While the majority of wearables are fitness trackers that snap onto your wrist to gain access to information about your workouts, we’re now seeing a shift in the fitness wearables marketplace. In addition to fashionable wearables making waves, we’re also seeing fitness wearables expanding beyond your wrist.
What does that mean about the future of wearables? Nike CEO Mark Parker recently said, “I think it’s going to be a big part of the future, absolutely. I think what form it takes is the big question. But I think people getting more information in a simple user-friendly way, and getting feedback that helps them understand themselves better, is a way to improve yourself and, I think, connect with other people to keep pace with what’s going on in the world.”
That important feedback is available through these fitness wearables that can be worn from head to toe (and beyond).
We often think of fitness wearables as being solely focused on improving your performance, but the Reebok CHECKLIGHT aims to keep you safe and informed while participating in sports. The cap can be worn with or without a helmet, and uses sensors directly coupled to your head to help reflect direct accelerations that the head experiences. It then warns the athlete, parent or coach about the severity of any impacts sustained.
Ralph Lauren is making an impact in the wearables space with their Polo Tech Shirt. The shirt is made with biosensing silver fibers, and provides biometric data including calories burned, heart rate and more to your smartphone or tablet in real time.
Athos is also creating smart clothing with their performance apparel made with biosignal monitoring. The clothing uses a “Core” to collect data including your muscle effort, muscle fatigue, heart rate and breathing patterns. That data is then sent to your mobile device via Bluetooth.
Zepp’s wearable device offers technology to help shave strokes off your handicap. The device mounts onto your golf glove to analyze your swing, club speed and hip rotation using 3D and video analysis features. Bluetooth technology then provides instant feedback to your mobile device.
Moving from your hands to your toes, these Sensoria Fitness Socks are infused with 100% textile sensors and paired with a Bluetooth-enabled anklet. The socks use that technology to deliver step counting, speed, calories, distance tracking and weight distribution data to your smartphone. Over time, the socks’ sensors also learn how you run in order to alert you to the possibility of injury or over-exertion.
Lechal footwear allows you to interact with your feet in a whole new way. The water resistant, battery-powered footwear allows you to keep a log of all your activity including calories burned, top speed and total distance. Using Bluetooth, that data is sent to your mobile device where you can set fitness goals, interact with other users and share milestones.
These last two devices may not technically be wearables, but they do provide data to help improve your athletic skills. The regulation-size 94FIFTY SmartNet fits on any rim, and once connected, it tracks and delivers your shot accuracy to your smartphone. You can use the data to see the effects on your shot accuracy with better arc, a quicker release or more backspin.
Adidas’ miCoach smart ball uses rechargeable battery, sensors and bluetooth technology to deliver near-instant feedback on your speed, spin, trajectory and strike from each kick. The smart ball’s goal is to allow you to learn from every kick.
Health monitoring is the most popular use case for wearables today, and this is reflected in the number of fitness wearables flooding the market. The next wave of fitness wearables are taking consumer feedback to heart, and doing their best to perfect the balance between fashion and comfort. Ironically while none have yet really tapped into the fashion part of that equation, all are adding new functionality to attract new customers. I expect fitness monitoring to continue to be the dominant use case for wearables at least in the short-term, but vendors will need to figure out how to sustain value over time. The real future value will not be in hardware, but in software, services and ecosystems.