Adidas and polar "Project Fusion" due to appear in stores

Back in August 2005, Adidas announced its partnership with Polar in creating “Project Fusion” combining Polar’s experience with fitness data collection with the sportswear company’s prowess. This is old news, at least, those with their ear to the ground have been talking about this for some time.

So what has changed? Well, at the time the concept was launched, the date to expect to buy your Adidas Fusion products in the shops was spring 2006, a date which rolled past and was somewhat obscured by the World Cup and other shenanigans.

Project Fusion aims to seamlessly integrate Polar heart rate and speed and distance monitoring equipment into adidas clothing and footwear.

The integration simplifies use and increases comfort, allowing the products to become part of the athlete. Included in the project are the Adidas adiStar Fusion range (t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, bras, women’s tops), the adiStar Fusion shoe, Polar’s S3 Stride Sensor, The Polar WearLink transmitter, and The Polar RS800 Running Computer.

Of course, this is not for the feint-hearted and pits itself into a competitive market with players from Timex, Garmin, Nike and others all vying for your sporting dollars. The real difference in this system is the clothing integration aspects, which have been approached by Nike in their Nike + iPod range. However, Polar has a large fan base with serious athletes and convenient systems are something that they are always interested in.

How does it work? Snap the tiny Polar WearLink connector onto the front of the shirt and go. The data is sent to the Polar RS 800 watch, which displays and records all information in real time. Simply put, your shirt talks to your running computer. In parallel, your sensor insert in your shoe provides information on your stride to complete the picture.

“An athlete can train more effectively with the right objective information”, says Marco Suvilaakso, Running Segment Manager for Polar Electro. “This system caters to the individual, with precise and personalized feedback.”

The Adidas-Polar range purportedly goes on sale next month, and prices are looking like £360 for the whole geddup, which might be a hard pill to swallow for some athletes.