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Garmin’s new Forerunner 955 looks like a best running watch contender

Upgrade races out just in time for summer

New Garmin Forerunner running watches against a white background

Garmin has refreshed its popular Forerunner running watch line with two new models, the mid-range Forerunner 255 and more premium Forerunner 955, with both getting a new race widget and the latter offering a solar charging upgrade.

The Forerunner 955 is an update on the Forerunner 945, which despite being a few years old now is still one of the best GPS sports watches you can buy. It’s arguably the more exciting of the two new Forerunner watches because of its solar charging chops, though note that you’ll need to go for the pricier Forerunner 955 Solar model to get the functionality.

With it, Garmin promises up to 20 days of smartwatch usage on a single mains charge (49 hours in GPS mode), which is nearly double the claimed battery life of one of its more general lifestyle watches like the Venu 2. It’s also obviously sunshine dependent, with Garmin’s stats based on the watch getting an average of three hours of sun a day.

The new Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar offers up to 20 hours of battery life

Alternatively, the regular Forerunner 955 model will give you up to 15 days of life on a single charge, or 42 hours in GPS mode. Both 955 models feature a 47mm always-on colour touchscreen, with this feature having made its way down from Garmin’s hardcore Fenix and Epix watches, as well as five physical buttons.

Other new features include the race widget, which helps you countdown to your next race and tells you how it thinks your training is going, as well as heart rate variation (HRV) tracking during sleep and multi-band GPS support to help improve your signal. There’s also real-time stamina tracking, something which was first seen on the Garmin Fenix 7. All in all, it’s an impressive haul of new features and an upgrade that seemingly justifies the lengthy three year wait.

The 255 doesn’t get all of these bells and whistles but does benefit from some of the most important in the race widget, HRV tracking, and multi-band GPS support. It’s being made available in a number of different variants, with the base Forerunner 255 offering a 46mm face and weighing 49 grams; the smaller 255S coming with a 41mm face and weighing just 32 grams; and then the Forerunner 255 and 255S Music variants adding the option of storing 500 songs worth of music on the device itself.

In terms of improvements on its predecessor, the Forerunner 245, the main addition is an NFC chip to support Garmin Pay functionality. It’ll also be the first of Garmin’s cheaper dedicated running watches to offer full triathlon support, in the form of letting you switch between sports with the press of a single button – something that also features on the 955.

All of the new Forerunner watches are available immediately, with the Forerunner 955 available in black or white for £479 / $499 for the non-solar model and £549 / $599 for the Forerunner 955 Solar. The Forerunner 255 and 255S cost £299 / $349, while the 255 and 255S Music models will set you back £349 / $399. They’re available in a wider range of colour options: gray, pink, blue, and black.

You can buy them via the official Garmin website right now and select third-party retailers.