We've tested every running watch and platform going – but we still think Strava is the best place for running data.
It's a great place for learning from your runs, evaluating performance, and most of all, it's really fun.
Strava has a great community, it's likely most of your buddies will be on there, and features such as Strava Segments and kudos add some extra spice to your training. What's more, by using a third-party platform, if you want a new running watch or smartwatch, you won't lose your data.
Pretty much everything works with Strava now, but below we've outlined the core brands, which of its range is best for Strava, and any special or dedicated Strava features on board.
All of Garmin's current watches are built to play nicely with Strava, from budget watches like the Garmin Forerunner 35 all the way up to the likes of the Fenix 7 (pictured above) and the Forerunner 965.
You can connect Garmin and Strava from within Garmin Connect, meaning any activity you track on your watch can be synced automatically to Strava. That means you get full Strava Segments, KOM and records.
Strava does a lot of good analysis of your sessions based on heart rate – but there are data points it doesn't track such as vertical oscillation and running cadence which you'll find in the upper reaches of Garmin's range. So connecting Garmin Connect and Strava does give you the best of both worlds.
Garmin Connect isn't nearly as fun, informative and motivating as Strava, despite its recent facelift. Thankfully, you can link your account with the app for seamless syncing of runs, cycles and swims.
Garmin devices with Live Strava Segments
- Forerunner 945/945 LTE
- Forerunner 955
- Forerunner 965
- Forerunner 735 XT
- Forerunner 745
- Fenix 7/7Pro
- Fenix 6
- Fenix 5
- Epix (Gen 2)/Epix Pro
- MARQ Athlete
- MARQ Captain
- MARQ Expedition
- MARQ II series
- Swim 2
That list just so happens to be the most expensive Garmin devices. So, here are our favorite Garmin watches - all of which play nicely with Strava.
Garmin Forerunner 55
The Forerunner 55 is actually our favorite Garmin running watch. It's super slim and does the basic pace/distance/time, but also brings some smarter running features into play, too. You can make use of daily suggested workouts, rest up better with the improved recovery advisor and better strategize for races with Garmin's great PacePro feature. Unlike the Forerunner 45, you do have full access to Garmin Connect IQ.
Garmin Vivoactive 5
Garmin's latest Vivoactive 5 is worth a look if you desire a sports watch that doubles for everyday wear. It's essentially a Venu 3 Lite, and it's packed with sports modes. It's adept at notifications, but it's the huge breadth of sports modes that impresses, with golf joining running, cycling, swimming, and more.
Garmin Fenix 7
The Fenix 7 series is Garmin's most impressive, rounded sports watch, and it also provides the best Strava experience, too. There are so many sports tracked, full access to Garmin Connect IQ App Store and battery life running up to 50 hours of GPS tracking.
Apple has a standalone Strava app that's compatible with the Apple Watch – so you can have your data seamlessly transferred over to the fitness service.
But there are downsides: It's very limited in terms of customization of the data screens, and you can't view workout history from the watch itself. What's more, you miss out on the excellent Workout app on the Apple Watch itself.
Apple has come to the rescue, and you can now link Apple Health to Strava – and have workouts synced over manually. Follow our guide to connecting Apple Health from within the Strava app.
It makes the Apple Watch an even better and more versatile running watch, and highly recommended.
Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch SE 2
Apple Watch Ultra
Just like Garmin, all of Polar's sports watches offer integration with Strava.
Those who enjoy using the Polar Flow app can sync runs and cycle rides, as well as take advantage of features such as Strava Segments.
To pair the two services, just log into the Polar Flow web account, head to settings and opt to connect the Flow account with Strava. Log into your Strava account and verify the connection to have your workouts transferred when you sync your device as normal. You're then good to get tracking.
You can get Live Strava segments on a couple of Polar bike computers (M460 and V650), too, but only one watch – the very old V800. It's a little too dated for us to recommend.
Polar Pacer Pro
Polar Grit X
Polar Vantage V
Samsung / Wear OS watches
When it comes to Samsung smartwatches, the new Galaxy Watch 6 is the pick of the bunch, thanks to solid heart rate performance from our latest reviews.
That's because these generations run on Wear OS 4, and it means you get access to a host of apps that have been rebuilt for Wear, including the new Strava app.
