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As of today, more than 60,000 people have visited the Podophile site to read about my method of using the Nike+iPod Sport Kit with any running shoe. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m especially thrilled that so many people have been inspired to take up running for the first (or second) time. I’ve received numerous comments and emails from readers who have used the shoe mod and are happy with the results. But I’ve also been reading comments on this and other sites from people who are disappointed that their transmitter is falling off of their shoe. With that in mind, it’s time to take another look at the shoe mod with an eye toward making sure you don’t experience unintended results.

So far, I’ve run nearly 40 miles over 11 days with the Nike+iPod transmitter attached to my shoe as described in the original article; it hasn’t moved at all. And despite having taken it off several times, it still holds fast when I re-attach it. Here are some important tips to follow when using my shoe mod:

1) The Velcro is not optional. I realize that people may be excited upon receiving their Sport Kit, and, not having any velcro in the house, decide to just tuck the transmitter under their laces and go for a run. This is a sure way to lose your transmitter. The laces only help secure the transmitter, mainly by supporting it and taking some stress off of the velcro. But make no mistake: The velcro is holding the transmitter onto your shoe.

2) The velcro must be strong. This is true for both the adhesive on the back of the velcro, and the connection of the velcro to itself. First, make sure your shoe and transmitter are both clean and dry. Make sure to wipe any oils from your hands off of the transmitter. After sticking the velcro to the back of your transmitter and to your shoe, let it set for a minute or two. Give it a gentle tug to see how easy it is to remove from both. If it peels right off, that’s a bad sign. It may be that your velcro is very old. Try some glue or rubber cement to strengthen the bond, or go to a crafts store and buy a fresher, stronger piece of velcro.

Likewise, the velcro must stick to itself very securely. The velcro you use should be in clean, new condition. After you cut the pieces for the shoe mod, stick them together and pull them apart… does it seem strong to you? If not, try cutting another piece and trying again. Don’t use velcro that’s likely to come undone on its own (that kind of defeats the purpose of velcro in the first place).

3) Sew. Sew. Sew. I can’t sew to save my life, but as I found out, you don’t need to be a tailor to push a few stitches through your shoe. Depending on the fabric of your shoes, the velcro adhesive may stick well or not so well. Over time, however, I think with all of the bending and stretching that your shoe endures, the velcro is not likely to stick very well without a few stitches for support.

Thread your needle and push it down through a corner of the velcro and your shoe’s tongue. Be careful; it can be tough getting through the fabric and adhesive, which tends to stick to your needle as you sew. Pull a few feet of thread through, and then push the needle back up though the shoe and velcro, in a spot near your first stitch. Pull the thread tight and make one more stitch down in that same corner, pulling the thread tight. Without cutting the thread, repeat that process in each of the corners of the velcro. Tie a knot after the last stitch and cut your thread. The velcro is secure, but easy to remove by snipping your stitches with small scissors, if necessary.

4) Test your work. At this point your should attach your transmitter to your shoe and give it a tug to make sure it’s secure. Turn your shoe upside-down, shake it. It the transmitter still stuck? If not, figure out what went wrong. Maybe you didn’t have the two pieces lined up correctly, or maybe just need to use a bigger piece of velcro. Once you’re satisfied with your work, lace up your shoe, making sure the transmitter is cradled snugly by your laces.

5) Go for a test run. Before taking your new toy out on a two hour half marathon, go for a 10 – 15 minute run, checking your shoe often to make sure the transmitter is still attached. After the run, inspect your work. Is the transmitter sticking through your laces? Does it feel loose? If so, you may need to reposition your velcro or add some more reinforcements.

6) Check your transmitter often. It’s a good idea to check your transmitter before and after each run to make sure it’s still secure. It takes all of 2 seconds, and you can probably add the check to your stretching routine (you do stretch, don’t you?). Even if everything has worked well for a week or two, there’s no good reason to stop checking your transmitter regularly.

7) It may not be for everyone. Lastly, my shoe mod is based on my results with a size 13 Saucony Hurricane running shoe. Depending on your size and brand of shoe, your running style, your climate, and a host of other factors, the shoe mod just might not work for you. But by following the steps above, you’ll have a better chance of making that determination before you end up losing your transmitter.

I’ve had a great time running with my Nike+iPod Sport Kit, and I’d feel really bad if people were emulating my shoe mod and losing their transmitters as a result. If you follow the steps in my original article, while keeping these additional tips in mind, I’m confident you’ll have great results, too.

