6 Popular Clothes That Use Wearable Technology

By Harrison Bruce
levis commuter trucker jacket - wearable tech clothing

Why Clothing that Uses Wearable Technology is the Future

First Off: What Is Smart Clothing?

Clothing that uses wearable technology is what is referred to as smart clothing. These involve internet-connected clothing and self-adjusting clothes that are now some of the fastest growing wearable technology sectors.

At the moment, activity trackers and smartwatches are kings in the wearables market but wearable technology clothing is growing exponentially. There are even websites devoted entirely to gadgets and electronics ratings. According to Juniper, connected clothing is set to be an industry worth a billion dollars by 2020. Smart clothing is better than today’s wearables given that they are in direct contact with the body and hence are more accurate and are more effective over longer ranges.

The Great Challenge: Making New Wearables Practical.

The new trend in wearables is a collaboration between tech companies such as Google and apparel companies such as Levi. One of the pioneering wearable clothing in such a partnership is the “Levi’s Commuter X Jacket” that uses Google’s Project Jacquard technology. Another company that has delved into the practical wearables is Nike, which developed the “HyperAdapt” smart adjusting shoes that had self-tying laces. These were promoted by soccer icon Christiano Ronaldo and tennis champion Serena Williams. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Samsung the South Korean electronics giant have also come up with wearable tech offerings such as golf shirts that warn you of bad weather, and smart scarfs that you can heat with a smartphone app. However, it is important to note that most tech companies are not interested in making clothing but rather in empowering apparel makers with more practical designs of wearables.

Some of the Most Popular Wearable Clothing That’s Available Right Now:

levis commuter trucker jacket - wearable tech clothing

1. Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket:

The first product (pictured above) to come out of Google’s Project Jacquard platform, the jacket gives the iconic Levi denim jacket a modern twist. The jacket comes with a snap tag and conductive Jacquard thread that lets you operate smart functions such as screen calls, interact with maps, listen to music and get directions by using specific motions. The jacket is gesture and touch sensitive and has been updated several times such that it can now accommodate more movement. It is one of the most stylish and intuitive pieces of clothing wearable tech that you could buy.

Price: $100-$135 Amazon.com

2. Under Armour Athlete Recovery

While being sore after some exertion can be a satisfying feeling, it is not so great after you have had it for two or three days. Under Armour teamed up with quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots to create wearable pajamas that help you to recover faster from exhaustion.

underarmour athlete recovery

The pajamas are made of bioceramic technology that reflects far infrared energy back to the body and absorbs infrared wavelengths from it thus helping one recover faster while they sleep. Research has shown that far infrared energy helps joint and muscle cells regenerate faster and is completely safe.

Price: $22-$78 at Amazon.com

3. Owlet Smart Sock 2

The second generation of smart wear comes with upgraded features that you loved from the original iteration and new features added. The sock uses pulse oximetry technology to monitor a baby’s breathing, sleep patterns, and heart rate.

owlet smart sock 2

The Owlet syncs to your Android or iPhone devices, charges through a base station, comes in three sizes and will give you real-time data right to your device. The improved version comes with better Bluetooth range and fewer false alerts. Working with the Connected Care platform by Owlet, it helps identify heart defects, sleep irregularities, chronic lung disorders, RSV, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia.

Price: $199 at Amazon.com

4. Ambiotex

The Ambiotex is a smart shirt that is made for serious athletes such as gym heads, cyclists, and runners. It is a compression style fit type of shirt that comes with a clip-on box and integrated sensors that measure your stress levels, fitness, the anaerobic threshold as well as heart rate variability. You can get real-time data from the shirt on your smartphone as the shirt comes with a smartphone app. You can also get more information about your biometric data and how you can use it to optimize recovery and training, in addition to access to individual training programs.

Price: $299 at Ambiotex.com (their website is in German)


5. Neviano Swimsuits

These are high tech swimwear that helps protect you from high ultraviolet rays from the sun. They are stylish swimsuits that have a waterproof sensor the size of a human thumb that connects to your Android and OS device, to inform you of high levels of UV. You can then apply more sunscreen or get out of the sun so that you do not damage your skin. You have to configure the device by feeding in your skin tone so that the device will send alerts customized to what your skin can take. The swimsuits come in all manner of colors and styles for women, men, and children.

Price: $350 at Spinali-Design.com

6. Nadi X Yoga Pants

These are customized yoga pants that help beginners get the right posture for their yoga workouts. They are particularly effective if you are doing yoga alone as a beginner and can get into bad positions or hold them for too long that you risk harm to the body. The wearable pants come with built-in haptic vibration that sends gentle pulses to your ankles, knees, and hips to tell you to hold and/or move positions. The device syncs to your phone through Bluetooth, and also comes with an app which provides more feedback after a session. It comes in different styles and colors and four sizes.

Price: ~$250 at Amazon.com

Future Trends:

The biggest issue with wearable clothing has been whether people will actually want to buy and wear smart clothing. Before the market reaches critical mass, consumers’ anxieties and concerns have to be addressed. For instance, there is a risk of battery powered clothing exploding just like phones have been known to. However, with people using tons of personal gadgets and phones, consumers seem more willing to take the risk.

Wearable clothing also tends to be very expensive sometimes costing as much as $2500 as was the case for Ralph Lauren’s self-heating jackets. This makes such clothing out of reach of the majority of consumers. However, Poupyrev of Google believes that consumers need to see smart clothing as a practical investment and hence the cost should not matter as much.

Going forward, wearable clothing will move from the experimental to essentials as consumers become more comfortable with them. Once people acknowledge the benefits of smart clothing the demand will rise and the costs should go down.

Another important development going forward is color changing which can make garments more flexible and extend their life.

High Tech Industrial Uses and Military Clothing
Before the mass adoption of wearable clothing, industry could just be the path to achieving critical mass.

In the coming years, the military, pro sports, health care and emergency services such as firefighting will lead the drive for smart clothing. Heavy industry is also critical in adoption as connected clothes can be used by supervisors to track the heart rates of employees to know when they need a break from strenuous work.

The military is also adopting smart wearables with companies such as BAE systems finding alternative uses for e-textiles. They are making clothes that have power and data networks incorporated into conductive fabrics rather than using cables and wires. You can then plug electronic devices straight into a belt, jacket, or vest and not have to load down the infantryman with gear.