11 Best Smartwatch for Running with Strava Support in 2021

Working out during this pandemic era isn’t what it used to be. With lockdowns and restricted activities outside, it’s easy to feel demotivated when doing an exercise at home.

Luckily though people keep coming out with new ways to keep working out even during these hard times. One of which is through a social sharing platform such as Strava.

Combining a social platform and fitness-tracking app, Strava is known as the “social network for Athletes.” However, since the pandemic hits and gyms are closed, more people are joining in.

Functionality is one of the reasons why Strava became popular.  Not only does it help you keep track of your exercises, but it also lets you connect with other people as well.

One of the features that Strava does best is its running and cycling tracking system. Moreover, the app is also compatible with a wide variety of smartwatches.

In this article, we have rounded up the 11 best Strava-compatible smartwatch options for this year!

Best Smartwatch for Running with Strava Support in 2021

Here’s a list of the best Strava-compatible smartwatches that you get this year!

1. Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 945

The first smartwatch of our pick falls on the Garmin Forerunner 945. Released back in April 2019, the Forerunner 945 is designed for athletes and health-driven people.

The watch comes with many great features to support exercises such as trackers, performance metrics with accurate numbers, full-colored maps, and a safety tracking feature. 

Not only that but The Forerunner 945 also contains an internal altimeter and barometer as well. It collects elevation and pressure data at all times, even in low power modes.

It shows a VO2 max. estimation on the watch display as a number and a description. Users can also view more information about it on their Garmin Connect™ account.

Additionally, the device also comes with a wrist-based pulse oximeter to keep track of the oxygen saturation in your blood, making it safer to push yourself while working out.

As of right now, the Garmin Forerunner 945 retails for $599.99 and is available in three different colors of blue, black, and whitestone.

2. Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6

Another great smartwatch option comes from the Apple watch series 6. Released in September 2020, the series offers three different variants: 40mm, 44mm, and acellular one.

Despite not being a sports watch, the Apple smartwatch series 6 comes with many features to support your exercises. Fitness tracking, metrics, ECG, sensors, you name it.

The Apple Watch Series 6 offers an always-on altimeter that lets users track their current elevation in real-time. Apple also equips the series with a barometer as another alternative.

In addition, the series 6 can also record an estimate of your VO2 max using the heart and motion sensors during an outdoor walk, run, hike, or any exercise.

For the most part, all sensors on the Apple Watch Series 6 are quite accurate when positioned well and used without any movement. 

The watch series come with a wide variety of color options and prices for different variations. As of right now, the series 6 starts at $399 for the 40mm and $429 for the 44mm variant. 

Meanwhile, the cellular variant adds an extra $100 price tag to the watch. Colors and variants available to purchase include:

  • Silver (aluminum and stainless steel)
  • Gold (aluminum and stainless steel)
  • Space Gray (aluminum)
  • Blue (aluminum)
  • Product RED (aluminum)
  • Graphite (stainless steel)
  • Space Black (stainless steel and titanium)
  • Titanium (titanium)

3. Polar Vantage M2

Polar Vantage M2

The Polar Vantage M2 is another great option when it comes to the best smartwatch with Strava support. Released in March this year, the watch is now available in the US, UK, and Australia.

Unlike the Vantage V2 that uses a barometer and compass for wrist-based tracking to provide fitness metrics, the M2 variant can only provide these metrics using a separate sensor.

Despite the obvious lack though, the Vantage M2 is still equipped with activity tracking that captures steps, distance, inactivity alerts, as well as an active time and goals.

If you want to know your current fitness level without having to do the exercise first, the watch also comes with a simple 5-minutes fitness assessment that also gives a VO2Max estimate.

However, the Polar Vantage M2 doesn’t log SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation level). It only measures the heart rate around the watch through a wrist-based sensor.

As of right now, the Polar Vantage M2 retails for $300 and is available in 4 different colors of black-gray, gold-champagne, gray-yellow, and brown-copper.

4. Suunto 9 Peak

Suunto 9 Peak

Released recently on June 12th, 2021, the Suunto 9 Peak is an ultra-thin, compact GPS watch with useful Sports features and many more.

Priced at  $569, the Suunto 9 Peak comes with over 80 sport modes, weather functions, over-the-air updates, and intelligent battery modes.

The watch uses stainless steel for strong metal construction with sapphire glass that makes it look fancy and sophisticated.

The Suunto 9 peak has all the features of its predecessor, the Suunto 9 Baro but in a much more compact format. It offers the same barometric altimeter, wrist cardio, and pulse oximeter.

You can get the watch in a few different color variations of all black, granite blue titanium, white titanium, moss gray. It’s water-resistant up to 100 m and has up to 170 hours of optimal use.



If you’re looking for a Sports watch with an easy-to-use interface and simple trackings, the Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL might be a good choice. 

The watch comes with 24/7 data tracking that tracks heart rate, step, and calorie information to help you reach training goals. There’s also a planned workout feature for optimal fitness.

The Wahoo ELMNT primarily calculates elevation data from a barometric altimeter which measures air pressure. It also has an optical HR sensor to track fitness activity.

However, the RIVAL doesn’t measure VO2 max or Spo2 nor does it predict your 5k or marathon run times and measure your stress level like other smartwatches.

The Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL was released in November 2020 and is currently available to buy from its official website with a price tag of $379 in the colors of Stealth grey or Kona white.



If you’re looking for an affordable watch, the COROS PACE 2 is a good option. With only $200, you can get this watch in many different variations and colors.

The base color options come in dark navy and white with nylon or silicone bands. Meanwhile, the other options available are seasonal and come in Red, Gold, and Green with silicone straps.

Despite being released last year on the 25th of August, the COROS Pace 2 still stands tall among its competitors today. It has all the necessary features Sports watches need.

Its barometric altimeter can be used for pretty accurate elevation readings. Besides that, it also converts the air pressure reading to elevation, making it more convenient for outdoor exercise.

It also gives two options for tracking your daily VO2max estimate: through the app or through the watch itself. In addition, the watch comes with a wrist-based SpO2 detection technology.

7. Garmin Fenix 6

Garmin fenix 6

Just like any other Garmen watches, the Garmin Fenix 6 released in November 2019 is a stylish and fancy smartwatch with Sports support features. 

With a starting price of $549, the watch is still arguably one of the best date options.  It comes with many different variants, giving users the freedom to style their watch.

In addition to its style and design, the Fenix 6 also lets users set the sensors used in watch mode. By default, the altimeter and barometer are set according to your movement. 

Users can also easily see their VO2 max estimate on the watch’s color gauge or the Garmin Connect account. The Garmin Connect provides more information about your fitness status.

Besides all that, users can also choose to manually use the oximeter reading or turn on the all-day reading that analyzes your oxygen saturation and your elevation at all times.

8. Garmin Instinct Solar

Garmin Instinct Solar

Another great watch option from Garmin is the Garmin Instinct Solar. Priced less than most Garmin watches (at $300), the watch is still equipped with great features.

Starting from a health monitor, GPS, compass, altitude meter, oximeter, sleep analysis, body stress levels, and many more. In addition, the watch also has solar charging technology.

One of the best features of the Garmin Instinct Solar is its all-day health monitor. The monitor can show heart rate and oxygen saturation information in real-time.

Besides that, the Garmin Connect application comes with a hydration reminder, sleep time analysis, stress levels, and barometric altimeter changes.

Released back in July 2020, the Garmin Solar Instinct comes with 5 different color variations of Graphite, Tidal Blue, Orchid, Sunburst, and Flame Red.



If you need fancy Sports watches with many additional features, the Apex Pro from Coros is one of the best ones. Priced at $499, the watch was released in September 2019.

Despite being two years old the features it offers can still compete with the new ones we have today. Realtime blood monitoring, long battery life, touch screen technology, you name it!

In addition, the Apex Pro barometric altimeter measures air pressure and predicts weather changes. It can also be used to determine changes in altitude for greater GPS accuracy.

For exercises, the Apex Pro estimates your VO2 max-based workout on data such as heart rate and also pace from your recent exercises. It is tested in the lab and is claimed to be accurate. 

Moreover, to correctly measure your Spo2, the Apex pro comes with 24/7 monitoring that provides hourly evaluations. It will let you know whether you need to push harder or rest.

As of right now, the Apex Pro is still available for purchase through its official website or any authorized store worldwide. It comes in 3 different colors of black, silver, and white

10. Garmin vívoactive 4

Garmin vivoactive 4

For a more affordable option from Garmin, the Vivoactive 4 released in September 2019 is definitely a good choice.  With only $299, you can get this watch in many variations.

Starting from a light gold stainless steel bezel with dust rose case, to a rose gold stainless steel bezel with white case, users get to fully customize the watch to their liking.

In addition to its customization, the Vivoactive 4 also comes with enough features needed for a Sports watch. Barometric altimeter, oximeter,  GPS, you name it!

Its barometric altimeter data will be shown after it has been recorded during your exercise. However, you can also opt to add a date field with it to a GPS activity.

Besides that, the wrist-based sensors of the Vivoactive 4 also offer VO2Max estimation and Spo2 readings to monitor your blood oxygen saturation. It shows Spo2 as a percentage.

As of right now, the Vivoactive 4 can be purchased directly through the Garmin official website, eCommerce stores, or any authorized store.

11. Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

Our last pick for the best Smartwatch for running is the Fitbit Versa 3. Released at the end of September 2020, the Fitbit Versa is an affordable health & fitness smartwatch.

The Fitbit versa 3 comes with a built-in GPS, active zone minutes, goals-based exercises, built-in voice assistants, and many other great features.

It uses a wrist-based heart rate monitor, an altimeter reading, and other basic fitness sensors that allow users to track all-day activity as well as sleep.

In addition to that, the versa 3 also supports a connected GPS to help users map outdoor workouts when they have their phones with them.

To calculate your VO2 max estimate, the versa 3 uses your heart rate and shows it on the Fitbit app. Meanwhile, your Spo2 saturation will be displayed on the clock face in real-time.

As of right now, the Fitbit Versa 3 retails for $229 and comes in many different color variations including black/black aluminum, midnight/soft gold aluminum, and pink clay/soft gold aluminum.

Wrapping up!

There you have it! In this article, we have given you a list of the 11 best Smartwatches for Running with Strava support this year along with its prices and features.

We hope this article finds you well! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment down below. Good luck and we hope to see you in another article!

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