- The team
- Best Innovation
- Best Safety Feature
- Best Sustainable product
- Best Running Watch
- Best Fitness Tracker
- Best Sleep Tracker
- Best Workout App
- Best Running App
- Best Home Workout Equipment
- Best Treadmill
- Best Exercise Bike
- Best Recovery Tool
- Best Running Apparel
- Best Running Shoe
- Best Outdoor Jacket
- Best Hiking Boot
- Best Cross-Training Shoes
- Best Yoga Mat
- Best Workout Headphones
- Best Running Headphones
It doesn’t matter if you’re working out from your living room or your local gym, training for a marathon, or doing your first 5K, here at Tom’s Guide, we believe in helping you find the products that’ll help you reach your goals.
The Tom’s Guide Fitness Awards 2024 is a chance to celebrate these products — from the running shoes that might get you across the finish line, the fitness tracker that helps you sleep better, to the new fitness program that’ll transform your home workouts if you’ve finally canceled your expensive gym membership.
Our Fitness Awards recognize innovation, admirable efforts in safety, and those making waves in terms of sustainability in the fitness world. We’re excited to highlight the products that are the best of the best — the ones worth buying this January to help you reach your fitness goals, whatever your budget.
The awards are judged by us, the Tom’s Guide fitness team. Together, we have years of expertise in the sector and we know what we’re looking for when it comes to the latest gear. From marathon runners to personal trainers, our team has put all of the winning products to the test to ensure they’re worth recommending. We’ve tracked down the best products on the market.
During testing, we’ve looked at how easy the products were to set up and use, how enjoyable they made working out, and whether or not they’d actually make a difference in the busy lives of our readers.
After hours of running, lifting, squatting, and sweating, we present the winners of the 2024 Tom’s Guide Fitness Awards.
Meet the judges
Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor and she's spent years writing about all things health and fitness. She crossed the finish line of her last marathon in 3:38, with the Garmin Forerunner 965 on her wrist, and the New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 on her feet.
Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance
Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan Bracaglia is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide.
Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors.
Best Innovation Award: Garmin HRM-Fit
It might not sound all that innovative — a heart rate strap with clips on it, but if you've ever struggled with the reality of getting a chest heart rate strap to sit under your sports bra without chafing, you'll appreciate Garmin's latest device as much as we did.
Featuring a clip-on design, the heart rate monitor can be attached to the chest brand of most of the best sports bras. This means it is more comfortable to wear on the move and more accurate at capturing heart rate and training data.
Like with all of the best heart rate monitors on the market, when paired with one of the best Garmin watches, wearing a heart rate monitor captures more accurate measurements that can be seen from your wrist. Heart rate monitors are particularly useful when running on a treadmill indoors, or if you’re tracking a workout without your watch.
It's not often a product makes you say "at last!" but this one truly did.
Best Safety Feature Award: Apple Watch Ultra 2
It’s a sad problem for tech companies to face, but more than ever, keeping lone runners and walkers safe is a priority. One brand that seems to be leading the way is Apple. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has fall detection and crash detection — in the event of a fall, or crash, the watch will automatically call the emergency services and provide them with your location, as well as alert your emergency contacts. It also has an onboard Siren, an 86-decibel alarm that can be heard up to 180 meters away, designed to draw attention if you’re lost or injured out on the trails.
Talking of trails, we've also been impressed with the Ultra 2's compass app will also detect two new waypoints: your Last Cellular Connection (or last reception location) and your Last Emergency Call Waypoint, which will lead you to a place where an emergency call can be made on a carrier network.
These safety features are, hopefully, additions you’ll never have to use, but it’s nice to know they are there.
Sustainability award: Apple Watch 9
From gyms going ‘green' to brands using more recycled products in their manufacturing, sustainability is, as ever, important in 2024. When it comes to making small decisions that’ll have a positive impact on the planet, a few brands stood out from the crowd, one being Apple.
When it comes to the Apple Watch, while all aluminum Apple Watch models were already made of 100% recycled aluminum, the Apple Watch Series 9 took things one step further. The watch has more recycled internals, including a 100% recycled cobalt battery. The new Sport Loop also features 82% recycled yarn, so when paired with the aluminum watch, it's the first carbon-neutral-certified Apple device.
It’s also worth noting that the Apple Watch box is smaller than before, using less paper, and Apple says it’s shifting away from air-shipping and offsetting power demands. The rest of the products are on pace to join the carbon-neutral bandwagon by 2030, but it’s the 2023 Apple Watch family that’s leading the way.
Read our Apple Watch Series 9 review to find out more.
