Sensoria Fitness Sports Bra + Heart Rate Monitor review

Sensoria's sports bra replaces a constrictive chest strap with soft textile sensors to measure your heartrate, but comes with its own caveats.
Sensoria's sports bra replaces a constrictive chest strap with soft textile sensors to measure your heartrate, but comes with its own caveats.
Sensoria's sports bra replaces a constrictive chest strap with soft textile sensors to measure your heartrate, but comes with its own caveats.

Highs

  • No extra strap around your rib cage
  • Textile heart rate sensors are soft and comfortable

Lows

  • Singular design
  • Limited sizing for very specific item
  • Not compatible with all heart-rate monitors

DT Editors' Rating

Wearable technology is on the cusp of a breakthrough. Never before have more people been willing to strap on some technology and begin tracking all manner of health metrics. While this “quantified self” movement is largely rooted in fitness-tracking devices like the Fitbit, Nike Fuel Band, Jawbone, and others, breakthroughs in fabric design and textile-based sensors could soon change that. A new fitness clothing company, Sensoria Fitness apparel, is just one brand hoping to break the current mold in the wearable technology marketplace with the Sensoria Fitness Sports bra, which does away with more cumbersome sensors.

Features and design

Sometimes scratchy and occasionally restrictive, wearing a traditional heart-rate-monitor (HRM) strap is your ticket to fitness data that will keep your training moving forward. The Sensoria Fitness sports bra utilizes textile electrode sensors paired with an external HRM that is designed to replace the traditional elastic strap that wraps around the user’s chest. With the Sensoria products, the annoying elastic strap is replaced by the garment itself.

Sensoria Fitness Sports Bra 11

Made from Heapsylon fabric, the Sensoria Fitness sports bra utilizes a dipped v-style front, ribbed support panels, and a wide racerback design. Textile electrode sensors are integrated into the bra’s chest band that gauge the user’s heart rate with supreme comfort and accuracy.

With Sensoria products, the annoying elastic strap is replaced by the garment itself.

Unfortunately, the bra is offered in limited colors and sizes. Available in either black or red, the bra has a large oversized and aesthetically unpleasing embroidered “S” in contrasting stitching on the center of the chest. In terms of sizes, there are only three. Size small is aimed the wearer of a traditional bra in the 32 AB to 34 AB range; the medium is rated for 34 AB to 36 AB;  and the medium/large aimed at women with a bra size of 34 CD to 36 CD. This three-sizes-fits-all approach could leave many women stuck in the middle scratching their heads on proper sizing.

At $79 a bra, the limited choices in size, color and style are all sticking points. For that price, you can score any number of options from high-end fitness brands like Lululemon, Nike, Adidas, Athletica, or Lucy (of course, you would still need to strap on a traditional HRM and chest strap to get the same amount of fitness data).

What’s in the box

The unit we tested, the Sensoria Fitness sports bra with integrated textile sensors, comes with the bra and no HRM. In order to track heart rate, a heart rate monitor must be attached onto the snaps located on the lower breastbone portion of the garment.It’s compatible with Polar and Garmin brand HRMs, but will work with nearly any sensor with 4.5cm between the snaps. We had success pairing it with the Wahoo brand HRM that we usually pair with a traditional chest strap.

Performance and use

The Sensoria Fitness Bra is simple to use. Once you put the bra on, there are only two things left to do: Wet the textile electrode sensors and snap on a compatible heart rate monitor. From there, you can pair the HRM with a variety of fitness apps or computers to read the data output by the monitor itself. During our test we paired it with a Garmin Edge 500. Had we used a Bluetooth-compatible HRM we could have also used it with a variety of smartphone-based fitness apps like Walkmeter, Strava, RunKeeper, and others.

Sensoria Fitness Sports Bra 20We tested the bra while cycling, running, yoga, and during kettlebell training, and each time the garment worked well for outputting heart rate data. Once the sensors are sufficiently wet, the data delivered was as consistent as the Wahoo electrode sensor strap we typically wear. While our Wahoo strap has taken an occasional slide and lost contact with the proper spot on our chest, even during particularly strenuous and sweaty workouts the Sensoria never missed a beat.

The Sensoria never missed a beat.

While the heart-rate functionality of the bra was equal — or even superior — to that of our traditional heart rate chest strap, its performance as an actual bra was somewhat lacking. Due to the Heapsylon fabric weight, lack of breathability, and wide-backed bra design, the piece was simply too warm for our normal use. Additionally the racerback styling stretched too far across the shoulder blades, which made it uncomfortable during weight training and yoga. Together, these two combined prevented both breathability and our overall comfort.

