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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. [...] 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 [...]

  2. Deviation says:

    For those that keep worrying about the elements affecting your sensor, see http://forums.nike.com/thread.jspa?threadID=101&tstart=0

    It’s sealed & waterproof. ;)

    Good couple of write ups. Got me thinking.

  3. [...] Just got done with the instructions at Podophile: Podophile » Blog Archive » Shoe Hacker: Nike+iPod Sport Kit Shoe Mod. [...]

  4. Chad says:

    FYI

    I’ve got 3,200+ miles of running over a year and a half on my 5G iPod without one single instance of it locking up on a run.

  5. [...] If you just bought some new running shoes that aren’t Nike, you can still use the kit with a work around. Here’s to staying healthy before and after [...]

  6. Anna says:

    Interesting article

    I am not in the position to pass a comment on “online purchasing”. Because I am in the initial stage, that is I have done very few purchases online. couple of days back
    I ordered “Nike Little Flight Ball (TD)” from shoedeals4u.com and experience was nice, with on time delivery and with good customer support. Anyways keep updating your blog. I really appreciate it.

  7. [...] some research (and the desire to not spend any more money), I decided to base my modification on this guy’s. As I had some extra Velcro lying around, I decided to try and Velcro the transmitter to the tongue [...]

  8. [...] to nike nation when we don’t have to … velcro of all things! i think i’ll do this option. Podophile ? Blog Archive ? Shoe Hacker: Nike+iPod Sport Kit Shoe Mod __________________ FASTRACKRIDERS TAKE IT TO THE TRACK RIP Shawn. you are missed and always [...]

  9. Lucy says:

    I refuse to buy an iPod Nano. Let’s start a petition for Apple to create the Nike+ for regular iPods..

  10. Podophile says:

    Lucy: Resistance is futile!

  11. Hans 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

  12. awesome post, and although i love my nikes, i don’t usually usually use nikes for running…i have asics for running, and this looks like a proper solution. Thanks for the info and i may have to go out and snatch one up now.

  13. terry says:

    If I buy one of these can more than one person use it….i.e can I use to track my running, and then can I give it to my Mrs and she can use it track hers? Or will it just assume we are the same person?

  14. Madi says:

    About the Nike+, I have Nikes but I don’t like to run long distances in them. I like to run in my Brooks. So you think that I can velcro the chip to my Brooks? Please respond before I buy it!! Yikes!

  15. terry says:

    I bought a purpose nmade pouch that attaches the laces…may have cost me a few more $$$ than doing it myself but saves the messing about!

  16. Madi says:

    I really hope that works. I think I’m going to try to run in my Nikes to see if I like to run in them. If not, I will do something to my brooks! Thanks for the tip!

  17. Madi says:

    I need to know! Please right back!

  18. Madi says:

    My next question is for Podophile. I was wondering if you knew that a regular iPod nano works instead of just a nano video. I kinda need to know because winter is over and I have some “winter fat” to burn off for my soccer team.

  19. [...] la gente no le apetece gastarse este dineral en unas zapatillas para correr, se han sacado varios trucos para poder usarlo con unas zapatillas normales. Personalmente, hasta que mi mamá me cosa la fundita para colocar en los cordones, he decidido [...]

  20. Shrini says:

    Hi,

    Yday I bought my first Nike Air Running shoe (I had been using Reebok till now) and now I am planning to buy Nike+ sports kit.

    But I have a very basic problem to solve. While running, usually mt earphone slip away due to sweat. I have tried almost all kinds/shapes of earphone even at the cost of quality of sound but in vein.

    Has anyone faced this problem before? Which earphone do you guys use in Gym or outdoor running?

    Shrini

  21. Podophile says:

    Hi Shrini – I had a similar problem with headphones. I posted about my soulution here: The Best Headphones For Running

    There are many good suggestions in the comments of the article as well.

  22. Andy says:

    Hi, I have bought one of those neoprene “socks” for my nike+ sportsband sensor and mounted it on the left foot in between the laces (at the base) and have been running lots with it. I thought this was the business until I started to map my runs… and found that it is quite inaccurate. For example I have just completed a 6.30mile run in 48 mins and when I mapped it the distance is actually 5.04miles!?!?! That is over a mile out! And considering I am training for a below 1 hour 10k at the end of the month (Nike Human Race, COME ON LONDON!) it is obvious that I have a way to go yet!

    Can anyone help? I have caliberated it since first syncing it and it appears to have actaully got worse. I have asked nike and they said “well if you not using our shoe what do you expect” and then gave some info about it being a pressure sensor and not a accelerometer?

