The best smartwatches for running in 2024 - our top picks

Best running smartwatches
Credit: Apple

Best running smartwatches
Credit: Apple

If you are looking for the best running smartwatch, we have got everything you need right here.

In the ever-evolving realm of fitness technology, running smartwatches have become a great companion for seasoned athletes and casual runners. With advanced suite features, the running smartwatches are designed to track overall progress, enhance performance, and offer detailed workout insights.

Brands like Garmin, Apple, Polar, Coros, Fitbit, and Coros have great catalogues of running smartwatches. The best running smartwatches offer a plethora of features from advanced GPS tracking to robust fitness metrics, comprehensive activity tracking, advanced training analysis, different sports modes, and much more. There are dozens of brands out there that offer the world’s best-in-class running smartwatches that help you achieve your fitness goals.

We picked the best running smartwatches that cater to every need and preference. This comprehensive guide will help you to pick your ideal running smartwatch. Let’s jump into it.

What are the best running smartwatches?

  1. Garmin Forerunner 265 - Best overall running smartwatch
  2. Amazfit GTR 4 - Best budget running smartwatch
  3. Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Best Apple running smartwatch
  4. Polar Vantage V3 - Best feature-rich running smartwatch
  5. Garmin Forerunner 965 - Best running watch for triathletes

Garmin Forerunner 265

Best running smartwatches
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Credit - Garmin

The renowned name in the smartwatch industry Garmin offers premium fitness-focused smartwatches. The Forerunner 265 is Garmin’s one of the best running smartwatches that offers advanced health features and hundreds of sports modes.

It features a beautiful 1.3-inch AMOLED display which is bright enough to use directly under the sun. The smartwatch offers detailed analysis for your every running session. The addition of the training readiness score shows you how ready you are for the training based on the recovery time, HRV status, sleep, and stress data.

Garmin packs its latest Elevate V4 sensor that records heart rate, blood oxygen levels, stress, and sleep cycles. The companion app offers detailed analysis for each training session. Whether you are a casual runner or a seasoned athlete and want a smartwatch offering advanced health metrics, the Garmin Forerunner 265 is worth the investment.

Amazfit GTR 4

Best running smartwatches
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Credit - Amazfit

For anyone who’s looking for an affordable running smartwatch, the Amazfit GTR 4 stands out as an excellent choice that offers all high-end features without breaking the bank. Amazfit has inherited some of the most advanced sensors and health features usually reserved for Amazfit’s most expensive running smartwatches. It offers a 1.43-inch bright circular AMOLED display with an anti-glare coating on the glass bezel.

With over 150+ sports modes support, the GTR 4 lets you track all workout insights via its Amazfit Zepp companion app. Amazfit claims the GTR 4 lasts up to two weeks on a single charge, which is impressive. Other additional features include GPS, 5ATM water-resistant rating, Alexa voice assistant support, and more.

It is a great smartwatch with a classic stainless steel design and a great buy for budget-conscious runners.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

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Best running smartwatches
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Credit - Apple

If you are a professional athlete, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the best Apple Watch to buy. The Watch Ultra 2 boasts a 49mm OLED display coated with scratch-resistant sapphire glass, protecting it from scratches and accidental falls. In terms of design, the Watch Ultra 2 also follows the same design as its predecessor. The 3000 nits of brightness make the screen brighter and easy to read even in direct sunlight.

The S9 processor unlocks the true power of Watch Ultra 2. Apple claims the new chip is 25% more efficient and offers 30% faster GPU animations than the first-generation watch. It offers up to 72 hours of battery life with low power mode or 36 hours with normal use.

Apple packs advanced sensors and health features that offer detailed metrics for custom workouts and tips to improve performance. Apple gives you the most advanced training functionalities in the Watch Ultra 2 which is hard to find on any other smartwatch.

Polar Vantage V3

Best running smartwatches
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Credit - Polar

Designed for serious runners, the Polar Vantage V3 inherits the best fitness-tracking tech that helps athletes achieve their fitness goals. The accurate dual-band GPS helps to find a signal even in densely forested areas and in harsh weather conditions. The 47mm AMOLED display finished in aluminum material adds a sturdy build and premiumness to the Vantage V3 smartwatch. The display offers stunning colour saturation and crisp details and is bright enough to use in outdoor conditions.

The advanced sensors track accurate body temperature, sleep, heart rate, blood oxygen, and stress levels. When it comes to fitness tracking, the Vantage V3 offers more activities than most of the fitness wearables available on the market.

The Vantage V3 has a stellar battery life of up to 12 days in normal use and 61 hours in training mode.

Garmin Forerunner 965

Best running smartwatches
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Credit - Garmin

Garmin’s top-tier running watch the Forerunner 965, is a solid smartwatch specially designed for triathletes. Garmin incorporates its advanced training metrics including morning reports, chronic training load features, training readiness scores, and more. What makes it more impressive is its stellar battery life, Garmin claims up to 23 days of battery life in standard mode, 31 hours in GPS mode, and 8.5 hours in GPS mode with music on.

The 1.4-inch vivid AMOLED display finished titanium body gives a more premium look and sturdy build. Along with health features, the smartwatch also allows you to check smartphone notifications from the watch and other Garmin apps such as Garmin Pay lets you pay for transactions on the go.

If you are looking for a premium option with advanced training functionalities, the Forerunner 965 smartwatch is worth the investment.

Final thoughts

Garmin’s Forerunner 265 is our top choice for the best overall running smartwatch. The bright and vivid AMOLED screen, lightweight design, advanced training functionalities, accurate GPS, and stellar battery life make it a solid option for all levels of runners and athletes.

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