Incorporating running pods and sensors into your workouts is a great bonus to add to your standard fitness wearables when tracking additional metrics. Boost your running efficiency, decrease your risk of injury, and help enhance your recovery with additional smart sensors.
Loads of perks and other features await the avid runner with these pods and sensors, and with so many options available in today’s tech world, we created a list of our favorite picks below.
- 1 In a hurry?
- 2 So why buy an additional pod or sensor to measure your running metrics?
- 3 Garmin Running Dynamics Pod: Most feature-rich running metrics
- 4 Zwift RunPod: Best virtual running world option
- 5 Polar Bluetooth Stride Sensor: Best of both (indoor and outdoor) worlds
- 6 Stryd Sensor: Best for competitors
- 7 Coros Pod: Great for measuring power output for outdoor runs
- 8 RunScribe: Research-driven for higher-level athletes
- 9 Sensoria Smart Sock & Core: Most discrete wearable option
- 10 NURVV Run Smart Insoles: Best “full picture” of running analytics
- 11 Arion Smart Insoles: Best for step-by-step skill acquisition
- 12 Wahoo TickrX Heart Rate Monitor: Good alternative to running pods
- 13 NPE Runn Sensor: The best fixed sensor for home treadmill running
- 14 Wrapping up
In a hurry?
For those that want our recommendations without getting all the details, here are our top running pods and sensors for cadence and running skills
- Garmin Running Dynamics Pod: Designed specifically for runners, this sensor delivers six advanced running metrics to help up your running game. You must use this with a paired Garmin smartwatch, as this pod does not function as a stand-alone tracker.
- Zwift RunPod: This light and inexpensive gadget pairs seamlessly with Zwift to connect you with their online running world. All you need is your RunPod, a treadmill, and an electronic device to launch the Zwift application.
- Polar Bluetooth Stride Sensor: This compact sensor is built for runners looking to improve their technique and performance with helpful cadence and stride length metrics.
- Stryd Sensor: Improve your power output with Stryd’s precision metrics that consider incline, wind, and fatigue. This running pod helps you gauge your intensity to maximize the minutes you spend on the run.
- RunScribe: A great option for those looking to get a comprehensive gait analysis system that can help improve their running, walking or hiking mechanics. This running sensor has also been used by healthcare professionals such as podiatrists and physical therapists.
- Coros Pod 2 – Performance Optimization Device. Want more data? This low-profile pod easily pairs with a Coros smartwatch or just the Coros app to deliver advanced running metrics to improve your form and efficiency for outdoor running. The Coros Pod shows you all your advanced running analytics, including stride ratio (plus stride length and height), left and right balance, running cadence, ground time, and form power
- Sensoria Smart Socks and Core: This specialized sensor is built right into a pair of athletic socks, possibly making it one of the market’s lightest and most discrete trackers. Praised for its superior accuracy, Sensoria can measure calories burned, the impact generated, and the foot-strike patterns created (to name a few!).
- NURVV Run Smart Insoles: The insole and attached sensor are definitely on the larger side compared to others, but the amount of information and insight it provides on running form and technique is second to none.
- Arion Smart Insole System: Another great option for those interested in smart tracking insoles that helps you improve your technique for safe and efficient running.
- Wahoo TickrX Heart Strap: This slim and lightweight chest strap is both Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible with the ability to measure various running analytics and indoor cycling cadence.
- NPE Runn Sensor: This running sensor has been proven exceptionally accurate for those who prefer to run on the treadmill or want to connect with Zwift via their treadmill. It has received great reviews for its incline, distance, and cadence metrics.
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So why buy an additional pod or sensor to measure your running metrics?
When you go on a casual run, you likely track your distance and your speed…just because. You may even track your time to say you “fit in those 30 minutes a day.”
But what if you’re recovering from an injury, training for an event, looking to change your technique, or want more feedback and analytics about your style?
Take advantage of these various pods and sensors for their high-tech features that help provide you with additional information regarding your overall athletic performance.
Some examples of the features these running pods and sensors offer include:
- Cadence: In running, cadence is the total number of steps you take per minute. Though there is no perfect, universal cadence, you can use cadence metrics to improve your running efficiency and stride length by having or working towards certain steps per minute goal.
