and these colorful, comfortable and cushioned running socks, manufactured right up the road in Vermont.

Nuu-muu  I love the quirky touch of fun this company brings to their products.  634850117771580942The dresses are great for running, as a go-to item to pack for vacations, or to throw on with a pair of leggings.

irunlikeagirlI bought two of their running shirts several years ago – one for me and one as a gift to a goddaughter as she was just getting interested in running.  My shirt is still wearing well.  Goddaughter is still running and has expanded to triathlons.

Sub4usaGreat apparel that seems to never wear out. Their compresssion shirt keeps me toasty and the 2-pocket compression pants are perfect for storing supplies during a long training run. Unfortunately, this company is going out of business and liquidating their inventory, so I have blown my running budget stocking up while my favorites are still available.

Additionally, during visits to our northern neighbor, I discovered a couple of Canadian labels that suit my needs.

Louis Garneau – I wear their cross-country gear for skiing and snowshoeing.  They have a lines of biking and running clothing and gear I haven’t yet tried.

Scanned Image
Grand Tetons National Park, Jackson WY

Kombi Sports  – These folks strictly manufacture cold weather gear.  I wear their long underwear as a base layer for skiing and snowshoeing.

That’s my closet inventory and shopping list from holidays past and present. What’s in your closet?

Whatever your purchase philosophy for gifts and updates to your sports closet, happy shopping and happy giving!

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