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Smart Athletic Apparel Enters the Wearable Tech Market

Fitness-focused wearable technology is expanding from wristbands to shoes and clothing that can track various kinds of data like, heart rate, speed and calories, and the category is expected to top 68 million units this year.

Athletic apparel and footwear equipped with fitness devices are set for explosive growth as they move forward from testing labs to professional athletics, reports CNN.

Indian footwear company, Lechal, for example, has developed a shoe that can track distance, calories and pace. The footwear uses Bluetooth capabilities to connect to the wearer’s smartphone. Using simple foot gestures or voice commands, they can be used as a navigation tool or to track activity, the shoes then respond with vibrations. The Lechal App also syncs with Google Maps to allow for route guidance. The footwear is currently available for pre-order.

Wearable technology brand, Glofaster’s smart clothing allows users to set fitness goals, and thanks to its Gizmo sensor, lights along the sleeves will flash as feedback to keep you motivated. The rechargeable Gizmo simply plugs into the smart jacket and connects to an app through Bluetooth. Glofaster running and cycling jackets for men and women are priced at 165 pounds ($245), not including the Gizmo sensor, which is 100 pounds ($149).

Sports Performance Tracking, a company that develops technology for athletes at the sub-elite level, sells a sports vest equipped with a GPS that records data like speed and distance. The tracker can be used with a team to compare each player and determine rankings, with an individual to measure your performance and compare it against your best or with a coach so they can monitor players and leave feedback. The sports vest, including the GPS device, is marked at 299 Australian dollars ($232).

Smartwear developer, Athos has created shirts and bottoms that have sensors, which the company calls Athos Core, that can monitor your heart rate, muscle activity and breathing. These garments also connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth. The shirt and shorts, for men or capris for women are $99 each. A set of both is $198 and are available for pre-order.

Research firm, Gartner forecasts smart garment shipments are set to grow from 0.1 million units in 2014 to 26 million in 2016.