- Stride length: The distance between the toes of one foot to the toes of your other foot as you run is what determines your stride length. If you’re looking to become more efficient while running or increase your speed, then diving more into your stride length metrics may be key.
- Power output: A way to measure the efforts of your work as your run. The higher the watts, the more power you’re generating with each step and impact. If you’re training to compete, this is a great metric to have onboard.
- Gait analysis: A means to identify any biomechanical abnormalities throughout the gait cycle. This metric is crucial if you are prone to injury or are recovering from an injury. Rule out any questionable gait patterns to ensure overall safety.
- Foot strike pattern: Looks at the mechanical analysis of how the foot strikes the ground. This is another essential metric to ensure your form is safe and efficient when running into your regular fitness routine.
These are just some of the perks you’ll get if you choose to invest in an additional smart wearable, such as a running pod or sensor.
Garmin Running Dynamics Pod: Most feature-rich running metrics
This running pod weighs less than 0.5 ounces, but its impact on your running is huge.
Garmin has packed this tiny pod with advanced running metrics that include tracking your cadence, ground contact time, stride length, and vertical oscillation and ratio (e.g., your bounce while running).
It’s gotten great reviews for its long battery life (lasting up to one year!) and simplicity of use. Still, it has some downticks for being finicky with its placement on your waistband for accurate tracking, as well as its inability to track these metrics if running on a treadmill (and therefore not using GPS).
If you crave those outdoor trails or routes and like to run hands-free, then this pod is a great option.
- Lightweight, small design
- It easily clips to your waistband
- Relatively inexpensive
- Only compatible with certain Garmin devices (see Garmin’s website for a comprehensive list)
- It can’t be used as a stand-alone tracker
- Computes and sends 6 running dynamics metrics to your compatible Device
- Battery life: replaceable battery lasts up to 1 year (assuming 1 hour daily use)
Zwift RunPod: Best virtual running world option
Zwift has created an excellent running pod no bigger than a piece of candy that fits perfectly onto the laces of any athletic shoe.
The RunPod instantly launches you into Zwift’s virtual world of running and cycling, where you are surrounded by other Zwift athletes for some friendly competition. Track your speed, cadence, and distance for a chance to get on the leaderboards.
Slide the sensor down the front of your shoelaces, download the Zwift app (best done on a tablet), pair the RunPod via Bluetooth, and set out on your first run.
Zwift has truly mastered the ability to make treadmill running fun, and once you’ve experienced their interactive world, you’ll be glad you are part of their virtual community.
To purchase, visit Zwift’s store.
- Lightweight at just 13 grams
- Cost-effective ($39.99)
- Easily pairs and calibrates within Zwift via Bluetooth
- An engaging community for treadmill running
- Zwift app is a hefty download
- The best interface is via tablet (and not iPhone or Android mobile device)
Polar Bluetooth Stride Sensor: Best of both (indoor and outdoor) worlds
This sensor is performance-forward and helps you improve your overall running technique by analyzing your running speed and distance.
This pod is built tough with shock and water-resistant capabilities, whether on a treadmill or a backcountry trail.
As one of Polar’s latest releases, Stride is basically an accessory to your mobile device. You do not need a connected smartwatch (though you still can do this, if you prefer). This is a great option for those who aren’t looking to add any bulk to their wrist.
Download the Polar Beat app, and connect it via Bluetooth to your iPhone. Then you’re good to go for your first run.
- Can operate as a stand-alone tracker
- Simple pairing and set up
- Tracks indoor and outdoor running
- Compatible with only Polar Beat iOS (e.g., no Android)
- A bit larger than other running pods
- Includes smart features to measure your running speed and distance when paired with a Bluetooth...
- Running watch is ideal for running on a treadmill, indoor track, or on the muddiest trail
Stryd Sensor: Best for competitors
Stryd sprints past other running pods when it comes to your standard cadence metrics. The Stryd sensor harnesses your power and helps to optimize your pacing, no matter the conditions.
With this sensor, you gain additional information and feedback from its analyses that include your speed and running form, fatigue level, wind, and slope of your current run.
