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 lacesÂ 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.