Best Running Watch Award: Garmin Forerunner 265
When it comes to choosing the best running watch on the market, there's a lot of competition, however, the Garmin Forerunner 265 stood out from the crowd for several reasons. Firstly, it's cost — you're getting an awful lot for your money with this little watch, which has a lot of Garmin's premium training features, for a fraction of the price.
Secondly, the screen. The Forerunner 265 has a bright, AMOLED screen, which is easy to see in direct sunlight. We were blown away by how clear it was to read, even in direct sunlight.
Finally, the comfort of wearing the watch. The Forerunner 265 comes in two different sizes — the Forerunner 265 has a 1.3-inch display, with a resolution of 416 x 416 pixels, and the Forerunner 265S has a 1.1-inch display, with a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels. It's comfortable to wear 24/7 and its battery keeps up with you.
Best Fitness Tracker Award: Fitbit Charge 6
The best fitness tracker award goes to the product that's best for most people, and that's the Fitbit Charge 6. As well as built-in GPS, and several advanced health tracking features in an affordable package, the Fitbit Charge 6 is the first fitness tracker to have all of the major Google apps built-in to the watch, including Google Maps and Google Wallet.
During testing, we were impressed by the tracker — it has a number of exciting updates compared to the Charge 5 — the haptic side button is back, making it easier to navigate around the tracker. You can also now use the Charge 6 as a heart rate tracker when using NordicTrack, Peloton, and Tonal gym equipment.
The Charge 6 is comfortable around the wrist, and easy to read in the bright sunlight. The upgrades made on the Fitbit Charge 5, namely the re-addition of a side button and the Google apps, have made what was already a great fitness tracker, even better in our eyes.
Read our Fitbit Charge 6 review here.
Best Sleep Tracker Award: Oura ring
One thing most of the fitness trackers on the market claim to track is sleep, yet when it came to which did this best, one little gadget stood out from the crowd, and that's the Oura Ring Generation 3.
The Oura has a real focus on rest and recovery — when you log into the app you’ll see your activity goal, your readiness score, and your sleep score all laid out simply. If your sleep score is low, the ring will adjust your suggested bedtime, and give you tips on what you should be doing. It’s all very user-friendly, and the app is divided into Readiness, Sleep, and Activity.
On the Oura app, you can use your skin temperature data to see Oura’s period prediction, helping you gain a better understanding of how your temperature changes during your cycle. You can also integrate the data from your ring with Natural Cycles, to see your most fertile days, helping you to plan a pregnancy. Read more about period tracking on the Oura ring here, as well as our Oura Ring Generation 3 review.
Best Workout App Award: Nike Training Club
Getting fit shouldn't cost the world, and one of the best workout apps on the market is completely free, so it's retained its spot on our Fitness Awards list for the second year running. The Nike Training Club app offers hundreds of classes, including cardio, mobility, and yoga.
Like most workout apps, the Nike Training Club app is like having a personal trainer in your pocket, but if you’re looking for a trainer-style training plan, which tells you what exercises to do each day, you might be a little disappointed. There are 14 different training programs on the app and you can only do one training plan at a time. In addition to following a program, you can do as many on-demand workouts as you want.
During testing, we found the instructor-led workouts to be engaging and motivating, and also enjoyed the whiteboard workouts, which show you the entire workout so you can follow at your own pace. There’s also the option to connect the workout to your Apple Music. It’s not perfect, but for a free app, there’s plenty to keep you moving here.
Best Running App Award: Runna
Runna stormed its way to the top of the best running apps thanks to its personalized running plans — whether you’re training for your fastest 5K, or your first marathon, there’s something for everyone on this app. The app itself is easy to use and extremely motivating, with the sessions clearly marked each week along with helpful pointers from coaches Ben Parker and Steph Davies. There’s the option to switch between kilometers, miles, and treadmill paces at a glance, to change your goal at any point, and add strength training to the plan at the click of a button. Plus, the plan can sync to your watch seamlessly — all you need to remember to do is the sessions themselves.
Our Fitness Editor, Jane McGuire, credits Runna with helping her reach her marathon PR of 3:38 at the 2023 London Marathon. In her post-marathon round-up, she wrote, "This is, hands down, the best running app I’ve used when it comes to coaching. Runna's got an excellent level of customization, and it’s extremely easy to use. If you can’t afford or find a running coach, this is the next best thing." Check out our Runna app review to find out more.
Best Home Workout Equipment: Pvolve
When it comes to home workout equipment, your options are endless — from expensive exercise bikes and treadmills to resistance bands and ankle weights. That said, as a fitness editor, I truly believe the best items to buy are the ones that motivate you to move, and one workout platform getting a huge amount of attention right now is Pvolve.
