When it comes to wearables, runners can actually wear devices or tricked-out running gear and measure their workouts these days. From hats to socks, nearly everything has been fitted with sensors that intelligently measure things like your heart rate, foot strikes, cadence and breathing to tell you how well you are doing.

While a dedicated wrist-worn fitness tracker can also do these, why stop there? Here are six running gears that have been revolutionized through the use of mobile and sensor technology.

Lifebeam Hat ($99)
The Lifebeam Hat is an activity monitor that sits on your head inside a hat. Literally a wearable device, it uses aerospace grade optical heart rate measurement, step measurement, and calorie consumption to provide users with fitness data from their workouts.

The all-weather hat measures your heart rate, steps, and calories, and this data can be synced with a smartphone app or fitness watch.

Li Ning and Xiaomi’s smart shoes
Li Ning, the Chinese sports goods company, has partnered with Xiaomi, one of the world’s leading mobile companies in a first collaboration between sports and “smart” technology in China. “We hope to use this opportunity to provide professional “smart” running shoes to running enthusiasts in China at an affordable price,” Li Ning said in a statement, reported by Reuters in March this year.

The shoes will consist of “smart” chips which would be placed in the soles of Li Ning running shoes. Connecting to a smartphone app, the shoes will let runners keep track of their progress and results, analyse their form, and monitor their achievements. In all likelihood, it will give runners data about where their foot is landing, their pronation or supination tendencies and the cadence of their runs. The shoe is likely to hit markets later this year.

Sensoria socks ($199)
With shoes taken care of, let’s move on to smart socks. Yes, we do have smart socks that can sense foot pressure, landing position and let users know how they are running. Sensoria, which besides socks, also makes smart running shirts, a smart sports bra and other accoutrements for your run http://www.sensoriafitness.com/Gear, says each smart sock features three proprietary textile sensors under the plantar (or the bottom of the foot) to detect foot pressure. A conductive fiber mesh relays data to an attached anklet unit, which are attached to magnetic contact points that activate the textile sensors. Here’s how it works:

OMsignal biometric wear ($110)

Like Sensoria, OM is a company making biometric running wear. Its bio-sensing running shirt tracks your activity, physiological stress and fitness levels, helping you get total control over your workout and body. OMsignal Smartwear is a shirt with health sensors embedded into the fabric to gather biometric data from your vitals including heart rate, breathing rate, breathing volume, movement (steps and cadence), movement intensity, heart rate variability and the amount of calories burned. You can see this data in the OMsignal app.

Running monitors have moved beyond smartwatches (Image: Motorola)
Running monitors have moved beyond just smartwatches (Image: Motorola)

Spire breathing monitor ($149.50)
Spire is a attachable breathing monitor that by measuring your breathing patterns throughout the day, can notify you when you’re tense, and guide you to a calmer disposition. More importantly it claims to make you more focused in the activities you love.

Spire claims to eliminate over a million moments of tension each week and says its customers report that the device reduces fatigue and headaches, increases productivity and enables a healthier day. For runners, such a device can be a godsend, especially when you miss out on a running session or skip a day. By alerting users of moments when their mind is tense, it can help them become more focused. While running too, Spire can detect moments or situations when you get tensed up and teach you to deal with them in a healthier way the next time.

runScribe ($149)
runScribe is an attachable device that uses a 9-axis sensor to precisely detect and capture the nuances of your feet while running. In short, it helps you understand and analyze your running pattern and trends, by resting on the back of your running shoes.

The major drawback is that runScribe does not offer real time data yet and all those metrics will only be visible after a run. runScribe reports distance, pace, stride rate and length, contact time, foot strike type (i.e. heel, mid or fore), stance excursions, max pronation velocity, pronation excursions, and impact and braking peak Gs. Naturally with such a wide application scope, it’s not meant for all casual runners, but those really serious about making running their primary workout or sporting activity.

Main image: Samsung

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