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The best fitness gifts for Father’s Day

Here’s what to give the dad who won’t slow down.

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For some dads, the stereotypical lawn chair and beer is not their happy place. They prefer movement to comfort, crushing goals over taking it easy. If the dad in your life doesn’t stop moving, gift him some gadgets to propel his training forward. This is workout gear we’ve tested and approve of, with smartwatches for tracking workouts, earbuds that stay put during serious training, helpful cycling add-ons and tools to help with recovery.

Music really can make working out more enjoyable while reducing our perceived exertion. So if the dad you know is still messing with slippery buds that don’t properly bring the noise, we recommend the Beats Fit Pro. They top our list of the best workout earbuds because they can handle sweat and rain, and the wingtip design stays put even during runs and HIIT sessions. They also have one of the most natural-sounding transparency modes, which is critical when dad takes his fitness routine to the streets. As for the audio quality, it’s solid: there’s plenty of punchy bass and an overall balanced profile. The Adaptive EQ doesn’t let users adjust the EQ as they can with other buds, but a dad who just wants to get moving will appreciate the lack of required futzing.

$159 at Amazon
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$180 at B&H Photo$200 at Verizon

We have a few runners on staff at Engadget and when they put together ideas for running gifts, Bombas running socks made the cut. They hit an inch or so above the ankle so they won’t slip down into the shoe just as dad is hitting his stride. Plus, the moisture-wicking and breathable fabric feels great on the skin. We know socks may be a painfully obvious dad-gift, but these are really good socks.

$99 for six at Bombas

The people at Spibelt discovered some sort of magical material with which to make their running belt. It manages to hold a phone and a slim wallet close enough to the body that there’s zero bounce while running, yet it’s also so comfortable that I forget I’m wearing it. The Eco Spibelt is made from 100 percent recycled materials, too. It’ll be a good addition to any dad’s kit, but especially those who have not quite made the leap to leaving all of their belongings at home before going on a 5K run.

$30 at Spibelt

Our favorite smartwatch overall is the Apple Watch Series 9, in large part because it tracks exercise and delivers key health information in an understandable way. It has built-in GPS to track runs and rides, and it’s fairly quick to suggest monitoring a workout when it automatically detects activity. Plus, as an Apple accessory, it pairs deeply with an iPhone, delivering notifications and handling many functions right there on the wrist. In fact, for Series 9, Apple added on-board processing of Siri requests for faster responses to requests. The new Double Tap feature is pretty useful too, allowing them to answer calls, start workouts and engage the phone’s camera shutter with a simple hand gesture. Dads who already have an iPhone might appreciate this 2024 take on the classic timepiece gift.

$300 at Amazon
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$399 at Adorama$400 at Target

If the father you’re shopping for doesn't use an iPhone, an Apple Watch won’t do him any good. The wearable we like best for Android phones is Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6. It has a great battery life and, in addition to over 95 built-in exercises, lets users create their own workouts. Dad can even set a program to burn a set amount of calories or hit a certain number of steps — nice for those who prefer a countdown to a tally. The new watch can also help to improve his nightly recharge with sleep-coaching tools, and with up to 40 hours of battery life (with the always-on display disabled), the watch will actually have enough juice to make it through until morning.

$300 at Samsung

Some dads won’t need (or even want) a full-fledged smartwatch, and for them, there’s the humble fitness tracker. We like Garmin’s Vivosmart 5 for its subtle looks and the way it capably puts the company’s fitness tracking expertise in a device that goes for around $150. It doesn’t have built-in GPS, so users have to bring their phone to map runs and rides, but it goes for days on a charge and tracks all-day heart rhythm and activity, plus offers sleep data and plenty of exercises to choose from.

$149 at Amazon
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$150 at Kohl's$170 at HSN

A compact multi-tool can be a lifesaver if anything ever happens to the bike while dad’s out on a ride. We put the Crankbrothers M19 in our guide to cycling gifts because it’s affordable and comes with nearly everything to work on a bicycle, including several different sizes of hex wrenches and a chain tool. It’s even great for tuneups and repairs in the garage. At just three inches long, it’ll easily stash in a cycling pack so he’ll always be prepared — and isn’t preparedness one of those lessons dads are always trying to teach us anyway?

