Personal fitness tracking is a big business. It seems that it's not enough to work out, but we should also monitor our heart rate, time taken, distance covered, average heart rate and more. There's an increasing number of electronic devices – some are called "smart" by their sellers – designed to help us determine how hard we have worked out. And news today that Victoria's Secret have started selling the Incredible Sports Bra, or the "Incredible by Victoria's Secret Heart-Rate Monitor Compatible Sport Bra" to use the full title, has sparked my interest. This bra includes sensors and technologies from Finnish fabric maker, Clothing+, which allows it to connect to your favorite communications module but because the sensors are built into the fabric, it's much more comfortable to wear and use. Indeed, according to analyst Gartner, the sensor-laden intimate item is considered to be the wearable with "the greatest potential for growth" compared to smart bracelets, smartwatches, specialist fitness monitors and chest straps, simply because the item is discrete, functional and does not add anything else to carry beyond the sensor unit. That it's usually hidden from view is also good news as it avoids the need to wear something designed for function rather than aesthetics. The market is expected to grow from 0.1 million this year to 26 million in 2016.
Victoria's Secrets do not detail so much about compatibility, quoting that the electrodes will fit most clip-on heart rate monitors from leading brands. It's available either grey or pink and costs around $75 and is made from a Body-Wick fabric designed to keep the wearer cool and dry during exercise. It's suitable for running, boxing and high impact workouts. Because the unit is close to the heart, it can measure more than just the heart rate but can measure the full heart wave – your wearable monitor device will receive more accurate and better quality data.
This is an interesting product from a big-name brand with a reputation to maintain. The item needs to be stylish, reliable, comfortable and reasonably well priced too. It's not a smartbra, but instead it's a bra that does more than most other competitors. The optimistic sales figures quoted by Gartner are realistic, because this and similar items fit into a growing niche.