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Apple refreshed its smartwatch to be faster and brighter, thanks to a new chip. It now tracks sleep and, since that means it needs to be recharged while you’re awake, the battery can be topped off in just 1.5 hours. Though we find it’s always faster, often back to 100 percent by the time we get done showering and eating breakfast. Apple is touting its new blood oxygen sensor, though it’s not really a running-fitness gauge so runners may not find as useful as more sedentary users.
The Nutrition & Weight Loss are a leap forward from the first generation SoundSport Free. Those older buds were enormous—sticking out of your head like the neck bolts on Frankenstein’s monster. The new buds, however, barely protrude from your ears and are completely button-free (touch gestures play/pause and skip tracks, while tapping and holding activates a phone’s voice assistant). But they still have the great design that doesn’t completely seal your ear, blending excellent audio quality with a comfortable fit which eliminates the dreaded thump you get with each stride when wearing typical earbuds.
This new smart watch is the closest competitor to an Apple Watch—basically like Fitbit’s Versa sports watch with extra sensors, which include an ECG, blood oxygen monitor, and a stress scanner (all features found on Apple Watch Series 6). The sleek square-oval design affords plenty of real estate to read splits on the run. Though we found the display doesn’t always light up when we raised our wrist and the touchscreen is somewhat unresponsive to exceptionally sweaty fingers. What makes it stand out from other smart watches: It offers all those sensors and around-the-clock health monitoring, yet the battery will go five days between charges.
This butter bean-shaped massage gun is a breeze to hold and fits easily into a duffel bag for road trips. Plus, since the battery lasts more than two hours, the charging cable need not come along for a weekend vacation. It has three speeds but doesn’t connect to a Bluetooth-enabled app, so you don’t get the extra guidance that pricier options now offer. It comes with the standard ball head only, but you can order other tips like the cone for an extra $20.
The Forerunner 945 is the most feature-packed Forerunner GPS watch yet. It supports music playback and stores up to 1,000 songs, plus displays color maps so you can find your way around new cities without getting lost.
This Swedish brand is new to the U.S. and brings power unlike what we typically see in running headlamps. The Trail Speed 4XT has a spotlight that can compete with a car’s low beams. At its brightest, it cranks 1,200 lumens but, for actual usefulness, dial it back to extend run time all night. You need a big battery to power that torch, though, and Silva smartly positioned it on the back of a thick headband—a top strap is required to stabilize the load.
The overhauled Pace GPS watch is laser-focused on delivering the best, lightest, fastest run-tracking experience on the roads and during speedwork. It has just what a runner needs for training without a bunch of workout types and metrics they’re likely to never use. It tracks distance as accurately as any other watch we’ve tested and, at just 29 grams, is the lightest GPS watch on the market right now. Despite that, it still has a battery that will last up to 30 hours.
Hyperice and Theragun both have Bluetooth-enabled massage guns. So, too, does Addaday, maker of therapy devices that cost a fraction of other options. Regardless of the price, Addaday doesn’t skimp on quality. This version of the BioZoom connects to a smartphone app for guided recovery sessions. And the long, grippy handle makes it easier to get at hard-to-reach places.
These affordable true wireless buds are packed with features found on top-tier pairs. They work with just about any voice assistant—tapping the left bud activates Google or Alexa; pressing and holding the right headphone prompts Siri or Bixby. And they feature an Ambient Aware mode, which allows the sound of vehicles and friends’ voices to come through without requiring yanking a bud.
These are the safest headphones for runners who share the roads with cars. They use bone-conduction technology to send sound waves through cheekbones, without blocking ear canals. The newest model has a slim design that doesn’t vibrate annoyingly at loud volume and a richer, clearer sound than earlier versions. An IP67 rating means they’ll survive a heavy sweat or rainstorm.
We love the enormous 22-inch touchscreen display and broad range of coaching options on this high-end machine. The treadmill taps into the iFit programming platform, where you can get guided video lessons from coaches like elite runner Tommy Rivers Puzey or take scenic runs in exotic destinations around the globe.
The Vistas are among the smallest pairs of totally wireless buds, with a tiny magnetic charging case, but pack a generous six hours of run time in a single charge. They’re also remarkably durable, completely sealed from moisture and dust.
This full-length mirror is like a big shiny TV that streams a fitness instructor into a living room or home gym for strength training, yoga, and even stretch sessions. During our testing, we liked that we could easily see how our form compared to that of the instructor.
What sets the Hyperice Hypervolt apart from every other massage gun we’ve tried is its whisper-quiet operation. Even at the highest setting, the Hypervolt doesn’t intrude on conversations or detract from TV watching. Like the Addaday, this update includes Bluetooth functionality, with a smartphone app for following along with recommended treatments.
$30 per month
This 24-hour-a-day fitness tracker measures everything the wearer does when not running, monitoring their heart rate and movement all day and night. That data lets the app calculate how much strain their body has absorbed and generates a recovery score that’s easy to understand. Most crucially, it’ll let them know whether they’re really ready for that hard workout or if they should take one more rest day.
This little yellow sensor clips to the waistband of shorts—not shoe—and measures the vertical and side-to-side movement during a run. That means it can calculate key form indicators, like how much time the runner spends on each foot (favoring one side too much may lead to injury), and use the data to calculate running power in real time. Pair it with a compatible Garmin watch like the Forerunner 945 or Fenix 6 to get on-the-run access to stride data.
The Peloton Tread is gorgeous and performs just as stunningly well—a massive 32-inch touchscreen displays live studio classes. The professional trainers, which are available through a live stream or pre-recorded workouts, make it hard to hold back on easy days. Plus, the slatted running surface feels more realistic than most ’mills, and side-mounted dials make it a breeze to adjust pace or ramp angle.
This update to the featherweight, foot-based power meter can now factor in the wind to determine how much energy you’re using during a workout or race. Accelerometers and gyroscopes measure the path of your foot down to the millimeter to measure how many watts you’re putting out. We also appreciated the pod’s month-long battery and Stryd’s PowerCenter website that tracks all our training.
For $60 a year, you can purchase a one-year subscription to Strava. The online training log renamed its paid offering (formerly Summit) and has limited a lot of its previously free features to paying members, but there are a lot of reasons to upgrade: Competing on segments, one of the more popular features, is limited to members. Free users can see the top 10 on a leaderboard, but premium users can dig deeper and see where their friends and rivals stand, too. There’s also route planning, goal setting, and more complete analysis of workout data.