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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.

Do-It-Yourself “Shoe Hacks”

As I discovered when the Nike+iPod Kit was first released, the small orange and white sensor doesn’t need to be placed inside the special Nike+ shoe compartment to work properly. In fact, it doesn’t need to be inside the shoe at all. The only requirements are that the sensor is logo-side up, relatively horizontal, and tightly secured to the shoe.

The Podophile Method

My original solution was to attach the sensor under my laces near the toe with some velcro. See the complete instructions here. This method provides a tight, secure spot for the sensor to live, while keeping it easily removable and doing practically no damage to the shoe. On the downside, if not checked regularly the sensor may become loose and fall off the shoe. In addition, the sensor, being on the outside of the shoe, is exposed to the elements (though this can easily be fixed by placing the sensor in a small plastic bag or balloon).

Insole Surgery


Several people have emulated the Nike+ shoe design by cutting a sensor-sized hole into the permanent insole of their shoe with a Dremel or Xacto knife, then placing the sensor inside, and covering with the shoe’s removable insole. This method has the benefit of keeping the sensor safe and secure, but requires major surgery with the risk of damaging your shoe. Thanks to David Goulet for posting the photos… He’s a braver man than I. Larger pics are here, here, here, and here.

Tongue Piercing

Another idea is to cut a small slit in the tongue of the shoe and place the sensor inside, sliding it down toward the toe. This method, like mine, secures the sensor under the laces and provides the added protection of the tongue fabric. But be careful that the sensor can’t slide around inside the tongue, as this will give you inaccurate readings. Also, with less padding between the sensor and your foot, you may actually feel the sensor, which could be uncomfortable.

Duct and Cover

Then there’s the old standby duct tape, which some have used to attach the sensor to their shoes. I think it’s probably best to make a pouch out of tape and then secure that to your laces, rather than just taping the sensor to your shoe, as moisture and the movement from running will loosen that tape pretty quickly. It’s not pretty, but it seems to work just fine. If you go this route make sure the sensor is tightly secured to the laces and doesn’t bounce around when you run.

Pouch-A-Go-Go

The crafty blogger over at Yarn-A-Go-Go has posted instructions on knitting your own shoe pouch for the Nike+iPod Sport Kit sensor. It should be a pretty easy project for someone with basic knitting skills, and the finished product looks much better than most of the other popular “shoe hacks.”

The Sensor Cozy

My favorite DIY method comes from Web Goddess, who made a simple fabric tube, placed the sensor inside, threaded it under her shoe laces, folded the ends of the fabric over the top, and attached them with velcro. It’s really a great solution that provides protection and a snug fit for the sensor, is easily removable, and doesn’t damage the shoe. Of course, to make one of these you’re going to need some craft skills.

Commercial Products

Once it was shown that the Nike+iPod sensor could be used with any pair of running shoes, people who weren’t inclined to “hack” their shoes started looking for existing products which would attach the sensor to their shoe. And it wasn’t long before several new products, designed specifically the task, were announced. Here they are, in the order of least to most expensive:

Case Logic USB Shuttle ($4)

This finger-sized neoprene case was made to hold two USB flash drives, but it turns out that its just the right size for the Nike+iPod sensor. One end of the case slides down under your shoe laces, while the other folds over and attaches with velcro. It provides a snug ride for the sensor, and the velcro holds pretty well, though I’d be tempted to add a little extra if I used this every day.

LaceLid ($5)

LaceLid for Nike+iPodThe LaceLid a simple hard rubber “cap” which fits over the Nike+iPod sensor, and is attached to your shoe by running your laces through holes at the top and bottom. There are a couple of things to keep in mind: Because there’s only one lace hole on the top and bottom of the LaceLid, proper attachment does require you to lace your shoes differently than you may be used to. Also, the LaceLid is an open-topped cap rather than an enclosed case or pouch, so the sensor may not be completely protected from wet weather (though unless your feet are actually under water, it likely provides adequate protection). The LaceLid is a unique and affordable Nike+iPod shoe accessory.

The Shoe Pouch ($6)

Grantwood Technology designed this little neoprene pouch specifically for the Nike+iPod sensor. It attaches to your shoe by threading the laces through four loops on the corners of the pouch. This lacing method provides added security, but also makes the pouch more difficult to remove from your shoe than the velcro-based products. I’ve read some positive comments about people’s experiences with the Shoe Pouch, but keep in mind that the key to getting good results is making sure the pouch is tightly secured to your laces. All-in-all, the Shoe Pouch simple, no-frills solution at an attractive price point.

