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Polar’s new smart shirt actually looks comfortable

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Until your coach learns that you’re slacking off

Lauren Goode/The Verge

Polar has long been known for its heart rate sensors and fitness tracking wearables. Now it’s selling a “smart” shirt, one with a multitude of sensors built directly into the fabric of the shirt. The company is showing off its latest “wearable” (it’s a shirt! it’s wearable! get it?) this week at CES.

Connected shirts aren’t a new idea, but Polar’s focus is especially focused on team sports. Called the Team Pro Shirt, Polar plans to sell the shirt in bulk to teams so that coaches can see in real-time exactly how hard players are working out. The data is shared wirelessly to a compatible Team Pro mobile app.

Lauren Goode/The Verge

Connected devices for athletic teams makes a lot of sense, especially when teams are already tracking so much granular data, but it’s also an area of technology that has brought to light questions about players’ rights around personal data, especially for college teams.

One thing worth noting with regards to the product is that the Polar compression shirt does look a lot more comfortable than some of the other connected shirts we’ve seen, which sometimes have bulky, sensor-filled plastic boxes stuck to them or are simply too constrictive to be comfortable. If the wearable future is one where the technology aspect isn’t so obvious or high-maintenance, but just naturally finds its way into the stuff we’re already wearing, then something like this looks to be a step in that direction.

Polar hasn’t said how much the shirt will cost or whether a version will eventually ship to consumers, just that it will be available for teams in March of this year.

Lauren Goode/The Verge