The Best Running Apps for 2018 – A Definitive Guide
If you search on any mobile store “Fitness Tracker” or “GPS Run Trackers” it will return a large number of available apps for you to choose. Most apps as you might expect, are free to download thus removing the commitment to buy, but most free versions encourage you to upgrade and become premium members and unlock more features.
Running / Fitness Apps are big business and some have been around since the dawn of GPS-enabled mobile devices. This guide brought to you by BIBSNAPPER has a shortlist of the best in the market for running apps. Many of these you would have heard of or you maybe using already, but there could also be a few you haven’t, and worth a try too.
Ultimately it comes down to personal preference, but which Apps provide the best features for free before you need to consider becoming a premium member? Which apps are specifically designed for running? And of those which support wearable? We take a detailed look at some of best apps available right now and hopefully save you time (and money) trying to find one that’s right for you.
In a hurry? Then skip to the Overall App Comparison Table at the bottom…
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The App Shortlist:
- • Run Tracker: Running Distance +
- • RunGo
- • MapMyRun
- • Runkeeper
- • Nike+ Run Club
- • Runtastic
- • Strava
- • Puma Trac
First we will look at what main features these apps support on the Free version vs Premium versions, the price and plans for premium versions, what wearable they support and overall pro’s and cons to all.
Lets get started….
Run Tracker by Israeli company Fitness22 has had a lot of success over the last few years, starting off developing apps to get people into fitness such as their 5K Runner app, so they are no newbies to the world of fitness app development. Especially so as the founder and CEO of Fitness22 wanted to build a fitness app that he personally wanted to use, and the result of this iis Run Tracker, and it’s getting rave reviews. What makes Run Tracker unique from other apps is down to the silky user interface, and a packed features list even on the free version of the app. Run Tracker also claims to be the most accurate running app on the market for distance and time tracking.
‘Out of the box’ Run Tracker features include ‘Freestyle Running Mode’ to track your runs, , customisable voice feedback, integrated Music players that connects to Apple Music and allows you to select multiple playlists to use for your workouts.
The Free version includes just one mode which is Freestyle Running, and will track runs via GPS and keep a history of these. You can track total distance, min:sec, total runs and calories on this run. A great feature of Run Tracker is that you can customise the workout screen between content areas. This allows you to select views between Distance, Duration, Ave pace, Current Pace, Calories and Heart Rate. This type of customisation is common on fitness watches such as Garmin but is a great addition to the app.
But Run Tracker really gets serious when you sign up to the premium version which unlocks 13 Plans that you can choose from, these include plans such as: ‘Couch Potato to 5k Runner’ “5k to 10K” 3 x Plans aimed at Weight Loss, High Intensity Workouts and long-distance plans too. All of these include built in voice coaching but require you to upgrade and take out either a subscription or one-off payment for lifetime access. The plans cost £9.49 for 1 month, £26.99 for 1 year or £38.99 for lifetime.
App Reviews are high for this App, currently Run Tracker has a Rating of 4.9 out of 5 from 103 ratings from the current version.
- • Dedicated to running.
- • Simple but very slick and customisable user interface
- • Tons of settings to configure how you use the app.
- • Apple Health Connectivity
- • Apple Music Connectivity
- • Accurate and no nonsense tracking
- • Heart Rate accessory support
- • Basic features compared to others.
- • Only 1 mode available on the free version
- • Training plans require premium upgrade
- • Plans need a subscription or one off payment.
- • No Apple Watch version support as yet.
