Feed on

Good news for runners who use non-Nike shoes: The Nike+iPod Sport Kit has given me accurate milage results when used as described in the Podophile shoe mod. I’ve done several simple tests, and have been quite happy with the results.

Yesterday, I ran until I had reached 2 miles on the iPod counter. Then I stopped that session and started a new one, running back to my starting point. The reading: 2.03 miles. So the reading of my pace and stride were consistent over two separate runs.

Next, I jumped into my car and drove the same course. The odometer hit 2 miles just a few yards before I reached the stopping point of my run. My odometer only measures tenths of miles, so I’m not sure how many hundredths it was off, but my guess is less than five.

Today I mapped out a three mile course on Gmaps Pedometer and went walking. When I reached the end of the course, the iPod read 2.84 miles. Again, I took out the car and drove the course and my odometer read 2.9 miles. Good enough for me.

The results are absolutely within the range of what I had expected from the Nike+iPod Kit (if not better). It should be noted that these were done with the default calibration. If you’re a stickler for pin-point accuracy, or your results aren’t as good as mine, you can manually calibrate the unit (requires that you know the exact distance of a course, like a quarter-mile track). I suspect that the default calibration will be acceptable for most runners.

The question I can’t answer is whether the accelerometer would be any more (or less) accurate in a Nike+ shoe than under the laces of my regular running shoe. That would require me actually getting the Nike shoes to test, and unless the good people at Nike send me a pair for evaluation (size 13, please), I probably won’t be doing that.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the results I’m getting from this product, and very thankful that Nike and Apple made it possible to use it with alternative running shoes. As for Nike, they don’t need to worry about me….they’re still getting my money. I just bought a Nike iPod armband for my wife, and I really like some of the new running clothes they’ve just introduced. Ca-ching!

Related Stuff:

67 Responses to “Nike+iPod: Accuracy with the Podophile shoe mod”

  1. Shane says:

    Great Website, I have actualy purchased a new pair of Nike shoes when I brought the kit after being an asics runner for a long time. I’m so glad that I did, the shoes are amazing, they have really improved since I used them in the arly 90′s and I don’t have to worry about velcro or cutting holes into my shoes!

  2. Janice says:

    Nice! You just saved me $115.00!!! I just bought the Nike + Sports Kit and a pair of Nike Runners (’cause of course the guy at the Nike store said the kit only works with their shoes…..). Doubting him, I asked him what their return policy is, and then began scouring the ‘net to see if the kit was accurate w/o the shoes. Voila! First site I came across was yours, and not only did you answer my question, you also have detailed instructions on how to “mount” the kit to my favourite pair of Brooks! Thank you so much! I’ll be off to the store tonight to return those shoes!

    PS – one quick question – how does the kit stand up to rain – or worse yet, snow? Would I need to put it into a baggie then into say a velcro key pouch on my shoe to protect it from the elements?

  3. Podophile says:

    Janice – Glad to hear you saved some $$.

    As far as protecting the sensor from the elements, I use a little plastic baggie, as described here:

    You should also take a look at my more recent list of alternate hacks and products designed for attaching the sensor to your shoe.

    I’m sure you’ll find something that works for your weather conditions.

    Have fun!

  4. Erin says:

    I tried to calibrate mine on the elliptical, but no luck. I tried both the walking and running option, but it didn’t register any distance in half a mile. It does work on the treadmill, though and I like it. I really like the power song!

  5. jerseyshawn says:

    Hey Guys – You guys (…and gals) are brilliant! Like many of the other posts, I’m fond of many different brands of running shoes. Nike, however, isn’t currently one of them. BUT, nike+ looks super-cool! Thanks for the mod!.

  6. Dave says:

    I’m a dedicated runner (though not yet a marathoner), and my brother bought me the Nike+iPod kit for Christmas. I almost returned it because it seemed awful gimmicky, I was loathe to buy Nike shoes – they’ve never fit me well, and I couldn’t imagine the unit being accurate to the degree I would want.

    After reading this site (thanks!), I decided to give it a shot on my Brooks Radius shoes. I tucked it under the laces and put a piece of duct tape over the laces. After calibration (400 m) and three decent runs (3-4.5 miles), I am a total fan.

    I measure my distances with ArcGIS (ESRI’s Geographic Information System) using US Geological Survey aerial photos (I happen to have them available, and yes, I am a dork), and have found this to be about as accurate as you can get for reasonably flat terrain without measuring the distance on the ground. The distance measurements from the unit on my three runs have all been within 0.04 miles of the GIS-measured distances (the 4.5 mile run was dead on, exactly), and the pacing is exactly what I typically run (7:45 min/mile). So, I am impressed and committed. It’s great to be able to check your pace in real time!

    And, for the record, the lace-and-duct-tape approach to the sensor is cheap and easy – I doubt I’ll ever doing anything more expensive.

  7. oculos says:

    Fantastic blog, fantastic article! :)

    I just ordered a marware pouch, I can’t wait to use it!

  8. anthony says:

    I like to be a shoe tester for nike

  9. [...] sensor that you velcro on to the front of your shoe.   It seems like some other people have had equal results using this cheaper option than buying the shoes, so I’m going to give it a [...]

  10. Andre says:

    Hi I just purchased my nike + ipod kit and I am eager to test it out tomorrow. I will try the velcro system which seems to works pretty well according to the opinion of many of you.
    One question I have is regarding armbands. Would the accuracy of the measurements be severely impaired if one is not wearing an armband while using this kit? In other words does the ipod nano + sensor combo have to be as still as possible (as is the case in the biceps area) or it doesn’t really matter?
    Congratulations on all of the great info you have here, it’s been very helpful.

  11. Podophile says:

    Andre – You don’t need to use an armband with the Nike+iPod system. The sensor in your shoe is the only thing that’s measuring movement. The receiver works like a radio antenna, picking up the signal from the shoe sensor, and isn’t affected by motion.

    I usually hold my iPod in my hand when I run, but I’ve also had it bouncing around in my pocket. Worked just fine either way.

    Thanks for the comments!

  12. Andre says:

    Thank you for the quick reply. I want to purchase an armband eventually but it’s good to know that I don’t really have to. It makes perfect sense when you think of it as an antenna.

  13. NR says:

    Wow! I am so glad you did this research because I have been wanting to buy one to try this (or something similiar) since I first heard about them! One of my coworked is an avid runner and personal trainer bought the shoes because they were cheap.. she HATED THEM. She gave them a chance to break in for weeks and eventually gave up. I guess they are cheaper versions of Nike Shox? Lame.
    I run in New Balances.. and have bad knees.. I wasn’t about to try to try a few mile “test” in shoes that would make my knees kill me all night. So thank you for doing the work for me and posting the results!

  14. buster says:

    Anyone got any ideas about using the nano and nike+ in the rain, possible torrential. I am more worried about the nano then the acceloromter.


  15. JL says:

    Any update on using nike+ win an iPod Video?

  16. SarahK says:

    Brilliant post and good job on your ingenuity for the storage of the transmitter. Kudos to you because you’ve made me finalize my decision to buy the Nike Sports Kit which i have left to debate on since it first came out.

    I’m definately buying it tomorrow and i’ll try it out in the evening.

    PS: You should really start that $1 donation campaign thinger. Most of us wouldn’t mind helping you out on your experiments.

    Cheers and a happy new year.

  17. SarahK says:

    It worked like a charm.