Crucially, Strava will look to leave behind support for older Wear OS 2 smartwatches.
That means you're going to need something like the latest Galaxy Watch 4/5/6 models.
You could also choose the Google Pixel Watch 2 (another top heart rate tracking performer, or the TicWatch Pro 5, which also performed well in Wareable's stringent testing.
From the Strava Wear OS app, you can record a run, ride, walk, or hike and it even offers Nordic ski and e-bike modes. If you subscribe to Strava you can access the Beacon safety feature. Strava will be looking to add indoor tracking in the future, too.
Suunto's watches are falling better in line with Garmin and Polar's top-end devices, led by the Suunto 9, Suunto 9 Peak and Suunto 9 Peak Pro, as well as the more affordable Suunto 3 and its Wear OS-packing Suunto 7.
When the Suunto watch and Strava are connected, you can track runs, rides, and cross-training sessions with Segment support syncing the data to Strava.
The best way to get the two to play nice is to head into Suunto Movescount from the web application and choose the Connect with Strava option to get the ball rolling.
At the time of writing, no Suunto watch supports Live Strava Segments - if that's a feature you're interested in.
Suunto Sport Wrist HR
Coros might be one of the lesser-known brands on this list, but all of its watches offer the ability to fire data over to Strava. That includes the excellent Coros Pace 3, which is one of our top running watches.
Along with sending workout data, including runs and rides to the app, it's also added new Strava Routes syncing, letting you create routes on Strava and send them over to the Coros app, which you can then fire over to the watch. This only works with Apex and Vertix devices, though, as the Pace 2 doesn't have navigation features.
For the standard data syncing, you need to connect the two services together in the same manner as Garmin and Polar devices, with Suunto watches letting you view all your run, ride and swim data in Strava.
You will, of course, need to sync workout data to the Coros app first, but it's one of the quickest at doing it based on our experience.
Coros Apex 2 Pro
Coros Vertix 2
Fitbit is a great ecosystem for looking at 24/7 health, but it's not amazing for runners. This Strava integration solves the problem.
Once you link your accounts, the data transfer is two-way. That means that while you can view any run or cycle recorded on a Fitbit in Strava, you will also get credit in Fitbit for any Strava workout, regardless of whether your Fitbit was there or not.
It's not a full transfer of calories and steps, but Strava will count toward your goal of five workout sessions for the week within the Fitbit app.
Read this: How to connect Fitbit and Strava
The devices that play nicest with Strava are obviously the devices with GPS built-in, as we say, which includes the latest Charge, Sense and Versa models.
However, don't forget you can still track runs using Connected GPS (from your phone) on the likes of the Inspire 3, Inspire 2, Inspire HR, Fitbit Luxe and Fitbit Versa 2, as well, and that data will go over to Strava, too.
Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit Sense 2
Fitbit Versa 4
If you really didn't want to spend big on a sports watch, Amazfit smartwatches have impressed us with their workout accuracy, health and fitness features and low prices.
The likes of the Amazfit Bip 3 Pro, the GTS 2 Mini (pictured above) or the sleeker-looking trio of the Amazfit GTS 4, GTR 4 and GTS 4 Mini are well worth considering – and they can all be set to upload activities to Strava.
The Bip 3 Pro is one of the cheapest and features a square design. The more premium GTS 3 uses a vibrant, full AMOLED display also on a square face. The GTR 3 and GTR 3 Pro offers similar hardware, albeit with a round display.
All are packed with GPS (and are accurate) and a bunch of sports modes, including running, cycling and swimming. What's more, each possesses SpO2 blood oxygen, stress tracking and sleep monitoring, making them adept at gauging your recovery.
They're health and fitness smartwatches that actually deliver, with good sleep tracking and a weekly rating of your activity and fitness using the PAI score. It’s a single number derived from all your weekly health and fitness activity – and we have a lot of respect for that technology and are glad it’s seen the light of day here.
The Zepp app is actually a great place to view workouts, as well, but it can't compare to Strava for analysis, motivation and social interactions. Luckily, of all the budget smartwatch manufacturers that are churning out low-cost sporty smartwatches, the Zepp platform is the only one currently with Strava support.
Amazfit GTS 4
Amazfit GTR 4
Amazfit Bip 3 Pro
How we test