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The Garmin Forerunner 255 is coming – but do we actually need it?

Garmin Forerunner 245 watch face
(Image credit: Garmin)

The long-awaited Garmin Forerunner 955 isn't the only new watch you could be wearing soon. As a recently posted listing on a US government website revealed, the Forerunner 255 is on the way as well – but do we actually need it?

First, let's take a look at where the 255 fits into Garmin's Forerunner lineup to see where it should (in theory) fit.

At the top of the range we have the Forerunner 900 series (which will include the 955 when it eventually arrives). These are some of the best GPS watches you can buy packed with advanced training tools for a huge range of sports – and with price tags to match. If you want the best of the best, this is the tier for you.

Below this sits the Forerunner 700 series. These are watches built for triathletes, with a strong focus on swimming, cycling, and running. When you want to track a full triathlon event, you can simply hit a button when you transition between stages to switch sports tracking modes. Very handy.

There used to be a Forerunner 400 series, which had a rather cool touch-sensitive bezel, but the last model was released back in 2011, so we can safely say that it's been discontinued.

Man and woman running wearing Garmin Forerunner 245 watches

Watches in the Garmin Forerunner 200 series are built for serious runners who have outgrown the entry-level Forerunner 50 line (Image credit: Garmin)

Next up, we have the Forerunner 200 series. Although they have a variety of activity tracking modes, these are running watches first and foremost. They're designed for intermediate-level athletes who are perhaps training for their first marathon, or getting serious about knocking seconds off their race times.

Finally, there's the Forerunner 50 series. These are affordable, beginner-friendly devices that will see you through your first 5k, 10k, and half marathon.

So far, so sensible, right? The problem is, the latest watch in the 50 series, the Forerunner 55, is so good that it's tough to see why even a seasoned runner would need anything more.

Catch 55

Although it's still straightforward enough for beginners to use, the Forerunner 55 has a lot to offer much more experienced runners as well, and it left me very impressed when I reviewed it for Advnture's sister site TechRadar (opens in new tab).

It boasts extremely accurate GPS tracking (as you'd expect from a company that made its name in satellite positioning systems), plus responsive heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking (complete with recovery metrics), and Garmin's own Body Battery score, which shows how much energy you have for the rest of the day.

On top of that, the Forerunner 55 offers workout training suggestions to help you balance your training and avoid getting stuck in a rut of always running the same route at the same pace. There's also a new respiration rate tool that tracks your breathing patterns and factors them into your estimated recovery times post-workout.

Garmin Forerunner 55 on woman's wrist

The Forerunner 55 is such a strong running watch, Garmin has its work cut out to better it (Image credit: Garmin)

As you train and develop your skills, the Forerunner 55 can grow with you. Tinkering with the watch's data fields will allow you to see stats like respiration, heart rate (from the watch itself or a chest strap heart rate monitor), and heart rate zone. For interval training, you can choose to see the time, pace, or distance of the current interval, and if you're training on a track you can check your lap distance, pace, speed, and time.

You can take things even further by downloading extra fields, faces, and apps through the Garmin Connect store, or connecting a Running Dynamics Pod to collect info on your running form.

As far as I can see, other than a potentially higher-resolution display, the only real selling point for the Forerunner 255 will be the ability to store and play music that you can listen to using your best running headphones. However, this won't be available as standard; the freshly published FCC listing revealed that you'll have to opt for the (doubtless more expensive) Forerunner 255 Music if you want to stream tunes from your wrist.

I'm keeping my ear to the ground for more news on the 255, and keeping my fingers crossed that Garmin will go ahead and prove me wrong.

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).