Perfect Gifts Any Parkour Enthusiast Will Love This Holiday Season
There is no shortage of holiday gifts aimed at sports enthusiasts. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t a noticeable bias toward the traditional — gifts on the subject of football, baseball, and soccer are not just accessible, they’re everywhere! Yet, alternative sports are rising in popularity. Over the past 20 years, parkour has risen to become one of the most prominent forms of outdoor activity — there’s even evidence to suggest that COVID-19 has indirectly assisted this growth in 2020. So where are the parkour holiday treats?
Well, much like parkour itself, gift hunting for the traceur in your life benefits from some exploration and creativity. Yes, there will be some items that you can get from your local sports store. But if you understand a little about the activity, and about the person you’re gifting to, you can produce some unique holiday cheer that can enhance their enjoyment of their urban athletics.
If you don’t know where to begin, don’t worry, we have some ideas to send you on your way. We’ve packaged these into a few key areas that are good jumping-off points, and have some more specific suggestions for products. Let’s work together to make this a merry, active, and exciting holiday!
Parkour is one of the few sports you can excel at without investing in a lot of equipment. However, some smart clothing choices can help to make the experience more comfortable, safe, and enjoyable. Grabbing a single item, or putting together a care package of garments can make for a functional and meaningful gift option.
Some considerations here can include:
Top of the list of any traceur’s gear list should be a pair of good parkour shoes. There are some brands that are geared specifically toward free running — namely, TakeFlight and KnowObstacles. However, this isn’t strictly necessary. If you’re willing to browse around, it’s useful to know what qualities the most appropriate shoes parkour have. They should be breathable, lightweight, have a traction pattern on the outsole, and be flexible.
Parkour top layers really depend upon the type of climate the traceur is running in. That said, it’s always important to ensure the clothing you gift is lightweight and durable. Even simple undershirts can make up a key part of parkour gear, but it’s best to go for the varieties that are soft enough to reduce friction, and produced from cooling fabric that wicks sweat away from the surface — preferably odor-resistant!
While parkour makes use of all areas of the body, the feet aside, it’s the legs that are likely to see the most action. It’s also an area that requires a great deal of flexibility, so stretch materials are always best here. Most popular sports brands now produce stretch-woven workout pants, which are great for free running, and you should be able to get them at reasonable prices from most sports stores. As with shirts, you’re going for breathable, abrasion-resistant, and something that doesn’t restrict the range of motion.
Even in a sport like parkour, which is so focused on utilizing what already exists in the world, you can always find accessories and equipment that can help to make it more fun and practical. Some of these are tech-based — and naturally at the higher end of the budget. Others are more geared toward increasing skills.
Most of us first became familiar with parkour as a result of YouTube videos. If the traceur you’re getting a gift for is into sharing their runs, then a GoPro camera can be the ideal addition to their gear. Most allow the wearer to attach it to various equipment or parts of the body, but when buying for a parkour enthusiast, you’re better off also getting a head strap or even a mouth mount as these will be less intrusive to use while running. The popular online retailers stock all of this, but if you’re committed to buying locally, seek out your neighborhood electronics or camera store.
When on a long run, there are going to be some things that traceurs will need to take with them. As such, a lightweight rucksack with a built-in hydration solution is an excellent choice of gift. The Osprey Syncro 12 and the Gregory Nano 18 H2O are among the most appropriate for parkour as they offer reasonable storage and hydration, while not being overly taxing in the weight department.
There are also more kids getting into parkour, which can have significant benefits to their health and development. That said, it’s always good to start them off small, and in an environment that you feel they’ll be safe in. The Slackers NinjaLine Intro Kit includes accessories that can create obstacles in the backyard or local park, and give the smaller, newer traceurs a safe crash course into free running.
Buying holiday gifts for parkour enthusiasts often isn’t about finding the newest, fanciest piece of gear. That tends to go against the reason most got into the sport in the first place. What’s great about free running is the ability to connect with the world around you, to spend some time exercising in a way that makes use of the whole environment and your whole body. As such, the best gifts tend to be those that enhance the holistic experience.
It might seem strange to say about such a physical activity, but books really can help here. Gift your traceur some of the must-read books on free running. The Parkour Roadmap by Max Henry collects thoughts on techniques and how the sport has evolved from experts from across the planet. Julie Angel’s Breaking the Jump can be an inspiring journey through how diverse free runners apply athleticism and creativity to urban spaces. Books on the subject aren’t just manuals, they can help spur parkour enthusiasts on to discover their next run.
There are also tools that can help to bolster creativity. UKEMI is a parkour card game that provides activity, obstacle, and skill prompts. These can include completing a run while holding something, running in specific conditions, even wearing somebody else’s shoes. Points are awarded for completion, but it’s really about gathering as a community of runners, and seeing where your creativity can take you.
Perhaps the most important gift you can give a traceur is the experience itself, though. Free running is not just an athletic exercise, it can also help to alleviate the stress we’re under, and support our physical and mental health. If your runner is in their 20s, perhaps even at college, there’s a good chance that they have a lot on their plate, are perhaps under a lot of pressure for the first time. One of the best coping mechanisms is finding an outlet, and parkour can be instrumental here. Gift them a parkour trip, even if it’s just a day out. Travel together to a new spot, maybe something they’ve had their eye on for a while. You’ll be giving them something that money really can’t buy.
Parkour certainly isn’t the most materialistic of sports. There are no uniforms, no fancy equipment. Instead, make the gifts you give a traceur supportive of what makes the sport important and fun to them. Aim for enhancing their experiences.