Smart watches. Fitness trackers. Even athletic footwear that tracks distance, monitors movement, analyzes cadence and counts steps. All these have become just as important to our daily lives as the alarm clock.
Wearable technology is here to stay,as companies continue to churn out athletic garments, footwear and accessories that perform a Swiss Army selection of functions designed to keep up with today’s fast-paced fitness world.
So what are the hottest fitness wearables making waves today? Here’s a rundown of the most popular based on reviews and interviews.
The Wrist Takers: Smart Watches and Fitness Trackers
While smart watches and fitness trackers often get mistaken for each other, there is a big difference. But both essentially have the same fitness feature—tracking quality of sleep, steps taken, caloric intake, distance travelled to monitoring heart rate.
So which one garnered the most thumbs up?
Being the industry pioneer, Fitbit is still the go-to brand associated with fitness tracking. Its simple “usability” and design have kept the company at the top of the game through a long line of successful fitness bands. This year, the company jumps into true smart watch territory with the Fitbit Versa.
Status symbol or not, the Apple Watch continues to be a fave among both tech fans and fitness buffs. Although health and fitness tracking is only one of its many features, this smart watch does it well with the Apple Watch Series 3—LTE-equipped, improved fitness software and features to sync with (compatibly connected) gym equipment.
Xiaomi Mi Band
The most budget-friendly of the bunch, the Xiaomi Mi Band primarily functions as a fitness tracker. The one most spotted due to its low price point, sleek design and adequate fitness tracking has made it readily affordable and easily attainable. The latest version, the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 (not yet available locally), boasts of smart watch features.
Best Foot Forward: Smart Athletic Shoes
What used to be the stuff of futuristic movies have now become reality, especially now that shoes have learned how to think. We tackle two of the most thought-provoking Athle-tech footwear to hit the market in recent years.
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0
Boy, talk about Back to the Future! Self-lacing running shoes that promise “complete synchronicity between body and athletic footwear”. With Nike’s HyperAdapt 1.0, untied shoelaces are the least of its benefits. Technology takes centerstage with its construction, basically preventing future “missteps” and slippage with a special “under-foot” lacing mechanism that auto-fits the shoe to your foot for that elusive perfect fit.
Under Armour Gemini 3 Record-Equipped Running Shoe
Let’s focus on the “record-equipped” description here—for an extra $10, a built-in microchip enables this shoe to record fitness data, guide runs with GPS (via the MapMyRun app), test workout intensity (using the Jump Around test feature) plus informs wearer when it’s time to change to a new pair (by tracking number of miles run). Shoes with beauty and brains, I’ve seen it all.
The Next Level: Smart Workout Wear and Eyewear
Next up, smart yoga pants and smart eyewear. If you think you’ve seen it all – you really haven’t.
Nadi X Smart Yoga Pants
Yoga pants that use gentle vibrations to guide yogis into the proper pose. Using woven-in technology specifically around the hips, knees and ankles, these smart yoga pants utilize accelerometers and haptic technology to correct your downward dog with a gentle buzz.
Level Smart Eyeglasses
Eyeglasses that track fitness? Cue the Mission Impossible theme. Yes, the Level Smart Eyeglasses tracks steps, calories lost and distance traveled and transmits data to your mobile but skips the more complex biometrics. It does, however, have a handy Find My Glasses feature and gives to charity when you reach a fitness goal (who thought fitness trackers could offer a chance to do some good?)
Now, if there’s anything to be said about technology nowadays, it is getting harder and harder to find excuses not to get in shape. Mobile apps, fitness videos and outdoor community-based activities only help to further coax us into finally working out. All this wearable tech at our fingertips and it still boils down to the basics, getting off that couch.
So strap on that beeping watch, lace up (or not) those automatic sneakers and jump into those vibrating yoga pants and make that wearable tech finally work for you.