40 Responses to “Follow-up: “Nike+iPod shoe mod” reality check”

  1. Susan says:

    Dear Pod, What is an easy way to check your pace if the Nano is fastented on your arm in a sportband? Do you have any ingenious ways of hooking the nano up to the wrist so it can be monitored like a garmin? I may be insane, but that’s ok.

  2. Podophile says:

    Hi Susan,

    Well, off the top of my head… the Nike armbands come in 2 sizes “s/m” and “m/lg.” I bought a “m/lg” and it was waaaay too small for me. However, it fit my 5’1″ 120lb wife perfectly. The armband does fit around my forearm, however, which would be a good place to wear it if I wanted to be able to check the screen from time to time. I’m guessing that the “s/m” size would just fit my wife’s forearm. You can probably try these on at a Niketown store or Apple store.

  3. Susan:

    I logged in 32.5 miles over the last 7 days with my kit.

    I have a DLo armband, and what I did was take a white paint pen and paint a white circle right over the cnter of the click wheel.

    When I’m running, and I want instant feedback, all I do is glance towards the armband real quick and punch the center of the click wheel. The Nike+iPod voice comes on instantly and tells me (1) Time, (2) Distance, and (3) Current Pace – everything on the face of the Nano Screen.

    Bottom line, unless you absolutely HAVE to get visual cues, you don’t NEED to look at the screen to get feedback on your performance.

    Podophile:

    Did you see the “alternate” method of attaching the transmitter to your non-Nike+ shoe? It works just great for me, I haven’t had a single problem, and the transmitter is completely shielded from the outside elements:

    http://mikegulf.blogspot.com/2006/07/master-gunners-first-posted-lifehack.html

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you, thank you. I can’t wait to get mine!

  5. Sameen says:

    Susan,
    As for something to attach to your wrist, this might be what you are looking for:

    http://www.marware.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/Marware.woa/8/wa/selectedCategory?catalogCatID=191&wosid=BaNlf8kgNbh4qUr94piOlw

    It is the Sportsuit Runabout from Marware.

  6. Podophile says:

    Mike – I saw your method for using the transmitter with your shoes. I’m glad it’s working for you. Personally, I didn’t want to cut or damage my shoes (which are actually more expensive than the Nike’s) to get the sport kit to work. Some people are even digging a small hole in the bottom of their shoe to insert the transmitter, emulating the Nike+ shoes, and reporting good results. It’s just not for me.

    And unless your shoes are completely waterproof, I’m not sure that your method completely shields the transmitter from the outside elements. Many running shoes are made of breathe-able fabric and mesh. Mine get soaked if I’m out in the rain for long periods of time. The transmitter seems pretty water-resistant on its own, so occasional rain probably won’t be much of a problem either way.

    Thanks for your comments.

  7. chase says:

    Podophile, thanks for your method it inspired my own twist which I feel is much easier and more comfortable. If you like it please let me know. It has the added advantage of being easily moved between different shoes.

    http://web.mac.com/chasemalone/iWeb/Site/Nike%20Sport%20Kit%20Mod.html

    Thanks,
    Chase
    shoelacemana@gmail.com

  8. alyce says:

    I was wondering would one of those little wallets that you use to put keys and cash in work to hold the transmitter instead of sewing and velcroeing it to
    your shoe? I mean the one that goes on your laces? it looks to be about the right size , I’m just wondering if its to thick to transmit through?
    Has anyone out there tried it?

  9. Podophile says:

    Alyce – The wallets can tend to flop around a bit while you’re running, which may affect the accuracy. Also, if you use one, you’ll need to stuff in some tissue to keep the transmitter from sliding around inside the pouch. That being said, some people have reported good results while using them.

    Chase – I’m glad you came up with a solution that works for you. It looks good. I really don’t agree about the “much easier” part though. My method took less than 10 minutes from start to finish and only required cutting one small square of velcro and pushing a needle through some fabric about eight times (no “sewing” skill required).

    But I know that mine isn’t the only method, or necessarily even the best method, of modifying the kit. The reason I posted it was just to let people know it was possible to do, and that it worked. I’m happy to see others doing their own thing with it.

  10. Rubberburner says:

    If anyone has the new Nike Airmax 360`s, all I did is put the nike+ipod transmitter in the left side of the shoe, up by the ankle area. There is a small pocket perfect for the transmitter. Haven`t tried it yet, but will keep you posted. Now all I need to do is loose some weight! AH!

  11. Noel says:

    I used both methods–velcro and running wallet on the laces…both were accurate and the local track…as accurate as the air max 180s i bought and took back the next day after reading this on the internet.