This is perhaps the only pod on the market that measures external environmental factors and how those impact your performance.
If you’re a competitor or hope to be one with some additional training, Stryd is an excellent option to help you run faster, longer, and harder.
To purchase, visit Stryd’s online store.
- Provides additional, unique metrics not many other pods offer
- Supported by nearly all smartwatches
- Exceptionally accurate analyses
- Simple to use, easy clip and go design
- Expensive when compared to other running pods and sensors
- Monthly membership option (additional costs)
Coros Pod: Great for measuring power output for outdoor runs
The newest running pod from Coros has promised to deliver advanced performance metrics for those on the move, and it’s weatherproof (14°F to 140°F or -10°C to 60°C) and water-resistant with a 3 ATM rating (rain and splash resistant.)
On-board this pod are the following sensors: a barometric altimeter, thermometer, geomagnetic, accelerometer, and gyroscope.
Runners can expect to measure their effort, stride ratio, height, and length, left/right balance, cadence, and overall ground contact time while running their favorite road or trail routes. All in real-time!
Clip this super light pod onto the back of your waistband, pair it with either a supported Coros smartwatch or use the Coros mobile app, and set off on any desired route using its internal GPS capabilities.
Review your performance straight from the app’s interface after your run to get a full analysis of your overall efficiency. Coros will help highlight the great, the good, and the areas in need of improvement. Coros is your key when it comes to training and improving your performance!
- 28-day use (with two hours of use/day) and a 50-day standby battery life.
- Rechargeable battery that charges from 0-100 in less than 2 hours on a USB Type-C charger.
- Gives accurate metrics on stride length, height, power, and efficiency due to its position on the center of your body, attached to the back of your waistband
- Clip onto shoe or waistband
- The POD 2 is only compatible with COROS watches
- The Pod cannot store data internally, so you must have your Coros watch or your phone with the app with you when you run
- Users have reported pod attachment isn’t very secure (and can fall off during a long or bumpy run)
- Works best for outdoor running only (you can use it on a treadmill, but you won’t get any data that requires GPS, like effort or efficiency)
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RunScribe: Research-driven for higher-level athletes
RunScribe’s research-driven performance has been highly sought after by some leading health and fitness industry professionals. This (pair) of pods provides you with the precise biomechanics needed to determine your overall gait analysis.
If you’re an entry-level runner, there may be better options out there for you. Still, if you’re an advanced athlete or are a physical therapist looking to add some additional metrics to your evaluations and treatments of patient athletes, this could be a coveted option to have in your clinic.
The RunScribe dashboard displays loads of powerful visualizations regarding your hip motion, shock absorption, ground contact patterns, plus many more! Several different product packages to choose from, depending on your price point and desired features.
To purchase, visit RunScribe’s store.
- Excellent accuracy and thorough metrics for in-depth gait analysis
- Available or both iOS and Android apps
- It can be used via treadmill or outdoor running
- Offers benefits for not just athletes but also coaches, therapists, physicians
- Pair of pods means more bulk and more devices to manage
- Extensive metrics may be overwhelming to some
Sensoria Smart Sock & Core: Most discrete wearable option
Sensoria boasts a unique design with its core tracker built right into a pair of black athletic socks. The Core is an easily detachable, lightweight chip that is rechargeable via USB, and it turns your average footwear into a superiorly accurate tracking machine.
Sensoria, of course, measures your step count, distance, and speed; but what makes it stand out from the others is its ability to analyze your foot landing technique and generated impact while running.
These metrics are at the forefront when it comes to identifying any injury-prone running styles. View the details of your performance via The Sensoria Fitness app, or rely on the built-in, real-time audio coach to help provide cues as you run to help correct any bad habits.
The socks come in several different sizes so you can get your best fit, and additional pairs of socks are available at an additional cost.
To purchase, visit the Sensoria Fitness store.
- Rechargeable tracker via USB
- Discrete and lightweight
- Perhaps the smartest socks ever
- Expensive baseline cost (plus the cost of additional pairs)
- Requires Bluetooth Smart iOS device (no Android app option to date)
NURVV Run Smart Insoles: Best “full picture” of running analytics
NURVV foot-based wearables deliver on multiple levels when it comes to measuring your running fitness and form.