    Someone please help me! Great website btw!

  23. Podophile says:

    Andy – The Nike+iPod shoe transmitter is not a pressure sensor, regardless of what Nike tells you. Experiment with your transmitter on a different shoe or in a different location on your laces. Make sure your pouch is fastened snugly to your shoe and that it’s not moving when you run.

    Good luck.

  24. [...] job of emulating the Nike+iPod experience without the need for extra hardware, special shoes (or shoe hacks), or an iPod nano. It uses the built-in GPS of the iPhone 3G to track your distance, time, and [...]

  25. whitney says:

    there is a little case you can put the chip in and attach to any running shoe at best buy for $10. you can find it where the rest of the iPod accessories are

  26. [...] Shoe Hacker: Nike+iPod Sport Kit Shoe Mod: Use a bit of velcro to put your sport kit in any shoe. [...]

  27. Alex says:

    Hey, you rock.
    Thats an awsome blog and idea, its rare to find a smart person blogging these days.
    Thanks, i look forward to seeing what other master ideas you have in the future.

    = .)Alex( =

  28. [...] with. So, I searched for a hack that would connect the Nike transmitter to my shoe and discovered Podophile’s Velcro Hack. Using a piece of Velcro and some string, I attached the transmitter easily and securely to the [...]

  29. hkl says:

    I found that if you had a small mag light that came with a holder that it works great as a sensor holder. Using the belt loop for the top part of the shoe laces you then can tuck the rest behind the laces toward the tip of the shoe. the holder i had was a big longer then the tongue of the shoe so i folded the bottom part back over it self and it does look pretty cool.

  30. [...] that you only needed the Apple part and special shoes were not neccessary (for example, using  a little sewing and creativity.) Since I had the shoes and a gift card to Dick’s, I picked up the sports kit. I am looking [...]

  31. [...] to pay for a special pouch to connect the sensor to my shoes. Thank goodness for Podophile’s Nike+ iPod Sport Kit Shoe Mod. Instead of $100 for new Nikes, I spent $1.00 on some velcro and tried out this mod. It works [...]

  32. [...] tailor your running experience for the ultimate workout. It uses a wireless pedometer that can be installed in your jogging [...]

  33. [...] tailor your running experience for the ultimate workout. It uses a wireless pedometer that can be installed in your jogging [...]

  34. Tall Girl says:

    THanks a Trillion!.. you just saved me £117.00 GBP !!!!…. Many thanks from the UK !

    xx

  35. blpx99 says:

    I own a pair of La Sportiva trail shoes that happen to have a fabric cover over the the shoe’s tongue forming the perfect pouch for the Nike transmitter, no shoe hacking required. I noticed this surprising, undocumented feature of my shoes after buying the device on a whim and then wondering which shoe hack I’d need to make it work. Turns out the transmitter fits securely and safely into the shoe as-is. Who knew?!

  36. Anna says:

    Thanks for this! I looked around and your hack was the most secure for the least amount of time. The most difficult step was STITCHING. Oh my gosh, I had no idea it would be so hard to push it through the fabric; I broke two needles! I found wiggling took some of the stress off the needle and prevented it breaking. Third times the charm! ;)

  37. dragnfly says:

    I ran today with my new Nike+ sport kit sensor in my shoe for the first time…. I ran on my treadmill so I could test the accuracy of the thing. The two weren’t even close. Gonna try to calibrate the darn thing on tomorrows run. Any suggestions?

  38. Podophile says:

    @dragnfly – The Nike+iPod kit is not especially accurate on a treadmill. It works best when you’re actually running on the ground.

  39. Siobhan says:

    I got one of these a few days ago, but I refuse to buy the shoes because i love my asics. But try as I might, I cannot get my ipod to even link up with the sensor. I’ve tried what you suggested above, and it doesn’t seem to matter where I place it, I just cannot get it to work.
    I’d be so grateful if you could help, I was really looking forward to using it!

  40. Podophile says:

    @Siobhan If your sensor isn’t linking with your iPod, you probably have a defective sensor. It’s not entirely uncommon. You should be able to exchange it for a new one.

    Also, if you’re using an iPod nano, make sure you have the receiver plugged into the iPod. This can be confusing because the iPod touch and iPhone 3GS have the receiver built in. The nano doesn’t.

    Hope this helps.

  41. Brian Casteel says:

    Thanks for putting this up. It gave me just what I was looking for to secure my new sensor so I could better track my performance. Industrial velcro for the win.

  42. Brian Casteel says:

    As for pushing through the tongue fabric, I completely agree. I bent a needle pretty good, but ended up using my Leatherman to push/pull it through.