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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.

Nike+iPod Shoe Hack

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.

Nike+iPod Shoe Hack 2

Next, I stuck the “soft” side of the velcro onto the tongue of my shoe where I had previously marked.

Nike+iPod Shoe Hack 3

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.

Nike+iPod Shoe Hack 4

Lastly, I attached the transmitter to the shoe and laced it back up.

Nike+iPod Shoe Hack 5

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.

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244 Responses to “Shoe Hacker: Nike+iPod Sport Kit Shoe Mod”

  1. [...] – La solution la plus courante du web consite à fixer le sensor aux lacets avec du velcro, ou encore le fixer avec du velcro sous les lacets (si avec ca il se barre!). [...]

  2. Dub says:

    I just took a dremmel and bored out the inside of my shoe just where the nike shoes had thier inplant.

    Easy and secure.

  3. Podophile says:

    I’m not sure there are too many people interested in taking a Dremel to their $100+ running shoes… but I’m glad to hear it’s working for you.

  4. Podophile says:

    Satchie – You’ve misunderstood the instructions. You place the sensor into the pouch face down, but when it’s folded over your laces it will be face up.

  5. [...] It’s been four months since I first stuck the Nike+iPod sensor to my Saucony shoe and posted the results to this site. Since that time a lot things have happened in the Nike+iPod world. Not only have other people come up with some pretty clever and practical shoe-hacking methods of their own, but several commercial products have been released which were designed specifically for attaching the Nike+iPod sensor to any pair of running shoes. With so many shiny new iPod nanos and Sport Kits being sold this holiday season, I figured it was time to compile a guide to the options available for non-Nike+ shoe owners. [...]

  6. Wide Feet says:

    I have wide feet, 4E. To the best of my knowledge Nike doesn’t make a 4E. Is this my only option to get the Nike + Ipod?

  7. Podophile says:

    Wide Feet – There are several “shoe hacks” and accessories designed to attach the Nike+iPod sensor to your shoe. I’ve posted a list of them.

  8. [...] I was doing some Christmas shopping at Target yesterday and while I was in the electronics section (checking out the video games!) I walked down the aisle full of iPod accessories. I stopped when I saw this little doohickey. It’s a wireless pedometer/accelerometer that you stick in your shoe (apparently certain Nike brands, but here are instructions for a mod) that then communicates with your iPod (Nanos only) and tells you your time, distance, speed – overlaid on top of your music. And then you can sync it to the web. [...]

  9. [...] I’ve been thinking about the Nike-iPod deal. Does she shoe widget work in any shoe, or does it have to be a Nike? I have an odd sized foot, so I tend to wear New Balance because I can actually get them in sizes that fit… I just found my own answer here. There was a homebrew hack here, but it’s either been taken down or my work browser doesn’t support their site. Last edited by WanderingOak : Today at 06:26 PM. Reason: New Information [...]

  10. oli says:

    Try extending the piece of velcro on the sensor so that a hole can be punched threw and a shoelace poked for more protection.

  11. Racheal King says:

    I have the shoes and the running device but I have a regular Ipod. I was hoping I did not need a Nano to be able to use it. Any news on apple making it compatible with a regular Ipod?

  12. Podophile says:

    Racheal – Sorry, you’re out of luck. The Sport Kit only works with the iPod nano, and I’d be surprised if that changes any time soon.

    Feel free to check out my Nike+iPod FAQ. I’ll keep it updated with all the latest information.
    http://podophile.com/nike-ipod-faq/

  13. cory says:

    dude no way i hate the way big corporations are trying to get money out of all of us thanks for enlightening me on the secret of not required NIKE+ shoes for the NIKE+ sport kit, now i need to find mine.

  14. [...] After doing some reading of some great blog entries about using the Nike + iPod kit without the shoes (here and here). I bought a kit. However I had no velcro and cannot sew. [...]

  15. Max says:

    Thanks for the great info. Your posts convinced me to buy the kit (which I wouldn’t have done if I had to buy the shoes, so Nike owe you one =) ).
    I didn’t have any velcro but came up with a solution that works just as well.
    http://blog.aoteatech.com/?p=32

  16. [...] I spent $15 bucks on plain-ol’ sneakers and $6 for a velcro strip and a sewing kit to attach the gadget under the laces, as detailed here. Works fine. Went for a 30 minute walk. Net results: I walked 1.85 miles in 30 minutes. To put this in some sort of context, when I was in the Army, I once ran two miles in under 15 minutes, breaking a seven minute mile. [...]

