Ralph Lauren Launches PoloTech Fitness Tracking Polo Shirt

Ralph Lauren shirts are stylish, and now they promote good health, too. The company is selling PoloTech, a health-monitoring polo shirt, starting Aug. 27 at its flagship New York store and on its website. 

PoloTech has silver fibers woven into the fabric, according to Mobile Health News. The technology allows the shirt to track its wearer’s heart rate, heart variability, breathing depth and recovery, stress level, calories burned, steps taken, intensity of movement, and energy output. The shirt requires use of a box device to capture activity-related data and to receive data from the in-fabric sensors. The box then transfers everything to an iOS app for the iPod Touch, iPad, or Apple Watch.

The shirt, created in partnership with wearable fitness tech company OMsignal, offers customized workouts from Galvanized, a fitness firm that uses real-time data from the shirt to adapt video workouts to its wearer. The Galvanized workouts have 10,000 different combinations to provide the appropriate intensity.

Ralph Lauren is a few months behind in the shirt launch, which was originally scheduled for early 2015. The clothing maker also announced it was creating a similar dress shirt when it announced its partnership with OMsignal, but there hasn’t been any further word on that option.

The Ralph Lauren PoloTech shirts join the fast-growing market for wearable fitness technology. Up until now, most items in this tech category fit on the user’s wrist, although some attach to clothing or shows. The market is still too new for any conclusive studies to show concrete benefits from wearing any type of fitness tracker. However, the Denver Post says experts agree that setting concrete goals and being reminded regularly about them are two important components of a successful fitness program. It follows that shirts, fitness watches, or anything else that reminds you of your goals and keeps fitness at the forefront of your mind is likely to have positive benefits.

The useful and stylish new shirts won’t come cheap, retailing at $295. That’s roughly in the ballpark of higher-end wearable fitness tech like the Apple Watch, which has a sport version for $349, and the $249 Fitbit Surge. However, unlike mainstream trackers, it’s not feasible to wear the PoloTech shirt throughout the day. For now, this first generation product is likely to appeal mainly to athletes. However, the Wall Street Journal predicts that the market for fitness tracking garment, which is virtually non-existent today, will soar to almost $5 million by 2020.

The shirts will also be available at a special booth at the U.S. Open between Aug. 31 and Sept. 13.