Stryd is a tiny footpod with an array of sensors that you attach to the laces of one of your running shoes. These sensors process almost every aspect of your foot’s motion and send various measurements to your running watch. The most significant metric is so-called running power. This one number aims to quantify exactly how hard you’re running. Independent of whether you’re running up or down a hill, across muddy moorland or smooth roads and now with this latest version, even into a strong headwind or assisted by an equally strong tailwind.
Typically runners measure their effort by feel, pace or heart rate, but pace doesn’t take into account any of these factors, and heart rate can be slow to respond; so it’s far too easy to go too hard or indeed too easy. Not great if you’re trying to avoid injury, or get your best time in a race.
Stryd also measures distance and pace more accurately than GPS, especially when GPS reception is poor. And also a number of other useful metrics including cadence, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, form power and leg stiffness, if any of those mean anything to you.
I reviewed the previous Stryd over 8 months ago. This latest version looks almost identical, but has one major new feature as I alluded to – it measures wind resistance. I’ll discuss this new feature, and the other more minor updates. There’s also been a few firmware and app updates since my initial review that are also relevant to the previous Stryd, so consider this a longer-term review too.
Stryd is not cheap at £199 or $219 plus delivery. Is it worth it for a new user and is it worth upgrading from the previous version?
In the box you get the footpod itself, 2 shoe clips, one black and one orange, a charging cradle and a micro-USB cable, not the more modern and robust reversible USB-C. My previous version came with the exact same wired charging cradle.
It’s disappointing to see the new Stryd actually loses a genuinely useful and forward thinking feature – wireless charging. The old Stryd supported the almost universal Qi wireless charging standard so you could charge it with any charging mat you had lying around, or even your friend’s phone if it has reverse wireless charging. Earlier shipments actually came with a wireless charger.
The new Stryd looks almost identical to the previous version – they’re difficult to tell apart. The main difference is the clip which now has a hole at the front to channel wind. The only noticeable difference on the Stryd itself is a slightly larger recess around the sensor.
Now if you don’t have the charging cradle to hand, you’re probably stuck.
It’s still the same size and weight, 4cm by 3cm at its longest and widest points and just 9g including the shoe clip.
It’s well made just like the previous model, which has fared well. It’s still not waterproof though with only an IP67 splash-proof rating as before. I imagine it’s difficult to make it 100% waterproof since the environmental sensors need some exposure to the environment to work!
They recommend removing it for river crossings and even running through puddles. But I’ve been running in some pretty grim winter Dartmoor conditions, definitely through puddles and often through wet thick mud and the previous version has survived. I would still follow their advice for river crossings where the pressure from the flow of water may well be pushing your luck.
Battery life hasn’t changed with the new Stryd, it’s still around 20 hours. I’ve got at least that with my current Stryd.
Clip the pod into the charging cradle heel first to activate it. The orange charging LED will light up. This is much brighter and more noticeable than on the previous version which was often barely visible, especially when it was a bit dirty.
Download the Stryd app on iOS or Android and create an account. Try and provide an accurate weight measurement but you can of course adjust it later. Follow the on-screen instructions to pair Stryd with your phone. The LED flashes twice to indicate that pairing was successful. If there’s a new firmware available this will be sent across.
Next choose your watch brand which will initiate a guide to setting up your watch. This procedure is much improved since I last did it. There are loads of help articles at support.stryd.com if you get stuck.
I did cover setup with an Apple Watch and the Garmin Forerunner 230 in my last video. In that video I also covered some of the basics of running with power and the various metrics besides power you can measure. So I won’t repeat myself here but if you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comment section of the current video.
Once setup, any run you do will be automatically synced to Stryd’s online PowerCenter and can be viewed via the app or in more detail at stryd.com/powercenter. I’ll come back to this shortly.
A big recent update to the Stryd app is the new auto-calculated Critical Power. To get the most out of Stryd, just a like a bike power meter, you need to know your CP or Critical Power, commonly referred to as FTP or Functional Threshold Power in the world of bikes. In running this is the maximum power number in Watts you could hold for 30-60 minutes. This then defines power zones, which allow you to train more effectively.