The Nike Running Shoe Wallet ($8)

This neoprene “wallet” was designed to carry a runner’s keys, cash, and any other small items you might need on the trail. It attaches to the shoe via a plastic clip that slides between the the tongue and the laces. It makes a nice pouch for the Nike+iPod sensor, but is quite roomy, allowing the sensor to move and bounce around while running. Since this will give you inaccurate results, you should stuff some tissue or paper towels into the pouch to help keep the sensor snug. It may require some experimentation to get it right. Another issue is that over time, the shoe wallet’s clip can become loose, which might lead to the wallet falling off of your shoe. I’ve posted a lacing method that will prevent this from happening. It should be noted that there are other brands of shoe wallets on the market, but because the differences between them are minor, I won’t list them all here.

SwitchEasy RunAway ($8)

By far the most unique Nike+iPod sensor adapter, the RunAway features a hard plastic compartment for the sensor and plastic clip that twists to lock onto your shoelaces. Other innovative features include built-in power button access, and a slot to store your Nike+iPod receiver when not in use. I’ve seen comments about the twist-lock coming undone while running, which would certainly affect accuracy, but I’m not sure if this is a common problem or not. The Switcheasy RunAway comes in six colors.

Marware SportSuit Sensor+ ($10)

This was the first product released specifically for the Nike+iPod sensor and uses velcro to attach the pouch to the outside of your shoe laces. Designed by Marware, one of the larger iPod accessory makers, the SportSuit Sensor+ is a very high-quality product, but I’ve read reports of people having difficulty attaching it to their laces tightly enough to prevent unwanted movement of the pouch. And as we know by now, a loose pouch or sensor will lead to inaccurate readings.

I’m always on the lookout for new and clever shoe hacks and sensor accessories. Post a comment below to let me know how you’ve attached the Nike+iPod sensor to your shoes.

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82 Responses to “Nike+iPod Shoe Hack and Sensor Accessory Round-Up”

  1. ATM says:

    I came up with a pretty primitive hack for my sensor, but it is working great. I had a roll of 1″ blue painters masking tape lying around, so I wrapped a strip of the painters tape around the sensor and folded it in half, so I have my sensor at the fold of the tape with a big tail of blue painters tape at one end. Then I stuck the sensor under my shoe laces, down toward the toes, with the tape tail running under the laces up to where they tie. When I tighten the laces, the sensor stays nice and secure due to the added “grip” from the surface of the tape and the long tail that runs under the laces. And the painters tape can be easily removed any time without damaging the sensor. Weird, but it works.

  2. Tony Gee says:

    Here is a new one I found in the classifieds of Runner’s World:

    http://www.lacelid.com/

    very cheap (less than $6.00 with shipping)

  3. Tony Gee says:

    Switcheasy RunAway

    “I’ve seen comments about the twist-lock coming undone while running, which would certainly affect accuracy, but I’m not sure if this is a common problem or not.”

    I had this happen during my race, this past weekend, and it did throw off the reading by about an additional .05 per mile. I didn’t twist it all the way and it “spun” during my run. I have since run with it in training, and have not had the problem happen again. I make sure to twist it all the way before I started. Problem solved. I really like this product.

  4. [...] A while ago I bookmarked a blog entry by the Podophile about hacking non-Nike shoes for Nike+ sensors. Since then he’s posted a shoe hack and sensor accessory round-up, which gave me all the information I need. He also has a good Nike+iPod FAQ. [...]

  5. Frank says:

    I have made the incision in the tongue of the shoe. Great location under the second lace crossing. Very stable location and very accurate reading today.
    I did cut from the outside, not inside s mentioned above. Due to the flexibility of the material I have made a very small incission and the sensor is placed in the middle.
    Love Asics shoes but this Nike+ gadget is the best concept ever seen todate.

    Frank

  6. fondoo says:

    how secure is the lacelid? will it pop out when running?

  7. Podophile says:

    Fondoo: I haven’t used the LaceLid, but it looks like the sensor should be pretty secure if your shoes are laced tightly.

  8. marvin says:

    Thanks for this great compilation of pouches for the nike sport accessory. Definitely helped in my decision to by the runaway pouch.

  9. Quang says:

    Hi all

    I wrote your replys, but I have a little problem. Im from Denmark, and none of those “extra-gear”-things can be bought. Does anyone have an idea for what i could do?