  17. David says:

    Sweet article, thank you!

    After careful consideration for my DIY skills and reading your About section I decided that as Shoepouch Advertise with you (hence keep the site running!) the only decent thing to do was to buy one off them ;-)

    Now all I need pointing to is all your Nike running logs.. that way when my pouch and kit arrive I can catch you all up ;-P

    Great site, thank you.

  18. Rick says:

    i have a v3i witch is the razr with itunes it is a flash player does it work with nike + or not because i want to use that but dont want to buy a nano

  19. [...] If you run and if you own a nano, I highly recommend picking up the sport kit! For more information and convincing reviews, check out the Engadget review roundup. The blogosphere has plenty of info on how to attach the widget to any pair of running shoes. [...]

  20. Harold says:

    I have had a 20gb Ipod form the beginning and I know firsthand that running with the hard disk based ipods does cause them to lock up. Of course it only takes a hard reset to get it back online but it’s very distracting during a run to have the music stop.

  21. [...] sensor, I’m gonna use a makeshift velcro strip to hold my sensor under my laces, as shown below. Podophile » Blog Archive » Shoe Hacker: Nike+iPod Sport Kit Shoe Mod I know it’s been out ages but this is a thread to discuss it. I think they’re great for [...]

  22. [...] a little searching I came across this alternative to the Nike+ shoe.  I performed the hack last night and have to say it worked like a [...]

  23. Allan says:

    Is this not another one of the keep fit gadgets that will cost a lot and after a few weeks sit in the cupboard for ever.

  24. Podophile says:

    Allan: The Sport Kit costs $30. Anyone who considers it an expensive keep fit gadget probably shouldn’t buy it in the first place.

  25. [...] appendage of a networked household management system. The season of running shoes you just shipped? Retrofitted with wireless accelerometers by clever hobbyists, frustrated by the limitations of the packaged offering. And even a building [...]

  26. [...] your own shoes and install the sensor – such as the arguably most popular method exhaulted by podophile. I chose this easiest and cheapest route: packing the sensor into a tiny ziploc bag (the kind that [...]

  27. Rocko says:

    You are a STAR my friend!!!
    Cheers for all that!!!

  28. Jason says:

    Does anyone know if the nike +sport will work if the transmitter is pointed toward your head. I have an older armband that will not facilitate the transmitter if I close the case. However, if I leave the case open and essentially place the ipod in upside down (receptical for transmitter facing toward my head), I can fit the transmitter. Has anyone tried this/know if you can get an accurate reading doing this?

  29. Podophile says:

    Jason-

    Just to be clear: The transmitter (or sensor) is the part that goes in your shoe. The receiver is the part that attaches to the iPod. And yes, the receiver works just fine upside-down, “pointed at your head.”

    Hope this helps.

  30. Jason says:

    Thanks for the info on the receiver. Good to know that it will work that way. Thanks again for all of the help.

  31. Mandi says:

    I just got a sports kit for my anniversary and am really excited to see that you posted all this info for people like me who already like the running shoes they have, Saucony, and didn’t want to shell out $100 for Nike shoes I wouldn’t really like. I’m going to go for your velcro method I think and see how it goes. Thanks again!

  32. hip says:

    thanks for the info

  33. Cory says:

    Podophile, I’m curious if you’ve done any tests with a combination of running and walking? I ran/walked 5.54 miles according to Gmaps, but the Ipod indicated that I had run 5.91 miles. I was hoping for just a little bit more accuracy since there’s a calibration for both walking and running. I have performed both calibrations. Anyway, cheers to you for the tests and I was just curious if you knew if they could or plan to push a firmware update for the ipod to be more accurate when using a combination of speeds.

  34. [...] about those who aren’t Nike fans? If you prefer to run in another brand of shoe, never fear, hacks are here. If you want to hack your way into the new technology, you can. Of course, these hacks won’t [...]

