Apart from the fitness band and smartwatches which have seen a few generations in last few years with growing industry and consumer acceptance, several technology brands and startups are throwing random stuff at users to check what sticks. Increasingly, things like shoes that count steps, women lingerie that protects against harassment, or VR headsets have come into limelight – some only because of their outlandish attempt, and not because of the idea or execution.
In midst of this wave, a Gurgaon-based startup – C.VOX – is driving innovation in the field of wearable technology with their tech-fitness sports apparel. With an extensive experience in the apparel retail industry, the founders – two Midha brothers – aim to embed and integrate technology in apparels in an innovative way that is highly functional and innovative.
But why do you need all that jazz in your sportswear? Your mind plays a key role in powering you through, and running is as much about stamina and strength, as much it is about mental makeup. For a runner, for example, apposite music and audio guidance helps build focus, boost confidence, and helps relax. Of course, not all runners prefer to run with music, but for those who do, music makes physical effort feel easier, lowering perception of effort.
This is the reason the market is flooded with headphones aimed at runners as well as accessories like arm-bands and pouches to hold your smartphones or audio players while you’re on a run. However, Varun Midha, co-founder and COO of C.VOX, believes that the industry is not doing enough, and his research and design team has led to their unique tech-embedded performance wear.
C.VOX focusses on few critical aspects for embedding technology in sports apparels. There shouldn’t be pulling of wires anywhere and the earphones should be stable and stay snug when you’re running. Of course, you’d obviously want a reliable audio experience with appreciable audio quality.
I tried the C.VOX Stylish Miler jacket for a couple of weeks, incidentally during the monsoon season, which helped me observe the water-resistance features. At first glance it’s just another jacket – a pretty stylish one at that. It sports a modern fit and the fabric texture is soft and water-resistant enough to take on everyday showers. Of course, there are several different variants of t-shirts, jackets, and more on offer in their range, now available on cvox.com and other online retailers.
Depending on the variant you buy, there is a pair of ear buds behind the seams and under the collar, a pair of tiny speakers on the edge of the collar, a flashing light at the back, and the wiring necessary to link it all together. There’s a pocket that fits a smartphone snugly without adding a bulge or swinging away while running. Since the earphones come out of the neck/collar, there’s no loose wires hanging down or stretching you.
If you’re an audiophile, you’d find the headset just about okay. For most people though, they are a decent pair. They’re quite light and hence don’t add to the weight of the otherwise light-weight jacket. The tiny speakers are interesting. One would imagine them to be needless, as well as annoying to the passersby, but they are pretty handy when you’re running in a not too crowded area and just want some music (and even sports commentary) without plugging something to your ears. Sound quality on them is strictly average, though.
Some of the gear from C.VOX is completely washable, including the tech components. For others, things like earphones are detachable, and you have to take them off before a wash. It’s quite simple really, and seamless. At the end of the day, it is apparel, and all the technology stays with it. Essentially, you’d have to buy more than one of these if you require a change every now and then. I wonder if the company will devise a way, where one can buy a tech kit and plug it to more than one tees, for example, thereby saving costs.
C.VOX impresses with its fashion quotient, with or without the electronics, and therefore gets it right in both form and function. The company though wants to go forward and is actively researching on innovations like embedding bio-sensors in their performance gear, which can keep athletes aware about their critical body metrics. I also got a sneak peek of a jacket with a sleek but efficient power-bank built into it.
C.VOX is an interesting showcase of wearable engineering that is both practical and easy to adopt. It’s not a big hit on the pocket too, with prices being similar to other popular sportswear brands. If you are a sports or fitness enthusiast, you must check out their range and see if it works for you. For others too, like me, they have quite a few interesting options of outdoor wear.