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Nike+iPod FAQ

Clicking around the web, I’ve noticed a lot of questions about the Nike+iPod Sport Kit popping up over and over again. While the answers to most of them can be found within this site, it sometimes takes a little digging. To help save you time, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most common Nike+iPod questions and answers below.

Do I need to buy the special Nike+ shoes to use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit?

No. The Nike+iPod can be used with any pair of running shoes. The only thing “special” about the Nike+ shoes is a small compartment in the shoe’s insole which holds the Nike+ sensor. As long as the sensor is properly and securely attached to your shoe, you will get the same results that you would with the Nike+ shoes.

How do I attach the Nike+iPod sensor to my shoe?

There are several methods for attaching the Nike+iPod sensor to your shoe, ranging from free do-it-yourself projects to moderately priced retail products specifically designed for the job. See my list of Nike+iPod Shoe Hacks and Accessories for details.

I don’t own an iPod nano. Can I use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit with my iPod video / iPod classic / iPod mini / iPod shuffle?

Nope. The Nike+iPod Sport Kit only works with the iPod nano at this time (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation). It’s widely thought that because regular iPods use hard drives, which can freeze or skip if jostled, Apple doesn’t want to officially encourage people to run with them. The iPod shuffle doesn’t have a standard dock connector, which is required for attaching the Nike+iPod receiver. The iPod mini was discontinued before the Sport Kit was released, and probably won’t see a software update to make it compatible with the Sport Kit. Apple is in the business of selling new Pods, after all.

Does the Nike+iPod Sport Kit work with the iPhone or iPod Touch?

No. Even though the iPhone and iPod touch use flash memory (like the nano), Nike+iPod isn’t supported at this time.

How accurate is the Nike+iPod Sport Kit?

Surprisingly accurate. Results vary from person to person, but there’s rarely more than a couple hundredths of a mile difference on my three-mile run from day to day. Since the time and distance are being measured accurately, I can only assume that variations in my pace are being measured accurately, too.

At the Nike Store I was told that the Nike+iPod sensor is more accurate when used with Nike+ shoes. Is this true?

No. The Nike salespeople want to sell you Nike shoes, and they’re stretching the truth when they say this. It is true that if you attach the sensor to your shoes loosely or incorrectly, it will give you inaccurate results… but it’s pretty simple to do it the right way.

Isn’t is true that you need to step on the sensor for it to register your footsteps?

No, that’s a myth that started soon after the Sport Kit was announced. The sensor is not a pedometer, it’s an accelerometer which measures your foot in motion and at rest, and from those measurements it can calculate your stride, speed, and distance. A look inside the sensor suggests that it reads vibrations from your foot hitting the ground, but not from actually having any pressure applied to it.

I don’t run. Does the Nike+iPod Sport Kit work for walking, too?

Yes. The Nike+iPod Sport Kit measures walking as accurately as it measures running. There’s even a calibration setting especially for walking.

Can I use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit on a treadmill?

People report mixed results when using the Nike+iPod Sport Kit on a treadmill. Personally, I found it to be much less accurate than on solid ground. The difference between the treadmill mileage reading and the Sport Kit mileage was over 10%, which I don’t find to be very useful. One reason may be the difference in mechanics; On a treadmill, both feet are always moving – the one on the belt backward, and the one in the air forward – while your body remains stationary. When running on the ground, one foot remains stationary while your whole body moves forward.

Can I use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit on a bicycle or elliptical machine?

No. I have yet to find any reports of people getting accurate readings when on a bicycle or elliptical machine. One thing the sensor reads is the vibration produced when your foot hits the ground, which doesn’t happen when using either of these two contraptions.

I just went for my first run with my Nike+iPod Sport Kit, but the mileage results were way off. What’s wrong with this POS?

If you’re getting wildly inaccurate readings from your Nike+iPod Sport Kit, it’s probably due to one of these two things: 1) Your sensor isn’t attached to your shoe properly. The sensor needs to be logo-side up, relatively parallel with the ground, and positioned length-wise on your shoe. In addition, it needs to be attached tightly, with no room to move, shift, or bounce around during your run. If you’ve checked all of that and you’re still having the same problem, then 2) You have a defective Kit. Take it back to the Apple store and ask for an exchange. Apple has been very good about exchanging poorly functioning Sport Kits.

How can I improve the accuracy of my Nike+iPod Sport Kit?

The Sport Kit has a built-in calibration mode which helps to fine-tune the accuracy based on your individual running style. Here’s an in-depth guide to calibrating your Sport Kit.