  10. [...] Originally Posted by WanderingOak 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. Hello all – The homebrew shoe hack linked above is mine. The page should be working fine (it gets several thousand views per day), so please let me know if anyone continues to have trouble accessing it. Since posting that page in July, several products for attaching the Nike+iPod sensor to non-Nike+ shoes have been released. I’ve compiled a list of 11 different products and shoe hacks, all of which work quite well. It’s pretty much every thing you need to know about the subject. To answer one other question, the Nike+iPod kit only works with the iPod nano. Let me know if you have any other questions about the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. As you may be able to tell, it’s one of my favorite subjects. __________________ Podophile.com… obviously. [...]

  11. fondoo says:

    http://flickr.com/photos/91146112@N00/

    lacelid is AWESOME! arrive within 2-3 days and does a great job. sturdy and solid. will not pop out.

  12. Podophile says:

    Thanks for the photos, fondoo. It looks good.

  13. Callum says:

    doesn’t the technology that makes the nike+ sensor work require presure… I mean, if it did – you’re hack simply wouldn’t work (or could be off by a bit) you should meet up with someone using the Nike+ shoes and do a track… or two :D then post the results.

    btw- i’ve only just got a Nike+ Sports Kit, iPod Nano and Running Shoes (not Nike+, “Nike Free”). I’m about to do surgery :D but just scanning the web for details first.

  14. Podophile says:

    Callum: The sensor does not measure foot pressure applied to it, and works perfectly well when attached to shoe laces. I’ve been using my “shoe hack” for nearly six months with no problems. Please take note of all the products (above) that were designed to attach the sensor to shoes… they all fit on the laces.

    I would suggest you spend a little more time on research before doing surgery on your shoes.

  15. b. says:

    I went out and bought the Case Logic USB case yesterday and have used it twice — it works great. It’s a little bulky, but didn’t feel any different when you’re running. Plus, you can fit a few rolled up dollar bills or a key on the other side of the case, if that’s your thing.

    Thanks for the great suggestion, Pod!

  16. Callum says:

    Thanks for the reply, I’m still reading around. Very interested in the attachments- but living in the U.K. I might have to wait a couple extra days and spend a bit more on postage. :(

    I’ll document my hacking – i.e. ripping open the sole of my Nike Free (‘s), they were a perfect deal on eBay so I won’t loose out too much if worst comes to worst. I’d rather have an emulation of the Nike+ style- if it’s good enough for their designers.

    Still researching tho’, thanks again!

  17. [...] Like I said, you don’t need Nike shoes. You can just buy one of the zillion different types of show pouches. Or knit your own. Then you plug the wireless receiver to the bottom of your Nano (it’s pretty small, so I’m more worried about losing it when I take it off than anything else) and voila, the Nike+ menu appears on your iPod. [...]

  18. HeyIrish says:

    Check this out – it’s very good, velcro all the way around a generous sized armband, open at the bottom for attaching your Nike+, and it comes with a velcro iPod Sensor pouch that works well.

    http://www.speckproducts.com/nano2-activearm.html

  19. Callum says:

    Done. I mean, I did it- and posted a very drawn-out how-to, although its mainly about the photos! I won’t have anything interesting to say until I hit the track.

    Thank you very much for your guidance, but I went for the destructive sole-cutting method. If you, or your readers would like to see more:

    http://www.metacomment.com/blog/2007/01/06/diy-nike-plus-hack/

    Thank you Podophiles.

  20. [...] A roundup with various do-it-yourself solutions as well as some commercial holders. Read the comments also. [...]

  21. RayDel says:

    I just found that the New Balance ‘N’ with “Nlock” on my 767′s is the perfect slot for the Nike+ sensor.
    Very snug fit. Going to test it now.
    Check out the pics…
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rayraydel/354065869/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rayraydel/354065924/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rayraydel/354066160/

  22. RayDel says:

    NewBalance Hack – No Good. I guess the sensor has to be flat. I tried to calibrate it several times and it didn’t work. Oh well. Sorry.

  23. Roni says:

    I have a suggestion…Its a little crude, so you might not like it if you are very fashion conscious.

    Try a condom. Unlubricated.

    Place the chip into the center of an unrolled condom, twist off the excess, and tie into your laces.

    Extremely cost effective.

  24. Drake says:

    After trying out the Nike+ sensor under my Mizuno laces I really, really liked it. I use 2 to 3 pairs of running shoes, outside, treadmill and rainy day shoes so swaping the sensor is very important to me. To start off I ordered the SwitchEasy RunAway. It is shipped directly from Hong Kong and I did not want to wait so I figured if the Grantwood shoe pouch was easy to access the sensor I may buy one for each shoe. After receiving the shoe pouch I found the access cut is made at the center on the bottom of the pouch, not good for fast switching. This product should work great if you only have a single pair of running shoes. I received the RunAway via airmail quicker than expected and have been pleased with this product. It is easily switched from shoe to shoe and offers good mount for the sensor. It did “unlock” from the mounted position on my first run and I did make sure to mount it correctly because I had read from a previous poster that this happened to him in a race. I think it did this when I sprinted to cross a road. The extra momemtum may have been too much for the snap. The locking mechanism is not very strong, but I have kept an eye on it and after 40 or so miles of runs it seems to be fine. I may try the lace lids later, but I hope this helps some runners who are thinking about buying these products.

