The best smartwatches for running

The best running watches can help you track your runs, pace and distance, measure your heart rate and even keep an eye on your oxygen levels. Here’s a list of the smartwatches we recommend for runners.

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Apple smartwatches for running

Apple Watch Series 7

  • GPS + cellular connectivity1
  • Blood oxygen app2
  • ECG app3
  • High and low heart rate notifications
  • Irregular heart rhythm notifications4
  • Stream content from Apple Music5
  • Water resistant up to 50m6
  • Always-On Retina display with 20% more screen area that Series 6
  • All-day battery life and faster charging7
  • Sync your favorite music, podcasts, and audiobooks (For use with GPS models)
  • watchOS 8 introduces new workout types, the Mindfulness app, the new Portraits watch face, and enhancements to Messages
Apple Watch Series 7

Your blood oxygen level is a key indicator of your overall wellness. It can help you understand how well your body is absorbing oxygen, and the amount of oxygen delivered to your body. The remarkable sensor and app in Apple Watch Series 7 allow you to take on-demand readings of your blood oxygen as well as background readings, day and night2. With the ECG app, Apple Watch Series 7 is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. It’s a momentous achievement for a wearable device that can provide critical data for doctors and peace of mind for you3. Plus, you can track all the ways you move. Advance your goals with Apple Fitness+8. Apple Watch Series 7 gives it everything. And thanks to the larger display, you’ll see all your progress and metrics more quickly and clearly, in and out of the water. Let’s go, there’s more in there.

Apple Watch SE

  • GPS + cellular connectivity1
  • High and low heart rate notifications
  • Irregular heart rhythm notification2
  • Stream content from Apple Music3
  • Water resistant up to 50m4
  • Retina display
  • Battery lasts up to 18 hours5
Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE inspires a healthier life, keeping you more informed and encouraging better habits. Apple Watch Activity Rings show all the ways you move throughout the day using three simple metrics - Move, Exercise and Stand. You’ll also be motivated by friendly competitions, personalised coaching and awards. Just raise your wrist to see metrics like distance, pace, laps, cadence, calories burned and heart rate. An always-on altimeter lets you see your elevation changes in real time as you climb up or down. The built-in Workout app lets you start tracking your run in seconds - just open the Workout app on your Apple Watch SE and scroll to Outdoor Run or Indoor Run, and begin your workout. Plus, when you buy an Apple Watch, you’ll get a free Apple Fitness+ subscription for 3 months6.

Apple Watch Nike Series 7

Apple has released an exclusive Nike range for Apple Watch Series 7 - it features the same technical specs as Apple Watch Series 7, and is perfect for runners as you can track your workouts with the Nike Run Club app. It gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Improve your fitness, reach your goals and have fun along the way.

Apple Watch Nike with the Nike Run Club app is your ultimate running partner. The new Nike watch face moves with you. Guided Runs give you a coach to cheer you on. And that’s just the start. Take the next step to better running with Apple Watch Nike. Available in Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE models.

Plus, nothing says you’re a runner like the new Nike Sport Loop. Or add colour to your workouts with new options for the Nike Sport Band.

Apple Watch Nike Series 7

Android smartwatches for running

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic (46mm)

  • GPS + cellular connectivity2
  • Uses Samsung Health
  • ECG measurements1
  • Blood Pressure monitoring1
  • Blood oxygen level tracking
  • Body composition tracking
  • Stream music
  • 5ATM/IP68/MIL-STD-810G3
Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic

Engineered to suit both workouts and nights out, Galaxy Watch4 Classic is much more than a good-looking watch - it's designed to help both new and experienced runners get the most from their workouts. Use Samsung Health to learn more about how your body's performing - see your body composition, take an ECG measurement, monitor your blood pressure, and track your blood oxygen level1. Stay on top of your game with group challenges and daily activity reports, and track your health while you snooze with advanced sleep insights.

If you need to use your watch during a jog, the slightly-raised, rotating bezel makes short work of scrolling through menus and apps. Plus, the rubber strap means ultimate comfort, remaining sweat-resistant even on the toughest workouts.

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 (44mm)

  • GPS + cellular connectivity2
  • Uses Samsung Health
  • ECG measurements1
  • Blood Pressure monitoring2
  • Blood oxygen level tracking
  • Body composition tracking
  • Stream music
  • 5ATM/IP68/MIL-STD-810G3
Samsung Galaxy Watch4

With its slim profile, smooth lines and flush glass, Galaxy Watch4 is the perfect all-rounder for workouts, the office and everything in between. Samsung Health lets you get a closer look at your progress like never before - track your body composition, take an ECG measurement, measure your blood oxygen level and even monitor your blood pressure1 on the go. Daily activity reports can help you pop your trainers on and stay motivated, and if you'd like to take it up a gear, group challenges provide an extra push. Keep an eye on your personal best with detailed exercise tracking and even focus on your fitness while you sleep with advanced sleep insights.

Plus, if you're running in bright sunlight and you need to check your watch, no problem - the display automatically adjusts its brightness, so you’ve always got the best view while conserving power.

Smartwatch accessories for running

Your smartwatch will be able to track your pace, distance, and map where your runs have taken you – but the key to a great run is having the best kit to support you while you’re on the go.

Running with wireless headphones

If you need the latest tunes, podcasts or audiobooks to focus and find your stride, wireless headphones are a must. Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE are compatible with Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro. Featuring Active Noise Cancellation with Transparency mode, sweat and water resistance1 and a customisable fit, they even charge wirelessly. Apple Watch can also pair with different types of Bluetooth headphones - here’s how to set them up on your Apple Watch.