We were impressed by the platform, which uses resistance equipment to sculpt strong muscles, without impact. Pvolve has a good mix of classes on the app — from full-body sculpt classes, to progressive weight training and mobility. You can filter classes based on the equipment you have, or want to use, and there are several different programs available, based on your goals.
Need more evidence it works? Jennifer Aniston, who credited Pvolve for getting her in “better shape than [she] was in her twenties”, after feeling burnt out and broken by intense cardio. Were still waiting to get abs like Jen, but have loved the workouts. Read our full Pvolve review here to find out more.
Best Treadmill Award: Technogym Run
If you are lucky enough to have room and the budget for one of the best treadmills in your home, the Technogym Run is the best of the best. It's premium, robust, and well-made, and there's no wobble when you pick up the pace on the belt. It doesn't come cheap, but our Senior Fitness Writer Sam Hopes was blown away by it when testing at the Technogym HQ.
Unlike the likes of the Peloton Tread, which focuses on classes, the Technogym Run has several athlete-approved features to enhance your training. There's a sled mode, a blisteringly fast top speed, and a stable running belt that mimics the feeling of running on the road.
It's a beast of a treadmill, but if you have the room, it'll revolutionize your training.
Best Exercise Bike Award: Peloton Bike+
It's not new, but the Peloton Bike Plus is still our favorite exercise bike on the market, and our top pick if you're thinking of adding a piece of cardio equipment to your home.
The Bike Plus has all the bells and whistles you would want including live classes, an abundance of on-demand workouts — and not just for cycling — all in the convenience of your home, a rotating screen, and Apple Watch integration. You can also set auto-resistance on the machine, meaning you don't have to worry about manually upping the resistance mid-workout, or if you're pushing yourself hard enough.
Like most of the best Peloton products on the market, the magic of the Bike Plus lies in its content, which truly is second to none. What's more, the rotating screen means you can use it for more than just spinning and taking strength classes off the bike.
You can't go wrong, but if you're looking for more information, check out our Peloton Bike Plus review here.
Best Recovery Tool Award: Hyperice Heated Head attachment
The world of recovery products is heavily saturated — from foam rollers and massage balls, to massage guns and air compression leg sleeves. One product that stood out from the crowd was the Hyperice Heated Head attachment, which attaches to the head of all Hyperice massage guns to combine the benefits of heat with percussion massage.
Featuring three different levels of heat, the attachment targets muscle tension, stiffness, and discomfort to promote relaxation, reduce muscle soreness, and maintain mobility. We loved the feel of the attachment on sore muscles post-marathon, and appreciate that Hyperice is enhancing products already on the market, rather than encouraging people to buy something new.
Best Running Apparel Award: SunGod Zephyrs
These SunGod running sunglasses are so lightweight, we frequently forgot we were wearing them when testing them on some sweaty runs in a heatwave. Despite the high temperatures, the Zephyrs stayed in place, even when things got a little sweaty.
We love that you have the ability to customize just about everything about these sunglasses, from the frame and lens color, to the option to add a prescription should you need. At the time of writing, there are six different colored frames, and six different lens colors to choose from. The frames are 100% recycled, and come with a lifetime guarantee.
We tested the Zephyrs sunglasses in a tortoiseshell brown frame, with a rose lens, and found they did a good job blocking out bright sunlight, while still giving us a clear view of the conditions ahead. Even on cloudier days, we were still able to see well wearing the Zephyrs sunglasses. Not for you? Check out these other best running sunglasses here.
Best Running Shoe Award: New Balance 1080v13
It goes without saying, you don’t have to own multiple pairs of running shoes to be a runner. While some people might invest in multiple pairs for different sessions, if you’re new to running or are on a budget, you’ll still be able to build fitness and train for races with only one pair in your closet. Plus, if you’re looking for that one pair, the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 is a brilliant shoe to invest in.
A seriously versatile shoe, the New Balance 1080v13 is soft and plush enough to keep you comfy on your long runs, but can also pick up the pace when you need it for faster tempo sessions. Compared to the New Balance 1080v12, the New Balance 1080v13 has more of the brand's Fresh Foam X midsole foam, and the stack height is larger, yet the shoe has gotten lighter.
We were impressed with this shoe for long runs, and it's one we'll reach for when marathon training. Check out our New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13 review here to find out more.
