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nike ipod sport kit hack mod diyOver the holidays I got a Nike+iPod Sport Kit so I could start tracking my treadmill work. Unfortunately, I didn't have a pair of Nike's to support the device, which requires specific shoes which have a little recessed well in the sole of the shoe to hold the pedometer/transmitter. Instead, also over the holidays, I got the shoes I prefer: a pair of New Balance 779's. What to do but DIY, right? I've compiled a list of "hacks" for the Nike+iPod, all of which will somehow attach the transmitter to your shoe. Unfortunately, all of them tend to damage the shoe in some way. Next week I'll show you how to make a simple, effective pocket for your transmitter that will not harm the shoe in any way.

Simple and cheap: The 99-cent DIY shoe mod takes a simple strip of adhesive Velcro (the hook side) and allows you to latch to your shoelaces, while also slipping the unit under your laces. My problem with this? The Velcro will ultimately chew up your laces (I treasure the laces on New Balance, so unlike the slippery junk Nike's come with) and the transmitter, while tiny, can hurt when pressed against the top of your foot in this way.

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Nike+iPod hacks and mods(click thumbnails to view gallery)



Play pretend: Of course, the most logical thing to do is re-create the Nike experience, right? If you're cool with digging a hole in the comfy foam of your shoe, then check out this mod from The 8th Sign, who will tell you all about just how dense and unmanageable shoe foam really is (very rubbery, break out the pliers). Of course if your shoes are cheap, who cares, right? Here's an even more in-depth method on Instructables, also digging into the foamy guts.

Be a kangaroo: Well, you could just buy a pair of Kangaroos, I guess. But again I think you'd have the issue of a hard ball of plastic pressing on your foot. Next best thing? Make a pouch! Get crafty with this "athletic sock" that straps to your shoelaces. Here's a prettier one made from yarn. Get really cheap with this tongue-sleeve mod, but it requires you to cut open the tongue of the shoe and use a safety pin. Again, this will irreparably damage your shoes, and I'd say reduce their lifespan. And finally, there's the mod that inspired my own: make a sensor carrier you strap to your shoe. Similar to commercial offerings, this will allow freedom to use the shoe without damage, but I felt the pouch was overly complicated and stiff. The problem with all pouches will be one of accuracy, but that is debatable.

Quick fix, MacGyver style:
About.com has a detailed method of using Velcro, but I did what the author did at first-- use packing tape. Not great, but if you happen to wander off somewhere without anything but tape, you're set. Lifehack has another mod where you make a pouch from a plastic bag and again use sticky tape to affix it.

Ultimately the problem with all these could be accuracy. The unit is designed to lay flat, inside the shoe, where it absorbs most of the initial impact from your foot while running. But with a little calibration, an alternative to the Nike website and some duct tape, you can still use your favorite shoes while using the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. You may not be spot-on, but it'll be close enough to monitor your overall progress.

If you've seen any other mods or hacks, please leave a note in the comments.

  • Scott

    This would fall under "play pretend":

    I went to the drug store and bought a cheap set of shoe inserts. After cutting the inserts to fit your foot and shoe, you can cut out a hole for the sensor to sit in. They are almost as good as the orignial Nike+ shoes, removeable, and do not damage your shoes.

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