They say the guy with the car gets the girl, but now it’s the guy with the running smartwatch.
New Balance, the Boston-based running footwear brand founded in 1906, took a major step into the future by releasing the company’s first-ever wearable smartwatch for runners.
The result is a collective swoon.
Made in tandem with NB’s Digital Sport Division and tech giants Intel, Google, and Strava, the RunIQ watch (preorder $299.99 for Feb. 1 release) packs the software juice of an elite tracking device while looking like a 007 luxury timepiece with a sporty edge.
The wearable was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Viva Las Vegas on January 5, alongside a slew of the most hi-tech, glitzy gadgets coming to market in 2017. And as much as we like hearing about the “new species” electric car from Faraday Future (it accelerates like a Formula 1 car, which is pretty cool) we’re giddy to get the specs of New Balance’s RunIQ… because it’s an accessory we’ll shell out the dough for without any regret. After all, the Faraday car failed to park itself at the CES main floor— probably not worth our life savings.
So here’s what the wearable is packing: built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, lap button, interval capability, and a marathon-distance battery. Meanwhile, Strava pairing allows for quick and seamless workout uploading and sharing across a global community of athletes. RunIQ is also waterproof up to 5 ATM, so bring on the pouring sweat.
If you just pictured all the separate fitness gadgets you’d need to tally RunIQ’s metrics, you’re not alone. We’ve got a hunch that the designers, athletes, and even receptionists at New Balance were thinking the same thing in 2015— around the time its Digital Sports Division was created and the shoe brand got serious about the union between running and tech.
Mix the know-how of a heritage run brand with the design and software savvy of Intel and it’s no surprise the first New Balance wearable is the flyest smartwatch we’ve seen in a grip.
Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel Corporation said, “Intel technology is reinventing the boundaries of computing to evolve the way people get fit. Our collaboration with New Balance brings to market a smartwatch with enhanced design and functionality, resulting in a smart and connected device for runner.”
We’re taking RunIQ as a sign to finally clear the clutter of our wearable junk drawer and get serious about sporting a tracker that one, does it all, and two, works in our everyday wardrobe. No, we won’t be changing watches to go to our friends’ wedding anymore. While athleisure permeates everyday style largely through sneakers and sportswear, we’re keeping our tailored slacks over sweatpants and adding athletic flair via timepiece. If your aesthetic is more in the titanium variety, Tag Heuer made a connected smartwatch also.
The RunIQ release is complimented by a new lightweight wireless sports headphone dubbed PaceIQ (preorder $109.99 for Feb. 1 release), unveiled side-by-side at CES. The headphones were made by NB and Jabra. Yes, we’ll be pre-ordering a pair to use with RunIQ and feeling no shame about it. I mean, it’s less expensive than an electric self-parking car.
Photos courtesy New Balance.