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Best Running Gadgets in 2021

 

There’s lots to love about running. It’s a great workout, it relieves stress, and it gives you time to think while the miles tick by.

But there is a dark side to becoming a runner: it makes one very very susceptible to a nasty case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

What’s that, you say? GAS isn’t a dark side, but one of the upsides? Alright, I admit it…one of my favorite things about running is all the cool gadgets! Every runner needs basic gear. But if you’re into tech stuff, you’ll understand the allure of running gadgets. And they really can add quite a bit to your running life.

There’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re into tracking your running metrics, cross-training, or just having cool but useful stuff, there’s an exciting gadget for you to enjoy.

Check them out and let us know if you have an awesome gadget we haven’t mentioned!

Top 3 Best and Favourites

 

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

 

  • Auto on and off
  • Syncs with Garmin Connect Mobile app
  • Track 6 different running metrics
Check Price

 

Bose Frames Tempo

 

  • Interchangeable polarized lenses
  • Water-resistant
  • Clear, crisp sound
Check Price

 

TriggerPoint GRID VIBE PLUS Foam Roller

 

  • Delivers targeted pain relief
  • Multi-density foam surface
  • Cordless and rechargeable
Check Price

GPS Watch Accessory

1. Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

Garmin-owning dataheads will find this little pod to be a useful and fascinating gadget.

Don’t be fooled by the pics – it’s pretty tiny! You can clip it to your waistband and run freely without noticing it there! Just make sure it’s clipped on properly so you don’t lose it while you’re on the move.

It’s designed to measure torso movement using the built-in accelerometer. Be aware that wearing this on your shoe will skew your metrics! It’s specifically made to be worn on the upper body.

The pod measures 6 bits of data that your watch alone can’t:

  • Cadence (number of steps per minute)
  • Ground contact time (the amount of time your feet spend in contact with the ground)
  • Ground contact time balance (a left foot/right foot split the percentage of your time in contact with the ground)
  • Stride length (measured in meters)
  • Vertical oscillation (how much you bounce while running, in centimeters)
  • Vertical ratio (ratio of the vertical oscillation to your stride length)

This is really nitty-gritty running data, getting down to the mechanics of your stride. For runners who love to geek out on data and obsess over every little thing, this device provides volumes of info to pour over.

The Garmin Connect app does a lovely job of shaping this data into easily digestible graphs and charts for your analyzing pleasure.

Regularly tracking data such as vertical oscillation and ground contact time balance can help improve your running form. Better form equals better performance and less chance of injury. This isn’t arbitrary data – it’s just a matter of how much you are willing to look at.

It turns on and off automatically, although there’s no light on it to let you know when it’s working. The battery is replaceable, but it should last about a year if you use it for an hour or so daily.

PROS:

  • Auto on and off for power saving
  • Syncs with Garmin Connect Mobile app
  • Compact, lightweight, and hardly noticeable
  • Tracks 6 different running metrics

CONS:

  • No LED light to show if the device is on or off
 

Sunglasses with Integrated Speakers

2. Bose Frames Tempo

Runners who love having music in their ears when exercising may find this unique invention to be useful and serve two purposes at once.

Personally, I struggle to run without sunglasses. I also happen to love my music. So this has become one of my favorite new gadgets – a music-playing pair of sunglasses!

They’re made by Bose, who are famous for their great sound. You may be surprised at the quality of sound that comes out of these small speakers.

They’re designed to sit just outside of your ears, so if you struggle to wear earbuds, that won’t even be a concern for you.

Bose’s Open Ear Audio design lets you hear your music loud and clear, while still being able to listen to what’s going on in your surroundings.

You can listen to your tunes for up to eight hours before needing to recharge. Charging will get the battery back up to full in just an hour via USB-C. You can also use them to make calls or chat to Siri or Google Assistant.

As for the glasses part, they’re both sweat-and water-resistant. The lightweight frame isn’t intrusive, and it comes with three differently sized silicone nose pads for a comfortable fit.

The lenses are polarized, scratch-resistant, and shatter-resistant and will last you for ages. You can even buy separate lenses (like orange or blue ones), or get prescription lenses and interchange them as you please.

Lastly, download the Bose Music app to customize your settings, but be aware that you won’t be able to set up your own custom EQ.

PROS:

  • Interchangeable polarized lenses
  • Bluetooth range of up to 30 feet
  • Water-resistant
  • Clear, crisp sound

CONS:

  • Only available in one size
  • No EQ in the app
 

Post-Run Recovery

3. TriggerPoint GRID VIBE PLUS Foam Roller

Recovering after your run is quite possibly the most important part of your workout! If you don’t recover properly, you won’t be able to perform as well on the road the next time you go for a run.

