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The Gift of Speed

Intelligent Sneakers

Earlier this year, Nike (NKE - Get Report), in a partnership with Apple (AAPL - Get Report), came out with a new system using wireless communication to relay speed and distance information to a runner in audio form.

The entire system , which adds up to about $300, would include the Nike Air Moire or Air Zoom shoes, the Nike + iPod Sport Kit and an iPod Nano (each sold separately).

A sensor inserted into the sole of these sneaker gathers and conveys the runner's speed and distance to a receiver connected to the bottom of the iPod.

At the push of a button, the sensor transmits the information to the iPod, which then relays it to the runner in a computerized voice.

Pretty cool, huh?

In October, Adidas (ADDYY) partnered with Finnish heart-rate monitor manufacturer Polar Electro and introduced a similar high-tech system (for about $680) that provides essential heart-rate information.

Adidas shoes and gear can run from $110 and $245, and the Polar Running Computer retails for $470.

Frost Fight

Throughout the year, there are countless races held in the winter season or in colder regions.

For runners to compete effectively, it's necessary for them to seek out gear that will act as a shield against the cold weather -- otherwise they'll find themselves shivering and unable to compete at their best.

Sports apparel company Mizuno recently came out with a new insulation fabric called "Breath Thermo," which absorbs body moisture and converts it to dry heat, warming the athlete up at once.

The Breath Thermo gear rings in at $40 to $70 per item and ranges from tights and sweat pants to tanks, jackets and gloves.

Jogging for Two

Aimed at runner mommies and daddies, my next pick is the BOB Ironman Jogger Stroller , which is designed for the ultimate run.

Breath Thermo by Mizuna

For $359, this stroller would be the perfect gift for any parent who is an active runner.

It not only sports 16-inch bike tires, but it is one of the lightest baby joggers on the market, weighing slightly more than 20 pounds.

Plus, it comes equipped with a sun-blocking canopy and three-inch stiff shocks, which ensures a more comfortable ride for baby.

And if you have twins, try the Valco Twin Trimode Runabout ($660).

With independent reclining seats, a head hugger for newborns and duel swivel wheels, this stroller has baby comfort written all over it.

It's also able to be folded into a compact size and has quick-release wheels, making it ideal for transport.



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