Sports tracking: Strava is banking on a single subscription

Strava, the popular running and cycling tracking app, is completely overhauling its business model. This development will not please some users who will lose out, but so does the survival of the application, say the two founders in an email to their customers:

Our business is not yet profitable and it is imperative that we achieve profitability if we want to serve you better. […] The Strava subscription becomes central. This means that from now on, some of the features that were free will only be available to subscribers. This is particularly the case for rankings on segments and other complex functionalities whose maintenance proves to be costly.

Strava, who has the merit of clarity, list on his site all previously free functions that become chargeable:

  • Segment rankings (consultation of the top 10 in the ranking remains free)
  • Compare, filter and analyze efforts by segment
  • Itinerary design on, with improved maps and segment support
  • Associated running races: compare your performances during your various running races on the same courses
  • Training log on Android and on
  • Monthly comparisons and trends

To push users to subscribe, removing free features is not enough, that’s why Strava muscle today its paid offer with these new functions:

  • Improved Itineraries, with recommendations and route planning on iOS and Android
  • Corresponding bicycle outings: compare your performance on your outings on the same routes
  • View your full training history with your Training Log now available on iOS
  • Training analysis is now available for all types of activities
  • Slope adjusted speed (VAP) is now available on iOS and Android
Free functions are now reduced to the absolute minimum.

There is also a change for those who already paid Strava. Indeed, the three packs offered so far (training, security and analysis, each with their dedicated functions) are replaced by a single subscription at 5 € / month with one-year commitment (the first two months are free). It is simpler than the previous offer, but it is more expensive for athletes who had purchased a single pack.

For those who cannot spend this amount (“Not more expensive than one or two energy bars”, they nevertheless point out), the two founders claim that the free version will remain available indefinitely, but more than ever, it serves as a springboard to the paid formula.

Thanks to the revenues generated by subscriptions, Michael Horvath and Mark Gainey promise the development of new features and the absence of advertisements as well as the sale of personal data. “By giving more space to the subscription system, Strava will thus be able to serve athletes for decades, by establishing a relationship of trust with its community of athletes”, they say. Will the community follow them on this path?


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