Best Outdoor Jacket Award: Outdoor Research Helium Jacket
The best outdoor jacket is the one that can meet all of your needs when the weather turns. The Outdoor Research Helium Jacket scooped up this award, and for good reason (if you haven't seen what happened when our Senior Fitness Writer, Dan, tested the jacket in the shower, you need to ASAP).
Seams on the Outdoor Research Jacket are also minimal and, better yet, fully taped — the zipper track is also moisture-resistant. The Helium jacket comes treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating, which is an industry standard among high-end outerwear brands. This coating makes water bead up and roll right off the jacket.
In terms of reliability, the Outdoor Research Helium jacket has an unlimited lifetime warranty with free jacket replacements. Plus, when tested in the shower, the Helium Jacket ticked all of Dan's boxes — aside from a few drips from the hood down his shirt, he remained dry and happy.
Best Hiking Boot Award: Scarpa Maverick Mid GTX
We've hiked miles in some of the best hiking boots on the market to find the best of the best if you're heading out on an adventure. But one pair that really stood out from the crowd was the Scarpa Maverick Mid GTX. They are snug without being binding, come with Ortholite insoles to squelch odors, and use a Gore-Tex liner to keep things dry. In our tests, the Scarpa Mavericks did a good job handling a variety of hiking trails, from mud to rocks.
From our first steps in the Scarpa Maverick Mid GTX boots, we found them to be extremely comfortable. The outsole is a good balance of stiffness and flexibility. It's firm enough to protect the bottom of your foot over rough terrain while remaining pliable enough for comfortable all-day treks.
The Mavericks also strike the right balance in styling. The ziggurat side panels acknowledge their technical heritage, yet they maintain a level of sophistication so that the topsides don't look like they were designed for the disco.
Best Cross-Training Shoes Award: Nike Metcon 9
Our Senior Fitness Writer, Sam Hopes, is a Personal Trainer and CrossFit fanatic, so we turned to her when it came to choosing the best cross-training shoe. Her top pick? The Nike Metcon 9.
Sam said, "I wear the Nike Metcon 9 around four times a week, and the shoe has barely picked up a scuff mark. Expect an extended cross-stitch mesh upper that wraps around the shoe and provides superior flexibility and a raised groove at the medial toe box side of the upper for grip during rope climbs. The more pronounced rope guard has divided crowds early doors, but I don't mind it, and any help on the ropes is welcomed.
"Nike also improved on the 8 with a larger Hyperlift plate that adds a drop to the shoe, mimicking the raised heel of weightlifting shoes. The dual-density midsole foam makes the Metcon 9 much comfier than the super sturdy 8, but runners will look elsewhere, as these aren't suitable for more than a short 1K."
Best Yoga Mat Award: Manduka PRO Lite
Another brand doing its bit for the planet is Manduka, and this is one of the reasons the Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat scooped our best yoga mat award for the second year in row. It's one of the best yoga mats on the market and from a sustainability perspective, it’s built to last forever, and is manufactured using a process that ensures no toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere.
As a yoga mat, it’s super comfortable to use — the 4.7mm thickness ensures you can still feel the ground during practice, and the mat is available in three different sizes, standard, long, and long and wide, to suit every yogi. You'll feel good using this mat in more ways than one.
Best Workout Headphones: Jabra Elite 8 Active
When it comes to selecting the best workout headphones on the market, we turned to Tom's Guide's Audio Editor, Lee Dunkley, for advice. His pick? The Jabra Elite 8 Active, which is his opinion, are some of the best sports headphones out there.
"Upgraded with military-standard materials for unbreakable protection, they're built like tanks. They have Jabra’s warm sound signature to jumpstart workouts the moment you press play, along with adaptive active noise cancellation, spatial audio, and some of the longest battery life available", says Lee.
The Elite 8 Active are one of the strongest pairs of workout headphones we've seen, and benefits from solid feature support across both iOS and Android devices. Check out our Jabra Elite 8 Active review here to find out more.
Best Running Headphones: Shokz OpenRun Pro
When it comes to running headphones, there are a few things we look out for — sound quality, comfort, and safety. The Shokz OpenRun Pro ticks all of these boxes, especially the last one, as the bone conduction, by design, allows you to hear traffic and people behind you on the run.
Since Shokz OpenRun Pro is rated IP55 sweat-proof, the headphones are safe for most kinds of workouts, even if you get caught in a little rain. The rating doesn’t cover swimming, but Shokz OpenSwim offers a fully waterproof alternative we also really love.
During testing, we were impressed by these headphones and their battery life. The OpenRun Pro is rated for 10 hours. Better yet, the battery can last up to 10 days when the headphones are turned off.
Read our Shokz OpenRun Pro review to find out more.
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Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.