$32 at Amazon
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$29 at Focus Camera

From tracking their fitness progress to keeping an eye on navigation, there are plenty of reasons cyclists might want a good view of their phone while they ride. Peak Design makes a slew of different mounts that work with their model-specific phone cases. The Out Front Bike Mount holds the phone rigidly in place in front of the handlebars for easy viewing and can even be repositioned to film the ride — perfect for dad’s burgeoning YouTube adventure channel.

$70 at Peak Design

Another gift idea pulled from our cycling guide, Ornot’s handlebar bag, can hold three liters’ worth of stuff. That might not sound like a ton, but you’d be surprised what that fits — a day's worth of food or a rain shell and a bike seat cover. There’s even a dedicated phone holster (with a securing strap) and rear-facing cargo webbing for easy access to snacks. It’s made from a recycled fabric that’s also water-resistant, and the mounting system should fit most types of handlebars, frome flat bars to drop bars to cruisers. Ornot also uses a frame sheet in the bag’s construction so it keeps its shape and doesn’t sag.

$86 at Ornot

Recovery can be just as important as the workout itself — at the very least, it's more relaxing. We think the Theragun Prime is one of the best pieces of equipment for post-exertion massage. The gun’s triangle design makes it easier to target tough-to-reach parts of the body, while the four different attachments help to dig deeper. There’s even an app to guide massage routines in case dad is new to a percussive gun. Theragun claims the therapy delivered is scientifically proven to do things like increase range of motion and “improve muscular performance” but we just like that it feels pretty great to use. The Prime itself is also quieter than competing models, which is particularly nice if you happen to live with the dad you’re shopping for.

$299 at Therabody
Trigger Point Performance

For post-workout recovery that’s completely silent (grunts notwithstanding), you can get dad a TriggerPoint foam roller. Instead of a motor, the cylinder-shaped piece of foam relies on the user’s body weight to loosen up tight muscles. Low tech doesn’t mean ineffective though — we found it worked well on muscles all over the body — from shoulders and back to quads and calves.

$35 at REI
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$37 at Walmart$40 at Amazon

In our guide to smart scales, we named Eufy’s Smart Scale P2 Pro the most feature-rich of the bunch. If the dad in your life is starting to get serious about tracking his fitness journey, this scale will keep historical tabs on measurements like body fat, muscle mass, water weight, body fat mass and bone mass. It can even calculate one’s basal metabolic rate (which is the caloric intake that won’t result in weight change). There’s also plenty of stats and coaching within the app for him to explore as well. One of the things we liked best about the smart scale was how easy it is to use, so dad can get straight to seeing his health insights without a ton of preamble.

$80 at Amazon
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$80 at Best Buy

There are a ton of fitness apps out there, but not all of the ones we recommend are actually giftable. AllTrails+ is not only an indispensable companion for any dad who likes to hike, but you can also grant a year of access for $36. This would make a great gift for a dad who already uses the free version. And I can tell you from experience that the paid plan is worth it. One of the bonuses is wrong turn alerts, which have saved me from going down the wrong path (literally) a number of times. The paid plan also includes downloadable maps and a Live Share feature that creates a unique URL so friends and family can view real-time location and activity stats while dad is using the app on a hike.

$36/year at All Trails
Alo Moves

Another app we recommend, Alo Moves, offers a huge and ever-updating selection of workout classes that include HIIT, strength, core, yoga, running and about a dozen more styles. This is ideal for the dad who is keen on getting fit, but has little desire to go to the gym — and most workouts require little more than a mat and a pair of shorts. Depending on how much time he has in a day, he can choose classes based on duration (or difficulty or intensity) and there are even meditation sessions, in the event that being a dad ever gets overwhelming. You can gift six months for $78 or a year for $130.

$78 for six months at Alo Moves