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Nike Sport ArmbandI have to admit, I’m not a big fan of iPod armbands. I don’t find them comfortable, I don’t think they look especially good around my arm, and I’m not sure how necessary they really are. When I run, I usually just hold my iPod in my hand or clip it to my waistband. Why does it need to be attached to my bicep, where it’s hard to see and awkward to reach?

Part of my aversion to iPod armbands stems from a bad experience I had with my first armband, the original Nike Sport Armband for the first-generation iPod nano. It was a solid nylon/spandex band that only came in two sizes: S/M and M/L. Now I’m not a big, beefy guy by any stretch of the imagination, but the M/L size was extremely tight around my arm and actually started to hurt after about 15 minutes of running. I ended up giving it to my wife – who’s 5′ 3″ and 125 pounds – and it fit perfectly.

I’m happy to say that Nike’s second attempt at an iPod nano armband is much more successful. Nike designed it specifically to fit the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, which means the pocket for the iPod nano is longer than usual, to accommodate the Sport Kit’s receiver. They’ve gone with a one-size-fits-all design this time, with an adjustable Velcro closure. It’s made of 73% polyester, 14% Nylon, and 13% Spandex, which means it’s pretty stretchy and much less stiff than its predecessor. The stitching is tight throughout and the Velcro is nice and strong. The result is a light-weight, comfortable, and surprisingly durable armband that fits the Nike+iPod Sport Kit perfectly and keeps everything reasonably well-protected from moisture.

But just like the original Nike Armband, with its limited size options, this new armband has a major flaw: The iPod screen is completely hidden by the armband. There is no way to see your running stats while the iPod is in the armband’s pocket. And there’s no easy way to remove the iPod from the armband while running. In other words, you can’t see your time, distance, or pace wile running. You have to wonder how an accessory design team decides to obscure one of the main features of a product they’re supposed to be enhancing. To their credit, they did provide a raised ‘bump’ to help you feel where the iPod’s center button is, which is very handy for calling up PowerSongs and getting audio feedback on your progress, but I would trade that for being able to glance at my screen in a heartbeat.

If you’re in the market for a Nike+iPod armband, and find that you don’t check your iPod’s screen while you’re working out, the $30 Nike Sport Armband is an attractive, if not somewhat expensive option. As for me, I’m still not sold on the need for an armband. I’ll be putting mine on eBay soon.

See my photos with notes below for a few more details.

Nike Sport Armband
Nike Sport Armband packaging and “Dickey Snapples,” my 2G iPod nano.

Nike Sport Armband
Unboxed. Lots of velcro on the long end for a wide range of adjustability.

Nike Sport Armband
Notice the raised center button indicator.

Nike Sport Armband
Instructions on the back.

Nike Sport Armband
Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Lay flat to dry. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.

Nike Sport Armband
iPod nano fits in slot at the top. First-generation iPod fits, too.

Nike Sport Armband
Insert the iPod all the way. The Nike+iPod receiver goes all the way to the bottom seam.

Nike Sport Armband
Headphone goes here. This is one area that might be susceptible to sweat, though I haven’t had any trouble yet.

Nike Sport Armband
The top lip folds over the top of the iPod.

Nike Sport Armband
The original Nike Sport Armband is on the right, for comparison.

Nike Sport Armband
Notice, you can see the screen through the original Nike Sport Armband pocket, but the Sport Kit receiver doesn’t fit at all.

Nike Sport Armband
Nope. Make sure you get the more recent black and orange armband if you want to use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit.

Note: I should point out that many reviews on Amazon mention problems with the iPod’s fit in the armband’s pocket, and using the iPod’s controls though the armband’s fabric. I agree that it’s a very snug fit for the iPod and using the controls can be frustrating at times, but with a little practice it became easier. I guess I didn’t fiddle with the controls enough to be especially bothered.

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9 Responses to “Review: Nike Sport Armband for Nike+iPod”

  1. Amy says:

    I agree completely with your review; Even though this armband is designed to fit the nike+ipod attachment, it’s very frustrating to use it for that purpose. I have to set up my workout before inserting the ipod into the armband (being careful not to press the center button), and I can’t seem to end my workout by working the controls through the armband without being able to see the screen. So I have to remove the armband, disconnect the earphones, and pull the ipod out of the armband just to end the workout, and I end up completing my cooldown while holding all the pieces in my hand, since it seems like so much work to put it all together again.

    I thought I needed an armband, but tucking the nano into the waistband of my shorts is so much easier. I also find that my earbuds tend to fall out more easily with an armband since the cord is running to my arm, which is pumping back and forth.

    I did buy the SwitchEasy Run Away for the sensor recently, and I’ve been very happy with it as it’s easy to move between my running shoes (I rotate between two pairs).

  2. [...] Spotlight on: I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of iPod armbands. I don’t find them comfortable, I don’t think they look especially good around my arm, and I’m not sure how necessary they really are. When I run, I usually just hold my iPod in my hand or clip it to my waistband. Why does it need to be attached to my bicep, where it’s hard to see and awkward to reach? Part of my aversion to iPod armbands stems from a bad experience I had with my first armband, the original Nike Sport Armband for the first-generation iPod […]Source: http://podophile.com/2007/03/26/review-nike-sport-armband-for-nike-ipod/ [...]

  3. Debra says:

    Much better choices are the Marware Relay which can go around a wrist OR a bicep with an extra piece of velcro that they conveniently provide, or the newest Tune Belt which is actually a belt around the waist that holds the nano sideways.

    Both are specifically designed for the Nike+ system, so make sure you find those, because both companies also make versions that do NOT provide room for the receiver.

  4. Wil says:

    Tips for this arm band:

    - “Thread” your headphones up your sleeve and through the neck of your shirt, this keeps the ‘tugging’ to a minimum because the cord is not as loose

    - You don’t need to pull the entire iPod out to End Workout. You only need to pull the the armband slightly down, revealing the top portion of the screen (just enough to make sure you’re selecting the correct item). No need to disconnect the headphones and the controls stay centered underneath the tactile area of the armband.

    - Ending a workout requires three actions, which can all be done without visual feedback.
    1. Press Menu
    2. Do an excessive clockwise swirl on the pad. This will move to, and stop at, the End Workout item.
    3. Press middle button.

  5. Michelle says:

    I found a new armband that fixes the window issue available in the Apple store.

    New Armband

  6. Cecil says:

    Hey, I am really frustrated with the lack of good armbands for the Nike Ipod +. But I noticed above the podophile, says he usually runs with it cliped to his waistband. I am assuming the version that clips to his waistband can also accomidate the Nike Ipod + addition. Can someone explain a little more about this accessory and who makes it?

  7. Kia Homes says:

    Are Nike offering an armband for use with the new 3G 4GB and 8GB Ipods?

  8. Podophile says:

    Kia – Yes there is a new Nike Sport armband for the 3G “fatty” nanos. Since I don’t have a 3G nano (yet) I haven’t really looked at it too closely. You can see it here.

  9. Jenna says:

    I just got the 3G nano nike+ arm band and am really satisfied with it. It fits the nike+ sports kit receiver and it has the clear window so you can see everything on your ipod screen. I was surprised at how comfortable and non-bulky it was. It’s 81% nylon and 19% spandex and you can throw it right in the wash machine. My arms aren’t huge though so I can’t say if it would fit comfortably around a guy’s bicep.