First I want to assure everyone that I asked this question to a proper halakhic authority and will proceed with my actions based on his answer. I am asking it here as well because I think it is an interesting question.

Can one wear a fitness tracker on shabbat if it is worn as a watch? The device would always show the time, but it would be collecting data in the background. Then after shabbat use the data that the device collected for whatever abstract personal interest a person might have with the data.

The Garmin Vivofit is the specific device I am speaking about.

  • Are you asking if it can be worn outside the home in a public domain? Is this device placed on the wrist before the onset of Shabbos?
    – user4751
    May 4, 2014 at 18:26
  • This depends a lot on on why you hold that electricity on Shabbos is forbidden. Can you explain your position? There may also be an issue of kosaiv, if you hold that the av melocho of kosaiv is making a record and not making two meaningful permanent symbols.
    – Tatpurusha
    May 4, 2014 at 18:50
  • @user4751 I meant in terms of electricity, but I guess that is an important aspect of the question as well. Assume it starts on the wrist and remains on the wrist throughout shabbat.
    – Jordan
    May 4, 2014 at 21:34
  • @Tatpurusha unfortunately I am not familiar with the specifics of either of those issues, so I have not formulated a position on them.
    – Jordan
    May 4, 2014 at 21:36
  • 1
    @Jordan In general, most poskim agree that all electronic devices are prohibited on Shabbos at least on the level of minhag. It surely would be better to refrain from using a pedometer on Shabbat, but I couldn't tell you if it were actually forbidden without a lot more information. Googling "shabbat pedometer" brought up several blog entries where observant exercise enthusiasts mention that they turn off theirs for the holy day.
    – Tatpurusha
    May 4, 2014 at 21:44

2 Answers 2


I've asked R. Ari Hart (Hebrew Institude of Riverdale) for guidance in this matter, so I will share here what he told me in the hopes it helps you answer your question.

Devices like these measure the steps you take, and measuring is prohibited on Shabbos. However, since you're not measuring, you let the computer do it, it may be OK. It would be better if you had no way of knowing how many steps you'd taken on Shabbos until Shabbos was over - maybe.

If your pedometer has a watch function, it gives you a leniency, however - you can wear your pedometer as a watch, and the step tracking is incidental. I have a FitBit Flex (no watch function) and am still unsure whether wearing it is kosher on Shabbos. (It probably isn't, but it could be if the developer wrote a Shabbos Mode into the software.)

I doubt that wearing a pedometer as a watch or bracelet would count as carrying - at least, it doesn't for electric watches.

The last thing to consider is whether wearing your pedometer is in the spirit of Shabbos. If you're tempted to check it or fiddle with it, or if it distracts you from Shabbos, then R. Ari advised me to leave it at home, even if there wasn't a definite halakic reason not to wear it.

This consideration is my own: does your pedometer set off any lights or vibrations to tell you you met your goal? Progress lights? Could you set these lights off accidentally e.g. by tapping the device? These would probably violate prohibitions against measuring things and switching lights on/off.


In Kistur Shulchan Aruch there is a paragraph about wearing watches on Shabat. As far as I remember, it is written that it's surely allowed for women to wear watches on Shabat because it's not only a practical object but also a beauty item. For men, nowadays it is allowed based on the fact that it is an usual clothing item.

Although in a footnote, it is stated: Blessed be he who is strict in this manner.

The above said, is about watches. If this fitness tracker you talk about has internet acces or "collects data" it falls in the category of muctse. So its forbidden for another reason. Further, it is not an usual clothing item, mainly in those places we go at Shabbos such as the Synagoge and festive meals.

Ps: If you wear digital watches, remember you cant press any of its buttons during Shabbos! Pss: Ask your rabbi for his answer. Good luck there! Good Shabbos!

  • 2
    If it has internet access it is muktza?
    – Double AA
    May 8, 2014 at 17:53
  • 2
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Tsivia, where we highly value sourced answers. Can you edit in any source for your substantive claims, please, both into this and into your other answers? In particular, for the claim that a fitness tracker, as opposed to a watch, is muktze and doesn't count as a usual clothing item.
    – msh210
    May 8, 2014 at 19:18
  • The Kitzur 84:2 is talking about pocket watches. Jan 13, 2016 at 9:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .