Chances are, if you've walked into the store, you've had the pleasure of meeting Vanda. She's at the helm of this ship and represents the Rackets & Runners spirit to a tee.
Ask any customer she has helped or the staff she has molded. She is incredibly kind and hard-working, but she also has vast knowledge of the products she sells.
If something is Vanda-endorsed, it's bound to be good.
Here are ten products she thinks could make a perfect gift.
TruMedic TruRelief Impact Therapy Device Thermal: $199.98
"The best-selling massage gun but with hot and cold treatment options? Wow. No wonder it's a new R&R staff favorite."
Now more than ever, we know how important temperature can be for recovery. The TruRelief Impact Therapy Device Thermal incorporates a hot and cold therapy feature. Heat helps increase blood circulation, which is ideal for repairing sore muscles, alleviating cramps, or reducing local pain. Cold can also numb pain but also helps reduce inflammation and swelling. Combining massage with temperature therapy was an excellent idea, and TruMedic has nailed it with this release.
Babolat Backpacks: $119.98
"Biking to the courts is not only environmentally friendly, it's also the perfect warmup! A backpack helps make that possible."
You don't always need to lug around a huge 15-pack tennis bag. Grab a can of balls, shoes, and one or two rackets, and you're set for a great tennis session. We love Babolat's tennis backpacks, as they're some of the most functional and come in various styles. If you know someone rocking a Babolat Pure Drive, Strike, or Aero they can match it to a backpack!
Head Tour Team Backpack 2022: $63.98
"They are the best value backpack, and now they're on sale! They've got great volume including a compartment for stinky shoes."
You like the idea of a backpack but are on a budget. The Head Tour Team series is right up your alley. They may not have all the bells and whistles of the top-end Babolat packs, but certainly get the job done. They're on for 25% off, so they are a no-brainer!
Tecnifibre Tennis Frames: $269.98 - $279.98
"Tecnifibre frames are back in store! I'll give the floor to our tennis department for this one, but just look at those gorgeous tricolour paint-jobs."
Tecnifibre has made huge strides in recent years. They put a heavy emphasis on soft players' frames and have a quality lineup for 2022. The T-Fight 305 is a more controlled, 18-main option, while the TF-40 16x19 comes in a 305 and 315-gram version. We always recommend the demo program for any player looking at a new racket. Check out our article on how to gift a racket here.
Joola CFS Pickleball Paddles: $239.98 - $274.98
"Joola paddles are so hot right now! We've got lots of demos available for their large variety of fantastic options."
Vanda is right, Joola was the new kid on the block in 2022, but they came out swinging. We all know about their already legendary Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16mm paddle, but now they've released one with a smaller grip in the Simone Jardim pro model, as well as a few options featuring their new Swift technology. To learn more about what makes Joola paddles so special, check out our in-depth Hyperion lineup review. Remember, demos are always recommended!
Dexshell Waterproof Sock: $44.98
"If you're struggling to find a Goretex or waterproof shoe that fits, the alternative is a pair of waterproof socks. Love this development from Dexshell!"
Waterproof breathable is becoming increasingly popular in sportswear, and with good reason. Nobody likes to be cold and wet, although we are used to it in Vancouver! It started with jackets, made its way to shoes, and now Dexshell has developed a membrane capable of waterproofing a sock without sacrificing moisture wicking and comfort. More like this, please!
New Balance Fresh Foam X More V2 Trail Running: $189.98
"Maximalism for trail! It's the most underrated trail shoe on the market. If you are trying to manage issues like plantar fasciitis and you love walking or running in the trails—this is the shoe for you! Plus it comes in multiple widths."
If you know Vanda, you knew this was coming. As soon as maximalist shoes started trickling into the store, they became an instant staff favorite, especially with the boss! Maximalist shoes like the New Balance MORE have been revolutionary with endurance athletes in addition to helping those struggling with foot discomfort and injuries, and New Balance has finally taken them to the trails.
Neutral Cushion Runners: $199.98
"It used to be that you had compromise on responsiveness to get top shelf cushioning. Not anymore! These shoes are wonderful examples of great training shoes that can be used for tempo and speed workouts, and on a race day."
Neutral cushioned runners were once considered too mushy and sluggish to be used competitively, but with the development of stiff but comfortable foam (used initially in maximalist shoes), that isn't the case anymore. In fact, neutral cushioned runners are now lighter and more responsive than ever. They can be the perfect option for people who like a slightly more pillowy feel without a significant loss in energy return. We particularly like the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 as it comes in multiple widths.
Squash Rackets: $99.98 - $269.98
"With pandemic restrictions lifted, people are playing squash again. Awesome! Lots of great options including marvellous frames from Head and Technifibre. Demos are available too."
Squash had to take a bit of a break in Vancouver because of pandemic restrictions, and our inventory also took a hit. Now, the sport is ready to make a comeback, and we would love to help any avid squash player get back on the horse. If you know someone wanting to get back into squash or try it out for the first time, we have plenty of options to explore. The demo program can also be key to finding the best frame, especially at the top end.
Nathan HyperNight Reflective Convertible Mitt: $39.98
"My fingers are prone to getting cold. Convertible mitts are the best solution to keep fingers warm. Throw in reflectivity. Perfect mitt!"
Gloves are certainly the sleeker and more practical option, but with temperatures now regularly falling below 0 at night, a mitt is ideal for providing that little extra warmth. We also love the HyperNight mitt because reflectivity is paramount during dark winter months.
Happy Gift Giving!
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