My Nike + iPod Hack

My Nike + iPod HackMy Nike + iPod Hack
I went over to Newtown today to meet Lara and pick up my new Apple gear. (Lara works at Total Recall in North Sydney, and I am officially giving them a plug.) I got a beautiful pink 4GB iPod nano (I have named her “Kylie”) and the Nike + iPod kit. As soon as I got home, I started charging her up in preparation for our first run. The big problem, of course, is that I don’t have the special Nike shoes with the hole for the sensor. My original plan was to use this popular hack, but within seconds I discovered that my stash of velcro is the sew-on variety (i.e. not sticky). Shoot. But hey, I’ve got a sewing machine gathering dust in the closet, right? So I decided to roll my own. It worked out pretty well! (More photos and instructions after the jump.) With that sorted, it was time to try the sucker out. The Snook and I headed over to Victoria Park to do our usual 5K route. (We used Google Pedometer a while back to determine that four laps is just about 5K.) We started the workout and we were off! Halfway around, I hit the center button to trigger the verbal feedback. My song faded while a pleasant female voice announced our current distance, time, and pace. Sweet! (To my surprise, the pace calculation doesn’t simply divide your distance by the time; it actually calculates your pace at any given second. That’s nice.) I was hurting during the third lap so it was time for my Power Song: Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” (Boring and obvious, I know. I need suggestions!) It gave me a really nice lift, and afterwards it switches right back into the song you were listening to previously. As far as accuracy, this thing was pretty much spot-on straight out of the box. I didn’t bother to do the calibration and our 5K distance was accurate to within about 20 feet. That’s good enough for me! As soon as we got home, I plugged Kylie back in so I could upload my run data to the Nike website. To my surprise, I have the eighth fastest 5K time for Australian females in my age group this week! (Proof.) Of course, my time was SLOW AS so I’m sure I’ll drop once the pool of runners gets a bit larger. Anyway, you want to see the details of my shoe hack, right?The basic idea I had was to make a tubular pocket of fabric just big enough to slip the sensor down inside and long enough that I could weave it through my shoelaces and velcro the ends together. For extra waterproof-ness, I slipped the sensor inside a tiny snaplock bag to keep it dry. Here’s a picture of my shoes as currently laced (by Joe at The Runner’s Shop in Clovelly):

My shoes

There’s a nice gap between the laces just about the size of the sensor, so that’s where I thought it would sit. I decided to make the pocket about three times as long as the sensor, so the ends would wrap around and join up. Here’s what the finished tube looks like:


I’ve folded it like that so you can see that the two bits of velcro are on opposite sides. You can also see that my sensor (wrapped in its little baggie) just fits in the open end. Here’s what it looks like on my shoe (without the ends fastened):

On my shoe

The sensor is sitting in the middle section between my laces. (Make sure you put the flat side with the Nike logo on top!) Now I just need to stick the ends together:

Finished Nike + iPod shoe hack

Voila! It’s snug as a bug and doesn’t shift around at all. Works like a charm.

Nike + iPod hack diagramHow to do it:
Here’s a really, really basic diagram. You want your tube to end up being about 13cm long by 3cm wide (which, since it’s folded over, is really 6cm). So cut your fabric a little bigger than that. I went with about a half-inch seam allowance so I’ve suggested you cut it something like 15cm x 9cm. (The blue area on my diagram is the seam allowance. It might be helpful for velcro placement if you actually draw the 13cm x 6cm box on your fabric.)

Now’s a good time to hem the top edge, otherwise the open end of your tube will fray. So fold over one of the short sides a little bit and sew it down. (I did this by hand after the fact, but if I were doing it again I’d use the machine at this stage.)

Now you need your velcro. Cut two pieces about as big as the sensor itself and sew them down vaguely as shown on the diagram. They should be about half the width of the tube and a little less than one third of the length. You have to put them in opposite corners so they end up on opposite sides when you sew it together.

