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 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 packaging and “Dickey Snapples,” my 2G iPod nano.
Unboxed. Lots of velcro on the long end for a wide range of adjustability.
Notice the raised center button indicator.
Instructions on the back.
Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Lay flat to dry. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
iPod nano fits in slot at the top. First-generation iPod fits, too.
Insert the iPod all the way. The Nike+iPod receiver goes all the way to the bottom seam.
Headphone goes here. This is one area that might be susceptible to sweat, though I haven’t had any trouble yet.
The top lip folds over the top of the iPod.
The original Nike Sport Armband is on the right, for comparison.
Notice, you can see the screen through the original Nike Sport Armband pocket, but the Sport Kit receiver doesn’t fit at all.
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.