When the Nike+iPod Sport Kit was announced, I was really excited about being able to track my running progress with my iPod nano. I was not excited, however, by the thought of having to switch to Nike running shoes to use it. The notch that’s cut into Nike’s new shoes for the transmitter is a brilliant idea, but I don’t want to sacrifice the support and comfort I get from my trusty Saucony Hurricanes. Since the Sport Kit transmitter is just an accelerometer, I figured there had to be an easy way to attach it to my shoe laces.
Well, my Nike+iPod kit arrived yesterday and without wasting any time, I tucked the transmitter under my laces and jumped on the treadmill. Everything seemed to work just fine, and the transmitter hardly shifted during my 10 minute trial run. But I knew that If I wanted to run outdoors for long distances, I’d need to come up with a more secure solution.
After 17 seconds of brainstorming, it hit me: Velcro. This morning I dug through my wife’s sewing kit and found a strip of velcro with adhesive backing, a needle and some thread.
First, I placed the transmitter under my laces near the toe and marked the position that I wanted to attach the transmitter, making sure it was underneath a cross in the lace.
I then cut a small piece of velcro and attached the “hard” side to the back of the transmitter, being careful not to cover the sleep button.
Next, I stuck the “soft” side of the velcro onto the tongue of my shoe where I had previously marked.
Using the needle and thread, I sewed a few stitches through the velcro and the tongue of my shoe, securing them together. It can be tricky to push the needle through the layers of fabric and the velcro’s adhesive, be careful. Six to eight stitches should do.
Lastly, I attached the transmitter to the shoe and laced it back up.
The whole process took about 10 minutes (including taking the pictures) and doesn’t permanently damage the shoe.
Early results seem to indicate that having the transmitter under the laces rather than inside the shoe does not affect the accuracy of the device, but I’ll run some tests over the weekend. EDIT: My results are posted here.
Update Sunday, July 16, 2006:
Several people across the Interweb have suggested that I’ll come home from a run one day to discover that my transmitter is gone, having fallen out of my shoe along the route. There are two reasons why I’m not so worried:
1) I’ve run a total of 15 miles over three days and the transmitter is still securely stuck to my shoe. If you apply the velcro properly and make sure that it is tucked under your laces, you should have no problems.
2) If the transmitter does fall out of your shoe while you’re running, the iPod nano will stop recording any activity. After two minutes, the voice will announce “Activity stopped. Press the center button to resume your workout.” If I ever hear this announcement while I’m running, I’ll check my shoe. If the transmitter is gone, I know it’s exactly two minutes behind me.
Now, if the transmitter falls out and gets stuck to a piece of gum on another runner’s shoe, I guess I’m S.O.L.
Update Sunday, July 25, 2006:
I’ve posted some additional tips here to help you make sure that you don’t inadvertently lose your transmitter when using the Nike+iPod kit with your own running shoes.
Update Saturday, December 30, 2006:
I’m happy to report that after 5 months, I’m still running with the sensor attached to my shoe as described above. No problems. But since I first posted this, several commercial products designed for attaching the sensor to your shoe have been introduced. Be sure to take a look at my Nike+iPod Shoe Hack and Sensor Accessory Round-Up to see the most popular ones. I’ve also written a Nike+iPod FAQ to help answer other general questions about the Sport Kit. Here’s wishing you many happy miles in 2007.