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May 25, 2016

Best smart clothes: Wearables to improve your life

by John_A

Smart clothes are the next step beyond wearables. Despite smart watches and activity trackers just beginning to become popular, smart clothing is already starting to appear.

So far there are already items of smart clothing available including t-shirts that measure biometrics and bras that adapt to support in certain situations. But there’s even more coming in the months ahead. Under Armour bought MapMyFitness, as an example of a clothing specialist moving into the biometric area.

We’ve gathered the best of smart clothes so you know what’s available, what’s coming and how clothes can enhance your health.

MyZone Sports Bra

A heart rate monitor built into a sports bra could be the ultimate simplicity in the path from sports clothes to smart clothes. The result should be a comfortable top that offers support as well as an ability to share heart rate data with a connected device. Coupled with the app this will train the wearer in their own heart rate zones, that adapt to fitness, creating a perfect push while still offering encouragement through success.

The MyZone Sports Bra can share data with a Bluetooth connected smartphone, smartwatches and even gym screens. That means it can be used pretty much anywhere. It’s made from quick drying fabric, comes in three sizes, red or black colours and costs £50. The heart rate monitor can be unclipped for charging after about seven months of use, as well as for washing of the bra.

MORE MyZone tracks fitness effort to make health inspiring again

Lumo Run

The Lumo name was first associated with wearables that help posture. Now that smart body tracking has been put into shorts and been supercharged. 

The Lumo Run shorts are filled with sensors capable of tracking running metrics including cadence, bounce, ground contact time, braking, pelvic rotation and stride length. They’ll even offer realtime audio feedback via the app and your headphones.

The Lumo Run shorts are available for pre-order now from $99 for a 21 October release.


The LikeAGlove leggings intelligently measure a wearer’s shape so they can shop for the ideal sized clothes. Not only do the leggings find all the perfect measurements but they work, via Bluetooth, with the app to filter clothing options down to those that are available in the wearer’s size.

The idea is to make shopping for clothes easier by getting the correct size every time, something which isn’t always easy online when you can’t try items on in the shop first.

LikeAGlove leggings are available for pre-order now for £25 before 16 October. After that the normal retail price will be £35. They will begin shipping early in 2016.

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Athos is at the forefront of smart wearable clothing. The Athos shirt and shorts are tight fitting sensor filled garments capable of detecting heart rate, breathing rate and even muscle activity thanks to EMG sensors.

The Athos line features a small core which works with the sensors to deliver data via Bluetooth to your smartphone. This 20g gadget slips into a pocket on the top of shorts and lasts 10 hours on a charge. But it’s not just for sending information it also features a 6-axis accelerometer for measuring movement as you workout.

These types of clothing are going to be brilliant for muscle focused gym workouts where recording anything more than heart rate, which isn’t that helpful for weights, has previously been reserved for professional athletes.

The Athos Core is $199, shorts and shirts start at $99 each meaning a total of $298 which is about £190 from Athos.

Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret heart rate bra

Victoria’s Secret, the women’s lingerie specialist, has released a sports bra that is capable of measuring the wearer’s heart rate. 

The Incredible bra features a chest placed heart rate monitor built-in. These chest placed monitors have been around for years, usually packaged with sports watches, and are now highly accurate. As a result the bra can be used to monitor during running, boxing and other high-impact workouts.

At its most basic level the sports bra is still high tech as it’s made from a Body-Wick fabric which keeps the wearer cool and dry during workouts. Clothing+ is the Finnish fabric maker behind both the materials and the sensor technology built-into the bra.

The Incredible by Victoria’s Secret Heart-Rate Monitor Compatible Sport Bra, as it’s called, will cost $75 which is about £48.

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Radiate is brilliantly simple yet effective. Remember those shirts back in the day that would change colour with heat? This is effectively a more advanced version of those, meaning you can track muscle use.

The Radiate shirts are tight fitting and change colour as your muscles get hot. So if you were training in the gym you’d be able to see in your reflection where you’re working on your body. Yes we don’t like to encourage for parakeet gym buffs checking themselves out but this is a genuinely good idea.

The Radiate 2.0 shirt for men and the ones for women are both $60 for long sleeve and $50 for short.

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Ralph Lauren PoloTech Shirt

Luxury clothes brand Ralph Lauren has been developing smart clothing with sensor specialist OM Signal. The result is a shirt that can monitor the wearer’s heart rate thanks to bio-sensing silver wiring.

The shirt not only measures heart rate and breathing rate but actively offers feedback on your training via your phone or tablet. If you’re not pushing hard enough to stay in your desired heart rate zone it will tell you, audibly, to push more.

The sensors track calories burned, intensity of workout, heart rate, stress rate and more, says Ralph Lauren. The brain of the shirt sits on the side by the rib cage out of the way.

The PoloTech Shirt is available on the Ralph Lauren site now for $295.

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GO Utility Vest solar jacket

Charging on the go is a reality now thanks to the GO Utility Vest. Ok it looks a little ridiculous with big solar panels on each pocket. And yes at $580 it’s not cheap. But it represents the future of smart clothing. Plus if you’re out and about all day this will keep you warm and dry while charging your gadgets.

Imagine what the future will hold once solar panels become weavable, invisible solar panels can be stitched into any clothing. Then you can have the solar clothing without looking like you’re preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Pick one up on the site.



The Hexoskin smart shirt, made with Italian textiles, is able to track the wearer’s heart rate, breathing rate and volume, steps with cadence and calories and even sleep. It uses a small device that slips into a pouch on the shirt. It connects via Bluetooth to iOS and Android devices.

Hexoskin’s second generation now works with third party apps like Strava, RunKeeper and Endomondo. It’s also got an extended battery life that can last up to 30 hours.

The Hexoskin is available in short and long sleeved versions for men and women. The shirt with device and cable is available to buy now for $399 which is about £255.

University of Wollongong

Bionic Bra

The Bionic Bra is still in development at the University of Wollongong in Australia. But the end result will be a smart bra that can offer support when needed and loosen for comfort at other times.

The Bionic Bra is able to tighten and loosen automatically allowing it to offer more support or breath room to suit the wearer. The result should be consistent comfort with support during sport, like running. It sounds like the bra is either tight, offering support during sport, or loose when the wearer is out relaxing, meaning it can be worn constantly. We wonder how many girls actually leave their sweaty sports bras on after training though.

The technology is still in development so don’t expect to see this too soon.

Hot pants

Adidas, sponsoring the Team GB cyclists in 2012, came up with its heated trousers. These tailor made, battery powered trousers heat up in order to warm the legs of the athletes ahead of exercise.

Heated trouser, or “Hotpants” as they were dubbed, allowed muscles to reach an efficient 38 degress Celsius. This meant less time warming up so they could save their energy for the competition.

We doubt these particular trousers will make it onto the market for non-professional athletes anytime soon but something similar may arrive in smart clothes in the near future.

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