Before, you had to perform a fairly intense Critical Power test to get this number, or get an estimation from a recent race result. Now by default Stryd will calculate this number automatically and more importantly keep it updated whenever you upload a run. You can turn this feature off and do the test I discussed in my last video if you prefer. If you leave it on which I’d recommend, you’ll need to upload at least 12 runs before Stryd can provide a measurement and one of them needs to be at least 50 minutes. Stryd recommends doing a mixture of short distance sprinting or fast strides, mid distance fast tempo runs and long slow runs to get the best automatic calculation.
Running with Stryd
Attaching Stryd to your shoes is easy – you slide the clip under your laces on either shoe, with the wind hole facing forwards, and then hinge in the pod from the rear and push it down at the front until it clicks in. You need to make sure the front hole is not obstructed. It’s easy to move around different shoes as required.
As covered earlier, basic setup should already have your watch configured with a data screen that at least shows power. For Garmin watches that will be via the Stryd Power or newer Stryd Zones Connect IQ app if your watch supports it – my Garmin 230 doesn’t. You’ll need a newer watch which supports Connect IQ 3.0. This new app works with the new auto-calculated Critical Power to provide constantly updated power zones together with your power number as a datafield on your watch.
There are some third party apps that allow more data fields, but you’ll need to check your watch compatibility – it gets a bit complicated. There’s a useful article I’ll link to below, that goes into great detail on Connect IQ app support for various Garmin watches. But to get started just go with Stryd Power or Stryd Zones. All the other Stryd metrics will be captured for post-run analysis in PowerCenter. I configure the power field to be a 3s average, but there are a number of power averaging options available.
Setup and configuration with an Apple watch is very easy. There aren’t many changes since my last review. But the main change is a big one – you can now download workouts to the watch. Stryd have partnered with TrainingPeaks for this feature and have a few training plans you can download for free. You need to setup an account with TrainingPeaks – a free account is sufficient. You then sync Stryd with TrainingPeaks.
If you sign up and start a training plan you can just open Stryd on your Apple Watch, tap Workouts and Fetch workouts which will bring today’s workout across, if it hasn’t already been downloaded.
You can create custom workouts in TrainingPeaks too. With the free account you can only create a workout for the current day. Tap on the plus icon in Calendar on the current day, add a Run workout, tap build workout, choose “%Functional Threshold Power” and tap continue. You can then drag and drop the blocks to create a custom workout. If you want to be able to advance an interval manually, say for the warm up or cool down, toggle “End step on lap button”. Tap save and close
This is a powerful feature particularly if you like more structured training, and the implementation on the Apple Watch is nicely done with an additional workout page that guides you through the intervals. If you’ve configured a manual lap, you can firm press the workout screen and tap “Next” to skip to the next interval – or use the two side buttons if you’ve configured them to trigger a lap instead of pausing a workout.
With the huge amount of customisation and now the Workout feature, Stryd and an Apple Watch is a very compelling option. And it’s a great option for playing music via some wirel ess earbuds while you’re running. But having used this setup for a while there are a few points worth noting.
Having to deliberately turn your wrist to see the screen is awkward, especially if you’re running hard. The new Apple Watch 5 with it’s always-on display would have been a great option, except the always on display doesn’t work with third party apps like Stryd. Hopefully that will charge at some stage.
Also I have found the built in heart rate monitor on my Apple Watch Series 4 almost unusable with Stryd. No matter how much I adjust the strap, I often get no reading at all, or it locks on to cadence or some other random value. I’ve had to revert to always using a chest strap since I still like to get heart rate data too. The Apple Workout app is not perfect, but does usually start providing a reliable measurement a few minutes into a run. Stryd are aware of the issue but haven’t been able to offer as fix as yet.
Battery life is also an issue for longer runs, and although your can configure a simultaneous press of the crown and side button to trigger a lap, this is tricky to do in a workout compared to the dedicated buttons on a running watch.
Wind measurement & other new hardware features
The headline feature of the new Stryd is wind measurement which I’ll discuss shortly, but they’ve also added a temperature and humidity sensor. For now, there’s no way of viewing these metrics, but they are two further variables that can also affect your perceived effort and future updates will hopefully take advantage of them, or at least provide access to them.
