Wearable Review: Spire Breathing Tracker

Spire breathing tracker review

Wearable reviews at nickchatrath.com are designed to let you know how useful a gadget is in helping to transform your personal performance with the big four intelligences in mind. (The big four intelligences are mental focus, emotional intelligence, physical sustainability and purpose. In my experience, the most effective leaders devote attention to all four.) Whereas other sites review wearables from purely a technical or physical fitness standpoint, if you want to stop feeling tired and start having the time to focus productively on what matters, then you are in the right place. In this review we will look at what the Spire is and how it can help your performance generally.

Version reviewed: Spire Tracker Model S1.

What is it?

The Spire tracks your breathing in real time and claims to determine your approximate state of mind at any given time. It does this by analysing and reporting on whether (and for how long) you are calm, focused or tense at any given moment. You clip the Spire (which is about 3cm by 2cm) to your belt or bra and leave it. The smartphone app pushes insights to you.

The Spire was invented by Neema Moraveji, who holds a doctorate in augmented self regulation from Stanford University. Those who have met him are impressed by his calmness – this is reassuring, as I always value those who walk the talk.

Great design

There is lots going for the Spire as a breathing tracker. For a start it is beautifully designed. It reminds me of a stone I would choose from a shingle beach to skim across calm waters. Also the battery life is impressive, lasting about a week. The beauty is that when it runs out of charge you don’t have to plug it in; it comes with a wireless charging dish, and you just put the charge in the dish for up to two hours.

Some good insights

On the first day that I started using the Spire it noted I was focused for long periods and active for long periods, but not calm very often. This was all correct. In addition, it asked me whether I felt tense part way through my first hour of focused activity, reporting five minutes of ’tense’. Indeed I was – at the exact five minutes it was referring to I was reading and starting to deal with an email that involved a difficult relational issue. I was very impressed with these insights.

Narrow focus

The Spire markets itself as a breathing tracker, and therein lies a key thing in its favour, and also one of its key weaknesses. A narrow focus on one thing is admirable as it enables rich data on something important, rather than lots of shallow data on many broad things. And breathing is very important! But for people to bring the benefits of data to their performance, they need information on many more domains than just breathing.

Other Features

The smartphone app features an informative ‘Boosts’ section, designed to help you improve on any of four categories of calm, focus, energise and meditate. I was curious why these categories did not match the three main themes of calm, focus and tension that guide the main part of the app. Also, I would have liked mini-articles in the Boosts section that are accessible even when the Spire is not paired with the phone – this would have provided me with more options to research and practise in a given area. However, I like the idea of a knowledge base that is focussed on action, and something that helps you improve your mental focus or creativity (not just breathing) and the Spire is on the right track here.


I would recommend the Spire as an option for people who need to work on mindfulness or stillness. Frequently I have coaching clients telling me that what they want to work on is reducing their stress levels and increasing their mental focus. For such clients it would be a good option as they could use the device over a four-week period, track their state of mind and act on it. For others wanting data-fuelled insights covering all four intelligences then I will be recommending other devices.


  • Beautifully designed hardware
  • Simple to use app
  • Some good insights, including ‘streaks’ and an informative ‘boosts’ section


  • Pricey for something in a narrow niche
  • Only gives information based on one data point

My overall verdict: good but not great.

What next?

Unsure which wearable to choose? I have studied the major wearables so you don’t have to and I have realised they fall into three categories:

  1. Not fit for purpose; leaves me regretting making the purchase.
  2. Good; interesting for a few weeks at most but then I glean the value from it and stop using it (e.g. Spire; Apple Watch Sport Edition).
  3. Breakthrough; I find myself still benefitting from it months after purchase (e.g. Moov Now; clients tell me Fitbit Charge HR is in this category – watch this space for a review).

Use my guide to inform your decision about what to buy. Sign-up below and I will send you my FREE guide ‘How to choose a wearable that will help you lose weight, improve your mindset and become more productive’. This guide includes:

  • The 3 key factors to bear in mind when choosing a wearable
  • Features and benefits comparison table that rates seven of the most important wearables today on factors including compatibility, ecosystem and how much they help you with each of the four intelligences (mental focus, emotional intelligence, physical sustainability and purpose).

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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