Sport watches

The 8 Best Sports Watches for Runners, Hikers, Swimmers and More

Runner’s World; Courtesy of Garmin

“Strava or it didn’t happen” has become a common sentiment in the running, cycling and outdoor sports communities. After all, we like to see how other people perform and how we compare to them. But Strava and other health and training apps aren’t just about competing, they’re also a great way to track your training, performance, and health, while helping you make sure you’re recovering properly.

While GPS watches have long been a staple for runners, they’re a great choice for anyone looking to track their workouts, even if that doesn’t include logging running miles. Most are now capable of multi-sport tracking, which will allow you to track all your activities, from swimming to yoga to hiking, as well as more specialized sports, like stand-up paddleboarding. To help you find the sports watch that’s right for you, we’ve rounded up the crème de la crème below.

The best sports watches

How to choose a sports watch

When looking for a sports watch, there are a few things to consider that can make a big difference in the performance of the watch and meet your needs. One of the most important things to consider is battery life. If you’re an endurance athlete, you need a watch that will accompany you through your runs and workouts. While you might assume that any watch can last an ultra or an Iron Man, many athletes have found halfway through that their battery isn’t up to snuff.

If health tracking is important to you, you’ll also want to make sure the information you’re looking to track is available on your watch. Most will track sleep and heart rate, but some more detailed stats like oxygen levels, temperature, and irregular heartbeat monitors aren’t acquired.

Finally, consider GPS functionality. All sports watches will have some sort of GPS tracking, but the more satellite systems a watch uses for tracking, the more accurate it will be. This is also imperative for athletes who venture out into the wild, as it can help monitor your location when you’re out of cell service range.

How we selected

To find the best sports watches from the many options available on the market, we researched the most popular models available and considered their features, accuracy, design, and price. We then looked at expert and customer reviews, written by people who have bought these watches on sites like Amazon, to choose the products you’ll find below, all of which have an average rating of four stars or more. .

If running is your sport of choice, check out other great running watches here.


Best overall

Forerunner® 255 Musical Sports Watch

  • Excellent GPS tracking
  • Long battery life

Key specs

  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Connectivity: GPS, Galileo, GLONASS

If running is your main sport, this Garmin watch is a great choice to accompany your training. It has a slim and lightweight design that won’t feel heavy on your wrist; an always-on color display; and up to 30 hours of battery life in GPS mode. It provides a daily morning report, which summarizes your sleep, HRV status, and daily workout suggestions based on your recovery.

It can track over 30 activities, including swimming, and even estimated run times based on route details, weather, and past performance. For those who prefer to leave their phone and wallet at home, it can also hold up to 500 songs and allows for contactless payments.


Great for health tracking

Sense Advanced Smartwatch

  • Lots of health stats
  • Affordable
  • Not the best for serious athletes

Key specs

  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Connectivity: GPS

Fitbits have always been popular with users for their health tracking functionality, and the Sense Advanced is a great choice for anyone who wants to monitor more than just their workout progress.

While it is capable of tracking your land activities like walking, running, hiking, cycling, etc., its ability to collect health stats is its real selling point. It has an EDA scan, which indicates your stress response, a temperature sensor which records changes in your body temperature over time, a cardiac ECG which tracks irregularities in your heartbeat, as well than monitoring your blood oxygen levels, sleep, etc.

Since it’s not medical grade technology, there may be slight inaccuracies in the tracking data, but overall it’s a great way to keep an eye on your health, inside you. keeping abreast of any sudden changes.


The best personalized workout tips

Premium APEX Multisport GPS Watch

  • Most satellite tracking options
  • In-depth training plans

Key specs

  • Battery life: 35 hours
  • Followed: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS

Need reminders to stay on track with your training? This watch has you covered. It can guide you through personal training plans, warn you to refuel during long runs, and can even track sunrise and sunset so you know how long you have to train. It also comes with accurate multisport tracking for running, cycling, and other cardio land activities, as well as strength training, swimming, and other water sports.


Elegant design

Vantage V2 Sports Watch

  • Lightweight
  • Good autonomy

Key specs

  • Battery life: 20 hours
  • Followed: GPS

This watch may be sleek and light, but it has all the multi-sport tracking capabilities you could want. It has advanced wrist-based HR tracking, GPS, running and cycling performance testing, FuelWise, route guidance and sleep tracking, as well as battery charge tracking. training and recovery, which can help prevent overtraining.


Best Smartwatch

Apple Watch Series 7

  • More durable than previous models
  • Accurately tracks water sports

Key specs

  • Battery life: 18 hours
  • Followed: GPS

If you want a sports watch that does it all, you can’t go wrong with an Apple Watch. The latest version, the Series 7, can track all your activities, from running to hiking to cycling, and even offers fairly accurate metrics for open water and indoor swimming.

It also offers tracking for some niche sports, like SUP, HIIT, and Tai Chi. Since it’s a smartwatch first and foremost, it also offers great everyday use features like Apple Pay, music streaming, voice control, texting without your phone, and more.


Ideal for swimmers

Swim 2 sports watch

  • Reasonable price
  • Detailed swimming statistics

Key specs

  • Battery life: 13 hours
  • Followed: GPS, Galileo, GLONASS

Serious swimmers know that tracking your distance in the water can be a pain, especially if you don’t have a dedicated sports watch to do so. This one, however, was designed specifically for swimming and features extensive tracking for both indoor and open water swimming. Indoors it will track distance, pace, stroke count, stroke type and SWOLF, and outdoors it records all of these metrics with the addition of GPS tracking.

You can also track pace and distance for running and cycling workouts, but its main strengths include swim-specific data that other multisport watches simply can’t offer.


Ideal for hiking

Instinct sports watch

  • super tough
  • Long battery life

Key specs

  • Battery life: 16 hours
  • Followed: GPS, Galileo, GLONASS

If hiking is your primary sport, you’ll need a rugged sports watch that can track your progress on the toughest trails. The Instinct is not only super rugged, water, dirt and drop resistant, but also features a 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter, as well as GPS, Galileo and GPS tracking. GLONASS, ensuring that your location is recorded. even in more remote places.

It also has an impressive battery, which lasts up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, 16 hours in GPS mode and 40 hours in Ultratrac mode.


Best budget

Smartwatch Bip S Fitness

  • Accurate activity tracking
  • Long battery life

Key specs

  • Battery life: 40 hours
  • Followed: GPS

If you’re looking for a budget watch that will track your activities without costing an arm and a leg, this Amazfit model is a great choice.

Only $70 at the time of this writing, it’s an affordable option that can keep up with your daily workout effectively. It has 10 built-in tracking activities and a battery that can last over a month on a single charge.

The slim design makes it look more expensive than it is, and it shows notifications from your phone. The downside is that the heart rate and sleep trackers aren’t as accurate as other more expensive models, but rest assured the maps and pace tracking features are on point.

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