Conclusion

A HRM strap is constrictive by design, because it must be worn tightly around the user’s chest to get an accurate read.  Pair this with a sports bra and there is a lot of fabric pressing down on a person’s rib cage. For this reason, it’s not surprising that Sensoria Fitness apparel has offered to eliminate the redundancies by combining the two into one seamless product. Unfortunately, while the idea and product seem great in theory, in practice it has some issues.

The small amount of gain in comfort offered by the Sensoria Fitness sports bra, doesn’t erase a woman’s need for options in style, fit, price points, and color. We found it easier to just pair a traditional HRM and strap with the ordinary sports bra of our choice.

While the Sensoria Fitness Sports Bra is a comfortable, medium-support bra, it is not our end-all, be-all sports bra option. The fact is we don’t have one of those. We have a drawer full of sports bras, and a different one comes out depending on what activity we’re tackling that day and what outfit we’re wearing. And, all of them work with our Wahoo HRM strap. With a larger selection of fits, colors, and sizes in the Sensoria Fitness sports bra we might be swayed into giving up our HRM strap altogether. But for now, we’re sticking with the strap.

Highs

  • No extra strap around your rib cage
  • Textile heart rate sensors are soft and comfortable

Lows

  • Singular design
  • Limited sizing for very specific item
  • Not compatible with all heart-rate monitors
Product Review

Withings Steel HR Sport is a fitness tracker you’ll love wearing

Withings jumps back in the wearables game with the new Steel HR Sport, a hybrid smartwatch that is as much a fitness tracker as it is a timepiece. It's so good that it hasn't left our wrist since we pulled it out of the package.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Product Review

Garmin's Fenix 5X Plus is built for fitness freaks who fawn over every feature

With onboard music, full-color topographic maps, and new sport metrics, the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus sets a high bar for GPS smartwatches. Find out how it can help boost your performance in our Fenix 5X Plus review.
Wearables

Garmin listens to feedback, adds Spotify to Fenix 5 Plus Series watch

Garmin announced integration with Spotify, allowing customers to listen to offline playlists from their wrist. Adventurers who own one of the Fenix 5 Plus devices can download the Spotify app and start syncing their music.
Product Review

Apple's best product isn't the iPhone, it's the Apple Watch

Apple already ruled the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch Series 3, but the Series 4 elevates it to new levels with more screen, a sleeker design, and even an world-first electrocardiogram app that lets you keep tabs on your ticker.
Emerging Tech

Bose’s latest hearing aid has its own app

The FDA has granted Bose approval to bring a more intuitive hearing aid to market. The app-controlled device is the first of its kind to be granted FDA approval since Congress passed a law allowing the sale of OTC hearing aids.
Outdoors

The best snowshoes you can buy right now (updated for 2018)

Snowshoeing is a great way to stay fit and active during the winter months, but finding the right pair can be a challenge. Here are our picks of the five best snowshoes available today to keep you moving on the trail this winter.
Wearables

The Fitbit Charge 3 is now available for purchase worldwide

Back in August, Fitbit confirmed its new wearable -- the Fitbit Charge 3. The new fitness tracker features a touchscreen OLED display, smartwatch capabilities, enhanced fitness features and more. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Outdoors

These zip-on bike tires change up your tread to match the terrain

Retyre gives cyclists the ability to change the tread on their bike tires simply by zipping on an overlay designed to provide better grip on trails or in the snow, without replacing the existing tires.
Emerging Tech

Forget laxatives — this electronic pill will literally shake the crap out of you

Are you suffering from constipation? What you really need is a vibrating smart pill that promises to shake the crap out of you. And we mean that completely literally. Here's how it works.
Deals

The best sound machines to help you fall (and stay) asleep

Whether you find that sleep better with white noise, rain sounds, or deep sleep music, there’s a sound machine on the market that will be able to help you catch more z’s in no time at all.
Outdoors

The Wau stands out in the crowded ebike market with its 60-mile range

The Wau ebike is a high-tech commuter that offers onboard GPS tracking, geofenced alarm systems, built-in front and rear lights, and pedal-assist speeds of up to 20 mph, with a range of as much as 60 miles between charges.
Emerging Tech

With VR dinosaurs and ‘Minecraft,’ one hospital is making medicine less scary

From augmented reality rabbits on the wards to a Minecraft recreation of the hospital for kids to explore, one of the world's most renowned children's hospitals just got a major tech overhaul.