  35. Mary says:

    Does excessive traveling affect the performance/accuracy of the transmitter and receiver? I have a friend who is on the road 3 weeks of the year, traveling between Asia, Europe, US, and between North and South Hemispheres. While the device worked fine initially, it is now consistenly not picking up data and extremely inaccurate. He ran an hour (10 miles) the other day, and it recorded the time interval correctly, but it says he only ran 3 miles.

    Any advice?

  36. morganusvitus says:

    The site looks great ! Thanks for all your help ( past, present and future !)

  37. [...] solution to attaching what is a small piece of plastic to any running shoes, and came across this: podophile.com/2006/07/14/shoe-hacker-nikeipod-sport-kit-shoe-mod/ podophile.com/2006/07/25/follow-up-nikeipod-shoe-mod-reality- check/ Marvellous. Will let you know [...]

  38. [...] going to buy a pair of $100 sneakers just to make this thing work, so i started checking out some of the many DIY (do-it-yourself) solutions found online.  i would have been perfectly happy doing [...]

  39. Paul says:

    I’ve just attempted something similar by cutting a section from an old racing bike inner-tube, squeezing the sensor inside and cutting notches above and below to slip the laces through. Seems to work a treat.

  40. wayne says:

    Great post, I’ve been using the marware pouch for about a year and I have seen some inaccurate information latly going to try your technique.

    thanks

  41. [...] Podophile Shoe Hacker: Nike iPod Sport Kit Shoe Mod Links NewsShare This [...]

  42. hazZzad says:

    Hi there,

    I just bought the sensor and thought about another hack. The toungue of the most sport shoes are made of two layers – so I opened the upper part where they are connected, with a cutter and …. there it is – my perfect bag for the sensor! I can shift the sensor to the front of the tongue so it’s not in the way and it can not fall out because my bootlace keeps it down.

    … have to leave for a test now …… :o))

  43. hazZzad says:

    Hi,

    it’s me again back from my first run withe the new equipment and my pimped shoes….:o)

    And it worked – no complains at all … I think I’m addicted already…. too late …. :o)))

  44. [...] a sfornare novità per far si che la Mela piu famosa finisca nelle tasche di tutti. Dopo il Nike Sport, quindi, è stato lanciato l’iPhone e, a breve, secondo “rumors” sempre più [...]

  45. Martin says:

    Hi, im Martin from Argentina.
    I’m reading your tests about how accuarry it’s your mod, and you say that you’ve tried the kit by driving your car!
    So, this might be disappointing but, without having to look for a how-does-a-podometer-works-webpage i can guees that if i put the sensor in my pocket (or maybe in a tightly place) it could work as well right?

    Sorry if there are some bad-written words or wrong expressions

    I’ve to find some hack for the iPod Video!!!!

  46. [...] found a way to stick it on your shoes, either through buying an attachment or using some other ingenious method, it’s fairly accurate. I was lazy and bought the attachment, even though if you do it [...]

  47. [...] about those who aren’t Nike fans? If you prefer to run in another brand of shoe, never fear, hacks are here. If you want to hack your way into the new technology, you can. Of course, these hacks won’t [...]

  48. drew says:

    instead of hacking your shoes, maybe someone should try hacking some easier and cheaper.. like a wristband or something. maybe cut it to make a hole and slip the nike plus thing in there.. then just sew it back up and just slide in on whenever you go run..

    i thought i would try this, but i have the nike shoes so i really don’t need to do it.. i rather spend the 10 mins getting more nike miles. :P

  49. Husain says:

    Hello Podophile

    Very nice stuff you have going on here! Kudos to you.

    Do you know how long the transmitter will work before the battery runs out (seeing as it is not rechargable)?

    This article was posted nearly a year ago, so it’d be nice to know how many transmitters you’ve had to buy/replace and if any of them have been faulty.

    Thanks!

  50. Patrick Ray says:

    I had been using the velcro attachment method with success for some time but when I had to replace my kit (I misplaced the sensor) things started to go bad. First up was a problem with my Nano when I updated the kit, after a few runs it wouldnt locate the sensor and eventually it cause an error on my iPod so I had it replaced because it was still within warranty. Now it can locate the sensor but shortly into the run I get a message that “activity has stopped, to resume press the center button” so I press the center button and it resumes but at a 0:00 pace and within a minute or two the activity stopped continues again and it keeps repeating.

    Any suggestions?