I Tried Whoop’s Any-Wear Leggings for Activity Tracking and Here’s My Honest Review

Sometimes I feel like the last person in America without an Apple Watch, but I’m just not a watcher. I am not a anything on my wrists nobody – I don’t wear bracelets, I don’t even wear hair ties (don’t worry, I keep about 19 in every bag I own). But I’m interested in my activity data. I like to see where I rank in the rankings for a fitness class, I always check my walking distance on my phone, and I get a little jealous of people talking about closing their rings.

So when I found out that wearable tech company Whoop had started making wearables designed to house their Whoop 4.0 fitness tracker, I was pumped. All the benefits of their tracker, but integrated into your clothes? Sign me up. Whoop Body includes leggings, sports bras, bralettes and underwear in various styles for women, as well as t-shirts, shorts and underwear for men. Every item has a pocket somewhere for the Whoop sensor, which monitors your heart rate to calculate the cardiovascular strain you’re putting on your body with your activities, from HIIT to walking your dog. It also tracks your sleep cycles and gives you its “recovery score” to guide your activities the next day.

I decided to try Any-Wear™ Leggings ($109) because I already wear black leggings almost every day, all day. My first impression: these have pockets!! And not just the little pocket on the side of your calf for the sensor; there are pockets near the waist on both sides and a small zipped pocket on the back. They reminded me a lot of the old Lululemon Pace Rival leggings which had a back pocket.

As for that sensor: it’s the same square inch you wear on your wrist; you just have to remove the bracelet and slip it into the pocket. It took me a few tries to figure out how to reattach the bracelet properly, but after that it was pretty straightforward to swap them out.

I washed the leggings straight away and they air dried so quickly, so I knew before I even wore them that they would be perfect for sweaty activities. When I put them on I noticed that they were really breathable even while providing compression which was awesome. However, I didn’t feel like they were as tall as advertised, hitting around my navel, not my waist.

Now was the time to put them to the test.

Activity 1: Barre

I paired the Whoop app with my tracker within minutes, selected barre from the list of activities, and started my 30-minute class. The leggings provided plenty of stretch to support me through all the lunges and pulses, but when I lay on my side for the shells it was a little uncomfortable as I was leaning directly on the device. I don’t count calories, but I thought the app’s 59 count was low for a half-hour workout (more on that later).

Activity 2: Walk

A good thing about the Whoop is that you don’t have to say it when you start an activity: you can go back and type in what you were doing when. So when I wore the leggings all day, I just logged into the app at the end of the day and noted my long walk and my trips. The leggings were comfortable enough to walk around in and the pockets came in really handy. But the Whoop looks at your personal cardiovascular health and is not a step counter. Since I like to know how many miles I have traveled each day, I always needed my phone to tell me.

Activity 3: Cardio boxing

The leggings stretched well through all movements, and their breathability was nice in this super sweaty class. I actually had to test this one twice, because the first time the data was cut off halfway through. I think it’s because I didn’t get it tight enough in its little pocket with velcro, and it moved during all the kicks and jumps. But in the class where I had it positioned correctly, it was fascinating to see my heart rate data (hitting the air requires more cardio than I thought!).

Activity 4: Sleep

Whoop’s built-in sleep coach can calculate your optimal amount of sleep and recommend the right bedtime, with the best suggestions after four nights worth of data. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get there. The compression and rise of the leggings were fine for daytime wear, but I found them really uncomfortable for sleeping in and ended up going back to my regular soft shorts in the middle of the night.

The verdict

If you don’t want to wear a fitness tracker on your wrist, wearable technology like Whoop Body is a great option. The clothes are designed for all activities, and you totally forget the tracker is there. But keep in mind that like any tracker, it won’t give you the full picture of your fitness or well-being. Because Whoop’s data is based on heart rate, when I took this barre class, Whoop classified it as a “recovery” activity for me. Sure, barbell isn’t exactly cardio, but I would never call anything that involves two consecutive minutes of bicep curls followed by kicking in my glutes – I would call that a good workout. So, while I won’t go back to leggings for sleeping, I’ll happily add them to my rotation for sweaty workouts and warm-weather rides.

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Richard V. Johnson