A foam roller is one of the most underrated tools for speeding up recovery. If you’re an avid runner, you may even have one at home already. But the Grid Vibe Plus is no ordinary foam roller.

It’s a vibrating foam roller – a hybrid between a massager and a foam roller. So you get the best of both worlds!

With a diameter of just 3.5 inches and no cord, it’s super convenient to use anywhere, any time. It’s easy to slip into your gym bag or store in a drawer out of the way.

The smaller diameter also means there’s less surface area to roll across your muscles, providing a more targeted massage.

The surface of the roller features multiple foam densities and is designed to be able to provide the same pressures a massage therapist’s hands and fingers would. Certain sections are flat to mimic the palm, while others are raised and are thinner and firmer like fingers.

As well as its multi-density, flat/raised design, there are four vibration levels to help stimulate deep tissue and provide relief from aches and stiffness.

PROS:

  • Delivers targeted pain relief
  • Multi-density foam surface
  • Cordless and rechargeable
  • Four vibration levels

CONS:

  • The battery can’t be replaced, so if it stops working you’ll need to buy a replacement
 

Analyzing Running Form

4. Nurvv Run Insole

If your running form is just a little off, it can hamper your performance more than you may realize. Fixing the little form problems can supercharge your running and have you breaking PRs like you never have before!

For runners interested in measuring their data, this could be a fascinating gadget. They’re just like normal insoles, but they’re full of sensors that pick up information about your footstrike, balance, and the pronation of your feet.

Based on your unique data, the app will produce personalized coaching advice that should improve your running, as you’ll essentially be learning how best to run on your own feet!

The built-in GPS, paired with an inertial navigation unit, allows you to get the most accurate metrics possible whether you’re training indoors or outdoors, on any terrain.

You don’t have to worry about taking these out in bad weather, as they’re IP67 waterproof. The batteries last for up to 5 hours on a charge.

PROS:

  • Designed to last for three pairs of shoes
  • Personalized coaching advice
  • Built-in GPS
  • Compatible with heart rate monitors

CONS:

  • Some runners may find the tracking units on their shoes uncomfortable or in the way
 

Ice Therapy for Feet

5. Polar Active Ice 3.0 Universal Pad Cold Therapy

Cold therapy can work wonders for recovery, easing sore muscles and relieving pain. This gadget is made to be a safe, drug-free way of relieving pain, both after injury or simply after a hard run when your feet are aching or seizing up.

One of the things we really like about this cold therapy gadget is that you can set custom times for the device to turn on and off. This is a big bonus for those who need constant pain relief and are reluctant to use drugs.

It’s possible to set the device to provide cold compression through the night, for example, setting it to be on for 20 minutes, off for 40 minutes, from 10pm to 5am.

This provides long-lasting relief but also removes the danger of trying to handle the system in the dark. It allows you to sleep through the night without needing to constantly wake up to reset your machine!

You don’t have to worry about the compression and circulation pump waking you in the night, either, as it’s super quiet.

The Therapy Pad is double-insulated and can take 6 bottles’ worth of ice comfortably in its 9-quart reservoir.

PROS:

  • Ergonomically designed cold therapy pads
  • Set custom “on” and “off” times
  • Large, 9-quart cooling reservoir
  • Quick-disconnect couplings

CONS:

  • If the hose isn’t connected properly to the reservoir, it may leak
 

Core Strength Training

6. Stealth Core Trainer

A strong core is essential, not only for optimizing your running performance but also for improving daily tasks and the general strength of the body.

This nifty gadget is designed to improve what’s possibly the most dreaded core exercise – the plank.

Planking is tough. And it can also be pretty boring! This board aims to up the fun factor of planking by turning it into a game.

The platform itself is wide and stable, with a padded surface to protect your forearms. It rests on a flat base with a 360° rotating ball that provides a slight instability your core will need to stabilize against.

There’s a recess in the plank that fits most smartphones. Once you log into the app and choose a game, you’ll discover how it gets your core working!

The games rely on leaning and twisting movements, which you’ll need to do while you’re planking. This effectively distracts you from the pain and horror of the burning muscles, while reaching game goals!

Just be careful – it can be easy to get so immersed in the game that you lose your planking form and end up injuring your back!