This list is a work in progress. I’ll be adding to it regularly, so check back from time to time. If you have a question that you think should be addressed here, or have any feedback you’d like to share, feel free to post below.

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61 Responses to “Nike+iPod FAQ”

  1. [...] Podophile has compiled a nice Nike+iPod FAQ. Get the Nike + iPod Sports Kit at Amazon. [...]

  2. [...] 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. [...]

  3. B says:

    Very, very helpful information. I have been hesitaing on this purchase because the only Nike I like was the Durham, long ago replaced. I prefer Asics now and was hoping I could use this with them (although the Nike Pegasys look similar, but still does not have the + system. ) Thank you for your posting, B

  4. rob berreth says:

    is there anyway to post non-recorded workouts? For example, this morning I did a trail run and didn’t get all wires up with my nano but still want to record the workout. Any thoughts?

  5. Christopher says:

    Is it possible for two people two share the same Nike+iPod sensor and Nano?

  6. Todd says:

    Merry Christmas! Guess what I got! ;)

    Thanks alot for this FAQ. It was a great help for shoe mounting options and the kit itself. However, I’m getting stumped finding case alternatives for the Nano 2G with the Nike+ receiver. So far, I’ve only found the Marware Sportsuit Relay. But I have alot of doubts about the comfort after several miles of “neoprene and rubber” and those nasty-looking seams on the back.

    Does anyone have alternative Nano cases that can handle the Nike receiver?

  7. Quack says:

    hey, does anyone know if this will work with rollerblades?

  8. Craig says:

    I have one nano. Can I buy a nike+ for me and my wife and use it on the same nano?

  9. Kari Pätilä says:

    I had my first trial run this afternoon, and the kit worked great. I had a pair of almost brand new Nikes, non-plus ones, so I just slipped the transmitter under my laces and after 8.5km it was still there. In fact, it hadn’t moved a bit, but that might be because of the firm structure of the shoes, which are meant for running on snow and icy surfaces. Still, I’m going to make a pouch for it, since you can’t buy one here in Finland.

    What I’m really interested about is whether it’ll still work after the temperature drops to -15 degrees Celsius (if that’s even possible during this unbelievably warm winter).

  10. [...] First, you should calibrate your sensor to match your gait. It has both a walking and running calibration. All I did was get on a treadmill and walk/run .25 miles to calibrate mine. Easy peasy. Mine was actually spot-on right from the start, but I’ll check it again in a few weeks and see if it stays consistent. (So yes, you can use it to track your walking – FAQ.) [...]

  11. Phil says:

    How long is the battery suppose to last?? I bought a show pouch and it would be very inconvenient to unstring to turn off every time I use it??

  12. [...] I just received my iPod in the mail and couldn’t wait to try it out! After restoring (bought it off eBay) and syncing my data I threw the sensor under my shoelaces (for now, thanks to Podophile) and got running. You can set up your workout by distance, time or calories burned, I decided to go for a 20min run. Every 5 mins a voice comes over your music and announces the time and you can get a complete update (distance, time, calories, pace) by clicking the center button on the iPod. This product is amazing for runners or walkers, I can’t wait to get more into the community aspect where you can challenge other people. I have set a goal of 60 kms over the next 4 weeks, hopefully I can make it. [...]

  13. Mcbeev says:

    Im working on a site that tracks the data from Nike Plus files. Anyone is welcome to use it. It lets you do whatever you want with your data. Add and modify runs as you need. Export the data out to excel, and even create your own RSS Feed with it. Check it out at http://www.workoutdump.com. It is still a work in progress though.

  14. Patrick says:


    is there anyway to get the raw data from the iPod after a run?? I have a little pc application written that I use to track my runs and so on an would like to load my Nike+ runs into the system atomatically…


  15. regarding the inaccuracy on a treadmill:

    “One reason may be the difference in mechanics; On a treadmill, both feet are always moving – the one on the belt backward, and the one in the air forward – while your body remains stationary. When running on the ground, one foot remains stationary while your whole body moves forward.”

    This is not quite true. In fact, relative to the belt, the mechanics are exactly the same (your body is moving, and your feet are alternately stationary). Accelerometers measure *change* in velocity, which (from your foot’s point of view) is the same as if you were running on solid ground.

    So why doesn’t it work so well? I would guess it’s because the flexibility and bounciness of some treadmills interferes with the calculations.

    It would be interesting to try jogging around on something bouncy – I bet the distances would be completely off.

  16. On the other hand, your treadmill could be way off because of belt slippage.

  17. Podophile says:


    Thanks for your comments. I’ve tried the Sport Kit on several treadmills and the results have never been as accurate as on the ground. Many other people report similar inaccuracies when running on treadmills.

