Fancy socks to flash trainers and fine prints: the best sporting Christmas gifts

There is a bountiful choice of stocking fillers and special gifts for the sporting festive-goer

Christmas gifts clockwise: Classic football shirts, Runderwear crop top and pants, Wicked Mania Ukick, New Balance fresh foam trainers, Socker Club Ireland Italia ‘90 Socks, Logitech.com G923 Steering Wheel and pedal Kit, Gilbert Women’s replica rugby ball, Mitre Ultimax Replica ’95 football, King and McGaw Wimbledon print
Christmas gifts clockwise: Classic football shirts, Runderwear crop top and pants, Wicked Mania Ukick, New Balance fresh foam trainers, Socker Club Ireland Italia ‘90 Socks, Logitech.com G923 Steering Wheel and pedal Kit, Gilbert Women’s replica rugby ball, Mitre Ultimax Replica ’95 football, King and McGaw Wimbledon print
Christmas gifts clockwise: Classic football shirts, Runderwear crop top and pants, Wicked Mania Ukick, New Balance fresh foam trainers, Socker Club Ireland Italia ‘90 Socks, Logitech.com G923 Steering Wheel and pedal Kit, Gilbert Women’s replica rugby ball, Mitre Ultimax Replica ’95 football, King and McGaw Wimbledon print
Giles Richards
Sun 13 Dec 2020 05.00 EST

Style and substance

Let a loved one relive their youth or celebrate the perfect season with a piece of history. Classicfootballshirts.co.uk sells genuine strips from across the decades. The store, created by two students in 2006, now features half a million items. From the England 1990 World Cup to the Arsenal Invincibles jersey , prices vary according to rarity, but includes countries and clubs from the world.

Come right up to date with the British & Irish Lions shirt ready for the tour of South Africa next year. Made by Canterbury, the classic jersey has a stylish long and short-sleeve variation in red and is also available in the colours of each nation. Another striking rugby T-shirt comes in the women’s “Enough” design from Looseheadz.co.uk. Designed in partnership with the Wasps player Flo Williams, it was inspired by the reaction of women players to negative comments about their appearance.Golf will hold its two big showdowns in 2021, the Ryder and Solheim Cups. Glenmuir.com have a huge range of smart tops for the men’s competition, with the red merino sweater a stand out. The women’s meeting is less well-served but the international version of the US Fanatics.com website stocks some stylish tops.

Ensure any top can be on show in comfort with the Klattermusen.com Fafne base layers. They have been making Scandinavian mountaineering gear since 1975 and these are a beautiful wool-Tencel mix, moisture-wicking, warm and gloriously soft. Combine with the snug Ostrichpillow.com compression socks. Made from bamboo, they are designed to improve circulation, especially when not active – perfect for working from home.Make sure to venture out with the right footwear. The Merrell.com Ontario is a classic walking or hiking shoe. Fully waterproof, it has a smooth leather upper that belies the ruggedness of its design. They are very comfortable with an air-cushioned heel and do not feel needlessly bulky. To finish the job of winter spectating, look no further than the Thisissilk.com silk snood . It’s gloriously smooth, with slight elasticity to ensure a snug fit. A perfect indulgence to wear beneath the old club scarf.

Tech and gadgets

Further time stuck at home cannot yet be ruled out and sporty gamers can be well served over Christmas. Spoil the petrolhead in the family with the ultimate accessory: the Logitech.com G923 is the company’s latest steering wheel and pedal kit. It is a beauty to behold, built of aluminium, steel and leather with a new Trueforce feedback system, LED rev indicator and easily customised buttons. This superb piece of sim kit performs brilliantly and will bring joy to any serious driving fans. Crucially its compatible with the new Xbox Series X, which is set to boast a new Forza Motorsport game next year, and the PS5.

For the best experience it needs support. Cockpits are bulky and expensive, but Australian company Next Level Racing.com has a well-priced and clever alternative with the Wheel Stand Lite. A fine piece of construction of carbon steel, it is weighty enough to take a vigorous driver but folds up to be put away – a fine idea, well executed. The game to put it to the test is F1 2020. It looks glorious, is a joy to play for fun as well as full F1 simulation and features a new management mode.Other standout titles from 2020 include Fifa 2021, an update but one in which the fluidity and gameplay has reached new heights. Check the gamer is not a Pro Evolution Soccer fan first, however, as the new iteration of PES is one of the best entries in its canon. The new PGA 2K21 from 2K games is also an impressive golf sim that can be customised to suit beginners as well as pros.

Clockwise: JBL Flip 5, Wheel Stand Lite, JBL Quantum 600 gaming headset, Logitech.com G923 Steering Wheel and pedal Kit, Beeline Velo bike navigator, PGA 2K21 golf sim
Clockwise: JBL Flip 5, Wheel Stand Lite, JBL Quantum 600 gaming headset, Logitech.com G923 Steering Wheel and pedal Kit, Beeline Velo bike navigator, PGA 2K21 golf sim

Finish the experience off with a the fully immersive Quantum 600 gaming headset from JBL.com. Boasting an impressive, immersive sound and a sturdy but not too heavy build, these wireless headphones fit the bill and are £50 off. If following live sport out loud is the aim, JBL also makes an excellent bluetooth speaker. The Flip 5 will bring commentary to anywhere in the house, including, being waterproof, the bathroom. The sound is great and it has a decent 12 hours of battery time. It’s competitively priced and reduced by £40.A clever piece of kit for cyclists comes with the Velo from Beeline. This bike navigator sits on the handlebars, connects to a route app and then gives directions with bold clear arrows in the display – far safer than glancing at a phone.

