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Innovative Apple Watch band lets runners monitor speed and heart rate at a glance [Review]

The design of the wristwatch hasn’t changed on over 100 years, but EdgeGear has an alternative that makes it easier for runners to see their Apple Watch while on the go. The Shift is not like any band you’ve worn before, as the Watch is held near the base of your thumb, not in the middle of your wrist.

I took the EdgeGear Shift on a few runs, and can report on how it performed in the real world.

EdgeGear Shift review

The creators of this watch band set out to solve a problem: To see the face of the watch you’re wearing, it’s necessary to lift your arm and bend it around toward your eyes. Ordinarily, that’s no big deal. But it’s much more of a hassle during a long run, when checking your watch completely throws off your pace.

EdgeGear essentially rejected the standard design and started from scratch. The result is the Shift, which still wraps around the wearer’s wrist, but also around your thumb. When wearing this band, the Apple Watch rests on the thenar muscle group at the base of the thumb, not in the middle of the wrist. This points the Watch much more toward the wearer’s face.

The Shift comes in two parts: wrist strap and thumb strap. The wrist strap is very adjustable. And it has numerous slots that let your wrist breathe. The Shift comes with two sizes of thumb strap to help you adjust it to your hand.

This product is made of Viton, the same material used in the Apple Watch Sport band. The metal parts are die-cast zinc. Unfortunately, the adapters that connect the band to the Apple Watch are plastic, and are the weakest part of this design. They can break if you don’t insert them very carefully into the Watch.

A runner’s Apple Watch band reimagined

The EdgeGear Shift is lightweight and easy to put on.
The EdgeGear Shift is lightweight and easy to put on.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

I tested the EdgeGear Shift on multiple runs, and I really like where it holds my Apple Watch. The band makes it far easier to glance at the Apple Watch screen without breaking stride. The Apple Watch heart rate monitor functioned normally, even at its shifted location.

The Shift is intended for exercise, not constant use. A standard watch band is an even balance between keeping your Watch available but also out of the way. EdgeGear’s offering makes your Watch much more accessible, but also much more likely to get caught on things.

EdgeGear Shift final thoughts

The EdgeGear Shift is a genuinely innovative product that neatly solves a problem that many runners have. It’s lightweight and relatively inexpensive.

But a switch to metal Apple Watch adapters would make it even better.

Price: $39.99

Buy from: Cult of Mac Watch Store

EdgeGear provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.

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