If you’ve recently taken up running, cycling, swimming, or any other sport, you may be looking for an app to help you record and track your workouts.
In this article, we’re giving you a complete Strava app review, so you can decide if it’s the app for you, if you should fork out for the paid version or if the free version can give you everything you need.
Strava App Review – Is It Worth It?
Founded in 2009, Strava has become one of the most popular workout apps, with more than 76 million users worldwide. Though the majority of fitness apps specialise in one specific area, Strava has focussed on advertising itself as both a running and cycling app, so it can be used for both activities.
When I started using the Strava app, it felt like any other workout app I’ve used before – there’s only so much detail that you can include in an app like this. It’s very similar to some other running apps in terms of layout, but in my opinion, it offers some slightly better features.
The free features of Strava are everything you would expect from a workout app. The user experience is also good and it’s easy to navigate and use. Strava focuses heavily on the social aspect, with the app Home page showing your activity feed and promoting competition with those in your area.
It works well for measuring heart rate data, and when you combine using Strava with a dieting app, it can be an extremely useful tool for improving your health. But it’s not perfect – let’s look at the best, and worse, of Strava.
Pros and cons of Strava App
- The app has a great range of different workouts that you can choose from.
- Strong group features and easy to follow friends’ workouts which can help with motivation.
- A good way to discover new running routes within the app.
- You can’t link it up to music apps, which will be a dealbreaker for some people.
- Lacks privacy if you prefer to not share your exact workouts, as the whole point of Strava is being able to share with friends.
Strava offers some strong features and it’s a great app if you prefer to be motivated by groups, clubs or friends’ workouts. The app can show your live location, which is perfect if you’re often going out and meeting up with other runners or going on group cycling rides. The social aspects of the app are definitely hard to beat.
However, if you’re like me and you prefer a bit more of a solo workout and don’t always enjoy sharing every workout, there may be better apps out there for you.
You also have to give up a lot of your personal information to make the most of the Strava app, including your location. So you’ll need to be willing to allow this to get all the benefits of the app. Strava has come under scrutiny in recent years for its lack of information provided upfront to its users in terms of how much data they’ll make public, so we can only hope that they take steps to improve this in the future.
There are options within the app to make your data more private. You can do this by going to You > Settings > Privacy Controls.
Here, you can tailor your privacy setting to adjust who sees your activity and you can hide areas of your map like start and endpoints.
While this is a good feature, Strava should be more upfront about the data they share by default. Most people wouldn’t think to change these settings.
How does the Strava App work?
Upon creating an account with Strava, you’ll be taken to your profile page. On your profile page, you’ll input your information such as your weight, gender and date of birth. It’s important to input this information if you want to see an accurate account of how many calories you’ve burned during your workouts.
You can also input your performance potential here, which is a great feature. You can input your Max Heart Rate, Running/Cycling Race Distance, Running Race Time and Functional Threshold Power. This is a good way for Strava to calculate your progress.
Once you’ve set up your profile, you’re ready to start recording your workouts.
Features of the app
Once you’re in the app, you’ll see the bar along the bottom showing Home, Maps, Record, Groups and You. Let’s delve into each of these areas.
The homepage resembles a social media activity feed. Since you can follow people on the Strava app and have your friends follow you so you can share your workouts, this is where you will connect with people you follow.
You’ll see the posts that you share and any updates from people or groups that you follow. You can comment or give ‘Kudos’ to others on the activities they share.
Now, moving along to the left and checking out the Maps tab. The maps feature doesn’t offer much on the free version of the app.
With the paid version, you can access maps that other users have saved. This is a great feature and handy if you’re ever outside of your local area and are looking for a good route.
You can have the voice-over guide you during your run to keep you on the right track.
In the free version, you can save routes that you’ve before and re-use them. But, as I said, it’s not a great feature on the free version of the app.
On the Record tab, this is obviously where you will record your workouts.
The app will automatically bring up your most recent sport. But you can change this by tapping on the second icon from the left.
On the route symbol, you can choose to re-load one of your recent maps. Next, you can also connect a heart rate sensor to record your heart rate during your workout.
The final thing to mention on the record page is the Beacon. You can share a Beacon with up to three safety contacts so they can see your location during your workout. This is a really great feature that Strava has introduced.
Moving to the left again, you’ll come across the Group tab. There are many different groups, or clubs, that you can join on Strava. It can be a local or national group, or you can a group for a race that you’re training for.
Within a group, people can set challenges for other members, like ‘Run 8k this weekend’. You can also take part in any challenge on the app, even if you’re not a part of a specific group.
Within the Group section, you can also join clubs. You can search for a club by its name or by its location, so you can join a club local to you.
The final tab is ‘You’. In this section, you can see all of your personal information. From following and followers, your recent workouts.
You can also see your annual statistics and saved routes. You can also access your setting here where you can adjust your privacy settings.
What sports can you record on Strava?
Strava offers 29 different sports and workout types. You can record the following with Strava: Run, Cycle, Walk, Hike, Canoe, E-bike Ride, Handcycle, Valomobile Ride, Kayak, Kitesurf Session, Rock Climb, Roller Ski, Row, Alpine Ski, Backcountry Ski, Nordic Ski, Snowboard, Snowshoe, Stand Up Paddle Board, Surf, Swim, Wheelchair, Windsurf Session, Crossfit, Elliptical, Stair Stepper, Weight Training, Yoga, General Workout.
Can you listen to music while using Strava?
Strava doesn’t allow any in-app music controls. So you can’t link your Spotify or Apple Music with Strava.
How much does Strava cost?
Strava offers a pretty comprehensive free version. There is a paid version that is suited to more serious athletes, which costs $47.99 for the year, working out to £4.00 per month.
Overall feedback – Should you pay for the Strava app?
From what I’ve found using the Strava app, the free version provides pretty much everything the average person will need.
If you start using the app and you find that you need more, you may benefit from the paid Strava. Some of the features that you can get from the paid version that you won’t get in the free one are:
- Segment reports
- Race Analysis
- Custom Goals
- Training Plans
- Workout Analysis
- Perks such as exclusive deals from brands and retailers.
These are just a few of the benefits of the paid version of Strava. Get the full list on the Strava website here. Most Strava users appreciate the app for what it offers, but it’s not for everyone.
To sum up, Strava is certainly one of the best free workout apps out there. It’s very clear why it’s become so popular with both beginners and even professional athletes. In my opinion, I find the Nike Training App a more enjoyable user experience. The app is just a little cleaner and less busy.
The free version of Strava will have enough features for most people. But you can do everything you need to do with the paid version if you’re more serious about your exercising.