If you use a Samsung Galaxy Watch for running, they can also be paired with Bluetooth headphones and Galaxy Buds, which are designed to work seamlessly with your Galaxy Watch. Their iconic shape and ergonomic design means they’ll fit snugly inside your ear, and Active Noise Cancellation blocks out any distractions.

Running using wireless headphones

Watch straps for smartwatches

If you love running in the rain, your smartwatch is built to take the odd splash - so make sure your watch strap is, too. If you’ve got an Apple Watch, invest in an Apple Watch TPU waterproof strap - they stay flexible and lightweight, no matter what the weather’s doing.

Running in the rain

Choosing a third party running app for your smartwatch

Your smartwatch will track and store all your running data for you. However, if you find a running app which works for you, you’ll be able to see your progress and work on your performance. Here are a handful of third party running apps designed for new and seasoned runners - they’re free to download via either the App Store or Google Play (depending on smartwatch compatibility).

Runkeeper

Pairs with: Apple Watch

Runkeeper has the tools you need to become a stronger runner, whether you're new to running or a seasoned sprinter. Just like a real-life coach, the app will help you set your goals, safely train for them with customised training plans and track your runs and progress.

Strava

Pairs with: Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch

If you enjoy being part of a community, Strava is perfect for running groups or solo runners who want to feel like they’re part of a team. Compare times and distances with other runners, and set up a leaderboard if you’re feeling extra competitive.

MapMyRun

Pairs with: Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch

If you’re looking to try out new runs in your area or you want to know in advance what a 5K looks like, MapMyRun is great for basic route tracking. See where you are on your pre-planned route, track your pace, and set up voice feedback to get updates on how far you’ve run.

These apps offer the best running experience on your smartwatch - however, you can always use these apps on your phone to track your run, and track your progress using the app on your smartphone.

1Wireless service plan required for cellular service. Contact your service provider for more details. Connection may vary based on network availability. International roaming is not supported. Check apple.com/watch/cellular for participating wireless carriers and eligibility. See support.apple.com/en-us/HT207578 for additional setup instructions.

2Blood Oxygen app measurements are not intended for medical use, including self-diagnosis or consultation with a doctor, and are only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes.

3The ECG app is available on Apple Watch Series 4 and later (not including Apple Watch SE) with the latest versions of iOS and watchOS. See apple.com/watch for compatibility details. ECG is not intended for use by people under 22 years old. With the ECG app, Apple Watch is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram.

4Irregular rhythm notification requires the latest versions of watchOS and iOS. It is not intended for use by people under 22 years old or those who have been previously diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (Afib).

5Apple Music requires a subscription. Audio streaming requires an Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular) Series 3 or later.

6Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Series 3 have a water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010. This means that they may be used for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or ocean. However, they should not be used for scuba diving, waterskiing, or other activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth. Series 7 is also rated IP6X dust resistant.

7Battery life varies by use and configuration. See apple.com/batteries for more information.

8Apple Watch Series 7 requires an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 15 or later. Apple Fitness+ requires watchOS 7.2 or later.

Not all features will be available if the Apple Watch is set up through Family Setup. Wireless service plan required for cellular service. Contact your service provider for more details. Check apple.com/watch/cellular for participating wireless carriers and eligibility.

1Wireless service plan required for cellular service. Contact your service provider for more details. International roaming is not supported. Check apple.com/uk/watch/cellular for participating network providers and eligibility. See support.apple.com/en-gb/HT207578 for additional setup instructions.

2The ECG app and irregular rhythm notification require the latest version of watchOS and iOS, and are not intended for use by people under 22 years old. The ECG app is available on Apple Watch Series 4 or later (not including Apple Watch SE). The irregular rhythm notification is not designed for people who have been previously diagnosed with AF.

Blood Oxygen app measurements are not intended for medical use, including self-diagnosis or consultation with a doctor, and are only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes.

3Apple Music requires a subscription. Audio streaming requires an Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular) Series 3 or later.

4Apple Watch SE has a water resistance rating of 50 metres under ISO standard 22810:2010. This means that it may be used for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or ocean. However, it should not be used for scuba diving, waterskiing or other activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth.

5Apple Watch All-Day Battery Life testing was conducted by Apple in August 2020 using pre-production Apple Watch SE (GPS) and Apple Watch SE (GPS + Cellular), each paired with an iPhone; all devices were tested with pre-release software. Battery life varies by use, network coverage, configuration and many other factors; actual results will vary. See apple.com/uk/batteries and apple.com/uk/watch/battery for more information.

6£9.99/month after free trial. No commitment. Plan automatically renews after trial until cancelled.

 

1ECG and BP feature only to be used by 22 years+. For accurate BP readings, monthly calibration required by GP or BP monitor & arm cuff. Requires a Galaxy smartphone running Android 7.0 or above.

2Available to all Vodafone Pay Monthly Mobile customers on a Red Plan. You will use the allowance from your current PAYM or SIMO plan to call from your Samsung Watch. For initial set-up, wireless network and pairing with an Android smartphone with OS Android 5.0 or newer and at least 1.5GB RAM required.

3Water resistance rating of 50m under the ISO standard 22810:2010. It is not suitable for diving or high-pressure water activities.

1AirPods Pro are sweat and water resistant for non-water sports and exercise.

AirPods Pro were tested under controlled laboratory conditions and have a rating of IPX4 under IEC standard 60529.

Sweat and water resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear.

Do not attempt to charge wet AirPods Pro; refer to https://support.apple.com/kb/HT210711 for cleaning and drying instructions.

The charging case is not sweat or water resistant.