Nike+iPod Hands On

I know this is a bit late in the game for this device, but I got a chance to strap these things on recently and wanted to report on the general value of the Nike+iPod line. First off, this kit has one fatal flaw – they really only work with the Nike+ shoes which come in only one or two models. A buddy of mine cut a hole in his old shoes and stuffed the transmitter in there, shown here seated in the shoe, so if you want to try the device without the Nike+ shoe, make sure the insole is soft enough to cut with an X-Acto knife.

That said, I consider the iPod attachment and software to be an indispensable addition to my workout routine. I’ve used pedometers before and have never really been amazed. However, this kit just “works.” You plug in the dongle, slap the transmitter in your shoe, and start running. The iPod syncs with iTunes and Nike’s own website and then you simply rinse and repeat. I carry my Nano with me when I run anyway, so why not add on a little hunk of plastic to tell me how far I’ve run.

The Nike+ website is actually quite useful. It shows each run using a fancy flash graphical interface and offers a minimum of confusing options — goal setting, history, and “virtual races” with your buddies is about it. Best of all? Old Lance Armstrong congratulates you when you reach a personal record. Well, his pre-recorded voice does.

The shoes themselves, at least the model I received, are typical of Nike running shoes. I have quite a few issues with pronation, so I would have preferred to pair this with some more stable shores, but they’ve been fairly sturdy so far. As I said before, you can pair these with other shoes, but you have to be good with arts and crafts.

In all, if you’re looking for a pedometer kit, look no further. At $29 for the adapter and a $150 for the shoes, you’re looking at an investement of about $180. If you figure out a way to attach it to your current shoes – I could see placing it in a little plastic bag and sticking it in the lacing – then you’ve got an even better deal. However, many popular pedometer watches and other devices cost about the same and are much harder to manage. If they added a heart-rate monitor to this thing, it would really be a winner.

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