It’s the day after Christmas. I’m about to head out for a wintry post-Christmas run. I’m decked out in all my amazing Christmas fitness finery: My Hexoskin smart shirt and my fitness-tracking Sensoria socks. I pull on my Oura smart ring (starting at $299, ouraring.com), Fitbit Blaze smart watch, and Bragi Dash wireless earphone and set them on a high-energy playlist. I’m so ready for this run—this is going to be amazing!
Except it is a dream. Sadly, I don’t actually own any of the fancy items I listed in my fantasy run, but I would love to open up just a couple of these at Christmas. Wearable fitness and wellness technology are not just the dream of the future, they are businesses growing with lightening speed, and all kinds of companies are out there jumping on the health and wellness bandwagon.
Julie’s Fitness Christmas Tech Wish List:
My Fitbit just broke recently (not Fitbit’s fault—I banged it really hard on something and cracked the face), so I’m in the market for a new fitness tracker watch. There are a lot of them out there, but some of the ones I like are:
Fitbit Blaze: This latest edition to the Fitbit collection has tons of high-tech features, including a high-tech heart rate system that tracks your heart rate without a chest strap, a GPS to map your routes, sleep tracking, multi-sport modes and on-screen workouts, as well as connections to your phone and music. Prices start at $199.95, fitbit.com
Apple Watch: One of the original smart watches has a host of options now, ranging from luxury high-end (the Hermes edition-and incidentally my dream Christmas gift-which has leather bands and faces based on Hermes design, starting price $1,149) to the more sporty Nike collaboration ($369), which has all of the features of the regular Series 2 Apple watch, like a lighter band, water-resistant to 50 meters, activity rings that monitor your amounts of sitting, standing and moving, coaching and wellness apps, as well as a continuous heart-rate monitor and even a breathing app to “help you practice mindfulness,” according to the apple website. apple.com
Other Smart Watch options:
- Samsung Gear S3, $349.99, Samsung.com
- Huawei Android Wear, from $399.99, consumer.huawei.com
- Sony SmartWatch 3, $159, sony.com
- Garmin Vivoactive HR, $249.99, buy.garmin.com
Pumping some music on your headphones can definitely help you through that tough workout, but these latest renditions do more than just play music:
Bragi Dash wireless earphones ($299, store.bragi.com) bills itself as a “discrete personal assistant right in your ear.” It has 27 sensors to monitor calories, laps, breaths, speed, cadence, and distance, as well as the ability to take calls with the nod of your head or block outside noises.
Jabra Sport Pulse wireless earbuds promise that by monitoring your heart rate through your inner ear, they can get clinical-grade accuracy. The user taps the left ear bud to get their current heart rate, as well as exercise time, pace and distance. And oh yeah, it promises excellent sound quality too. $159.99, jabra.com
Workout wear companies are coming out with all sorts of “smart clothing” that can monitor and deliver biofeedback to the wearer to help their training. According to Sherri Hostage, founder of Threadlines, an American apparel and accessories company and consultant to numerous wearable tech companies, “that industry is moving at the speed of light.” Hostage says many workout wear designers are moving back to natural fibers like wool that are naturally odor-resistant, keep you cool in the summer and warmer in winter. “It’s a mixture of modern with a nod of respect to the past.”
A lot of these self-proclaimed “smart clothes” are still very expensive and mostly for the elite athlete, but prices are coming down, and the technology is getting better all the time. Those Sensoria socks of my dreams will set you back $199 (sensoriafitness.com) but they deliver an arsenal of information that could change the way you run. Hexoskin’s smart shirt kits sell for $399 (hexoskin.com) but are loaded with sensors to help you improve your sports performance. Smart shoes are the next market: Under Armour has its Speedform Gemini 2 Record shoe, $149, underarmour.com which has sensors to track and store virtually every running parameters to optimize your run.
Some more sources for wearable tech ideas: wareable.com, thirdwavefashion.com
Have fun checking out all the wearable tech options out there, and then decide what you need to add to your holiday wish list to help you reach your New Year’s resolutions this year.