Chest-strapped heart rate monitors are powerful stat tracking tools. But as many runners can attest, they chafe. Companies are aware of this annoyance and over the past few years we’ve seen the release of several strapless heart rate monitors. These devices attach to your wrist and read your heart rate via the same light-based sensors found in medical oximeters.
Sensoria Fitness takes a different approach: The company embeds cardiac electrodes directly into the fibers of their Fitness T-Shirt and attaches a wireless heart rate monitor to its front. Their claim is that the shirt itself reads your heart rate and flings the data to the monitor, which then transmits it to whatever watch or app you’re using.
The sleeveless shirt, a blend of Dryarn and spandex, is form fitting and comfortable with enough stretch so that it never impeded our stride. And the embedded textiles do work. The information they sent to the monitor – which sits directly in front of your sternum – and then a Garmin watch we wore, was as consistent and accurate as any strapped heart rate monitor. But running with it proved more comfortable: While the receiver did tend to thump against our chest as we churned out miles, there was little distracting discomfort.
All in all, the shirt is a smart way of stat tracking that gives us faith that there will be a chafe-free future. It is important to note that we didn’t encounter any rain during our testing period, so we’ll update you as to whether or not it is still as accurate when soggy.
[from $70; sensoriafitness.com]
Days Tested: 10
Area Tested: Central Park’s trails
Nitpick: The monitor will slap against your chest a bit as you run.