What Are Smart Clothes?

Discover how your clothes can improve your life

Smart clothes, also frequently referred to as high tech clothing, smart garments, smart wear, electronic textiles, smart textiles, e-textiles, monitor clothing, or smart fabrics, are clothing items that have been enhanced with technology to add functionality beyond that of the traditional use.

Some smart clothes use advanced textiles with interwoven circuitry, while others implement sensors and additional hardware to give it its smart functionality. Many smart clothes can connect to an app or program on a secondary device using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, this wireless connectivity isn't necessary to classify a garment as a type of smart clothing.

What Are Some Examples of Smart Clothes?

A variety of small and major companies have begun integrating technology into their clothing, which has resulted in smart clothes popping up in almost every fashion category. Examples of the many different types of high tech clothing include:

  • Smart socks: The Sensoria Smart Socks can detect which part of your feet are receiving the most pressure during your run and can send this data to a smartphone app.
  • Smart shoes: Pizza Hut has experimented with limited-edition smart shoes that can order pizza.
  • Smart work clothes: Samsung has made a smart business suit that can exchange digital business cards, unlock phones, and interact with other devices.
  • Smart sleepwear: Under Armour's Athlete Recovery Sleepwear absorbs heat from the wearer's body while releasing infrared light to increase sleep quality and improve muscle recovery.
  • Smart activewearRalph Lauren's PoloTech t-shirts connect to a smartphone app to record fitness activity and recommend new workouts to the wearer.
  • Smart casual wearTommy Hilfiger embedded tech into some clothing to track product usage and reward customers for time spent wearing them.

Which Companies Make Smart Clothing Technology?

A growing number of technology companies and fashion brands have dipped their toes into the smart clothing market, with more expected to join them if the smart clothes concept proves popular.

Under Armour Athlete Recovery Track Suit
Under Armour

Among some of the more well-known brands experimenting with smart clothing are Under Armour, Levi's, Tommy Hilfiger, Samsung, Ralph Lauren, and Google. Smaller companies making a dent in the niche market include Sensora, Loomia, Komodo Technologies, and Hexoskin.

While Samsung and Google are easily the biggest tech companies investing in smart clothes, smaller companies like OmSignal, BioMan, and Awear Solutions are also making their mark either by releasing their clothing lines or collaborating with larger fashion labels.

Are Smart Clothes Expensive?

Due to the added expense of the technology used in smart clothes, they're generally pricier than traditional clothing. For example, a regular jacket may retail for around $100, but a smart jacket could set you back anywhere between $200 and $500, depending on the brand.

Levi's Commuter x Jacquard by Google smart clothing
Levi's and Google

As with most tech products and fashion items, older smart clothes models will decrease in price as newer ones come out. Cheaper imitations of popular products will also begin popping up more and more on online marketplaces like Wish App and AliExpress.

Where Can I Buy Smart Clothes?

Most smart clothes are available for purchase from a brand's website, though some physical retail stores and third-party online shops like Amazon have also been known to stock them. Some major sporting goods stores sell Under Armour's smart clothes, for example, while official Levi's storefronts will sell their brand of smart clothing items.

Are Wearables a Type of Smart Clothing?

"Wearables" usually refers to fitness trackers such as the Fitbit Ace 3 or Apple Watch, but it's also often used interchangeably with smart clothes by consumers and companies alike.

This usage isn't necessarily incorrect, as the term does mean technology you can wear. Generally, though, the name should be used when talking about high tech accessories such as a smartwatch, while smart clothes should refer to advanced clothing like a swimsuit, shorts, t-shirts, or hats (like Bluetooth beanies).

  • Are washers and dryers for smart clothes a thing?

    No. Smart clothes are usually washed and dried like traditional clothing but often require extra care like hand-washing, tumble-drying, cold water, etc.—the same kinds of precautions taken with other clothing.

  • What are the most popular smart clothes?

    Fitness tracking and body monitoring is the most popular use for and widespread application of smart clothing.

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