If you’re a runner, chances are you’ve stumbled into a quandary over which running watch to buy. With a host of models out there, you’re spoiled for choice, with big players in the space, like Garmin and Polar, rubbing shoulders with Fitbit, Apple, and lots of other contenders.
Then come the models. Garmin alone has Forerunner, Instinct, Vivoactive, Venu, Fenix, Enduro, and Epix lines of watches, while it’s tough for the layperson to know what sets a Fitbit Sense apart from a Fitbit Versa 3.
The best running watch is the one that is right for you, taking into account your budget and activity levels, and one that will improve your habits and help move your training forward. It shouldn’t be stuffed with features you’ll never use, but nor should it feel limiting when it comes to training options.
Step forward the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar, which takes all of the above into consideration. The end result is a fantastic running watch, which isn't quite as expensive as some of the other best Garmin watches but still manages to be every bit their equal – at least for most users. Some power users or specialist sportspeople would disagree, with ultrarunners for example opting for the Garmin Enduro or Fenix 7 Sapphire, and users on a budget opting for a cheaper watch, like the Venu.
However, for the watch-savvy runner who doesn’t want to spend over $1,000 in the US, £850 in the UK or AU$1,499 in Australia on a running aid, the 955 is going to be hard to top.
The Enduro, the other watch at the Forerunner 995 Solar’s $600 and £550 price point, might have better battery life, but it can’t even store music and comes with the Ultrafit velcro strap as standard, which always feels cheap, and too childish to wear outside of races. It’s a brute of a watch, designed for one purpose and one only: to last through long races, and monitor your stats as accurately as possible.
The Forerunner, meanwhile, is a much more attractive-looking item: rugged enough to feel suitably adventure-esque without feeling out of place under a shirt cuff. Its new features, such as the Training Readiness score and Morning Report, have genuinely improved my training, and are among the things I’ll miss when testing other watches. Like most watches, it collects a lot of data, but unlike many of its competitors, it packages all that data into useful information.
The new multi-band GPS also enables pinpoint accuracy for tracking your runs and guiding you through adventures. This will become a Garmin staple, but as of now it remains some of the most accurate wrist-based tracking you can get.
You can read my full Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar review, but make no mistake: even without the Power Glass solar functionality, the Forerunner 955 is a barnstorming fitness watch. It’s tailor-made for triathletes but can enhance your endurance training no matter the discipline. It’s the perfect balance of price, features, performance, and design.
Unfortunately, since it’s brand-new, we’re unlikely to see any discounts on Amazon Prime Day – but we can always hope for a miracle. The upside is that its older sibling, the Forerunner 945, is likely to see serious discounts in the sale as Garmin begins phasing it out. The Forerunner 945 is a very capable running watch in its own right, and if you're not ready to drop the full price of a new 955, you might be able to bag a steal on its predecessor.