The wearable tech that will actually improve your workout
From compact tracker bands to connected running shoes, here's the best gear to supercharge your next workout...
Sure, you could lace up a pair of limited edition, brightly-coloured running shoes. You could pull a sweat-wicking, nanotechnological, microfibre workout T-shirt over your head. You could even slide a pair of high-optic, shock-resistance sports sunglasses in front of your eyes before you start to exercise. But how much will they really help?
If we’re going to spend good money on running accessories, then we want feedback. Thankfully, in this world of wearables, there are plenty of gadgets and garments wired to help supercharge your every workout. Smartwatches and fitness trackers can monitor your heart and chart your run. Shoes contain trail trackers, and some headphones even have ergonomic, exciting new features to help motivate you.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best pieces of wearable tech that’ll actually improve your workout — not that you don’t look great in those £350 shorts…
Get yourself a connected smartwatch to keep track
Gone are the days of ugly smartwatches. Today, these gadgets are chic, sleek and almost indistinguishable from everyday timepieces — with the added benefit of tracking everything from our heart rates to our step counts. The Apple Watch may be the most popular piece of tech in this sector, but we’ve found some more strapping timepieces worth checking out.
Look at TAG Heuer’s Connected ‘Titanium’, for instance. A heritage watchmaker taking on tech is big news in and of itself, but even more so when the results are this good. Among the sensors in that handsome case: an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a tilt detection sensor and haptics engine. Samsung’s offering, for a fraction of the price, is almost as impressive — boasting features from waterproofness to Spotify compatibility. Meanwhile Montblanc’s Summit Lite is surely the coolest offering in the sector, a 42mm unisex masterpiece to guide you through even the toughest workout.
TAG Heuer Connected ‘Titanium’
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4G
Montblanc Summit Lite
A fitness band is ideal for watch enthusiasts
Of course, if you’re mad about watches, the likelihood is you won’t want to replace your Rolex with a connected smartwatch. Thankfully, a tech compromise exists in the form of a fitness band. These slimmer options feature small screens, long battery life and will tell you everything a smartwatch can — without upstaging your expensive Swiss timepiece.
Fitbit is the gold standard here, and its ‘Charge 5’ has bells, whistles, contactless payment, water resistance, sleep tracking, smartphone notifications and 24/7 heart rate tracking. Garmin’s ‘Vívosport’ is similarly impressive, and includes fitness monitoring tools such as VO2 max and fitness age estimates. Or, if you’re looking for a slightly cheaper option, Huawei’s ‘Band 6’ is a good bet — with colour touchscreen and TruSeen 3.0 heart monitoring technology.
These connected sneakers will keep you on the right path
It’s not all about new accessories; some tech serves to upgrade our existing fitness kit. Take the latest step in footwear, for example. These smart, connected sneakers pair with your phone or smartwatch via Bluetooth to measure your athletic performance (literally) from the ground up. And they look pretty good doing it, too…
Under Armour was one of the first brands to champion the technology. The US sports giant’s offering is compatible with your Map My Run app, and the chip doesn’t even need powering — meaning you’ll never run out of charge. Altra’s Torin IQ shoes have dual footbed sensors that provide you with real-time feedback in four critical areas: impact rate, landing zone, contact time and cadence. And Chinese brand Xiaomi has created sneakers with built-in MI smart chips to detect movement and store data including distance covered, speed and calories burned.
Under Armour ‘HOVR’ Sonic 4 Storm Shoes
Altra Torin IQ
Xiaomi Miiia Sneakers
Invest in the right headphones to properly motivate yourself
Studies have shown that listening to music makes us 28 percent more likely to enjoy our exercise, and thus 28 percent more likely to slip on our sportswear and workout. It pays, then, to buy the best headphones to help you melodically along your way. With sweat-proof technology, deep bass and designs to ensure they’ll stay put during even the most vigorous run, here are the best.
First off, Bose’s ‘Sport’ earbuds have the most reliable wireless signal of all workout headphones, five hours of battery life and ergonomically designed tips. Aftershokz’s ‘Openrun’ headphones are also mightily impressive; with bone conduction technology to deliver a clear, detailed sound without blocking your ears. And Sennheiser’s clunkily-named ‘IE 80 S BT’ earphones not only look the part, they also benefit from ergonomic memory foam tips.
Bose Sport Earbuds
Aftershokz Operun Headphones
Sennheiser ‘IE 80 S BT’ Earphones
Looking for some extra motivation? These are the fitness gurus to follow on Instagram…
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