The best smart clothing: From biometric shirts to contactless payment jackets

Smart fabrics and garments on sale now or hitting the shops soon
Well worn: The best smart clothing

Smart clothing took its first tentative baby steps in 2015 and while it's not quite gone mainstream just yet, more companies are starting to play around with the concept of connected garments.

Essential reading: The biggest benefits of smart clothing

Much more than strapping gadgets to our wrists, faces, ears and feet, smart clothing can constantly track our heart rate, monitor our emotions and even pay for our Starbucks. All without grabbing a phone or even tapping a smartwatch screen.

Here are the best tech garments we've seen so far…

Lumo Run

From the makers of the Lumo Lift posture tracker, these smart running shorts and capris pack in a sensor that can monitor a host of metrics including cadence, ground contact time, pelvic rotation and stride length. The smart running gear supports real time coaching with feedback sent through to your headphones to help improve running form and reduce the chances of injury.

There's no change on the battery front either, giving you an impressive one month off a single charge. If you don't want to buy the shorts, there's also the Lumo Run sensor that can smarten up your current running kit.

$149 (shorts) /$169 (capris),

Hexoskin Smart

The Montreal based smart clothing startup recently unveiled its latest connected shirt that's laced with sensors. Along with monitoring heart rate, breathing and movement, it's now fitted with a Bluetooth Smart sensor so you can pair your favourite fitness apps such as MapMyRun, RunKeeper and Strava, as well as a whole host of third-party accessories.

Data is captured in real time and sends it all to the companion app, providing insights on a range of sporty metrics including intensity and recovery, calories burned, fatigue level and sleep quality.


OMsignal Bra

Fellow Canadian company OMsignal supplied the tech behind the Ralph Lauren smart shirts at the US Open. Now with the female of the species firmly in its sights, its mission has been to finally fix the sports bra once and for all – and make it totally smart in the process.

The OM Bra records distances run, breathing rates and heart rate, and even tells you when you're recovered enough to head back to the gym. And it links it all up with all the fitness platforms you'd expect, just in case you're not that into OMsignal OMrun.

The bra is adjustable at almost every thread with straps, padding and cups all designed to fit your needs.



Athos is based on expensive medical tech but designed for gym bunnies. Its range of training clothes is woven with micro-EMG sensors that detect which of your muscles are working and transfer this workout data to a smartphone via a Bluetooth core.

Muscle effort, heart rate and breathing are all tracked and the app provides insights to help you to exercise correctly and avoid injury. This could be the personal trainer in your pocket you've been waiting for.

From $199,

Sensoria running socks

best smart clothing

These connected socks aim to track your runs in detail, offering information on pace, distance and time as well as your running style. They can help users run with better form, which can lead to faster times and a reduced risk of injury.

The socks feature three textile pressure sensors, which measure the pressure placed on the foot during running. All the number crunching is done by a unit that clips onto the top of the sock, and then the data is shown up in an app dashboard.


Owlet Smart Sock

Smart clothing isn't just about fitness anymore. Take the Owlet Smart Sock, a monitor for babies that uses the same pulse oximetry technology used in hospitals and can monitor heart rate to make sure the little one's breathing and sleep has been uninterrupted.

The sock comes in three different sizes to ensure a snug fit and charges up via a small base station. It pairs with an iPhone companion app over Bluetooth with an Android version is expected in the coming months. This will keep you updated on your baby's status during the night to complete the ideal remote monitoring set-up.


Samsung NFC suit

Samsung is going big on smart clothing and has already shown off its Body Compass workout shirt, which monitors biometric data, and a golf shirt in collaboration with Bean Pole Golf that includes weather and UV rating monitoring.

The Korean giant also has an NFC smart suit, built in collaboration with Rogatis, that lets the wearer unlock their phone, swap business cards digitally and set gadgets to office and drive modes.

It's already sale in Korea for roughly $500, with no news yet as to whether it's going to break out into other territories.


Lyle & Scott contactless jacket

Can I pay by cuff? Barclaycard and Lyle & Scott recently teamed up to design a contactless payment jacket powered by bPay. The Contactless Jacket, which features the same contactless payment chip found in debit/credit cards discretely hidden in the cuff of the right sleeve, allows the wearer to pay for anything up to £30 across 300,000 shops, bars, restaurants and stations around the UK.

The double-faced, hooded jacket is available from the heritage brand in Admiral Blue and True Black online, or if you happen to stumble across Lyle & Scott's Carnaby Street store.

£150, Lyle & Scott

Neopenda smart baby hat

We've finished things off with a truly life-saving use for smart clothing. Neopenda's vital signs monitor is fitted inside a hat for newborn babies.

It can measure temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood oxygen saturation. It is being developed by a New York based health start-up of the same name, founded by Sona Shah and Teresa Cauvel, two Columbia University biomedical engineering graduates.

Up to 24 baby hats can be wirelessly synced, via Bluetooth, to one tablet which will run custom software. The idea is that doctors and nurses can check up on the vital signs of the whole room at a glance and get alerts if any changes in temperature or heart rate, say, are cause for concern. They are still at prototype stage but could cost as little as $1 each.



  • BiometricMatch says:

    You may like what we are working on. Emotion based biometrics.  We will be building wearables into our system as well and have already done some work with mobile EEG.

  • fb_holly says:

    I have personally only used the Owlet on this list of devices, but it is a lifesaver!!! I LOVE my Owlet and it has provided me many restful nights that otherwise wouldn't have been!

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