When it comes to gadgets for running, nothing is more exciting than choosing a new watch. But with so many options to choose from- basic, gps, heart rate- it can be tough to narrow down the options. We’re here to help! As part of our first annual Run Nerd Awards, we picked our four favorite running watches.
BEST OVERALL: Garmin Forerunner 620 HRM-Run
Hot features: What doesn’t this watch do? It measures distance, heart rate, calories and VO2 max. Plus, by tracking cadence and vertical oscillation, it helps you run with better form. The 620 can even predict how fast you’re apt to race over any distance—and how long you’ll need to recover.
Cool Extras: A highly responsive touchscreen gives the watch a smartphone feel.
Best fit for: Any runner with a pulse. (Heart-rate joke!) But seriously, this watch works for almost everyone (willing to shell out half a grand).
BEST BASIC: Soleus Dash
Hot features: The beauty of the Dash lies in its utter lack of cutting-edge technology. The everything-you-need philosophy behind this sleek stopwatch lets you count laps and store basic data.
Cool Extras: With a weight as feather-light as your favorite racing kicks, the watch almost makes you forget you’re wearing one.
Best fit for: Perfect for track workouts—or runners whose only desire is to clock (and tell) time.
BEST HEART-RATE: Mio Alpha
Hot features: Three words: no chest strap. Instead of the traditional bulky band that doesn’t play well with a sports bra, the Alpha measures your pulse through a light in the watch’s underside. Neat!
Cool Extras: The silicone band is incredibly soft and fits like a glove, no matter what size your wrist.
Best fit for: The watch doesn’t include GPS, making it ideal for runners who prefer to train by heart rate alone.
BEST GPS: TomTom Runner
Hot features: GPS plus an accelerometer mean this watch clocks “distance” both on the treadmill and outdoors. A goal-setting mode allows you to create objectives—and like a tiny coach, the Runner lets you know when you’re off track.
Cool Extras: The face pops right out of the band to make charging a snap.
Best fit for: Athletes who want a simple way to record miles, pace, distance and time.