Strava is a mobile and Web-based app that uses GPS data to track running and cycling activity. You can upload your activity and fitness data to Strava and the service will give you a number of statistics, such as elevation, running pace, and heart rate, among others. You will also see how you compared with other users.
Strava is currently the top app for cyclists and runners, and the good news is that there are several smartwatches that are compatible with the service, allowing you to upload your fitness data easily and quickly.
Take a look at the best smartwatches for the Strava app.
Garmin Forerunner 935
It has to be said that almost all of Garmin’s GPS smartwatches work rather well with Strava. This is good news because Garmin’s Connect app is not really as informative and motivating as Strava is. This is the reason why many Garmin users still use Strava for their running and cycling statistics.
However, you would particularly love the Garmin Forerunner 935. You can easily get motivated with the Strava Live Segments, giving you real-time feedback while you are running or cycling. You also get alerted when a segment commences and ends.
And how about making it more competitive by looking at the leaderboards and knowing where you stand, as well as knowing how you are currently doing compared to your past personal best? On top of these running- and cycling-specific features, the Forerunner 935 also tracks the usual metrics such as your steps, calories burned, distance traveled, fitness age, intensity minutes, and others.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 has advanced running features, as well as easily profiles for a variety of other sports. It has built-in sensors such as a barometer to measure elevation changes, and an altimeter and compass to help you know which direction you are going. Other sensors included are GPS, LONASS, heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, and thermometer. It can keep track of your heart rate, functional threshold power, VO2 max, and other stuff.
The Forerunner 935 will also help motivate you or pace yourself by analyzing your training status and telling you whether you are overdoing it or if you should be doing more. The beauty of Garmin Forerunner 935 is that it is designed specifically for running, cycling, and swimming, so you have advanced metrics such as stride length and ground contact time balance.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 has a battery that can run for up to two weeks on a single charge while using it in smartwatch mode. Turning on the GPS will lessen the battery life down to 24 hours, which is still longer than most other GPS smartwatches.
It also helps that Garmin has designed the watch to be lightweight and comfortable to wear. You can also change the straps, so that you can have the sporty look with a silicone strap, or a more classic look with a leather strap. There are also metal straps you can use.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 costs $499.99 from the Garmin online store. Check the latest price on Amazon now!
Garmin Forerunner 35
If you are not willing to pay the high price for a smartwatch, you can still get a different Garmin device for a lot less. For instance, you can get a Garmin Forerunner 235 for less than the price of the Forerunner 935, or you can get the Forerunner 35 for only $169.99. Check the latest rates here!
The Garmin Forerunner 35 is an entry level GPS smartwatch that already has a heart monitor on board. It is a departure from most Garmin GPS smartwatches as it has a squarish design that might look bland. It looks like an updated digital watch from the 1980s with its monochromatic screen.
With the Forerunner 35, you can get notifications from your smartphone on your watch. You can also swim with it, provided that you do not go scuba diving while wearing it. It can track different types of activities such as walking, running, and cycling.
With its low price, you can expect some features to be absent. For one, it only has a GPS satellite position system. No GLONASS for the Forerunner 35. It only has the heart rate monitor and the accelerometer, so what it tracks can be rather limited.
For running, the Forerunner 35 only has GPS-based distance, pace and time tracking, and cadence, while for cycling, only time and distance alerts are possible. The battery only lasts 13 hours with the GPS turned on and nine days when used exclusively as a smartwatch.
Still, you will be hard-pressed to find a smartwatch at its price range with optical heart rate and great app support for Strava. You can even use Apple Health with your Forerunner 35. This is great news because on its own, the Forerunner 35 would offer you very limited insights for your running and cycling activities.
Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR
The Suunto Spartan Trainer includes an accurate heart rate monitor, a wide variety of sports profiles that it can track, and both GPS and GLONASS satellite position systems that allow you to get a pin on your location faster in as many locations as possible. This smartwatch is not just for running and cycling, you can also use it for swimming and other activities.
It has a rechargeable battery that can last for days, and it is very comfortable to wear. Depending on the model, it sells for less than $200 to as much as $329 on Amazon.Check the latest price here!
The problem with the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is that it has a poorly designed app, but that should not be a problem if you connect it with Strava.
The Polar M430 is another one of those smartwatches that are recommended for runners and cyclists with its embedded GPS and optical heart rate monitor. It costs around $230. Check out the latest rates on Amazon!
One thing that you would notice about the Polar M430 is the perforated straps that allow your skin to breathe. It has a monochrome display where you could see all your stats: steps, calories, sleep, and daily activity. The Polar M430 can check your heart rate, as well as your pace, cadence, and distance when you run. Over time, you would be able to see how you are progressing as a runner, as well as get a personalized running program. Furthermore, you can swim with the Polar M430.
Battery life is estimated to last up to 8 hours with the GPS and the heart rate monitor running. All the data that the Polar M430 generates can be exported to the Polar Flow app, or third-party services such as Strava, TrainingPeaks, Apple Health Kit, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, and Google Fit.
Pairing your Polar M430 to your Strava account is simple. All you need to do is to log into your Polar Flow account and then connect this to your Strava account. Log in to Strava in order to confirm the new connection.
TomTom Spark 3 Cardio
The TomTom Spark 3 costs as low as $179.99 on Amazon, and it may look clunky and cheap, but it is a very capable watch that offers some of the best features you find on more expensive GPS smartwatches.
For instance, it has a reliable GPS sensor that allows you to know your location and get location-based data and metrics. It has a good activity tracker that counts your daily activities and set goals. Aside from the heart rate monitor and GPS, you also get:
- Route exploration, helping you avoid getting lost
- Indoor training modes
- customizable straps
- Wireless synchronization
- Water resistance rating of 5 ATM
- Customized interval training
- Sleep tracking
Furthermore, you get up to 11 hours of battery life when the GPS is turned on. The good news is that the companion mobile app is well-designed and offers a lot of information. But there have been complaints of syncing problems between the device and the app. Even so, their integration with Strava would allow you to get more insights for your data.
While the TomTom Spark 3 is designed for running, you can track other sports as well. To choose an activity, all you need to do is push right and select the activity you want to do. Runners would love the general performance of the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio and just how accurate it is. It rivals the data and insights that you get from the more expensive Garmin Forerunner 935. If you are a beginner runner, or cyclist, this could be the perfect watch for you to train with. Not bad for its bargain price at all!
If you are a casual runner or cyclist, or if you want more of the features you get from other smartwatches, then you might want to get one that is not focused on running and cycling. There are several choices for you, such as:
- Apple Watch Series 3. This has a stand-alone Strava app that you can download to the watch itself.
- Samsung Gear S3. You would need to use the Samsung Health app in order to link to Strava.
- LG Watch Sport. This allows you to use Strava without bringing your phone everywhere with you because it has a stand-alone app for Strava.
- Fitbit Ionic. The Fitbit Ionic would have made our list because of its superior fitness tracking and smartwatch features. However, linking it to Strava is quite complicated and hard to figure out.