Which you should do now. Fold right sides together and sew as indicated by the red line. Then trim your seam allowances and turn the sucker right-side out. (Be patient when turning it. The tube is small and the velcro can be stiff, so just take your time.)

And that’s pretty much it! Slide your sensor in the open end and position in the middle of the tube. Weave the two ends through your laces, fold over, and stick together. That sucker’s not going anywhere!


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  1. Awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to post these instructions.

  2. wahooo! great idea, cant wait to try it! thanks so much for posting such great directions as well.

  3. Thanks for the info. Inspired me to buy the kit and have a go. My solution was not as crafty =)

  4. Excellent! I’m no expert when it comes to sewing but I was able to put something together using your instructions as inspiration. Check website address for monkey ass quality picture 🙂

  5. Samantha Runner from Canada

    January 3, 2007 — 11:53 pm

    You’re brilliant- I got my iNike kit at Christmas time and have been chomping at the bit to actually use it, I’m going to sew one of these babies up as soon as I can! Happy New Year and thanks so much 🙂

  6. Ooh, plaid! It’s gorgeous, Leif! Well done. 🙂

  7. Hello,

    well done i’ll try to do the same

  8. I’m whipping up two of these tonight for myself and my roommate. Thanks so much for the great pattern!!

    -Missy in Tucson, AZ

  9. hi there! I’d like to super thank you for your nice little invention here…just got myself a nike plus sport kit but didn’t want to replace my dear old NB1222’s…so after surfing the net for ideas on how i can use the nike sensor on a non-nike shoe i stumbled on your nice little site here and i’m just so happy!!!!….you’ve even got a pattern here it’s perfect…you are an angel!!! keep on running!!!

  10. I looked at many ways to do this. Your’s is by far very simple, cost effective and innovative! Thanks!!!

  11. What are the chances that after crossing through a few blogs on this I deep link through to yours!

    Hope things are well. Say hi to Rodd for me.

  12. WG-
    Thanks. Gonna’ give it a try

  13. isnt it amazing how some of the best things in this world are so simple, i think that we just get so caught up in this ‘tech world’ that we lose track of the simple things that got us here in the first place, ya dig?

  14. Oh, horray! Just got my Nike+ iPod thingy and hate, hate, *h*a*t*e* the Nike shoes with the sensor wells.

    This makes much more sense, seems like it’ll be nice and stable and it’s so easy to make that I can run up a few at a time (a couple black, a few more white) and not have to worry about anything for a while. In fact, I’m going to make ’em in pairs so I can slip my apartment key and a couple of toonies or loonies ($2 and $1 Canadian coins) in the paired shoe.

    Thanks so much for the directions.

  15. Thanks very much, I was about to spend money on a commercial pouch but saw your instructions and made myself a pouch out of an old top!

  16. Thank you for the instructions, like Hannah I was going to buy one. I had more than enough materials to make one though, and had knocked up my pouch in minutes. Cheers!

  17. What an awesome hack!! I’m buying some shiny new brooks tomorrow as a local store has a 20% off sale. I saw the nike and ipod and though I have to Have that!! Came home to read the reviews only to find that I needed Nike running shoes…. then I found your hack 🙂


  18. Thanks from me also! Was reluctantly about to purchase a product online, but am much happier with this solution. It appears more effective plus easy-to-use than the commercial choices. Plus, more environmentally friendly. Have all materials already on-hand. Glad you archived the article. Happy Running!

  19. I was wondering if I should purchase the Nike+ipod sports kit as I have Sauconey shoes and don’t want to purchase another brand new pair of shoes, but thanks to you I can keep the shoes I love and purchase my new toy. PS I love sewing so this is right up my alley.

  20. Amazing! I cant sew, but I showed this site to my lovely Mother and she whipped me up a plain white one in 5 minutes flat! I hooked it to my shoe and its perfect! thank you so much for your awesome trick!

  21. i am going to try this now. thanks!

  22. Its people like you that are awesome 🙂 Took me a while to find this post but it was worth the search. Thank you for posting.

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