- • No Spotify in app support
Current App Store Rating: 4.9 out of 5 out of 120 reviews on current version (3.1)
RunGo – Voice Guided Running Routes
One of the most innovative features of RunGo is the ability to create routes of your own or find routes in your local area (or anywhere you choose!) directly on mobile. Creating routes is simple and effective, by simply tapping on the map (embedded Google Map) you can instantly map out your route. Not only does this join the taps on the map, it will measure the distance in real-time so you can create routes to the exact distance you want to challenge. You can also choose between ‘Follow Roads’ which maps your route to the roads and paths to get you there, or simply ‘Point to Point’ which will just map “as the crow flies” which maybe an option for those who want to run cross country! What is great is that you can combine the both, so choose ‘Follow Road’ for part of the route, then point to point at the rest. Once you have created a route you can save it then start the run. Rungo also has an Augmented Reality Option which will turn on your phones camera and then display an arrow showing you which direction you should be moving in. Its an interesting feature and shows that the developer is really looking to innovate but in reality it’s unclear how useful (or safe) this would be when running. Perhaps it’s more useful when hiking, but then you must consider the extra battery its consuming with the camera and screen on for this feature to work
As you would imagine, the core (free) use of the App to track runs is front and centre of the design and RunGo includes a decent level of features such as:
- • Run with turn by turn navigation online or offline
- • Create your own routes directly in the app itself
- • Browse existing routes
- • Share with other users
Upgrading to the Premium version (£1.99 a month / £9.99 yearly) will give you access to these features:
- • Premium Routes – Access safe and scenic routes worldwide
- • GPX Export – Export routes and runs in the GPX Format
- • Rungo Live – Allow Friends to follow you on your runs
- • Apple Watch – Sync unlimited routes to your watch.
- • No in app Apple Music or Spotify Support
The very reasonable price for Premium (compared to other apps) is tempting to get all the features of Rungo.
Rungo also has a plethora of options and settings allowing you to control speech updates (miles / time etc), both on phone and on Apple Watch, and even goes a step further and allows you to control at what distance from the turn you can ask for instructions between 300ft, 600ft or 1200ft before.
- • Ability to create and share your own routes
- • Uses turn by turn navigation which is also controllable in the settings.
- • Lots of great features out of the box.
- • Very Reasonable Premium upgrade price.
- • Ability to create groups
- • Apple Watch Version (Standalone or 2nd Screen)
- • Augmented Reality Mode
- • Simple but very slick and customisable user interface
- • Apple Health Connectivity
- • May not have as much running data for some runners.
- • No Heart Rate information recorded.
- • No in-app Apple Music connectivity
- • No in-app Spotify connectivity
Current App Store Rating: 4.6 out of 5 out of 28 reviews on current version (5.5.3)
One of the true original players in the GPS Sports Fitness Apps with a very well established customer base. The company was founded in 2007 and acquired by Under Armour in 2013. MapMyRun is part of a family of products which includes, MapMyRun, MapMyRide, and MapMyWalk. It is based off a an open platform which allows it to be integrated into more than 500 fitness tracking devices, sensors and wearables.
The stats for 2017 are quite staggering which posted that in this year:
- • Miles Logged: 824,040,913
- • Total Workouts: 223,293,042 (Equivalent to Mexico population)
- • Hours Logged: 179,596,163 (Equivalent to 20,500 years)
- • Calories Burned: 92,762,178,725 (Enough to power Empire State Building for 7 years)
- • Routes Created: 160,936,847
That is a lot of sweat that has been shed! – With these types of stats its not hard to see why they are a popular choice for the fitness minded. So let’s have a look at the features of this App and why this might be the right choice for you.
MapMyRun has managed to cram a lot of options and features into their app even for non premium users. It has the choice of over 600 activities to choose between, anything from Ballroom Dancing (!) to Bowling, Gardening to Gymnastics or just..running! So there is no chance of you finding one that is unsuitable to your workouts here. As you might expect this feature-rich app has many options to customise your workouts too with coaching, voice feedback, Live Pause, and Live Tracking just some of the basics available to you. And being owned by a sports brand it’s no surprise that you can also log your gear (shoes, clothing and other equipment too) presumably this is so you (and Under Armour) can keep track of when you are due an upgrade and can send recommendation of their own products.
But a real key feature, and one that made this App so popular in the first place is the web-app that allows you to…Map your Run. This is a really useful tool where you can log in with your account and using an Google Map iFrame you can point and click around to create your own routes that can then be sent to your mobile device. Its really easy to use and is a fantastic way to plan your next workouts. Once you have mapped your route simply send this to your mobile which will then sync straight away and you are ready to go.