  12. Chad says:

    I got my sport kit yesterday and tried it for the first time last night. I put the velcro on the flat side with the Nike and Apple logos figuring the velcro would stick better. And I used a velcro ChampionChip holder that I got several marathons ago. I learned that the sensor needs to be right side up! When it was upside down (Nike logo towards the ground) it only registered about 1/4 the actual distance. When I turned the whole thing over so the Nike logo faced the sky then it registered the distance perfectly.

  13. Aaron says:

    I wrapped mine inside a little plastic bag, used some tape to tape it under the laces in the front of the shoe. 15 miles after and it’s still there. Simple and effective.

    I put it sideways too, BTW, and it doesn’t seem to have affected it so far.

  14. Podophile says:

    Good to know, Aaron. Thanks.

  15. Eve says:

    am i the only one getting inaccurate results with the ipod+transmitter? I used the velcro method and works beautifully in the sense that it doesnt fall off. however, the readings are so off. For every mile that i do, it tells me im doing 1.1 miles. It adds up when im trying to run 10+ miles! i tested it on the treadmill also. the pace it says im running is totally off from the pace im actually running on the treadmill. i’ve tried to calibrate it, but im confused on how to calibrate it correctly. Can someone help me with this?? where can i find information on how to calibrate it?

    thanks!!!

  16. Podophile says:

    Hi Eve – Since your results seem to be off by the same amount pretty consistently, it sounds like calibration is just what you need. It’s nothing to worry about, even runners using the Nike+ shoes often need to calibrate. The instructions are in the little booklet that came with your Sport Kit, but here’s what you need to do:

    Find a track or route where you know the exact distance (If you’re a long-distance runner, it should be no less than a mile).

    Turn on your iPod and navigate to Nike+iPod>Settings>Sensor>Calibrate

    Read the instructions and then choose “walk” or “run”

    Then choose “400 meters” or “custom”

    If you choose “custom” enter the distance of your track or route.

    Next, select your music. The voice will tell you to press the center button to start calibration.

    Start running.

    At the end of your route, press the center button again. Then press “menu” to finish calibration.

    That should do it. Let us know if this improves your results.

  17. Eve says:

    thanks!! i’ll try it this weekend. btw, i LOVE your site. as a first time marathon trainer, your site gives me awesome advice! keep up the great work!!!

    -Eve

  18. Tony Gee says:

    I have emailed Marware about them redoing there runabout so it will hold the nano plus the receiver. My email was passed on, according to the response I got, and I have not heard back if they wish to pursue it or not. Personally I think it would be great for them and they should bundle it with there chip holder. I think having it on yourrest is better than having it on your forearm, and honestly who wants tan lines around there forearm.

  19. Eve says:

    ok, i tried to calibrate the sensor. im still getting wrong results. i ran 14.35 miles but it said i ran 16.55 miles. do you think ‘wind’ is causing inconsistent read-outs since it is exposed out in the open rather than in the shoe the way nike meant it to be? what is weird though is when i tried to calibrate it, i ran for a mile and it pretty much logged my distance correctly. maybe off by .03. any suggestions?

    thanks!

    -Eve

  20. Sally says:

    I am with you Eve. I am having a horrible time. I have had my sensor in the shoes wallet. I tried tonight with it just under the laces and still wrong. I am going to do the velcro thing tonight and try again tomorrow. I have been running with a Garmin for quite some time. I trust the results…not with the Nike +. I hate it because I really want it to work!

  21. Sally says:

    Glued and stitched in place, recalibrated and it is still a mile off and almost 2 minutes slower when matched against the garmin. Am I missing something??

  22. Mollie says:

    Thank you for your advice! As a college student I am in no hurry to rush to Nike and get a pair
    of $100 dollar shoes when I can acheive the same results at home! I plan on testing it out tonight!

    Thanks again!

  23. Kim says:

    I just purchased my kit yesterday and tried it this morning and am very disappointed. It only registered time! No disstdistance or pace. Even though I have Sauconys I wear inserts so I just put the sensor between the shoe and the insert. do I just have a bum sensor that I need to return? Thanks.

  24. Barb says:

    Thanks, your information was extremely helpful. I’m a racewalker and do
    road miles as well as track but don’t intend to purchase Nike shoes.
    It’s good to know that I can use the Sport Kit with shoes other than
    the Nikes. I’m assuming that you don’t have to be a runner to get
    accurate speed and distance information.