  18. Jenn8 says:

    I am wondering if anyone else has had difficulty with their Nike +ipod in very cold weather? I have experienced problems on three occasions.
    Any suggestions would be helpful.

  19. Kenn says:

    My iPod+Nano has worked great ever since I bought it about four months ago. However, last weekend, on a long run, it went flaky. I was trotting along at a fairly even 7:30 (min/mi) pace for several miles, when suddenly it started telling me I was barely moving, though I was most definitely running. It went back and forth between reporting speeds of around 7:30 to speeds of around 32 to not moving!

    It was about 12F (-7F) out, and was the first time I’d used the kit in below freezing temps. So, I suspect maybe its inaccuracies were due to the low temperature.

  20. Jennifer says:

    My nike + ipod has been freezing and locking up when I run in the mornings. It doesn’t save any of the miles I’ve logged on when that happens. It’s very fustrating (I enter nike challenges and it cost me my last one. I came in second by 2 miles, I would have won it if my ipod hadn’t acted up). It’s been below freezing when I run and I wonder if that’s what’s causing it to act like this.

  21. Slothrunner says:


    Thanks for the great Site. I’ve had my Nike+ for about a month, I initially used a shoe hack on the tongue of my New Balances, but I noticed the accuracy was sometimes way off (even though I calibrated on a track the first time). I initially suspected cold weather, but after I purchased the Marware pouch, the device has been right on, even in cold weather (a couple of 15F runs in Massachusetts). My guess in my case was that my shoe hack method did not keep the sensor stable enough or aligned properly.

    Question: Why no mention of the recently added Mapit feature to the Nike+ site?

  22. peliason says:

    Great site– just got my Nike+ and couldn’t give up my asics so I used your velcro idea and did a little sewing.

  23. Brian says:

    Thanks for the FAQ. I use the sports kit daily on a treadmill and it works flawless. After a 5 mile run on the treadmill, the ipod usually reads 4.98-5.02 miles.

    A lot depends on how consistent your running form is during your run. For example, I can slow my ipod pace by simply high stepping or taking longer strides on the treadmill. Or I can speed up my ipod pace by taking smaller quicker strides. So if you are not consistantly using the same running form I could see inaccuracies being present. But I have never had any issues on the treadmill or outside.

  24. Bobby says:

    Is it possible to edit the run data? I just finished a race and forgot to end the work out as I crossed the finish line. I realized it a few minutes later, but now my run info wrong. Can I manually delete the last few minutes of the run?


  25. Scott says:

    I am thinking of Buying the new nike ipod plus and want to find out everything i can both good and bad things about the ipod plus. i was wondering if i am running in wet weather and my sensor/ shoes get soaking wet,(which can often happen if im running in rain or walking normally and its raining via puddles etc) will this stop the sensor from working and is this covered on the warrenty?

  26. Patrick says:

    I had the same issue as Jennifer above. Got back from a 6km – menu froze up – unresponsive – no Congratulations from Lance, and no logged workout. missed one of my monthly goals because of it. No cold weather here either, and since it happened the continous play & shuffle icons both appear in the now playing screen. My nano is a 1st gen.and i’m wondering if it has ‘hit the wall’. B4 this both Nano and nike + worked perfectly, and has been a huge motivational tool in my training program. Thanks for the post.

  27. Milos says:

    Great website,and my only question is… whats the range of the nike+ipod thing? I mean if i leave my ipod nano on a shelf in a restaurant and put the sensor in my shoe is it going to work properly? It’s not a big restaurant, maybe 20m x 20m?

  28. Podophile says:

    The range of the transmitter is supposed to be about 50-60 feet (15-18m). It wouldn’t hurt to try your idea, but you should expect some dropouts. You’d probably be better off just keeping the nano in your pocket.

  29. bud says:

    I want to use my Nike+ kit to track mileage walked an entire day versus just for a workout. Any way to do this?

  30. Kyle W says:

    I was just wondering if the run data took up much room on the iPod, as I have a 2BG nano and it is full of music, and I still have more. So I am trying to decide if I should update to a 4BG or 8GB.


  31. babacrash says:

    I would be interested to know if someone tried it with rollerblades?

  32. Marco says:

    “I don’t own an iPod nano. Can I use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit with my regular iPod / iPod mini / iPod shuffle?”

    Can you tell me if the Nike+ is working with an Ipod touch? I really wanna buy this one but also want to use the Nike+.

  33. Pete M says:

    Has anyone tried the nike + with an ipod touch. I want an ipod touch for xmas, but may get a new nano if it doesn’t work with the touch.

