Best Strava compatible watches and smartwatches to try

Top sports GPS watches that will automatically upload to Strava
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Strava is a great place to store your workout data, and the good news is that most big-name sports watches work with the service.

This enables you to track your workouts - whether they're running or cycling - directly from the wrist and have them appear in the app.

We love using Strava here at Wareable, both for its use of things like Strava Segments and the bustling community. In our experience, you're likely to find more of your friends recording their workouts on Strava than on other apps, and that can be a real motivating factor.

We're also big fans of the analysis. Strava really makes it easy to dive into looking at your performance levels, and, in our experience, does a better job of showing improvement than many of its rivals. You will have to pay for the luxury of some of Strava's best features, though, like creating routes or seeing matched runs and rides data.

Finding a Strava-compatible running watch isn't too hard, so your main job here is to figure out how much you're willing to spend. There's no need to spend big, which is why we've presented options for every budget and level below. However, if you are a Strava power user, buying a top-end device will bag you things like Live Segments.

We've listed our favorite Strava-compatible watch brands below and picked out the ones with special features. Let's dive in.

Garmin

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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 955.

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

Some Garmin devices are more Strava-friendly than others. The following devices can detect when you land on favorited Strava Segments and display live progress. 

Live Segments will show you how far ahead/behind your PB you are for that specific stretch of road or trail.
  • Forerunner 935
  • Forerunner 945/945 LTE
  • Forerunner 955
  • Garmin Forerunner 735 XT
  • Forerunner 745
  • Fenix 7
  • Fenix 6
  • Fenix 5
  • Garmin Enduro
  • Garmin MARQ Athlete
  • Garmin MARQ Captain
  • Garmin MARQ Expedition
  • Garmin MARQ II
  • Garmin 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

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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 4

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Garmin's latest Vivoactive is worth a look if you desire a sports watch that doubles for everyday wear. 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

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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.

Fitbit

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Fitbit and Strava play really nicely together, and, whether you own the Charge 5, Versa 4, Sense 2 or an old-gen model, you can now combine the app with built-in GPS.

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 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 3Inspire 2, Inspire HR, Fitbit Luxe and Fitbit Versa 2, as well, and that data will go over to Strava, too.

Fitbit Charge 5

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Fitbit Sense 2

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Fitbit Versa 4

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Apple Watch 

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Apple has a standalone Strava app that's compatible with the Apple Watch, and it's our go-to run tracking app for the smartwatch.

It's still limited in terms of customization of the data faces, and you can't view workout history from the watch itself, but we've found it simple to use, accurate and reliable.

During our testing both on the bike and running, accuracy has matched up well to both bike computers and running watches, too, making it an essential download for Strava users.

If you're too much of a fan of the Apple Workout app for Strava, all is not lost. You can still have sessions recorded by the Workout app synced to Strava.

Follow our guide to connecting Apple Health from within the Strava app. However, be aware that syncing is manual, so you'll have to head to the Applications, Services and then Devices in the Health app every time. For that reason, we prefer using the third-party Apple Watch app.

Apple Watch Series 8

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Apple Watch SE 2

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Apple Watch Ultra

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Polar

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Just like Garmin, all of Polar's sports watches offer integration with Strava.

There's Live Segment support available on some of the newer and more expensive models, too, including the Polar Pacer, Polar Pacer Pro, Vantage V2, Vantage M2 and the Polar Grit X and Grit X Pro.

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

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Polar Grit X

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Polar Vantage V

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Samsung Galaxy Watch / Wear OS watches

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While we could include even older Samsung models here, last year's Galaxy Watch 4 and the current Galaxy Watch 5 are what will get you the best Strava integration. That's because these generations run on Wear OS 3, with the Galaxy Store replaced by the Google Play Store. That 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 Wear OS 2-running devices, so you're going to need something like the latest Galaxy Watch models (or the Google Pixel Watch, for example) to access it. Devices like the Fossil Gen 6 and the TicWatch Pro 3 have the capability to run it, as well.

From the 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.

The Galaxy Watch does also offer built-in GPS to track activities like running and cycling, plus makes use of sensors like the heart rate monitor and barometer.

Samsung's most recent smartwatches are currently the best Wear OS options on the market, performing a solid job on the whole as a sports watch. With better support for one of the biggest apps, Strava, they have even more appeal.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

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Suunto

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Suunto's watches are falling better in line with Garmin and Polar's top-end devices, led by the Suunto 9, the Suunto 9 Peak and 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 9

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Suunto Sport Wrist HR

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Coros Pace 2/Coros Vertix 2/Coros Apex

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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 2, 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. 

Keep an eye on the Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro, as well, which have recently been announced. 

Coros Pace 2

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Coros Apex Pro

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Coros Vertix 2

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Amazfit GTS3, GTS2 Mini and Bip 3 Pro

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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 3, GTR 3, GTR 3 Pro 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 GTR 3 Pro

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Amazfit GTS2 Mini

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Amazfit Bip 3 Pro

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James Stables

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James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.


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