PROS:

  • Wide, stable planking platform
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Supports up to 300 pounds
  • Choose from public and private challenges

CONS:

  • Only comes with two free games. If you want more, you have to pay
  • It can be easy to get distracted and forget to hold proper form
 

Swimmer and Triathlete Goggles

7. FORM Smart Swim Goggles

Triathletes who enjoy tracking their running metrics may like these goggles for tracking their swimming numbers.

They look just like any other pair of goggles. But underneath their inconspicuous exterior lies a metric-packed gadget that provides helpful information that could improve your swimming performance.

In pool mode, you can track 12 customizable metrics, including stroke count, distance, calories burned, split times, pace, and heart rate. Turn on open water mode to pair with your smartwatch and activate GPS distance and pace.

But these goggles don’t just measure these things. They display your chosen metrics on the lens, so you can eyeball them mid-stroke.

This is helpful if you have a pace to keep, a distance to reach, or a time to hit in your workout. You may find that your pace improves when you know exactly how fast you’re swimming at any given time!

Download the FORM Swim app to save your data, connect with like-minded swimmers, or sync to a fitness app like Strava.

PROS:

  • Track swim metrics in the pool and open water
  • Compatible with Garmin Devices
  • FORM Swim app
  • On-screen display

CONS:

  • Near-sighted swimmers may find it difficult to see the metrics displayed on the lens
 

Foot Recovery

8. Osito Foot Circulation Stimulator

The feet can take a bit of a beating when running, especially if you’re putting many miles behind you on a daily basis.

This stimulating gadget helps to improve the circulation in your feet, getting the blood flowing to every inch so that muscle aches can improve more quickly than they may usually.

Using Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), it provides a massage-like effect that stimulates nerves and increases blood flow.

A nice bonus is that you’ll receive four separate TENS pads with your purchase, which you can place on any aching muscle for relief. It’s for more than just feet!

Obviously, though, helping your feet to recover promptly and properly is its main aim. There are 25 modes to choose from, so you can select what feels right on your foot on the day.

PROS:

  • Uses TENS Technology
  • 25 pre-programmed stimulating modes
  • Comes with four separate TEN pads
  • Infrared remote control

CONS:

  • Power cord is quite short
 

Coolest Earbuds

9. Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

You don’t need to own a Samsung device to use these earbuds! They’re small and look kind of like beans, but they’re packed with value. If you’re in the market for new earbuds, why not give them a try?

First, the sound. One of the biggest thumbs-up features of these little things is an enhanced bass tone. Those of you who enjoy hearing the bass in your music will find these noticeably different from other buds.

The mid and high tones suffer slightly in quality, but unless you’re a real EQ fundi you may not find it to be a problem.

They also offer Active Noise Cancellation. According to the manufacturers, switching this feature on reduces low-frequency background noise by up to 97%, while still allowing you to hear important things like voices.

A snug fit (for most ears), voice assistant, 20-hour battery life, and wireless charging case add to the value.

PROS:

  • Active Noise Cancellation feature
  • Always-on voice assistant
  • Combined 20-hour battery life
  • Enhanced bass tone

CONS:

  • They may not fit all ears comfortably
 

Strength Training Recovery

10. LifePro Rumblex 4D Vibration Plate

While we don’t advise using this as your only strength training, it’s a good supplemental tool that can enhance the effects of and help with recovery from weight lifting, bodyweight training, or other resistance training.

When you purchase this vibration plate, you’ll also get resistance and loop bands for adding some resistance while you’re using the plate.

The Rumblex provides gentle, easy vibrations to stimulate nerves and circulation, increasing the blood flow and oxygen to muscles.

Using it regularly will help you to reap the benefits, which include muscle toning, improving range of motion, and strengthening the sore.

It comes with 7 different modes, in combinations of 3 vibrational motions. You can choose which would suit you best at the time, depending on your goals.

PROS:

  • 7 training modes
  • Wearable remote
  • 100% lifetime warranty
  • Promotes full-body wellness

CONS:

  • Some may find it hard to balance when standing on the plate
 

FAQs

Still contemplating investing in some of the sweetest, best running gadgets? They may not be essentials, but they can improve your form, performance, and enjoyment of the sport. Here are some FAQs we get asked often!

Do running gadgets make great gifts?

And the runner all together said “Yes!” In seriousness, though, it depends on who you’re giving them to. Some runners love tech gadgets, and others prefer running with little more than a good pair of shoes. Of course, you need to make sure that the runner has a need or want for the gadget before you give it as a gift.

What are some benefits of running gadgets?

Every gadget has its own function. Depending on what you choose, the gadget can:

  • Improve performance
  • Give insights into metrics
  • Support cross-training
  • Enhance recovery
  • Add an element of fun to training
The Wired Runner