When Were the First Wearable Fitness Trackers Introduced? (Explained)

a-handsome-man-jogging-with-a-fitness-tracker-on-his-armOkay, I can see an athlete, but when were the first wearable fitness trackers introduced?

Remember the days when counting steps involved a clunky contraption clipped to your belt? Of course, you don’t silly, neither do I. But we’ve come a long way!

Today’s sleek fitness trackers monitor everything from sleep cycles to heart rate, seamlessly integrating into our active lifestyles. But how did these high-tech marvels come to be?

Let’s take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and explore the fascinating evolution of wearable fitness trackers.

First Wearable Fitness Trackers May Date Back to the Roman Era

While the concept of tracking activity goes back centuries (think Roman soldiers using pedometers to measure distances marched), the story of wearable fitness trackers truly starts in the 1960s.


Enter the Manpo-kei, a Japanese invention by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano. This rudimentary device, translating to “10,000 steps meter,” aimed to combat obesity by encouraging users to walk the now-famous 10,000 steps a day.

But the Real First Wearable Fitness Trackers Were Introduced After the 1960s

Fast forward to the late 1980s and early 1990s. The digital revolution ushered in a wave of electronic pedometers. These advancements offered more accurate step tracking and sometimes even basic calorie estimations. Think of them as the slightly cooler, more tech-savvy cousins of the Manpo-kei.

But these early devices weren’t exactly comfortable or stylish. They were often bulky and clipped to your waistband, a constant reminder of your fitness goals (or lack thereof).

Then Nike Introduces First Heart Rate Monitoring Fitness Trackers in the 1990s

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw a turning point. Companies like Nike and Polar Electro introduced the first heart rate monitors specifically designed to be worn during exercise. This was a game-changer, allowing athletes and fitness enthusiasts to monitor their workouts more effectively.

Around the same time, companies like BodyBugg began offering multi-functional devices that tracked steps, calories burned, and even sleep quality. These early fitness trackers were still relatively basic, but they hinted at the versatile future these gadgets held.

In 2007, the iPhone Made Wearable Fitness Trackers Your Everyday Companion

The launch of the iPhone in 2007 marked a significant shift in the fitness tracker landscape. Suddenly, smartphones became powerful fitness companions. Apps emerged that could track activity using the phone’s built-in accelerometer, eliminating the need for a separate device.

However, the true revolution came with the introduction of Bluetooth-enabled fitness trackers in the late 2000s. Pioneered by companies like Fitbit (with their iconic Fitbit Classic), these devices seamlessly synced with smartphones, offering users a wealth of data and insights into their activity levels.

Finally, After 2010, You Had A Fitness Tracker for Everyone!

From the early 2010s onwards, the fitness tracker market exploded.


We saw a proliferation of features, designs, and functionalities. Companies like Jawbone, Garmin, and Xiaomi joined the fray, offering sleek wristbands, fashionable smartwatches, and even fitness trackers specifically designed for women.

Today’s fitness trackers are marvels of technology. They can monitor everything from heart rate and blood oxygen to sleep stages and stress levels. Some even offer built-in GPS, music storage, and contactless payment options.

The Future of Fitness Trackers — What’s Next?

The future of fitness trackers is exciting and ever-evolving. With the rise of smart clothing, we might see fitness tracking seamlessly integrated into our everyday attire. Imagine your shirt monitoring your heart rate during exercise or your pants tracking your steps throughout the day!

A Step Forward, a Step Further: The Impact of Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers have undeniably changed the way we approach our health and wellness. They’ve empowered us to take control of our activity levels, understand our bodies better, and work towards achieving our fitness goals.

Wearable technology has even changed the fashion industry.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey, a wearable fitness tracker can be a valuable companion on the path to a healthier you.

So, the next time you glance at your sleek fitness tracker, remember its fascinating journey from a simple step counter to a sophisticated health and wellness tool.

By Chaudhry Awais Ahmed

A tech-savvy who loves writing and staying ahead of the future tech trends, Chaudhry Awais Ahmed is the CEO & Chief Editor at Tech Trend Tomorrow. While he has made a career in the content industry, you will find him busy trying new recipes in the kitchen and creating self-awareness on MEDIUM.

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