Fitness app Strava finally lets users message each other

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Strava, the popular app for tracking activities like hikes and runs, is now taking another step toward becoming a bona fide social media network. Users could already follow each other and like each other’s activities in a display of encouragement, but only now can they finally send each other messages in either direct one-on-one chats or in groups.

Strava users can engage with the platform to send exact routes or activities to others, making it possible to do things like coordinate community runs on the app. Previously, athletes on Strava had to go off-platform to discuss meetup events on the app on other platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook.

The chat settings feature can be managed so that a user can send or receive messages to and from mutuals or accounts already being followed. You can also elect to have no one be able to message you unless you initiate a chat. For group chats, creators can add or remove participants and grant members access to invite others or leave a conversation if they’d like. To further deepen the interactions, Strava is also including features like reacting to messages with gifs or likes.

Strava, which claims it has over 100 million users and 40 million activities uploaded per week, has been attempting to become more than just a tracking tool for runners and bikers. Messaging expands the app’s capacity for it to become a more engaging tool for like minded fitness-focused individuals to convene in real life. Creating a chat tool is in line with Strava’s other social media-adjacent offerings previously dropped, such as when it gave app users the option to curate feeds or create posts. Recently, Strava also integrated music streaming directly onto its platform and has made some of its premium-only features accessible to free users in an attempt to continue to grow its base and offerings.

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