  25. Karen says:

    After a 15 mile run wearing the Nike+ transmitter attached to the top of my shoe under the foremost crossing of my laces, I developed severe pain in the top of that foot later in the day and have since lost 2 weeks of training for the marathon due to limping. I didn’t have any discomfort during the run, otherwise I would have removed the Nike+ transmitter. My podiatrist indicated there is some nerve irritation and is treating it with ultrasound. I hope I’m the only person that has had this unfortunate experience, but I would like to suggest that people may want to try it out on shorter runs to make sure they don’t have any ill side effects as I did.

  26. [...] I also ‘geeked up’, and have splashed out on an iPod Nano, along with the Nike Plus receiver/transmitter pair. No, I didn’t get the specific Nike+ shoes – not recommended by the chap in Sweatshop, despite my enthusiasm. I have however modified my shoes with a neat ‘hack’ (update here) which enables me to use the system. So far two runs in the system show marginal improvements, but I’m really impressed with the information available, and already have a “beginners challenge” going with Adam, as we’ve both recently taken up with this running madness. [...]

  27. Big Laker says:

    Hey Master Gunner:

    I have the same armband as you. What is the best way to have the Nike+ transmitter hooked up and have the nano inside the armband?

    Thanks!

  28. kazank says:

    I just finished making a small pouch to house the sensor out of iron-on patches I bought at the drug store for 1.99 and some velcro. It took me 10mins to make and I will be trying it out this weekend. Any questions can be emailed to kazank1@hotmail.com

  29. Stewart says:

    I simply made a small 1cm cut in the tongue of my trainers & squeezed the Nike+ sender unit inside, making sure it was above the padding. When my trainers were laced up there is no way it could fall out – worked a treat.

  30. K B says:

    In Case (http://www.johnmayer.com/blog/tony#163)is going to be coming out with a arm band that will come with a small pouch made to hold the sensor – that will attach to any shoes. Not sure when exactly it will be out, but be on the look out for it.

  31. Paul says:

    I was just reading all the comments about the mod for any shoe. I have a suggestion that I haven’t seen anyone suggest. Do you thing you could take a wristband and put the nike senser under it and put it around your upper ankle area and still be accurate? let me know what you think about that.

  32. Podophile says:

    Paul: No need for a wristband…just put the sensor in the ankleband of your sock. Anyway, you’re idea may work, but you’ll get the best accuracy results by having the sensor face up, flat, and as close to the ground as possible.

  33. Tim says:

    hey i have a pair of nike air max total 365 and the laces are on an angle will this affect the readings or not because it is not facing straight up???.

  34. zoe says:

    Hi,

    I just got my Nike+, and I tried running with the sensor in a few different places. I usually run ~10 minute miles, but depending on where I put the sensor, it read between 5 min/mile and 25 min/mile!

    I tried running with the sensor in the ankle band of my sock. It told me I was running ~25 minute miles, or it just couldn’t get a signal altogether (–:–). I guess it is very important to have the sensor parallel to the ground.

    I also tried running with the sensor behind my laces and off to the side a bit (so at an angle to the ground), because I thought it might be more likely to stay in (I hadn’t discovered the shoe hacks yet!). That’s when it told me I was running 5 minute miles. Also, it was pretty inconsistent, between 5 and 8 minute miles, so I think even if you calibrated it with the sensor off to the side, it still wouldn’t work very well.

    Finally, I put it in the front center of my laces, like Podophile has it in his shoe hack, and it is off by 10% but very consistent. Now I’m going to calibrate it, and hopefully then it will be right on.

    But, basically, what I’ve learned is that it’s VERY, VERY sensitive to where you put the sensor in your shoe. Front and center is the best, and as close to parallel to the ground as possible.

    Anyways, hope this helps!

  35. james says:

    top tips for the sensor- thanks a mill- will get it and see-

    Cheers

    James

    james@jamesbrewergardens.co.uk

  36. Melanie says:

    My husband and I share an IPOD. Can we both get our own Nike + and use them both with the same IPOD? We have a Garmin, but are getting tired of it shutting off mid run so we are checking out our options. Thanks.

  37. Miranda says:

    Thank you very much for your sharing!! Your method can help me to save lots of money and more importantly I prefer to run on my Mizuno running shoes rather than Nike running shoes. Your method can greatly solved my puzzle. However, may I know what kind of glue did you use to stick the velcro onto the transmitter in order to make it stick strongly on it? Thanks million for your reply in advance.

  38. Brian says:

    Have you considered gluing a couple of eye hooks to the transmitter? You could then lace the transmitter to the shoe.

  39. Brian says:

    It figures that after I would make my suggestion I would discover the rest of the pages where there is a produce doing what I suggested.

  40. Comray004 says:

    For those of you using the shoe pouch thingy, you could attach the pouch below the laces instead of above them.