The Voice coaching is advanced with the option to call out prompts at either distance, duration, and then include pace (average and current) split time, heart rate. It will also provide feedback if you have set a specific goal i.e. 10 miles but providing encouragement as you progress!
Apple Watch is supported as a 2nd Screen, and as yet there is no option to have a standalone version of the watch running, so you will need your iphone to be with you when using the wearable version. Unlike many other Apps Watch versions, The Watch version has a fantastic UI with lots of data available, Including Time, Duration and Pace and Heart Rate, including Recovery zones.
The App can be integrated with other apps or devices too such as Garmin Connect, MyFitness Pal and various heart rate monitors including Fitbit, Jawbone, Polar, and all Under Armour Connected devices. If you are using this for Cycling, then there are many options to configure your app to ensure the data is accurate including tyre sizes, Bike Cadence, Power, Stride Sensor and many more.
Apple Music integration is supported, allowing you to sync your playlists, Artists or Albums and control whether to shuffle, repeat and allow AutoPlay. Its shame though that you are not able to control Music within the Watch App meaning you would need to either use remote on your headphones or switch to the Music App on Phone or Watch to change. What is really cool about the music support on MapMyRun is it will publish your ‘soundtrack’ to the workout, i.e. if you were listening to ‘The Prodigy’ it will show which tracks in order these were played!
It’s not surprising either to learn that MayMyRun has established a big user-community and has many excellent features for you to connect with your friends or other like-minded fitness enthusiasts. The community tab on the app allows you to view all the latest updates from around the world, where you can view, comment or like people’s posts, see what your friends have been up to.
MapMyRun really does have it all, but whether or not you want to spend the extra money to unlock the full features maybe a blocker, especially if you are happy with the offerings of the free version, but if you are looking for a fully featured, customizable, all rounder that does exactly what you would expect from a fitness app, then look no further.
- • Huge amount of features available
- • Almost every activity type support.
- • Ability to map your routes that are synced to your mobile.
- • Great Community Features
- • Tons of connected gear and apps.
- • Excellent Voice Coaching
- • Training Plans (Premium)
- • Apple Health Connectivity
- • Apple Music Connectivity
- • Spotify Connectivity
- • Apple Watch Support (2nd Screen only)
- • Premium Version required for Live Tracking, Training Plans and HR Zones
- • Expensive for Premium
- • No Standalone Apple Watch version
Current App Store Rating: 4.7 out of 5 out of 11.2k reviews on current version (17.12.2)
Runkeeper is another GPS Enabled Fitness App that has been around nearly from the start of the Smartphone era. Established in 2008 and like many other Fitness Apps was acquired by a sports brand, this time by Asics in 2016. With over 50 million users and counting, Runkeeper has a high level of features that should satisfy the casual runner, or the fitness enthusiasts alike. Runkeeper was named best of App Store in 2015, quite an achievement for such a busy market so let’s take a look at why this App has such accolade and maybe the choice for you.
Out of the box on the free version there are a lot of good features for you to enjoy straight away, the premium features are reserved for Live Tracking, Training Plans, Deeper Insights and Workout Comparisons, so if these are important to you, consider that an upgrade will be required from the start. You can try Free for 7 days or the cost is £7.99 per month or £30 a year (Equ to £2.50 a month) which is cheaper than many others available.
Whats interesting is that Runkeeper can also track while in your pocket ‘Pocket Tracking’ allowing you to automatically track any walks or runs that are 15 mins or longer. Although the Apple Health also does this, Runkeeper will add these to your profile.
Runkeeper is big on challenges, and from this menu you are able to view many community and official based challenges to participate in. This could be anything from a 5k challenge to specific event preparation challenges for actual events around the world. And what is great about these is that if you complete certain challenges you will receive exclusive discounts for entry fees into the event too. In Challenges you can also create a running group of your own and set the requirements (Weekly Frequency, Weekly Distance or Monthly Distance), how many miles you want the group to run and for how many months.
