Strava compatible watches: Best devices to help you ditch your smartphone

You'll finally be able to run wild and free
Strava compatible watches

If you're a fan of Strava but are tired of being tethered to your smartphone when you exercise, there's good news: plenty of smartwatches are out there to give you the freedom you crave.

The fitness tracking app isn't just easier to use from your wrist, but this also gives you the opportunity to tap into more advanced metrics, accurate GPS and the packed Strava community.

Essential reading: The best running apps

So if you're ready to take the next step in the Strava universe and compete against fellow cyclist and runners on a refreshed scale, read on to take a look at some of the hardware that can get you there.

TomTom Adventurer

Strava compatible watches

Built in the mould of the Spark 3, a Wareable favourite, the TomTom Adventurer is able to assist you with all kinds of outdoor activities.

When it comes to Strava compatibility, it's also up there with the best. This is largely thanks to its route exploration mode, which enables you to upload GPX routes to the watch via the TomTom web app, which you can then follow on the watch.

TomTom's own interface works well, but its impressively seamless integration with Strava helps you enjoy the best of both worlds.

$349.99, tomtom.com | Amazon

Apple Watch Series 2

Strava compatible watches

We waited, saw the GPS-less Apple Watch drop, waited some more, then were finally treated to a standalone Strava app that's compatible with the Apple Watch Series 2. Problem solved, right?

Well, not exactly. While this is a nice addition to the third-party mix, it still isn't accurate enough to force you away from dedicated GPS wearables. During our testing, we found tracking and pacing to be inconsistent and customisation of the data you see to be quite limited.

Read: Apple Watch Strava app review

It's better than nothing, of course, and Apple's heart rate tracking combines well with the app, but this still feels like the unfinished article.

$369, apple.com | Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 35

Strava compatible watches

Despite the Garmin Forerunner 35 sitting at the cheaper end of the dedicated wearables market, you're not getting shortchanged here. With plenty of battery life crammed in, an optical heart rate sensor and accurate GPS tracking, this rounds out as a fairly complete package.

The problem, of course, is that Garmin Connect isn't nearly as fun, informative and motivating as Strava. Thankfully, you can link your account with the app for seamless syncing of runs, cycles and swims.

Essential reading: How to connect Garmin and Strava

This allows you to get the best of both worlds: Garmin Connect's handy insights and workout history and Strava's impressive Segments, leaderboards and social features. It's win-win here.

$199.99, garmin.com| Amazon

Polar M200

Strava compatible watches

Similar to Garmin's affordable option, you also have the choice to side with the Polar M200 – an easy-to-navigate device that doesn't need charging after every run and can remain independent from your phone thanks to a built-in GPS.

Its integration with Strava isn't as in-depth as others on the this list, but 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. Voila.

$149.95, polar.com | Amazon

Samsung Gear S3

Strava compatible watches

While Samsung doesn't offer direct support for Strava, you can still sync your data to Strava from the S Health app.

The Samsung Gear S3 offers built-in GPS for activities like running and cycling, plus a host of sensors including a heart rate monitor, barometer and speedometer.

S Health itself is ever-improving and the Gear S3 certainly isn't the worst device out there that can track your activity. You'll just have to live with the odd inconsistency with regards to heart rate and GPS.

$349, samsung.com | Amazon

LG Watch Sport

Strava compatible watches

With Android Wear 2.0 and its standalone app goodness recently hitting the masses, you're free to enjoy Strava on Android without your phone for the first time.

While the scope is there for pretty much any device rocking Google's new OS to get involved, the LG Watch Sport is, so far, the best in class. Sure, it has a slightly chunky case, but you'll be too busy running wild and enjoying the untethered GPS and heart rate experience to care.

$249, lg.com | Amazon


Shop for recommended smartwatches on Amazon

Samsung Gear S3
Samsung Gear S3
$299
Pebble 2
Pebble 2
$74
Apple Watch Series 2
Apple Watch Series 2
$307.99
Garmin Vivoactive HR
Garmin Vivoactive HR
$199.99

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4 Comments

  • Ggggg says:

    The Garmin Fenix 3 or 5 will beat any of these watches for accuracy, raw features (for sports), and battery life. Plus you can use a foot pod if you do a lot of trail running with no GPS reception. It's way more accurate than any watches internal accelerometer. Plus you can dive with it and do triathlons. Try doing that with an Apple watch.

    Also what is wrong with Garmin connect? You get way more granular data like run caidance and stride length. Plus you can easily sync to TP or Strava if you want to compete for segments, but I guess you did mention that part.

    • j.stables says:

      Agree! We find Strava a better motivator than GC, but you're right, they both have their place. Love the Fenix range, and are waiting to complete our Fenix 5 review before recommending here.

  • judgepd says:

    How did you manage to write this article without mentioning a watch created in conjunction with Strava, namely the New Balance RunIQ?

    • j.stables says:

      Because we haven't finished reviewing the RunIQ yet, thus not able to recommend.

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