Th e fu­ture is ly­cra, and it’s als o smart

Forget smart­watches and fit­ness bands and take a look at the rel­a­tively in­vis­i­ble fu­ture of fit­ness­wear

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Most of the sports de­vices that are cur­rently avail­able ei­ther go on your wrist, or are at­tached di­rectly to a piece of equip­ment, such as a

foot­ball or ten­nis rac­quet. How­ever, there’s a lot of work go­ing on with wearable tech­nol­ogy, par­tic­u­larly with smart fab­rics that are ca­pa­ble of mon­i­tor­ing your phys­i­cal con­di­tion while you’re ex­er­cis­ing.

The span­dex ex­perts at Un­der Ar­mour ac­tu­ally launched a ‘smart shirt’, called the E39 about five years ago. It in­cluded sen­sors that al­lowed it to mon­i­tor your heart rate and breath­ing, al­though it didn’t re­ally take off at the time. More re­cently Ralph Lau­ren has launched its new PoloTech Shirt ($295 – cur­rently US only), which per­forms sim­i­lar func­tions and com­mu­ni­cates its read­ings to an app on your iPhone or Ap­ple Watch.

There’s also a com­pany called My­on­tec, which has de­vel­oped smart shorts that can mon­i­tor mus­cu­lar stress in your quads and ham­strings. These shorts are ex­pen­sive – be­tween € 400 and € 800 – but if they can help pro­fes­sional ath­letes per­form bet­ter, or even pre­vent in­jury, then they could help bring wearable tech­nol­ogy into the main­stream at last.

Would data cap­tured by your cloth­ing be enough to help you over­come the sense of ly­cra shame when ex­er­cis­ing in pub­lic?

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