  25. Matthew Smith says:

    Here’s the method I use. I bought a “Fuel Belt” at my local running store for $6. It works PERFECTLY, for very cheap.

    http://www.fuelbelt.com/accessories/pockets.html

    (Scroll down for Shoe Pocket)

  26. [...] and laces. It has been in that location for about 80 miles so far and has not been a problem. Podophile has compiled a roundup of hacks and accesories available for the sensor from small velcro packs, [...]

  27. [...] piece from one’s existing running shoe. Fortunately, a number of companies have come up with solutions, such that the Nike+ transmitter can be worn outside of one’s shoes, to include simple [...]

  28. Dano's Nano says:

    Another tongue piercing here. Held the sensor just fine, and seemed to be quite happy. Wasn’t able to check the accuracy of distance reading, cos in trying to activate my power song halfway through my run, I inadvertantly stopped my workout. Damn and blast.

    VERY happy with the purchase though. Even more so now that I know I don’t need to shell out for a new pair of trainers!

    Great site, keep up the good blogging.

    Dan

  29. [...] are a large variety of products for attaching the sensor to your shoe, and several cases for the Nano itself, I’ve not bought any of the official products and have [...]

  30. Jennifer says:

    I have a Switcheasy (which I have only used once) and love it so far! Before getting the Switcheasy, though, I used a sandwich-sized ziploc bag. I put the sensor in the center of the bottom of the bag, and then rolled the bag until it looked like one long flat strip with the sensor in the middle. I then tucked the long ends of the bag under my laces. Weather-proof and secure. I never had any problems with this hack.

  31. mathieu says:

    Hi everyone,
    thanks you for this gathering of precious information. it helped me choose the right lace-pocket for my just bought sensor. But my excitation prematurely ended: my sensor isn’t found by the ipod nano (“sensor not found”). My nano is 1.3, the nike+ sofware 1.0.1. It is not on sleep mode, I have no “low battery” signal in the history menu. What can I do?

  32. Podophile says:

    mathieu – It sounds like you have a defective sensor. From everything I’ve read, Apple is good about replacing Sport Kits that aren’t working. If you live near an Apple store, you should be able to bring it in and exchange it on the spot. Otherwise, either check with the store where your purchased it, or call Applecare. You’re problem isn’t entirely uncommon, so the exchange process should be smooth. Good luck.

  33. Mathieu says:

    Thank you for your answer. i bought it online from the applestore directly. A bientôt!

  34. Mike says:

    How accurate is it putting the trasmitter on the top of your shoe? Does it make any difference that it may shake a little more as opposed to being in your sole? Or does this thing have some sort of calibration to it?

  35. Jay says:

    I just took a 4 in piece of velcro and cut it into an approx. 3.5in by 1.5in rectangle, sandwiched the sensor between the two sides and then place the whole set-up between my laces and the tongue to my shoe. After a 4.5 mile run (after calibration) it did not move at all and only cost me a couple of bucks.

  36. Daiy says:

    I just did the shoe surgery and put the transmitter inside the inner sole of my shoe. I have Merrell Overdirve sneakers. I had to put the transmitter on the heel because the lining is so thin and is directly above the rubber of the heel and arch. It sits there, somewhat snug, but mainly the pressure of my heel and orthodics will hold it in place.

    That is the main reason why I did the surgery. I had it in a shoe wallet that I have had forever, but every time I would go to run, I couldn’t find the shoe wallet. (Usually it was in a placve that I thought I would be able to find it in.) So I placed it under the very stiff arch of my prescription orthodics. It was ok there, but I noticed two things: the arch in that foot was too stiff, and I was getting weird lapses in reading. After reading up on that I figured that it was because the transmitter was moving around in there. (So thank you all, because I was about to go buy a new one when I realized that was the cause, not a low battery).

    Also, the prescription orthodics are very useful for this since they are so stiff around the heel and arch that with the transmitter down in the insole, I don’t feel anything.

  37. Troy says:

    In alot of those “Shoe Hacks” you menetion that they might not be perfect because the sencor is exposed to the elements but on nike.com they said the sencor is water proof and virtualy unbreakable. So just tring to help out and thanks for this blog its realy helped me.

