A useful tech tool or an overpriced gadget? We look at the pros and cons of the Oura Ring.

For athletes, recovery is a critical key of the training puzzle. Everything from the previous night’s sleep to time spent sitting at the office can make or break a workout. But tracking those non-training hours can prove tricky. Though some wearable tech pieces collect metrics of recovery, such as sleep quality, body temperature, and heart rate, the accuracy of such products can be hit-and-miss. But a newer, tinier trinket aims to change that – the Oura Ring, a finger-worn monitor that serves as both a recorder and coach of your recovery hours.

Unlike chest-strap heart rate monitors and wrist-worn activity trackers, which focus more on the duration and intensity of your workout, the Oura Ring is exclusively for evaluating the things you can do to balance your training load.

Marketing itself as “the world’s most advanced wearable,” the Oura Ring packs a lot of tech into a tiny ring. On the inside of the band are infrared LED lights to measure pulse, while a small sensor takes the wearer’s body temperature every minute. The ring also contains a gyroscope to track movement (or lack thereof). All of these data points come together in the Oura smartphone app, which syncs to the ring via Bluetooth connection. Within the app are a variety of “coaching” tips based on a person’s activity and sleep quality.

Oura Smart Ring

Data geeks using the ring will appreciate the ability to see detailed breakdowns of sleep quality, including time spent in deep, REM, and light sleep. With consistent tracking, the ring can help point out patterns in sleep and recovery that may help (or hinder) athletic performance. The app also takes a “big picture” approach to recovery by compiling sleep, activity levels, body temperature, and resting heart rate to assign a daily “readiness score,” a simple way to know the state your body is in.

Pros of the Oura Ring

Cons of the Oura Ring

So is the Oura Ring worth the $299+ price tag? That’s a difficult question to answer. Though there’s certainly value in prioritizing sleep and recovery, most people already know the advice Oura gives – go to bed earlier, take steps to ensure better sleep quality, and keep tabs on your heart rate to predict overtraining. But for those who want detailed data and personalized feedback, the ring provides a fascinating look into how the body is responding to training.