Fun and games

Revisiting a classic, Mitre have released the Ultimax Replica ’95 to recognise the year the original Ultimax first hit the pitches, but some less nostalgic kids might prefer having their names on the personalised football option instead.

Younger players will enjoy the interactive fun in the Speed Ball from Smythstoys.com. It features a built-in sensor and speaker that issues a countdown to giving it a good hoof after which it announces the speed of the kick. Kids serious about the game will love the FootballFlick.com Urban Skills trainer, a metal and netting training device that can be used on its own or with friends to improve control, passing, volleying and touch. It is used at academies, including Liverpool and Man City, built to last and cleverly can be used in areas of limited space. With the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year, Gilbertrugby.com has released a replica match ball and there is plenty of time to give it a run out before the tournament in September.

Clockwise: Mitre Ultimax Replica ’95, Speed Ball, Gilbert Women’s replica rugby ball, Wicked Mania Ukick, FootballFlick Urban Skills trainer, Orchard Toys football game
Clockwise: Mitre Ultimax Replica ’95 football, Speed Ball, Gilbert Women’s replica rugby ball, Wicked Mania Ukick, FootballFlick Urban Skills trainer, Orchard Toys football game

For fun indoors The Football Game from Orchardtoys.com is a nice take on snakes and ladders in a piece of bright, old-school fun for youngsters. They will also like the Ukick from Wickedmania.com. A fun alternative to kicking a ball, it is a weighted feather form of shuttlecock that can be used indoors.

Fitness and form

Put a smile on the face of anyone putting in the miles with the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10. A neutral running trainer aimed at road use, this is a high-end quality shoe. Built in the rocker shape, it is comfortable but firm through the stride and lighter than might be expected with a cushioned sole of its size. Ideal for serious runners, it is available in men’s and women’s versions.

As is the Saucony Endorphin Speed. This trainer uses a hard nylon plate in the midsole, a technique shown to propel runners forward in the stride. Using nylon rather than the carbon fibre of the more expensive variants makes it good value. With excellent cushioning and a low weight, this shoe is perfect for anyone looking to up their speed.

Further improvement and comfort is on offer with the Enertor.com PX1 Shock Absorbing Insoles. As used by Usain Bolt, they slip in to any standard trainers. Designed to absorb impact and in so doing enhance performance, their benefit can be felt within several uses as the insole transmits impact forces horizontally rather than vertically into the legs.

Clockwise: Canterbury’s Thermoreg leggings, Levitex pillow, Runderwear, crop top and pants, NoPinz sub zero shorts, Enertor shock absorbing insoles, Pearl Izumi Pro Gel glove, Saucony Endorphin Speed trainers, New Balance fresh foam trainers,
Clockwise: Canterbury’s Thermoreg leggings, Levitex pillow, Runderwear, crop top and pants, NoPinz sub zero shorts, Enertor shock absorbing insoles, Pearl Izumi Pro Gel glove, Saucony Endorphin Speed trainers, New Balance fresh foam trainers,

Any exercise in the winter should be offset with some warm layers. Canterbury’s Thermoreg leggings and long-sleeve top are a perfect layer of insulation, they are moisture-wicking and very well made. Beneath it all the brilliantly named Runderwear.co.uk has a great selection for men and women. From soft merino boxers, to thermal base layers, hipster pants and crop tops, their beautifully made seamless construction is ideal for any workout.

UK brand NoPinz.com has an innovative method of improving times on the exercise bike. Sub Zero Shorts are excellent lightweight bib-shorts with pockets in the lower back and shoulder blades into which cooling pouches can be inserted to reduce core temperature. At the mid-point of a session their influence can really be felt, improving overall performance. Indoors or outdoors cyclists will also be pleased with the sheer comfort and durability of the Pearl Izumi Pro Gel glove (24) from Freewheel.co.uk.End the day well with a pillow form Levitex.co.uk. Already used by members of TeamGB at the Rio Olympics, they are designed to improve sleep posture, aiding recovery.

Striking and unusual

King and McGaw prints: Oval, Racing, Rugby at Twickenham and Wimbledon plus Terry Lyons eclectic sock range from Soccerclub.com
King and McGaw prints: Oval, Racing, Rugby at Twickenham and Wimbledon plus Terry Lyons eclectic sock range from Soccerclub.com

Catch the eye with the beautiful range of prints on offer from KingandMcGaw.com. The company offers a wide range of original pieces and reproductions. Illustrator Neil Stevens has a bold range of cycling and motor racing work while there are some stand-out historical pieces including transport posters for cricket at the Oval from 1937, rugby at Twickenham from 1921 and Wimbledon in 1931. They can be purchased as print only but the company provides a superb handmade framing service to make it a beautiful gift, right down to the framer’s signature on the reverse. Finally, graphic designer Terry Lyons has brilliantly addressed the lack of a retro football sock market with his eclectic artistry at Sockerclub.com (26). Choose from Arsenal’s “bruised banana” from 1993 to Ireland’s Italia 90. A terrific little collection.

Clockwise: Classic football shirts, Fafne base layers, hiking shoe, British & Irish Lions shirt, compression socks, silk snood, Solheim Cup golf top, women’s rugby t-shirt
Clockwise: Classic football shirts, Fafne base layers, hiking shoe, British & Irish Lions shirt, compression socks, silk snood, Solheim Cup golf top, women’s rugby t-shirt