You are also able to save your previous routes and load these to challenge them for the next time you step out. Unfortunately there is no option to download routes from other users, friends or via the community.
Music can be integrated (Apple Music and Spotify) although you can only select a Playlist, and not specific Albums or Artists.
Voice Coaching is included and has the choice of 6 voices from Drill Instructor, to ‘Mademoiselle’ depending on what type of companion you would like with you on your runs! The options for coaching can be customised to read stats for Pace, Speed, Split, Average and Current Heart rate, but limited to Time or Duration for milestone updates.
The Apple Watch version is very well supported and has the options to be either used as a standalone version (i.e. without your iphone with you) or as a companion. Standalone version will use the Watch’s built in GPS (Watch Series 2 and Up) for GPS Tracking but will not include voice coaching. Or using this as Watch+iPhone means you can can use this as a 2nd screen companion and get all of the features from the iPhone version to your watch. What is also a great feature of the watch version is the GPS Signal Strength shown on the watch face itself. Runkeeper also have some planned updates for the Watch App upcoming which they say are for improved activity tracking and syncing as well as some other features that have been requested.
Runkeeper is indeed a good all-rounder with an established user-base and excellent features including wearable support too. It may not have as vast a list of supported features, activity types or connected apps and gear, but this may not be negative either, keeping things simple with support for what you need could be the best way for you. Its shame that many of the more interesting enhancements require an upgrade to a premium account but this isn’t different from what many other runnings apps already do too.
- • Beautiful, Clean, Simple UI that gets your run started quickly without fuss.
- • Ability to save your routes and challenge them again
- • Excellent Challenges available to download.
- • Great support for Apple Watch (Standalone or Companion Support)
- • Excellent choice for Voice Coaching
- • Apple Health Connectivity
- • Apple Music Connectivity
- • Spotify Connectivity
- • Not as feature-rich as some other Apps available.
- • Premium Version required for Live Tracking, Training Plans
- • No Friends Leaderboards or Community Boards
- • Not able to share or download community routes.
Current App Store Rating: 4.4 out of 5 out of 387 reviews on current version (8.6.1)
Nike + Run Club
Nike Run + Run Club has been for many years now an extremely popular app for runners all around the world and has established itself as the cool new ‘frontrunner’ in GPS Fitness tracking. With its sleek user interface and big community features, it’s easy to see what has made this app so well-liked. Nike Run Club has firmly positioned itself with runners who use Apple Watch too with its dedicated app being a real showcase for the watch is capable of doing. Of course it needed to be since Apple have their own series of Nike + Apple Watches to help promote the watch as a fitness device front-and-centre and the Nike + Apple Watches have their own dedicated Nike watch faces to use which embody the brand and functionality ever more.
What’s clear from the very beginning is that this looks and feels like a premium app, with excellent UI and easy to use menus and navigation.. You can get started straight away with ‘Quickstart’ which you just hit Start and get going or configure by adding Distance, Duration or Speed goals as part of this. Also the option to quickly access your Music or other settings.
If you want to further customise your workout you can choose Guided Runs. Guided runs is a selection of pre-defined workouts that are either compiled by Lead Athletes such as Shalane Flanagan, Mo Farrah or Eliud Kipchonge or select one that Nike Run has provided such as ‘Just a Run’ for 31 minutes, 15 Minutes Speed Workouts. These are a nice feature as you are given voice coaching against these and are a good way to try different runs and not just the usual flat, distance or time runs.
My Coach is another options available which will help you to achieve your goals, and set a plan for you to follow which, depending on your requirements will include certain distances to complete week by week and also any rest days that are required too. You set what your goal is and the ideal schedule you can manage and it will then populate the plan for you. This will outline the plan week by week so you can track your progress. This is a very cool way to keep motivated and see how your tracking. You can cancel this plan at anytime and restart a new one if required.
The simple but clean interface allows you get straight into action too, from the main app page you can just hit quick start to get moving, which will then use your customisation options to monitor your run.
Then you have the Run Club itself, which as the name of the app might suggest, is featured heavily here. In the Club, you have 3 main areas, Leaderboards, Events and Community. Leaderboards allow you to view how you rank against your friends activities and can be filtered by week, month and year. So the more friends you have added the more interesting this feature becomes, and will certainly provide motivation to get out and challenge to show everyone what your capable of.
Events gives you the chance to search and join a global community of runners and at the same time receive expert guidance from NRC coaches and Pacers too. Although when we tested this, searching for a running event in London came back with zero events for this club. At present it seems that the options to search is limited to major cities so it’s unlikely you will find any that are local to where you live should you fall outside of these metropolitan areas.
Community is dedicated to bringing like minded runners and event participants together. At present this feature is limited to searching via hashtags and those are all Nike published such as #NRC, #nikeplus #JustDoIt and #MoveWith#Heart although Nike announced that Challenged will be coming soon and repurposing this page, so expect this to be more refined at a later date.
The ‘Feed’ option on the App acts as a noticeboard for all your friends activities which includes a summary of their workouts, photos and allows you to like or comment on these. Its a good way to keep track of what your contacts on NRC have been up to and give kudos or comment on them. Under your Activity Tab you can also view your achievements which are a set of predefined goals and run levels that are awarded by NRC, this is yet another cool feature to keep you motivated.
The Apple Watch version is simply excellent and provides rich-features and is not just a companion app. You can view activities (last runs, months) match the last run you did with one simple tap, set your distance, duration or speed all within the watch itself. On top of all of this you can even select a guided run with a superb clear interface straight from your wrist. Together with adding and selecting your music playlist (also controllable from the watch) and setting a schedule time for a run, NRC really has pushed the fitness wearable to a higher level.
NRC is no doubt a well rounded fitness companion, and has many cool features into one well designed and slick app. What’s probably its biggest plus though is that it’s completely Free, you are never hounded to upgrade or bombarded with adverts, this is a real bonus. Whats more you have many features available to you from the start, which many other apps hold back until you upgrade. With a robust and well designed Apple Watch support that can be used as a standalone version, there is no reason not to try this app, and we expect you will love it.
- • Completely Free to use with no ads or persistent upgrade nagging.
- • A dedicated running app
- • Excellent Voice Coaching
- • Guided Runs with real-world athletes
- • My Coach training plans to set a schedule that works for you to achieve goals.
- • Great community features, and friends leaderboards
- • Excellent feature-rich Apple Watch support with guided runs and ability to control your music from the watch and view map post run.
- • Apple Music Connectivity
- • Spotify Music Connectivity
- • No Live Tracking, although you can send ‘cheers’ when friends start an activity
- • Community features are light at present
Current App Store Rating: 4.6 out of 5 out of 6.38k reviews on current version (5.11.2)
Runtastic have been around for some time now, one of the true veterans of the fitness app market they were established in October 2009 in Austria and since firmly established themselves as one of the main players in the self movement, activity tracking apps available. Like many others acquired by a sports brand, Runtastic was bought by Adidas in 2015. Runtastic has a range of products and apps, but since we are reviewing for running, we’ll focus this on the Runtastic offering for this sport only. Interestingly when you search Runtastic on the App Store you find 2 versions, Runtastic Running and Fitness (Free version) and Runtastic Running Tracker PRO (Paid for) more on the PRO version later as we look at the free version.
Runtastic has always been a popular choice for its ease of use, feature-rich app that gets you started quickly with some cool options to configure your workouts that suit your requirements. There are essentially 2 versions of the base-app the Free and Pro versions but whatever version you have they both require a subscription to ‘Premium’ if you want to unlock the full features that Runstatic offer. Here is a breakdown of what is included in the Free version vs. Pro version.
The App itself has 5 main areas,
News Feed – allowing you to view your own activities and those of your friends that you have added, you can then like or comment on each of these. Whats great here is it will also display a map view of your run (if outdoors) which users can tap on to view the full details including the stats too.
Progress – Is basically here to show your activities and allow you to set a goal to achieve. Also in this menu you can view leaderboards, your progres against your set goal and which shoes you are currently wearing. This will also give you the distance you have travelled in the shoes to presumably guide you as to when your due a new pair.
Activity – Front and centre, getting down to business. This will bring up the main screen allowing you to choose a few options such as music to sync, and activity type. When selecting Activity type you can also customise your workout before you start such as sport type, workout goals, voice coach, live tracking, and countdown to start. When you are ready..hit Start to get going.
Plan – Reserved for premium membership, but this is where you can set your training plans which can be selected via various predefined options such as Weight Loss, Beginner, 10k, Marathon or even ‘Bikini Body Prep’
Profile is the 5th tab which allows you to view account information such as friends, groups, leaderboards and records that you have achieved.
Apple Watch Support – Runtastic has always managed to support as many wearables as possible, and were one of the first to support the Apple Watch Series 1. They recently came under a bit of fire when an update went out that only supported a standalone version of the app, which meant that anyone using Series 1 of the Watch could no longer use the watch as a 2nd screen and were also not able to track via GPS without their iPhone so rendered this version redundant for those users. Runstastic were quick to respond to this and has since updated the app to allow the option to choose between using the watch as a 2nd Screen ‘Companion’ app, keeping the purists happy or having the Watch run as a standalone version too although this does has some limitations such as no live tracking or voice coaching. This was a smart move by Runtastic as it caters for the choice of the runner.
Here is a breakdown of Free vs Premium versions.
|Syncs to the cloud||✖||✔|
|Has Voice Coaching ||✖||✔|
|Has Voice Feedback (basic app voice for distance/time) ||✔|| ✔|
|Has Auto Pause||✖|| ✔|
|Apple Watch Support ||✔||✔|
|Live Tracking ||✔||✔|
Seeing the features above, its really a choice you would need to make as to whether you want to unlock more standard features with the Pro version such as tracking elevation and voice coaching (other than in app progress updates) Its also ad free which in itself is a benefit most would probably want to go for.
As mentioned above, whether you have the free or paid version you will still need to upgrade and subscribe to a premium version which is currently £39.99 per year which is more or less in line with other premium fitness apps. With Premium you get the following features:
- • Dedicated Training Plans (Set your goals and let Runtastic build a schedule)
- • Allow auto-pause during workouts.
- • Nutrition Plans
- • Routes (Find new routes or create your own)
- • Interval Training
- • Goals and Records (Set & reach personal goals to track & challenge)
- • Real-Voice Coaching – Dedicated Motivational voice coaching.
- • Custom Heart Rate zones.
- • Choose a ‘Powersong’ from your playlist or album.
Runtastic is yet another solid app that will suit the majority of people looking for an app to track their runs and the free version here really does have a lot of qualities that may be enough for you. But in order to really unlock its full list of options you will need to upgrade to the Pro version then subscribe to Premium to get the most out of this. With a good Apple Watch support and the options to set yourself goals Runtastic would be a smart choice to try out and see why it’s still one of the most popular running apps on the app store.
- • Decent amount of features available on free version.
- • Live Tracking available with cheering.
- • Easy to use and
- • Apple Health Connectivity
- • Apple Music Connectivity with Powersong option
- • Apple Watch Support for both standalone or companion
- • No Spotify Connectivity
- • Pro version required for elevation and voice coaching
- • Premium Upgrade needed for Training Plans, Intervals, and Auto-Pause
Current App Store Rating: 3.6 out of 5 from 41 reviews on current version (8.1.1) Pro version 4.0 out of 5 from 33 ratings
Established in 2009 and going by the tagline of “The Social Network for Athletes” Strava as risen to impressive heights in the last 8 years especially with cyclists however the running features still position itself well in the self motivational, fitness apps market and now has a large core user-base which is growing stronger by the day.
One of the key features of Strava for which its been a success is probably down to the ‘segments’ data which is tracked. This allows for real time alerts when approaching a favorite Strava segments that you have defined, then see a motivating visualization as you cycle or run. You’ll then get instantaneous data of your time in the moment, and then how this compares to your personal best, to your friends or the current King / Queen of the Mountain (KOM/QOM) or Course Records. On the website you can explore segments that others have created and view the times for all that have attempted it, along with their times. This is a fantastic motivational tool for anyone wanting to get online kudos or just challenge friends and other runners or cyclits.
Strava also has its own route creator too which can be set up on the website only, but this is a great way to plan your next run or cycle. This is a well developed system where you can set your waypoints which join as you map it out, on top of this you can also select a ‘popularity’ toggle to show what other Strava users have created or routes they use. Strava also has an excellent option to select your minimum elevation so that you can increase / decrease the flats on the route. These combined allow you to really develop a suitable route that you can then send to your mobile device ready to start. Once you have created you route you can the view this online and then make it either public or private, when you are happy then you can save it and this will then be available to view on the mobile version.
The Free version has excellent base features but there is an option for Premium too which
- • Live Tracking ‘Beacon’ – sharing your real time location with friends or family during workouts.
- • Goals – Annual and Weekly Goals to help training and track your fitness
- • Live Performance Data – Integrate HR monitor (Suffer Score) and power data into your activities.
- • Segments can be filtered by age or weight
- • Training Videos
- • See Active Friends
- • Website:
- • Detailed Race Analysis
- • Personal Heat-maps
- • Trophies.
The Strava Club – This option allows you to join the ‘club’ and view all activities and events from the global community. This is accessible via the ‘Explore’ tab and is an excellent way to view leaderboards of other users. There is also a challenge tab which features various challenges set that you can join and participate in. Again this is another excellent feature of Strava that plays heavily on the community of users.
This is only limited to San Francisco at the moment so may not be as useful or interesting for those looking for local clubs and events.
The Free version of Strava is packed full of great features, which are available to you without a subscription, this includes obviously standard GPS Tracking with Pace/Distance/Time etc, Auto Pausing, Audio Clues, and Live Segment updates so there is plenty for anyone wanting to try out Strava without being asked to subscribe for features that other apps charge for.
Probably the standout reason for Strava is the popularity of the app, its likely you will find more friends using Strava than other apps in this list, and this goes a long way to sticking to the app as you want to maintain your history, challenges, segments and routes. While it might not have as much depth, options or slick usability as some of the other big players it has everything most people would need from a fitness tracker, and also include the option to upgrade to more if you wanted to and if you are someone that loves to brag or let as many people you know that you are out…then this is the app for you.
The Apple Watch version does what it needs to…but no more. It functions as a standalone app so there is no need to have your iphone with you when you run, but this means that you are unable to use as a 2nd screen and therefore you only have the basic measurements available to you such as Split time, distance and Heart Rate. There are no options to control music, view segments, or route or configure the watch screen to display different measurements that might be more important to you. It does however have audio clues which is important inclusion as not all watch versions from other apps manage this.
- • Lots of good features on the standard (free version)
- • Ability to create your own routes from the website.
- • Heavy on competition and leaderboards
- • Features “Segments” which you can create or challenge
- • Large user base which support local clubs to join or create.
- • Apple Watch Support
- • Support for many other fitness devices including Garmin, Polar, Samsung.
- • Premium version is expensive £44.99 for 1 year
- • Not as feature-rich as some of other apps available.
- • No in-app Apple Music connectivity or Spotify integration
- • No in-app Spotify connectivity
- • Limited Audio Clues
- • No Live tracking on free version
Current App Store Rating: 4.2 out of 5 from 602 reviews on current version (26.0.0)
This was a late entry into our analysis since it was not one that we had previously used or known of, but PUMATRAC is worth of a review since its a clean, no-nonsense and very well designed fitness app that deserves to be taken seriously as a contender. First off its import to note that this is a 100% Free app and support more than 30 activities. PUMATRAC also offers a social leaderboard to interact with other users, has Spotify and Apple Music integration, a discovery option for new running routes and much more too.
What is key here is that Puma have kept things simple, but in doing so they have managed to focus on the important aspects of any fitness app…getting you out the door and get fit quickly and easily and using the app is fun intuitive thanks to the excellent UI and screen layouts…there is no clutter on any of the screen when using which made a refreshing change, helped probably by the unfussy black and white colour palette sed for the menu and buttons.
Starting a run is easy, and you can do this straight from the main home page of the app when you are presented with a straightforward screen which displays the time of day, weather and location as well as the ever important START button. You can however select your music from this page (Spotify and Apple Music Support) as well as access Social Activities too. But for those who just want to get going, hit Start and away you go…no worries here.
Right out of the box PUMATRAC supports Audio Feedback on runs for time, distance and pace all of which can be configured for the frequency of each and male or female options for all supported languages.
PUMATRAC’s Social Integration is limited but it’s fun and easy to use and connect to others around you. There is an option to use a slider to filter on Social feeds from 1km to 100km away. It also has Leaderboard support but this is limited to Country Specific and you cannot drill down to more local areas as you can with the social filters unfortunately.
Puma has developed its own proprietary scoring system called TRAC which awards your points for all activities that you do, this is based on duration and the conditions that you trained in i.e. weather, day of the week and location and personal behaviours such as how music choices effect your performance. Trac scores are awarded to your profile and then are used to feed data for the built in Insights function. This is a very unique feature as it attempts to learn what motivates you the most and help guide you to more successful activities.
Explore – Routes can be saved once you have completed a run and these can then be shared for others to view and challlenge. Or you have the option to view routes others have created that are searchable via a Google Map style widget, you can also filter down on distance of the route between 0-10mi / 10-20 mi / 20+ mi. This whole Explore area looks and feels great and is very simple and easy to use, the problem for us was there was simply not enough routes for us to view when we ran the test.
Apple Watch support as standard for any iOS Fitness app, but PUMATRAC goes a little further than standard support, they have 3 main screen one for your time, distance and kcal burned, 2nd screen for pace min/mile and speed (mph/kph) but interestingly they also support a map view on the 3rd screen which is a unique aspect to PUMATRAC as we have not seen this on other apps other than Nike+ Run Club which shows a map at the end of the workout on the Watch. This might be useful if you are running in an unfamiliar area and need to see where you might be and how you get home, but fair play to Puma for supporting maps within the Watch version. There is also the option to choose between many different activities directly on the Watch before you start your session. It was a shame though that you cannot control the music from your watch, meaning you would need to use the mobile app to control instead.
Overall we were impressed with PUMATRAC, its simplicity to use but with deeper-learning features that aim to keep you motivated, and with leaderboards/achievements a substantial social interaction and routes to explore and challenge there is a lot on offer for this app. The app is also free and this is commendable since many other fitness apps charge a premium for some of the options available as standard here. PUMATRAC should be consider above most others as one to try as you may well find as we did, that this has everything you need (and likely more) from a fitness app.
- • Simple, Easy to use and well designed fitness app.
- • 100% Free, no ads, or nagging for upgrades.
- • Save your routes and share on social or challenge others
- • Apple Watch Support (Both 2nd screen or standalone)
- • Apple Music Support
- • Spotify Support
- • Great Social Integration
- • Over 30 activities supported
- • Save your routes and Explore and challenges those from other users
- • Pebble Smartwatch Support
- • Auto Pause
- • Maybe not as feature rich as some might require
- • Cannot create you own routes from scratch
- • Very few routes to explore from other users.
- • No website support for insights or other data used in the app.
- • No Apple Health support
Current App Store Rating: *not enough ratings* on current version (3.0.3)
Overall Comparison Summary:
|RunGo||Map My Run||Runkeeper||Nike+ Run Club||Runtastic||Strava||Puma Tra c|
|Free Version Available|
|Ad-Free on Free version|
|Premium Upgrade Cost p/y||£26.99||£9.99||£29.99||£29.99||n/a||£39.99||£44.99|
|Syncs to the cloud|
|Premium Only||Premium Only||Premium Only||✖||✔||Premium Only|
|Voice Coach (Updates)|
|Route Creation in App|
|Route Creation on Web|
|Apple Health Support||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Apple Watch Standalone Support|
|Apple Watch Companion Only|
|Apple Music Support|
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