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Re-gifting isn't an inherently bad idea, but the very idea that somebody is off-loading his or her unwanted holiday or birthday junk makes a re-giftee feel dirty and unworthy. Far worse is the deep, searing pain of the re-gifter -- the guilt, the shame, the stress of finding a matching re-gifted box, the fear of being caught and labeled unimaginative, cheap and uncaring. Yes, we're in a recession, your re-giftees want to scream at you, but couldn't you have at least tried? Look no further. The sports products below are personal, practical, effective and guaranteed to get a rise out of an active person. And they're so different from everything else out there that someone might think twice before re-gifting them.
SlimGo Hoop: A weighted, flexible hoop made of a 1 1/4 -inch-thick double-layered (steel inside PVC) spring that can expand from 5 feet to 9 feet.
Likes: Wow! This was a wild workout. I felt like some sort of hooping Ninja warrior, with a blade whipping around my waist double the speed of a normal hoop to the pitched whirring sounds of sharp, scraping knives cutting the air. This is hooping on steroids, with Dolby sound effects. Very practical, it curls down to a foot-long loop for easy travel and can be used for several strength-stretching exercises. Booklet included.
Price: $34.95 (3.5 pounds); $39.99 (5 pounds). (516) 568-7269; www.slimgousa.com.
Injinji EX-Celerator Compression Toesocks: Nylon-Lycra-Coolmax combination of individual-toe socks and compression calf sleeves.
Likes: Nice marriage of blister-free toe socks and warm compression, which has been shown to aid circulation and recovery. Perfect for winter running in any footwear, including Vibram Five Finger toe shoes.
Price: $38. www.injinji.com.
Knead for speed
MuscleTrac: Foot-long, double-handled self-massage roller that includes four studded, articulating wheels designed to dig in to your muscles.
Likes: It works and feels great, providing fairly deep muscle penetration and stretching as you roll it across your skin as you would pizza dough. Good for warmups and cool-downs for runs or rides.
Price: $44.95. (314) 805-8169; www.muscletrac.com.
Fending off that frozen face
Viking edition Beard Head ski cap: Full-face yarn ski cap that, like a beard, covers your cheeks and chin, blocking the wind from your under-jaw neck region. Removable mustache covers upper lip.
Likes: Your warmest ski-lift face ever. Leaves room for ski goggles and eating. Shields but does not actually touch the neck, so you don't get sweaty. Button-on mustache can be swapped for an optional FuManchu style ($5).
Dislikes: Nothing covers your nose, although you could reposition the 'stache to do that.
Price: $24.99. (310) 569-5740; www.beardhead.com.
Wallack is the author of "Run for Life" and "Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100." firstname.lastname@example.org