OURA: HOW A RING BECAME 2020'S BEST INVENTION
The fashion industry has long drawn inspiration from that of health and fitness. In fact, today’s consumers are increasingly aware of their personal health and well-being. Though wellness was once characterized by hot vinyasa and smoothie bowls, it has evolved into something far greater. To consumers, wellness ranges from the materials and fabrics in your home, to the art of self-care. This has manifested in the fashion industry, with many brands opting for messages of mental and spiritual health. Among the ranks are Madhappy, Sporty & Rich, and Mayfair, each propelled by the idea that what you wear can change the way you feel. We saw this movement in full force with the rise of athleisure, and many of our favorite brands now do their own creations of the perfect sweat set. Though the aesthetic of self-care has been on a steady incline for a few years, the beginning of the pandemic brought about a great change in priorities. Recent studies show a realignment in the way we view health and fitness, with people reporting their desire to better their sleep, energy, and emotional health. This more holistic approach to fitness has allowed for great strides in the technology we use to track our health.
We witnessed the evolution from step-counters, to Fitbit, and, most recently, the Apple Watch. Though these devices have become more attuned to customers’ desire for an informative, yet stylish health accessory, they still fall short. The invention of Oura Ring, however, pushes the limits of what a smart accessory can entail. Unlike the cumbersome and bulky appearance of a watch, Oura Ring is impressively small and sleek. At just 0.01 pounds, the lightweight accessory has enormous feats of performance. It has the capability to track your sleep, body temperature, heart rate variability, and activity, all while storing the data in a user-friendly app. Invented in Finland in 2013, the ring has gained recognition during the pandemic for its ability to track symptoms of COVID-19. The product currently comes in Silver, Black, Stealth, and Gold, and though it is a multisensor device, it could easily be mistaken for a minimalist’s guide to monochromatic jewelry. Oura Ring appeals to customers who have been drawn away from other tracking devices that are heavy and inconvenient. While Apple Watch tried to combat this with a retrospective approach, offering watch bands in stainless steel and even a leather collaboration with Hermès, the 44mm interface is hard to miss. Those seeking the refinement and class of an Hermès leather band would likely opt for wearing a real timepiece rather than a pseudo watch. On the other hand, Oura is the epitome of what a sophisticated accessory should be: sleek, adaptable, and a timeless staple. staple that can be worn with any outfit.
In a year where health is especially at the forefront of our minds, could a product that allows you to be in tune with your body be the most valuable accessory? According to Time Magazine, the answer is yes. Oura Ring was named under, “The 100 Best Inventions of 2020”, most notably for the success it found in its partnership with the NBA. The sports organization decided in the summer of 2020 to purchase over 3,000 Oura rings for their players and staff to keep the virus at bay. As Time explains, this decision could explain why the league was able to complete their season without a single case of COVID-19, something no other league accomplished. Continuing their success, Oura has also partnered with the WNBA and Nascar.
With the momentum growing since this past summer, Oura has garnered the interest of many famous athletes and tech aficionados. Manu Ginóbili and Shaquillie O’Neal are currently investors, and silicon valley CEOs Jack Dorsey and Michael Dell now sport the great feat of technology on full sartorial display.
If the relationship between the NBA and the rise of sneaker culture is any predictor of Oura’s success, I’d say we just found the Air Jordan of health tracking devices.