Swimming? Check. Hiking? Check! Running? Check. If you’re shopping for a fitness tracker that tracks your favorite activities, today’s choices are better than ever. Manufacturers have answered the call for faster, sleeker, and more customized fitness trackers for however you like to work out — in the water, on the trails, or even indoor running!
How to shop
Most wearables use an accelerometer to capture your movement and measure your steps. Some also have GPS built-in, which is helpful for mapping out your running, walking, or cycling. For indoor running, you’ll want to look for something with step counting, customizable stride length, and duration tracking. Keep an eye out for these basic features:
- Step count
- Activity duration
- A dedicated treadmill mode and activity auto-detection
- A compatible mobile or web app to fine-tune your activities and review accuracy
With that in mind, here are our top three picks.
Fitbit Charge 3
The latest Fitbit model has a built in “treadmill mode” that tracks steps and heart rate during your workout session, while disabling GPS functions. If your stride length is calibrated correctly, you’ll get an accurate recording of your workout based on your steps. (Just don’t hold on to the bar! That will throw off your data, and burns fewer calories.)
As a bonus: if your gym has Life Fitness treadmills, you can also sync directly with that machine using the compatible Life Fitness app.
Garmin Forerunner 15
The Forerunner is an excellent choice for beginner runners who want to take training to the next level. While it’s not as sleek as some other stylish wearables, it’s a workhorse with up to five weeks of battery life. For running indoors, strap the foot pod accessory to your shoelaces to accurately record time, pace and distance.
This trim but powerful wearable was the top pick for best fitness tracker after extensive testing both indoors and out. The Vivosport has GPS capabilities and activity auto-detection, but for indoor running you can rely on its algorithm-based distance-measuring (based on your height and stride). In treadmill testing, this model was one of the most accurate, according to Wirecutter.
These three options are among the best in the market, but the choices are endless.
Want to learn more? Read our other fitness tracker coverage!