tried and tested by runners

8 best running watches: tried and tested by runners

Lifestyle tracking

Some running watches don’t offer any kind of lifestyle tracking, focusing purely on your training. Others will be able to track things like sleep, recovery and even hormone cycles. Again, this is a personal choice based on how you’d like to use your watch.

Comfort & Fit

I once thought that all running watches would be similar in this respect, but I was very wrong! The good news is that there are a wealth of different designs out there, which means that you will definitely be able to find a watch that fits you well. The bad news is that it can be hard to know this in advance of buying your watch, as it depends on personal preference.

Here are some things to bear in mind before you buy, which may help:

  • Strap material – especially important if you’ve ever experienced rubbing or sweat rash
  • Watch face size – maybe you love a large face for easy reading mid-run, or you might hate that it gets stuck under your sleeve
  • How the strap tightens – velcro will give you a more adjustable fit, while a traditional strap often offers more security
  • Where the buttons are – does your job mean that you’ll be accidentally catching side buttons every time you move? Maybe you have a baby who will be pressing the screen at every opportunity?


I’m no pro athlete, so I’m yet to notice a difference in my running performance based on the weight of my watch. But it’s definitely something to bear in mind if you’re going to be doing a lot of training, or if you plan on wearing the watch every day.

app compatibility

Most of us will want a watch that talks to all our other apps, from Strava to Apple Health. Check the specifications before you buy.

water resistance

The level of water resistance you need will depend on how you plan on using your watch. Most running watches will be able to handle sweat and some drizzle, but if you’re an out-in-all-weathers runner then it’s worth opting for one that is a bit more waterproof. The same is true for triathletes: check to see the ATM rating of the watch to check what it can handle. It’s also worth remembering that some watches are fine with surface swimming in a pool, but not designed for saltwater – not ideal if you’d like to take it wild swimming!

Safety features

We wish we didn’t have to think about it, but running safety is something that we do need to consider. Running watches often have built-in safety features, such as location tracking and emergency SOS, which are worth knowing about before you buy. Make sure they’re switched on, too – our article on the running watch features you need to know shows you how.


Even the most serious of runners can appreciate a watch that looks good! This is definitely something to consider before you buy, especially if you’re planning on wearing it all day, every day. Some watches come with interchangeable straps, so you can switch it from sweaty sport mode to something more glamorous for social events.

Another factor of how a running watch looks is the screen. Some are visible all the time, like a traditional watch, showing the time and your choice of other stats. Others go dark when you lower your arm. Again, a totally personal choice, but a good one to bear in mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *