SaltyValu™ Guide to Shopping for GPS Running Watches You Don’t Need

saltyvalu running watch guideSure, you could probably get by just fine with a cheap Timex from the big box store, like runners did in the olden days. But instead, here you are, frittering away the work day or scrolling while your kid barely escapes death or dismemberment on the playground as you wistfully peruse review sites admiring a new watch release with about 50 features you’ll never use and half of which you don’t even understand.

Next thing you know, you’re reading up on GLONASS (after a near miss with the boss or despite the glares of the other parents at the playground). And yes it does sound like something you should see your doctor about, or a term that might land you on the Russian collusion investigation if you google it, but suddenly you find yourself in an online debate on whether it is superior to GPS or not. And then it’s time for a meeting or to take your kid home before he bites another kid.

Don’t worry. We’re here to help! If you’ve got money to blow but no time to do all the research, let us do it for you. Here, we help you decide which ridiculously expensive running watch you don’t need is right for you!

Fenix 5

Are you a DINK with an online shopping problem? Did you just click on a sponsored Twitter link for a Kate Spade sale? (Did you just check to see if there was a sale?) This watch does everything you could possibly want other than prep your avocado toast or insert your jade egg for you. It even has a champagne-colored band to go with your Dom Perignon!

It comes preloaded with over 40,000 golf courses around the world (seriously), so when you just need to get off your yacht for the day, you’ll know just where to go. The Fenix 5 comes in three watch face sizes  — finally, a female-wrist sized Garmin that doesn’t look like a kids’ watch! In total, there are 14 combinations available, as if there weren’t too many options already, plus additional bands you can buy! #AllTheMoney

Forerunner 935

Basically the Fenix 5, but only comes in black [insert side-eye] and still looks like a Garmin [insert stink eye]. But you can still buy different straps for it like the Fenix. Basically the difference is that the actual watch part is plastic, not metal, so it weighs less, but bigger. Um, okay. #watchesforpeoplewhodonotownyachts #plebes

Forerunner 235

Are you the kind of person who orders the third-least expensive glass of wine on the menu hoping your friends won’t notice you’re being thrifty? This model offers lots of great features, like wrist-based heart rate monitor and alerts on your phone. No gyroscope, though, which you’ll obviously miss. (Or will you? Better google that!) Smaller, flatter, lighter than the 935. Comes in three colors that won’t match 90% of your outfits except the all-black one, so basically it comes in black. #ThreeBuckChuck #iamsosorry

Forerunner 35

Are you currently wearing a regular watch and an activity tracker? This little watch gives you the best of both worlds. Easy-to-use GPS functionality, wrist-based heart rate monitor, plus activity and sleep monitoring. More useful screens than previous models. Just fancy enough to make you feel high-tech. Four colors, small size, easy to wear 24/7 if you’re not concerned about style and want everyone to know you’re a runner. #justtelleveryoneyouredoingtheminimalistchallenge

Apple Watch

Somehow, the first version didn’t include GPS. Or waterproofing. If you’ve got the cash to buy a Garmin AND an Apple Watch, hey, good for you, let’s talk about a Salty Running sponsorship after this, okay? If Apple convinced you that nothing is as sexy as an Apple, finally, you can actually use your Apple Watch for running. It syncs with that Health app that you never use on your phone, and the interface looks like Apple iOS took a hit of acid. However, GPS will only go about five hours if you’re lucky, and you’re going to have to charge it every night. (Which makes sleep tracking more challenging.) Also, you can’t export Apple data out — so no Strava, Training Peaks, or other online log. #forpeoplewithnoassistant #sad

Suunto Spartan Sport

Are you a person who refuses to buy the trendy things? Do you have an HTC because you refuse to buy an iPhone? This might be the watch for you! It does all the same things as a Garmin and costs just as much BUT it’s not a Garmin! #thewatchyourdadsaysyouwillneverfindpartsfor

What watch matches your personality?

PS I have to confess — I am Chicory, destroyer of Garmins. This satirical piece was written after deciding to buy a Fenix 5s after sending my FR35 back for the second time since it didn’t work at all during my last marathon, for which I bought it because my FR15 battery life was going to be cutting it close. My Garmin graveyard is full of broken bands and only-stays-charged-for-one-run models. Since 2009, I’ve had a FR405 (broken band), FR405cx (broken band), FR15 (battery life is shoddy now but it had a great run; screen options are limited so hard for workouts), FR35 (dropped GPS 3x during marathon, wouldn’t update software, replaced by Garmin, broke band, then turned itself off and wouldn’t restart, replaced by Garmin, about to be for sale), Fenix 5s (is it here yet? Is it here yet?) And Mr. Chic has had a FR205, FR910, and Fenix 3. #soblessed #dinks

Started running in my early 20s and ended up running my first marathon 15 months later. Managed to break 3 hours in my 12th marathon. Pilates instructor passionate about the importance of your powerhouse in running and the mind/body connection. One husband, zero kids, mama to one Australian Shepherd.

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