And there’s a new magnetometer that has also been added to enable new capabilities in the future, although there’s no indication of what these might be apart from some improved accuracy.
They’ve also increased the storage for collecting larger amounts of data, particularly useful for ultra-runners. It is possible to run just with the pod and do what Stryd calls an offline sync afterwards. You won’t get your GPS track, but you’ll get everything else. You’re best off setting up another Stryd account to do this, since everything in memory is pulled across, so you’ll get loads of duplicates otherwise. You can then download and copy across the run you’re interested in to your main account.
I tested out the new wind measurement feature, and although it’s very difficult to validate the results accurately, I did record the wind strength as I was running with a handheld anemometer and cross referenced these measurements with the power graph in the Stryd PowerCentre. I covered the PowerCentre in my last video, so again please take a look at that video if you’re unfamiliar with it.
Currently only the desktop version of PowerCentre shows the effects of wind if you enable “Show Air Power Contribution”. The mobile app just shows total power which includes this air power.
The theory is if you’re running in calm conditions, the speed of air resistance you have to overcome is equal to the speed you running at. So at 9mph you’re overcoming 9mph of air resistance.
So, if you’re running into a 9mph headwind, you’re having to overcome 18mph of air resistance, and if you’re running with a 9mph tailwind you’re effectively overcoming no air resistance.
In reality, you don’t really need to care about air power, you just need to know that the power number you’re getting is now just that bit more realistic. If you’re running into a really strong headwind, your effort is now more in line with the power number you’re getting.
I completed several runs in various conditions, and the air power value did tally broadly with what I measured and experienced in the run. I also ran with both the old and new Stryd on each running shoe and used DC Rainmaker’s Analysis tool which can separate out the Air Power value, to compare results. It’s interesting to see even if conditions that weren’t excessively windy, the air power contribution was up to 36W. Whereas the old Stryd was saying I was running at roughly my threshold of 269W, the new Stryd had a value of 308W including the 36W Air Power contribution which is roughly Zone 5 for me – so a significant difference.
As an aside the two Stryds measured distance almost exactly the same and I already confirmed the accuracy of the previous Stryd in my last video.
It would be nice to see wind speed and air power as live metrics which is not possible on my Apple Watch or Garmin 230. I’d imagine this wouldn’t be too difficult to do since the data is already being captured.
I did have some concerns that the hole in the clip and the sensor itself may become clogged up with mud and dirt, and start providing erroneous data, but I haven’t experienced this issue so far.
I’ve always been impressed with the consistency of Styrd. It’s not a direct measurement of power like on a bike power meter. But having used it for a good while now, the number I get always feels about right and I have learnt to trust it. And getting very accurate distance and pace is a bonus.
This new capability means the power number you’re now getting is that bit more accurate and this can only be a good thing.
I’m disappointed they took away wireless charging, and I would have liked the new version to be fully waterproof. It also would have been nice if the new temperature and humidity sensors provided some additional metrics now, even if they were just available after a run.
And although the new auto-calculated critical power is a step in the right direction, I still feel the PowerCenter is far too complex. The Improve tab has some useful information, but I really doubt most people truly understand what it means and how to get the most out of it.
If you already have the previous version of Stryd I wouldn’t say upgrading is a must, unless perhaps you live in a very windy area. If you’re contemplating getting Stryd, this model is the only one available new – there’s no option to buy the previous model cheaper. So at least you know you are getting the most accurate measurement currently possible and a few capabilities that haven’t yet been unlocked.
I did notice eBay now has a lot of second-hand Stryd’s without the wind measurement capability, very reasonably priced. So this might be a cheaper option if you’re on the fence!
Don’t forget to take a look at my YouTube video at the top of the page, and subscribe to my YouTube channel where I’m releasing videos every week on the latest technology and how to get the most out of it. If you tap the bell icon when you’re subscribe you’ll get a notification as soon as I release a video, and there’ll be a link to my site here for the written article. YouTube is also the best place to leave a comment. I read all of them and respond to as many as I can!
Purchase direct from Stryd: link (until 29th November 2021 use code blackfriday2021 for 10% off)
Stryd running power meter (Amazon): https://amzn.to/2BmrGs7 (check it’s the latest version with wind measurement)