Polar has long been in the professional and consumer fitness tracker arenas, and have finally stepped into the somewhat new field of all-in-one fitness wearables with today’s unveiling of their Polar Team Pro Shirt. Essentially, the shirt is everything included in their Polar Team Pro option, but stuffed into an athletic shirt. The slim, sleeveless number packs in a huge array of sensors, allowing for a full gamut of individual and team analytics ranging from the simple heart rate to more in-depth measurements such as speed tracking. Heart rate is captured via sensors embedded directly into the fabric, not unlike the way Google and Levi’s Project Jacquard jacket weaves sensors into the fabric, while advanced features are taken care of by a small sensor puck that fits in the shirt’s collar.
The Polar Team Pro Shirt sports pretty much all of the features of Polar’s Team Pro chest strap unit, including feeding information directly to a companion app that can be used by coaches to check out statistics like who’s working the hardest, who’s performing the best, and trends in the team. The number of features goes far beyond a casual fitness tracker, making the slim form factor that much more beneficial; it won’t over complicate or weigh down the already cumbersome equipment bags that go from locker room to locker room in team sports, and caring for the shirt is easy, since the built-in sensors can be machine washed with the rest of the shirt.
While Polar has been a big name in the world of fitness tracking for some time now, a recent move toward integrated fitness trackers in clothes and other wearables has all but forced them to evolve. Competitors like OMSignal and Hexoskin essentially ensured that no team looking for a new fitness tracking system would go with anything involving dedicated chest straps or more cumbersome solutions that have been mainstays for years. With the space being as young and competitive as it is, of course, even a big name like Polar could wind up being upended in due time, if a newcomer offers a good enough product. For now, Polar’s answer and concession to the trend toward integrated fitness wearables will be available in March, with additional sizes coming out in May.