    Thanks, Pete

  34. TParrill says:

    Be careful about the placement of your sensor on your foot. I used a “lacelid” to keep my sensor in place on the top of my shoe. I got a stress fracture in my 3rd metacarsel/tarsel(–sorry for the spelling!). I didn’t originally blame the sensor until when I started running 3 months later, I placed it on the other foot in the same place and started to feel the same pain I had with the other foot. I think it’s because it was on there so tight that it didn’t allow for any movement of my foot. Something to watch… OTher than that, now that I’ve placed it somewhere else, I LOVE IT! I do find that the reading is totally off on the treadmill. Today was so cold that I ran 10 mile on my brand-new, well-calibrated treadmill. My ipod had me at 9.25 miles. I’ll claim the 10!

  35. [...] for attaching the sensor to your shoe, if you don’t have one of the special Nike+ shoes. General FAQs Attaching to your [...]

  36. Paul says:

    Is the Nike + adapter and software compatible with a 5th generation video iPod. I know it’s intended for use with the nano, but I haven’t had any problems with the hard drive on my iPod so I’d prefer to use it with Nike + if possible.

    Thank you for the FAQs!

  37. bleach802 says:

    I read on amazon that the nike + ipod is only compatible with a 1, 2 or 3g ipod nano. Is this true? Or does it matter the capacity as long as it is a ipod nano?

  38. [...] Hmmm… That’s where Google came in. With “ipod+sports+kit+hack” keywords, out came the8thsign’s detailed hack attack and Podophile’s specific answers to the very questions I had in mind. [...]

  39. Matt says:

    I am getting a message saying that my receiver’s battery is low. I can’t figure out how to replace the battery or the receiver, any ideas?

  40. Heleen says:

    do you think that it is going to be possible to use nike+ with the ipod touch? i know you can’t use it now, but are they going to make it later?

  41. NEVERTOOOLD says:

    When I use my Nike+ the verbal distance is correct but the distance on the screen is way off. Example today it verbally told me I went 3.6 miles but the screen said 6.1 miles. I tried calibrating it but that didnt help. Ideas?

  42. tri.rider says:

    How dose the sensor deal with water/mud I do mostly trail runnuing.

  43. candycx says:

    hi Podophile,

    i have one question that i wish u can help me. i just bought the sport kit. is the sensor on itself already? or do i need to press the on button? when im not using it, do i need to off it?
    how to know if its on or off?
    thanks so much..

  44. emdee says:

    iPod Classic – I wonder if anyone here found a hack which would enable to use the Nike running gadget with iPod Classic. Now I heard about the flash/hard drive difference, but I also got in talk with Apple Certified Techitian and basically there could be problem with the hard drive while runnning, but as the iPod grabs the MP3 it loads about 5 minutes woth a play before loading another bunch. And it has to be bit shock proof anyway, otherwise you could not use is while walkeing either.

  45. rachel says:

    You said the it cannot be used with the ipod mini as there isnt an update. However when i plug it into itunes it automatically updates so i now have catergories such as videos even though i couldnt play them. Any chance the nike plus could work with the mini?

  46. dimitry says:

    I THINK THAT MY SENSOR’S BATTERY IS EMPTY. HOW DO I GET A NEW ONE? or can I reload the sensor’s battery?

  47. Rachel says:

    I just bought this Nike Amp+ which is a remote for the ipod. I also bought Nike+Ipod all together. But then it’s says if I press the button on the left of remote it will play the power song automatically but then it won do anything. Even the ipod. I set it up the song to be played as a powersong but everytime I press play button it will just play the playing list and that’s it. What should i do?
    Where should I go and ask? I bought this all at the nike except the ipod. should I go to nike to ask about this?

  48. Ilka says:

    I returned my first nike+ thinking that the battery was empty since the receiver could never detect a sensor. The second one worked, until I turned it off to get on a plane. Now again, after turning it off and on several times, the receiver can’t detect the sensor. Did anyone have the same problem, and does anyone know whether there is a way to find out when the sensor is “on” or “off”?

  49. Bob Bowers says:

    Nike+ Sensor & iPods: does it work with the new Classic or not?

    One website, someone said in a word, “Yes”.

    One of the FAQs implies it depends on the “generation” of the iPod device.

    Nike+ Sensors or Nike+ Sport Kit … please clarify.

    Thank you.

  50. Podophile says:

    Hi Bob: In a word, no. The Nike+ipod Sport Kit only works with the iPod nano. Not the classic, not the touch, not the mini… just the nano.

    The Nike+iPod Sport kit includes a sensor (or transmitter), which goes in your shoe, and the receiver, which plugs into your iPod nano.