What it is: a training shirt that features Adidas heart rate sensing technology.
Sensors are woven into the fabric, monitoring your heart rate throughout your workout.
Who is it for: Athletes looking for technical shirts that can connect to heart rate monitors.
I’m a 6’2’’ 165lb (188 cm, 75 kg) distance runner and the medium shirt fit me very well. This shirt has a long torso that goes to your hips, but you can scrunch up some of the bottom and have the shirt finish at your waist. The sleeves fit close to my arms, so I would recommend trying this shirt out if you don’t have the build of a distance runner and are concerned the sleeves might get too tight.
The shirt is 84% polyester and 16% elastane (spandex), so it’s very breathable and stretches well. The shirt uses Adidas’ ClimaCool Technology which provides enhanced ventilation and moisture management. How good is the ventilation? I took this shirt on a 10 mile mountain run in Acadia National park on a very sunny 70F+ (21C+) day and can say it works as well or better than a regular polyester shirt.
Adidas claims the TECHFIT design “focuses your muscles’ energy to generate maximum explosive power, acceleration and long-term endurance”, but I did not experience any noticeable added power, acceleration or long-term endurance. Maybe TECHFIT does increase the performance of an athletes by some percentage, but I’ll consider the benefits of TECHFIT to be a marketing gimmick until Adidas publishes studies.
The shirt looks cool. It’s not just my opinion either, I was told I look like a superhero while wearing it. The different angled patches of fabric combined with trippy looking graphics around a heart rate bluetooth module makes you resemble Tony Stark.
I was very disappointed with how difficult it was to put on and remove this shirt. The shirt has an internal band of fabric wrapping around the chest that holds the conductive patches of fabric that connect to the heart rate monitor. This internal band does not stretch as much as the rest of the shirt, so you end up stuck with the shirt partially on you as you wiggle your arms and chest through this tight fabric band. I have double jointed shoulders and I still manage to rip out a few threads while putting on or taking off this shirt (ripped threads circled in image below). The band has to be tight though, otherwise the heart rate monitor won’t sense the skin that well.
The HRM technology
The metallic looking conductive fabric used to send your heart’s electrical impulses to the heart rate module is really neat. The bad part about the heart rate sensing technology in this shirt: it’s not always accurate.
Below is my heart rate on a 10 mile treadmill run with a steady pace between 9-11 mph and then 5 mph for the last few minutes. My heart rate did not drop during the middle of the workout, contrary to the shirt data.
If I swapped the heart rate monitor onto the chest strap, I got accurate heart rate data. I contacted Adidas about this discrepancy between the chest strap and the shirt and they believe the shirt was most likely inaccurate and the heart rate sensor module was fine.
This is disappointing since the shirt was very comfortable compared to a shirt and a heart rate chest strap. The heart rate module was also easy to snap on and off of the shirt. Adidas could have made the internal fabric even tighter to improve the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, but the shirt would have been impossible to put on or take off.
As a note, I made sure the sensor pads were wet and tested the heart rate monitor on several workouts before concluding the heart rate data was inaccurate.
If you’re ok with occasional inaccurate heart rate data and like the appearance of this shirt, get the shirt. If you’re looking for a better alternative to chest straps, do not consider this shirt.