New Balance Tri-Viz

The 5 Best Running Gadgets of Summer 2012


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New Balance Tri-Viz Running Cap

It might sound like Inspector Gadget kookiness, but this tissue-thin running hat eliminates the need for a headlamp, with four built-into-the-brim LEDs that can operate in three different settings: close-in, extended beams, or both at once. It doesn’t emit enough light for technical routes, but it’s ample for roads and smooth trails.

Timex Ironman Run Trainer with GPS

Though the Ironman is loaded with features—including a large, easy-to-read, customizable display, hydration and nutrition reminders, pace alerts, a quick-touch nightlight, and hands-free splits—it’s intuitive to operate out of the box. The optional ANT+ foot pod and heart-rate sensor track pace, distance, altitude, and heart-rate data.

Motorola Motoactv

This compact, lightweight runner’s wristwatch packs music, heart-rate tracking, GPS data, and old-school stopwatch functionality. Not only does it sync with Bluetooth headphones, but it also keeps track of the tunes that make you run fast. Pro: The interface is easy to use, and the watch syncs with any android device. Cons: Battery life is short.

Looking for the elusive do-it-all work-out gadget? The shockproof and water-resistant Motoactv can be worn when running, hiking, or biking, and plays music with its smart MP3 player, monitors your heart rate, and tracks your route via GPS.

JayBird JF3 Freedom Bluetooth Headphones

Say goodbye to dangling cords. Connected by a short wire that rides comfortably behind your neck, two customizable earbuds sync to your Bluetooth-compatible player for tangle-free tunes while you train. Testers found the fit secure for all activities, including running. The bass is a bit lacking, but sound is otherwise surprisingly good.

Wahoo Fitness Blue Heart-Rate Monitor

Rather than carry another gadget, turn your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone into an all-in-one fitness device with this heart-rate strap. Paired with the free Wahoo Fitness app (or other running and cycling apps), it displays and records accurate heart-rate data in real time. Syncing it with an app like Runkeeper is a snap, and testers (and their spouses) liked that the strap is washable.