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Women’s Running Tech Awards 2017

For The Early Adopter

Garmin Forerunner 935, $500

This is the ultimate endurance athlete’s watch. If you only run, this watch may be over the top in its capabilities, but it’s amazing for the multisport-minded. It lets you track everything from running, cycling and both pool and open-water swimming to cross-country skiing and paddle sports. With built-in GPS, heart rate, sleep tracking and smartphone notifications—and the ability to sync to Strava, Garmin Connect and even open your daily TrainingPeaks workout from your wrist—you have everything you need to reach your goals in one watch. It also offers performance-monitoring features to let you know if you’re over- or under-doing it.

Testers reveal: For all its high-tech (and perhaps intimidating) features, it was surprisingly simple to set up, navigate and sync with other devices and apps. Despite its compact package (weighs 49 grams), the Forerunner 935 did slightly overwhelm slim wrists.

Geek-out factor: You could wear this watch for an ultramarathon—its rechargeable battery lasts up to 24 hours in GPS mode!

VivoBarefoot Ultra 3 Bloom, $85

These crazy-looking shoes are made entirely from algae—yes, you read that right. This lightweight, amphibious pair utilizes a technology that harvests algae biomass from freshwater sources and turns it into a foam, something traditionally made from petroleum ingredients.

Testers reveal: The shoes are a take on the barefoot running trend, meaning they’re great for strengthening the entire foot and lower leg, but you should only wear them in moderation at first to avoid injury. They’re breathable and drain water well, but if you wear them sockless, they might suction to the bottom of your foot.

Geek-out factor: VivoBarefoot reports that one pair of men’s size 9 Bloom shoes returns 57 gallons of clean water to the habitat and reduces 40 balloons worth of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. How’s that for eco-friendly?

Mio SLICE, $129

This tracker goes beyond just counting your steps—it uses a proprietary metric that takes into account your heart rate and delivers a PAI (or “Personal Activity Intelligence”) score. You get “credit” for anything that increases your heart rate, like spin classes, playing with your kids or yoga.

Testers reveal: Testers had varying opinions on the fit of the watch—some were able to find a comfortable position, while others couldn’t quite cinch it to the right tightness or were bothered by it while they slept. Its more holistic approach to tracking activity was motivating, even if it doesn’t serve as the best run-specific watch (it tracks steps and heart rate but won’t reveal your stats like distance and time while on the move).

Geek-out factor: If you find it comfortable enough to wear at night, it uses heart rate to track the different stages of sleep so you can analyze your nights over time.

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Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is the managing editor of Triathlete magazine. She's a mom, rec soccer player, multiple half-marathon finisher and is learning daily how to become a better triathlete.