These pair of thin insoles come equipped with 16 sensors each and direct GPS units that attach to the outer lining of your running shoes. Weighing in at 22.7 grams per sensor, they’re not the lightest tracking system on the market, but you’ll hardly notice they’re there.
NURVV not only offers your standard running metrics (e.g., speed, distance, and cadence) but also provides more advanced tracking regarding your foot strike pattern, pronation, and overall balance.
These details create the foundation for the best running biomechanics and are the most accurate when analyzing your performance.
- Mobile app available for iOS and Android
- In-depth analysis of running biomechanics
- Standard size fits all shoes
- Expensive (around $300 USD)
- Only 5+ hours of (rechargeable) battery life
- Multiple physical components to deal with
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Arion Smart Insoles: Best for step-by-step skill acquisition
This is another great option if you’re looking for smart insoles with attached tracking pods to meet your running needs.
Arion embraces the same concepts of improving your performance to reduce the risk of injury and improve efficiency, but this system breaks down overall running performance into simple, specific tasks.
Arion caters its AI coaching specifically to you to help you improve upon and master one area before progressing to the next. That is training at its finest.
One new upgrade launched in 2021 is Arion with GPS, which allows you to run hands-free without your phone. You still have the option to purchase Arion without GPS, but this requires running with your phone for GPS mapping.
Order a pair through Arion’s store.
- New, hands-free option for running
- Customizable AI audio feedback and coaching
- Mobile app compatible with iOS and Android
- Available in 4 sizes (small through XL)
- It needs to be charged regularly (up to 7 hours battery life)
- Again, more components/bulk compared to other sensors
- Rather expensive at around $250-$300
Wahoo TickrX Heart Rate Monitor: Good alternative to running pods
Wahoo is a well-known fitness brand for various products, and they don’t disappoint with their TickrX Heart Rate Monitor. Packed full of features and newer upgrades with their latest model, Wahoo provides you with a comprehensive training tool that can be used for running or cycling.
Compared to the other products listed here, mainly tracking pods, the chest strap design is extremely lightweight and built to be secure with no worry about shifting during a tough workout.
Take advantage of its multiple Bluetooth (and/or ANT+) connection capabilities. View calories burned, cycling cadence (when paired with the Wahoo Fitness App for indoor cycling), running stride, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time.
With internal memory onboard, you can also train without your smartphone and log up to 50 hours of workouts! Given its ultra-slim and lightweight design, this is a great alternative if you prefer to wear a chest strap instead of a pod for your shoe.
- Can track and analyze both running and cycling
- Pairs and connects to multiple training apps, GPS watches, and bike computers
- Battery life of over 500 hours (not rechargeable)
- Chest strap may be bothersome if you’re not used to it
- Changing the battery is a bit of a challenge
- Lacks long-term durability
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NPE Runn Sensor: The best fixed sensor for home treadmill running
If you’re an avid treadmill user and want an additional gadget for more in-depth fitness tracking, the NPE Runn Sensor is a great option. Easy installation instantly turns your average treadmill into a smart one.
This device doesn’t need to be worn but easily attaches to virtually any treadmill to accurately track your speed, incline, and cadence.
Many users praise it for its simplicity and accuracy, and it has really opened up an entirely new option for those wanting to join the virtual world of Zwift.
Again, if you prefer to run outside, or even if you primarily use a treadmill at a gym, you’re probably better suited using a foot pod. However, if your home treadmill is your preference, NPE’s Runn is an excellent option to set up full-time.
Order yours through NPE’s online store.
- Simple set up and use
- USB or battery-powered
- Turns average treadmill into a smart device
- It does not provide more in-depth metrics
- Somewhat bulky
- It can’t be easily moved between treadmills
Take your training to the next level with one of these running pods and sensors!
We’ve listed some of our top-rated running pods and sensors that enhance your overall fitness experience and are a cost-effective way to up your running game.
Most of these devices are small and lightweight so that you barely notice them and for many, may not even notice at all!
With a wide variety of features and functions among these trackers and the data that they collect, you’re bound to find your perfect match.
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