Remember when a Walkman was the last word in wearable tech?
And when we say wearable, we all know that really meant an unyielding plastic clip that, were you not wearing a very tight pair of jeans indeed, would almost certainly cause the waistband of your kecks to sag.
Oh, how times have changed.
Not only is music portable in a way that involves little more than a pair of wireless earphones, but the concept has extended into all manner of items, from smartwatches and fitbits to the likes of a self-heating coat (yes, really).
And that’s just the tip of the ‘I never knew I needed that but WOW I absolutely do’ iceberg.
Here’s our pick of the latest wearable tech that will not just make your life a little easier, but make you think, too…
Breitling Exospace B55 Connected
Breitling has taken its precision navigation and timekeeping – which has made the brand a favourite with pilots for decades – and applied this to its first connected watch. As well as alerting you to emails and calls, the Exospace B55 will help to orientate you while travelling by simultaneously showing two time-zones through the digital display and the hands. Both in appearance – with its distinctive, sporty-looking strap – and functionality, the Exospace B55 is absolutely ideal for the modern-day explorer who loves to swim, ride, run and fly, while staying connected. Breitling
Bragi The Dash Pro Earphones
The Dash Pro are the latest version of hearables from the German tech pioneer Bragi, and this time they deliver a longer battery life, improved voice calling, and have a real-time language translation feature – handy for international travel. These intelligent earphones also allow you to stream music, measure your exercise activities, take a phone call or skip a song by head gestures, all without the hassle of wires. However, where they really come into their own is in the swimming pool. These Bragi earphones can link via Bluetooth to your favourite playlist, and even when used underwater, they provide exceptional sound quality. This feature alone should justify their higher price point. Bragi
The Kerv Contactless Ring
Now you can leave your wallet, phone and cash at home but still pay for those everyday transactions, using the world’s first contactless payment ring. The beauty of the ceramic Kerv ring, which comes in 14 different colour combinations, is that it’s a wearable that doesn’t obviously look like a piece of tech. In a flash of the hand, you can buy a coffee, use the Underground or pay for a round of drinks, as the Kerv can be used anywhere that accepts contactless payments. The only drawback is that you need to initially register for a Prepaid MasterCard account, but once connected, the ring doesn’t require charging or pairing. Kerv
ALtra Torin IQ Trainers
Running just got a lot smarter, with these training shoes that track not only the distance and quality of your jog, but also provide real-time coaching. It’s the only shoe on the market to feature full-length, featherweight sensors embedded in the sole. They feedback via an app on how your feet are landing and weight distribution, along with data on your pace and distance. If your form starts to slip towards the end of a race, live coaching tips can be switched on for encouragement. Altra specialises in running shoes and has a true understanding of the foot, so it pretty much feels like you’re running on a cloud. Altra Footwear
Coros LINX Smart Cycling Helmet
This is the first bike helmet on the market to use bone conduction technology, allowing riders to listen to their music and receive calls safely while on the open road. Avoiding the hassle and distraction of earphones and wires, the Linx helmet sends small vibrations via the helmet straps to the inner ear, leaving the eardrum completely open and aware of external noises such as traffic. There is also a wind-resistant microphone so you can communicate with other Linx riders in your group. In addition to this, a wireless smart remote allows you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the bars, while controlling media and calls with the tap of a button. Coros
Emel + Aris Heated Smart Coat
The unpredictability of the British weather requires a wide variety of outerwear options. Emel + Aris are attempting to reduce this down to a single winter coat, which can be adapted to the changing temperatures using intelligent heat technology, powered by a small rechargeable battery. The revolutionary jackets heat up the torso of the body at the press of a button, giving the feeling of all over warmth on those frosty mornings. For men there are two styles – a classic Savile Row cut overcoat costing £1,395 and a cotton mac with detachable gilet priced £1,295. Skilled craftsmen in the UK have created the coats using the finest Loro Piana textiles, ensuring that style has not been compromised. Emel + Aris
Zepp Golf 2 3D Swing Analyser
Simply slip this device onto your golfing glove, take a few swings and it will instantly evaluate how you can improve your game. This compact wearable breaks down the mechanics of your swing into six different measurements; club speed, club plane, hand plane, hand speed, backswing position and tempo. Once the areas for improvement have been highlighted, the app then provides training videos from professionals such as Keegan Bradley – who you can also compare your stats with, if you’re feeling particularly brave. If you aspire to achieving a better handicap, the Zepp provides clear feedback on how you can make that happen. Zepp
Although it is billed as a smartwatch, the Ionic is best tx§reated as a fitness tracker with benefits. As well as tracking your cardio levels, steps and sleep quality, it can be used to make contactless payments, listen to music and access apps. The Ionic also improves upon previous models by adding built-in GPS and a dedicated swimming mode, with water resistance up to 50 metres. Aesthetically, it is hard to get away from the fact that you’re wearing a fitness tracker, but if you’re serious about training, the Ionic provides more detailed feedback and coaching to keep you on track. Fitbit
Montblanc Summit Smartwatch
Cutting-edge technology meets classic vintage style with Montblanc’s stylish debut smartwatch. The Summit has all the features one might expect from a connected watch – from a heart rate monitor and fitness tracking sensors, to voice translation and 4GB of memory to download and control music from your wrist. It is also surprisingly lightweight, making it easy to forget that it’s being worn. While the technology might be cutting edge, the design takes its inspiration from Montblanc’s iconic 1858 collection, giving the Summit a timeless quality. There are also a variety of a customisation options, with changeable straps and an in-built collection of digital Montblanc watch faces. A genuinely modern classic has been born. Montblanc
Upright Go Posture Trainer
While perhaps not the sexiest looking product, this palm-sized posture trainer has the powerful ability to make your posture more attractive. The small plastic wearable sticks to your back with reusable silicon adhesives and discreetly buzzes each time your posture droops, like a digital version of your mother reminding you to stand up straight. It also links up to an app, where back muscles are strengthened with increasing daily training sessions, or a tracking mode highlights the times in the day where you are most prone to slouching. Not only will it help you to project a more confident body language within the workplace, it’s also a lot cheaper than having a chiropractor on speed dial. Upright