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Garmin’s HRM-Match chest strap pairs practically completely with sports activities bras

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Sports activities bras are a vital evil. I’m not the bustiest runner, however even I would like a high-support bra to neutralize the legal guidelines of physics. Including a chest strap to the combination, nonetheless, usually looks like I’ve signed as much as run 13 miles with a python squeezing my chest. Which is why the $149.99 Garmin HRM-Match chest strap is a stroke of genius.

To get why the HRM-Match is so nice, it’s essential to perceive how common chest straps fail sports activities bra wearers. Conventional chest straps are sometimes an elastic loop that wraps round your whole physique with electrodes on the underside. As a result of the electrodes want to take care of good contact together with your pores and skin, it’s important to tighten the loop such that it doesn’t slip. Stick that beneath a medium- or high-support sports activities bra — which is already fairly constrictive — and it’s a foul time. Add underboob sweat to the combination, and preserving my Polar H10 clear is a complete job.

Three clips — one within the middle and two on the perimeters — safe the strap onto your sports activities bra band.
Photograph by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

It may not seem to be an enormous change, however the HRM-Match doesn’t wrap absolutely round your chest. As an alternative, there are three clips that latch onto your sports activities bra band. There are additionally two electrodes on the underside. I can not overemphasize how pleasurable the HRM-Match was to make use of due to that straightforward design change.

The clips make it so there’s no extra stress. I usually forgot I used to be even sporting it. Conversely, I’m at all times conscious about my Polar H10. Additionally, with the HRM-Match, cleansing the strap is simple as a result of underboob sweat wasn’t as a lot of a problem as a result of there isn’t a ton of material touching my pores and skin. I went from dreading placing on my chest strap to not minding it in any respect.

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It really works greatest on medium- to high-support sports activities bras.
Photograph by Victoria Track / The Verge

I’m all for a chest strap that doesn’t ask folks with tatas to sacrifice any consolation, particularly since chest straps assist individuals who both can’t use smartwatches or for whom smartwatches aren’t the best choice. (Have you ever tried placing a boxing glove over a smartwatch? Not enjoyable.) Plus, they’re extra correct than optical coronary heart fee sensors since they really measure your heartbeat by way of electrical indicators as an alternative of sunshine mirrored off your pores and skin. That makes them nice picks for folks with tattoos and extra melanated pores and skin.

The $149.99 Garmin HRM-Match is a uniquely designed chest strap that attaches to your sports activities bra as an alternative of wrapping round your entire chest.

That mentioned, it’s not excellent. As a result of it latches onto your bra, you want the correct of sports activities bra. Garmin has a little guide, but it surely works greatest in case you have a bra with a medium-width band. I discovered that if the band was too slim, the HRM-Match wouldn’t lay flat. That dominated out a number of of my favourite sports activities bras. One other bummer is that it’s not beneficial with front-zip sports activities bras. It will also be difficult in the event you use sports activities bras with underwires. I used to be fortunate that the HRM-Match principally labored with nearly all of my sports activities bras, particularly since changing them can be so rattling costly. However relying in your sports activities bra preferences, the HRM-Match might not be suitable.

I additionally want the HRM-Match had been simpler to make use of outdoors of Garmin’s platform. It’s tremendous easy in the event you’re utilizing it with a Garmin watch. Nevertheless it’s not fairly as simple to view real-time knowledge in the event you’d reasonably use the HRM-Match with a third-party smartwatch or by itself. Say you go for a run and not using a Garmin watch. The strap will document metrics like steps, energy, depth minutes, and coronary heart fee — but it surely gained’t document that knowledge as a part of a run. Conversely, Polar’s chest straps work with the separate Polar Beat app that may document timed actions, even in the event you don’t have a Polar watch.

There are two electrodes that go on both aspect of your chest. It reduces the quantity of material that is available in contact together with your physique.
Photograph by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

I don’t love that it prices $150. The pink tax is actual.
Photograph by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

That is much less of an issue in the event you plan to make use of this with fitness center tools or health apps that assist third-party equipment. It has Bluetooth and ANT Plus, so you possibly can view knowledge on a machine in actual time. In the meantime, in the event you pair to linked machines like Peloton Bikes and health apps, you’ll a minimum of get to see your HRM-Match recorded knowledge inside that app’s exercise abstract. Within the Garmin Join app, you possibly can solely view it as a part of your general every day knowledge until you’re utilizing it with one other Garmin machine.

I additionally don’t love that, at $150, that is rather more costly than the Polar H10 or Wahoo’s varied Tickr chest straps. These you possibly can simply discover for beneath $100, particularly through the holidays. It’s the pink tax. Not solely do it’s important to purchase a sports activities bra however you additionally should pay extra to make use of a chest strap that works comfortably with them. However even with all my quibbles, I’m stoked that the HRM-Match exists. Lastly, somebody within the health tech area has acknowledged that chest straps can — and will — be designed in a different way for individuals who put on bras.

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