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Nike + iPod Sport Kit Review

First Look: Pluses and Minuses for Nike + iPod

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Updated August 25, 2013

Nike + iPod Sport Kit

Nike + iPod Sport Kit

Wendy Bumgardner © 2006
Why carry both your iPod and a pedometer? The Nike + iPod Sport Kit includes a pedometer that fits inside Nike+ ready shoes and communicates wirelessly with your iPod nano, iPod touch or iPhone 3GS or later. A receiver is included to be used with the iPod nano, but it isn't needed with the iPod touch or iPhone. Get audible and visual readouts of your time, speed, and distance while listening to tunes or podcast workouts. This system is meant to be used for walking or running workouts rather than total daily steps.

Nike + iPod Sport Kit

The kit comes with a sensor meant to fit in a special pocket under the sock liner of a Nike+ ready shoe. It includes the receiver which plugs into an iPod nano or can transmit to the Nike+ Sportband. You don't need the receiver with the iPod touch or iPhone, as that is built-in. It is ready to rock right from the box, after you ensure your Apple device is fully updated.

The shoe sensor can be attached to other shoes, with some experimentation. You will still need the following: an iPod nano or Nike+ Sportband, iPod touch, or iPhone 3GS or later, a computer, preferably a pair of Nike+ ready shoes, and you may want the specially designed armband that fits the iPod once you attach the receiver. Altogether, your investment is going to bump up to $300 or more for the full system, not including the computer. But if you already have the iPod or iPhone you are ahead of the game and only need to invest in the inexpensive Sport Kit and the $100 shoes. Your regular iPod nano armbands and holders may not fit with the receiver plugged into the bottom, so you may want the new Nike+ iPod armband.
(Compare Prices) for Nike+ iPod Armband

The Sensor

Nike + iPod Sensor in Nike Moire Shoe

Nike + iPod Sensor in Nike Air Zoom Moire Shoe

Wendy Bumgardner © 2006
The sensor is meant to fit inside a pocket under the sockliner of Nike+ ready shoes. But while awaiting the arrival of my pair of Nike + Air Zoom Moire shoes, I used packaging tape to secure it between the tongue and shoelaces of my regular walking shoes. This held it just fine, although you run the risk of it falling off unnoticed.

The sensor is a piezoelectric accelerometer pedometer, waterproof and shock resistant. This type of pedometer is more accurate and less picky about being at an angle. It senses steps and estimates distance. I found it to work fairly accurately right out of the box, attached in the forbidden fashion. It estimated my distance within 10% of what my route showed on the Google Map Pedometer. Use the calibration mode for the Nike+iPod sensor to set it to match your walking and running strides.
Using and Calibrating the Sensor in Nike+ Shoes and Unauthorized Shoes

The sensor does not have a replaceable battery. When the battery dies in a year or less, you will need to buy another sensor. You shouldn't wear it in the shoe when you aren't doing a workout, and may want to turn it off between uses to save battery life.

Workout with the iPod nano

To begin your walking or running workout, put on the shoes and iPod nano and select the Nike+iPod option (you may need to update your software). Update the settings with your weight to get the calories burned. Set your workout: basic (just tell it when you are done), time, distance, or calories. Select your playlist or shuffle or no music and start walking or running. You can download workouts and playlists from iTunes. You can also select a Powersong for quick access when you really need motivation.

When you want an audible update of your time, distance, and speed, press the center select button. You can also view this same data on the screen at any time.

Pause the workout at any time and resume it, or just pause the music. Press Menu to end your workout. You get a summary of your workout for time, average speed, distance, and calories burned, but no step total. Running celebrity voices congratulate you for your workout. The iPod will save 1000 workouts in memory until downloaded, or you can manually delete them. You can also see your full historical totals.
Step by Step Using the Nike+iPod
iPod nano: (Compare Prices)

Upload Your Data to Nikeplus.com

Nikeplus.com screen shot

Nikeplus.com workout screen shot

Wendy Bumgardner © 2006
The Nike + iPod Sport Kit includes free access to the Nikeplus.com web site. Simply plug your iPod nano into your computer and it will download to the web site. The iPod touch and iPhone will sync the data automatically. There, you can view graphs and totals of your workouts. You can set goals, challenge your friends to virtual races and goals, and buy workouts via iTunes. I love uploading and tracking my data online. You can also view the data of your past workouts on the iPod nano, although without the graphs.
Step by Step Uploading to Nikeplus.com

Nike+ Ready Shoes

The sensor will work most accurately when tucked safely and securely in the pocket under the sockliner of Nike+ ready shoes. When you shop for Nike shoes, look for the Plus designation.
Nike Air Zoom Plus: Compare Prices: This lightweight cushioned shoe is meant for those with neutral gait.

Next: More Pluses and Minuses of the Nike + iPod

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