Garmin has revamped its running watch line up, with the launch of the Forerunner 255 and 955.
The outgoing Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 945 were launched way back in 2019, so an update has been long overdue.
For the uninitiated, the Forerunner 255 is the company’s core running watch offering, aimed at those that have firmly caught the running bug, and starting to think about improving performance.
The Forerunner 955, on the other hand, is the more ‘prosumer’ device, with a greater emphasis on detailed training metrics, longevity, and recovery from hectic training schedules.
Let's break down exactly what's new:
Garmin Forerunner 255 details
- New Forerunner 255S 41mm version
- Race Widget
- GNSS for better accuracy
- Running power
The Forerunner 255S (left) and 255 (right)
We’ll start on the Forerunner 255.
It now comes in two sizes, the Forerunner 255 (46mm) and the 255S (41mm). That’s great news, as it means this powerful running watch is now more unisex, and a better fit for female runners.
It looks pretty similar to the Forerunner 245, albeit slightly sleeker, with reduced profile of the five buttons – and more in keeping with the design of modern Garmins.
Its core features remain the tracking of runs, along with monitoring stress, sleep, body battery and all the usual Garmin metrics. But there’s a host of new features incoming.
Given the Forerunner 255’s lean towards those focusing on races, there’s a new Race Widget, which counts down to race day, predicts your finishing time and aligns the Garmin suggested workouts with your goal.
There’s also a new feature called HRV Insights, which monitors heart rate variability during sleep to give an indication of readiness and restedness. HRV is the bedrock of existing Garmin features such as stress score, so it’s good to see it used more extensively – but the 255 doesn’t get the full Training Readiness feature that’s being introduced on the Forerunner 955. It will be interesting to see the difference in our review period.
The Forerunner 255 gets the new Morning Report feature
There’s now triathlon support as well, so you can combine pool, run and bike sessions together into one seamless workout.
And there’s support for running power, when the watch is paired with the Running Dynamics Pod or HRM-Pro chest strap, so you can see how much effort is being exerted in real time.
And a massive new addition is support for multiband GNSS, which boosts GPS accuracy. We found this noticeably improved accuracy when running in built-up areas when testing the Garmin Epix, and we’re delighted to see this here too.
Elsewhere, there’s Firstbeat-driven VO2 Max and training load/effect data here, meaning the Forerunner 255 doesn’t shirk some of Garmin’s most interesting insights.
And like the Forerunner 245 there are Music and non-music versions. The 255/255S Music offers offline Spotify playlist syncing.
The Forerunner 255 and 255S is far from cheap, with a $349/£329 price tag for non-music versions, and $399/£379 with Music. Both are on sale now.
Garmin Forerunner 955
- Solar version
- HRV insights
- Training Readiness score
- Stamina widget
- Race widget
Training Readiness is a new feature to rival Whoop 4.0
Onto the Forerunner 955 and there’s a host of new features landing on Garmin’s most advanced Forerunner.
It too hasn’t changed overly from the 945, and it still uses the full color transflective display – which is easy to read and low power, but not up to the AMOLED screen of the Epix.
The Forerunner 955 is getting a Solar version, so it joins the likes of the Fenix, Instinct and Enduro in boosting battery life using a Power Glass display. That means 49 hours of GPS and 20 days of smartwatch life, if you give it a few hours of daylight.
The new Forerunner 955 also gets touchscreen control, just like the Fenix 7.
Then there’s a big dose of new workout features, too.
The Stamina feature comes over from the Fenix 7, offering data on your current and maximum stamina reserves, live during a run.
The 955 gets the HRV recovery tool from the Forerunner 255, and an extra Training Readiness score, which apes the features of devices such as Whoop 4.0 and Oura Ring 3 by melding sleep, heart rate variability (HRV) and training load into a single score that tells you how ready you are for a workout session.
That's in addition to the usual VO2 Max, training load/effect and Performance Condition rating from the 945.
The Forerunner 955 also gets the running power data (with extra hardware) and multi-band GNSS. It also gets the Race Widget (explained above), and retains Pace Pro and Climb Pro tools, plus the ability to follow breadcrumb routes uploaded via GPX.
There’s no specific Music version of the Forerunner 955 – so both the standard and Solar editions will support offline Spotify syncing from the wrist.
The Forerunner 955 Solar costs $599/£549, and the standard version $499/£479. It's available immediately.
How we test