  38. cathy Anderson says:

    I have only had my Nike Ipod since Christmas. I probably only average 20-25 miles a week. I do not walk around with it other than for my runs. I am already getting messages that my sensor battery is low. What do I do? Can I buy a senor only? A battery? I love it but am I going to need to buy a new set every few months?

    Thanks?

  39. Podophile says:

    Cathy – That’s way too soon for your battery to die. Before going out and buying another, I would take yours back to an Apple Store and ask for a replacement.

    That being said, when the battery does legitimately die (after about 1000 ‘active’ hours) you’ll need to buy another Sport Kit. There’s no way to replace the sensor battery. If you were to run 2 hours a day, every day, the sensor should last around a year and a half.

  40. andrew says:

    Hi everyone

    I have the trusty velcro at the bottom of the laces hack which works most of the time but I find I need to recalibrate every couple of weeks – I was training for a marathon and running about 5-6 hours each week.

    The chip-clip claims to be more accurate as it keeps the sensor in a horizontal position. I haven’t tested this yet but I’ll report back when I’ve tried it out a few times.

    http://www.chip-clip.com/

    Has anyone tried it?

    Andrew

  41. Podophile says:

    Andrew – The chip-clip is a clever design, but it’s not likely to be more accurate than the velcro method or any of the other shoe pouch products. Even people with the official Nike+ shoes have reported inaccuracies, calibration problems, etc.

    I’m not sure that you calibration issue has anything to do with the slight angle of the sensor under your laces. It’s more likely either a mechanical defect, or the sensor is shifting its position on your shoe slightly every couple of weeks. The chip-clip (or any other shoe accessory) may help with that.

    Good luck.

  42. Jon Winter says:

    Hi Podophile
    Great round-up of the iPod Nike hacks, there are some really creative solutions out there.

    We’ve been using the velcro-under strap method for months now too (although using a bit more velcro than you). It works great and we’ve been selling our “iStraps” since then through eBay in several different colours. We’ve just put up a new website, so thought you might be interested. http://www.istrap.co.uk

    Cheers!
    Jon

  43. [...] so I performed some minor surgery to a shoe to get the Nike+ sensor into underneath the sole. (Ya, attaching it outside is also ok but I preferred to have it in). Had to some hacking away to get it fitted nicely and here’s [...]

  44. Viel zuviel……

    … ist in den letzten Wochen passiert. Da hat sich so vieles angesammelt, was ich gerne noch bloggen würde, aber mir fehlt schlichtweg die Zeit dazu.
    Also gibts nur einen kurzen Auszug.

    Am letzten WE hatte Frau beschlossen das sie den längst fä…

  45. andrew says:

    Reporting back as promised.

    I got my chip-clip through the post this yesterday and took it out for an hour this morning. It’s very easy to fit and stayed rock solid throughout the session. The advantage for me is that I can see it on my shoe as I am paranoid about losing the chip and it falling down a drain or something. It’s light and doesn’t press down on my foot so it doesn’t get in the way or impair my running (I have a pouch on the other foot for my keys which can feel heavy if I pack it too much).

    The only negative point is that the clip protrudes a bit a makes it a little difficult to grip your foot when stretching out your thigh but I can learn to change the way I hold my foot!

    Thanks for providing so much useful information on this specialised – but oh-so popular – subject!

    Andrew

  46. Paul says:

    Hi Podophile,

    Great website. Do you know whether it’s possible for a couple to share a single Nike+ sensor kit and iPod Nano but still keep track of their individual performance stats?

    Or, if it’s only possible to maintain 2 records with separate sensor kits then would it mean re-configuring each time the iPod was swapped over?

    Just curious as we have one Nano and one Shuffle, so we’d have to share it.

  47. [...] the techology independent of the shoe. Well right now this is limited Nike shoes unless you take a less elegant approach. But I [...]

  48. [...] page listing cool stuff for your ipod caught my [...]

  49. Anne Lee says:

    Hi,

    I was just browsing through the net in search of the Nike I-Pod combo to help with keeping motivated on my runs. Have been keen on getting one since it was launched but was concern over having to use a different running shoe from the ones I am currently using. Am glad to see there are way around having to change my shoes.

  50. Laura says:

    I bought a pair of Saucony Grid Propel Plus runnign shoes, and the soles happen to have a cave in the heel on the bottom that’s the perfect size for a Nike+ sensor. I just stuffed it in there, and it was pretty sturdy, but i also hot melt glued it into place for extra security and protection against water. I imagine lots of Saucony’s have the same design.