Wearable technology for runners has arrived. Numetrex contacted me recently to review their Adidas miCoach shirt which pairs with a watch or smartphone to offer realtime heart rate feedback. I jumped at the chance to test out their gear and share my thoughts.

For this review, I am using my TomTom Runner GPS watch, the Adidas miCoach Short Sleeve Training Shirt, and a Adidas Heart Rate Monitor. You can find both Adidas products at Numetrex. You can use a variety of smartphones or watches for gathering data, just be sure to choose the correct heart rate monitor. Some watches synch via Bluetooth and others use ANT+. Once the data is captured on your device you can then upload it to the platform of your choice for analysis.

If you choose to use a smartphone device, you may want to download the Adidas miCoach app. Adidas miCoach provides you with a complete heart rate-based coaching system. You can receive voice prompts on the run to help you stay in your target zone, upload data for performance analysis, and receive professional feedback. More on heart rate training here.

Adidas miCoach Seamless Sports Bra
For the ladies: Adidas miCoach Seamless Sports Bra

Road Test

The best word to describe the look of the Adidas miCoach Short Sleeve Training Shirt is probably futuristic. It’s sleek, dark, and has colorful accents around the chest that remind me of the movie Tron. I also thought about my neighbors reaction to seeing me in a tight-fitting compression shirt and not my normal loose-fitting tech tee. Well, I could be shirtless right? Get over it neighbors.

adidashirt2

I snapped the Adidas Heart Rate Monitor in place on the center of my chest and paired it with my TomTom watch. The process took only a few seconds. The shirt is definitely snug and feels like a compression shirt in terms of tightness. There is band of fabric around the chest that has built-in sensors to monitor heart rate.

Inside out: sensor strap
Inside out: sensor strap

I ran a regular 6-mile run and the shirt performed well. It didn’t ride up on me, the seams didn’t cause irritation, and heart rate monitor stayed in place. The BPM didn’t show up until I’d run about a half mile. If I had wet the inside of the heart rate band before I left, it would have picked up earlier. I paused my watch to run some strides at about 5.5 miles. When I resumed my run, the BPM rate was off by a wide margin.

Data captured on my run
Data captured on my run

The Good

The the Adidas miCoach Short Sleeve Training Shirt ($62) and a Adidas Heart Rate Monitor ($60) are a great alternative to a simple heart rate strap and monitor.

  1. The shirt doesn’t ride up on you as you run

  2. The shirt won’t cut into your skin like the strap

  3. It’s one less piece of gear to bring with you on the run

  4. You can improve your heart rate training by using the Adidas miCoach app

The Bad

My experience was less than perfect.

  1. Lag time in BPM information

  2. Disruption by pausing my watch caused an error in BPM numbers

  3. The shirt may be uncomfortably tight or ill-fitting for some body types

Thoughts?