2016 Running Gear Guide: Wearable Tech

Tech-enhanced running gear is going to the next level this year, with more sophisticated tracking devices, more versatile watches and some stuff you’ve never seen before.

$469; $519 with HR strap,

Load and then follow a route, and the Vertical will display real-time ascent, descent and vertical speed, and show what’s next. Afterward, create and share a 3D topo map movie of your Move, complete with data and pictures taken along the way. “Power” metrics can be displayed on the watch using the optional, new Stryd Powermeter chest strap.


Ditch the phone and the chest HR strap for
 this all-in-one watch with GPS, wrist HR, activity tracking and 500-song Bluetooth music player. There are no call or text phone notifications. It’s 
a great value, with a clear, sunlight-readable screen, an easy-to-navigate joystick interface as well as zone-based heart- or pace-based training features.

$180; $230 with HR strap,

An outstanding watch with 24/7 activity sleep tracking, Strava integration and phone notifications. For $270 to $280 less than Polar’s V800, the lighter plastic M400 gets you much of the V800’s best features like the visible screen, leaving out multisport features, barometric altimeter, stopwatch and some of the recovery test features.


We liked its very accurate indoor distance accuracy calibrated via the Train and Run app’s GPS. More than just an HR/activity/distance monitor, on its own—or serving as a second screen for the app—it can also coach you through free heartrate-focused run training, strength and flexibility programs.


This is a wrist HR monitor, text, call and other phone notifications activity band for Garmin fans. It seamlessly sends HR to your workout on Garmin watches with no chest strap or setup required—just turn on the not-well-advertised but simple “rebroadcasting” mode.


Stryd is a chest-based strap unit packed with sensors: HR, accelerometers, barometric altimeter and more. Training based on power is claimed to 
be a more accurate measure of true effort than heart rate (e.g., in warm temps when heart rate rises). Stryd’s power, cadence and HR metrics can be displayed on ANT+ or Bluetooth watches that support these data.


Imagine not having to glance at HR, pace, cadence or time while doing intervals—or shooting pictures or video by simply tapping on the frame. The heads-up display in the glasses keeps eyes on the road and data in view without being overly distracting. Control music and answer calls via Bluetooth headphones while texts and other notifications can discreetly flash by.

$199 and up,

The hi-res color screen tracker unit comes with a silicone band and can be personalized with watch faces, frames and straps. Blaze connects to your phone for GPS-based distance and pace along with text, call notifications and music control. SmartTrack detects activity type and, through algorithms and heart-rate monitoring, claims to give a more precise overall picture of exertion and movement intensity.