Shoe Convergence
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By KellyMc - Last updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - Save & Share - 21 Comments

I think Becky’s been rocking a similar setup for a while, but they’ve “gone and got Apple involved now”:, thus upping the slickitude a few factors.

You drop a transmitter under the insole of your Nikes, plug the receiver into your Nano, and it dishes out your iTunes sport mix along with distance and speed updates via voiceover. When you sync your Nano, you can upload your data to “NikePlus”: and track your history with delicious candy-coated charts and graphs.

I’ve never been much for the listening to music while I run, but I’m a huge sucker for mining “passively-collected data on my own habits”: What to do, what to do …

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21 Responses to “Shoe Convergence”

Comment from etrigan
Time May 23, 2006 at 4:34 pm

I bought the Philips Nike (as ” mentioned at Engadget”: for Becky at Christmas and it sucked rocks. Now she’s sporting the GPS Timex that was featured on “Woot!”: and it seems to work well.

Problem with this new setup is that real runners — unless otherwise sponsored — don’t wear Nike.

Comment from doc
Time May 23, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Looks like a great idea. I love the voiceover part, no more breaking rythym to glance down at the forerunner.

Wonder when someone will come out with a means for attaching it to the exterior of another better) brand of true running shoes. Maybe a simple key pouch will do the trick.

Comment from KMc
Time May 24, 2006 at 8:48 am

Or duct tape.

Comment from Z.
Time May 24, 2006 at 10:17 am

Is there a way to hack the chip to follow something like how long you have been playing a game or when you have hit your optimal amount of beer? They really need to develop a couch-potato version.

Comment from jank
Time May 25, 2006 at 11:23 am

I broke down and pre-ordered this. Mostly for the reasons Doc mentioned.

I’m guessing that the pod is just a miniturization of the one like Becky’s using, so using it with real running shoes might just be that easy.

But if it’s hackable, a-la Apple’s Sudden Motion Sensor in its laptops, the possibilities might be astounding…

Comment from jank
Time May 25, 2006 at 11:34 am

Coolness from an Apple Patent Application

In some cases, the raw accelerometer data is converted, filtered or transformed into tempo data. Because the accelerometer measures all motion not just the steps, the step information typically needs to be separated from the other motion information to produce an accurate tempo reading. As should be appreciated, large scale movements such as steps may produce low frequency information and small scale movements such as vibrations may produce high frequency information. The high frequency information can be filtered out thereby leaving only low frequency information indicative of the large scale movements (e.g., steps). The filtered information can then be converted into tempo information.

Comment from KMc
Time May 25, 2006 at 11:59 am

So you’re saying you could tape it to the bottom of your beer mug and plot your drinking speed?

Comment from Mixter
Time May 25, 2006 at 12:43 pm

This thread is an eerie convergence of things on my mind lately.

Why? First, my achilles injury is about healed and I am about to be on the market for running shoes in the near future. Second, I lost my iPod in January. When I am back on the payroll in a scant few weeks, and making long commutes by train, I plan to purchase a new iPod.

The Nano/Nike convergence just seems cool.

But… any thoughts on the Nano (vs. other Pods) as a music player and Nike as a running shoe? I love their soccer shoes, but the sentiment here for running shoes seems negative. Por que?

Comment from Z.
Time May 25, 2006 at 1:22 pm

I like the way KMc thinks, though you might just want to tape the chip to your hand or elbow.

Comment from jank
Time May 25, 2006 at 1:45 pm

The Nano completely and totally rocks. 4 gigs may not seem like much now-adays, but it’s about what the original iPod carried, and is more than adequate, especially if you (like most of us) are never far from your laptop. Plus, it’s flash memory instead of a hard drive, so there are no moving parts to muck up.

I’ve been scratching my head lately over why Nike has a negative reputation with runners. Most everyone I’ve talked shoes with have tried and liked Nikes, so I don’t think it’s a blisters/quality problem. It could just be an image problem – runners tend to be solitary, anti-social beasts while running, and Nike has cultivated an image as a “cool” company.

Or, it could just be that other companies without advertising departments as large as the military forces of small nations manage to deliver great shoes without all the hype. I dunno.

Like I said, I plopped down my credit card and pre-ordered the shoes and sensor within 5 minutes of reading the ad – I’ve been dreaming something with these exact specifications for a long while. And, I’ve gotten enough inspiration from their kick-ass commercials that I think they likely deserve compensation.

re: Drinking speed – it depends. It looks like they use some sort of accelerometer, and I think I’ve seen something along the lines of 3D accelerometer. Depending on the sensitivities involved, you could, in theory, create a map based on cumulative accelerations.

The chip Apple+Nike (PDF) are using is a 2D chip, but there’s coolness about measuring tilt, etc in the specification.

Here’s coolness about using similar chips to make an inertial navigation system.

Depending on how open they make the protocols, the hacks using the Nike+Apple sensor could be amazing, even for couch potatos. Maybe a Wii-like interface for the microwave?

Comment from jank
Time May 25, 2006 at 1:47 pm

There also might be some RFID or similar badness that makes it functional only with Nike shoes, though…

Comment from jank
Time May 25, 2006 at 1:58 pm

Sorry, more geek – the device operates at 2425 MHz (Engadget)

Right at the low end of the WIFI/Consumer electronics band… Though I’m thinking that’s just because that’s the band that’a available.

Comment from etrigan
Time May 25, 2006 at 2:38 pm

I’m not saying Nike is a bad shoe, but I’ve never seen anyone leaving RunTex with a pair of Nikes. If you take your running seriously, you don’t buy from Foot Locker. I’m not even sure RunTex sells Nike.

Comment from jank
Time May 25, 2006 at 9:59 pm

Jon – have you seen how seriously I take my running?

Comment from k-pho
Time May 26, 2006 at 7:54 am

Bought my first pair of Nikes in 1982 or thereabouts and my last (meaning final) pair about 6 years ago. Here’s the essential problem: they’re designed poorly, they use the cheapest materials, the shoes are not as comfortable as others and they wear out twice as fast as other, better brands. The end.

Comment from etrigan
Time May 26, 2006 at 10:03 am

Jank- Austin has become a minor runner’s mecca. The Freescale (née Motorola) Marathon is one of the easiest ways to qualify for “the real” marathons, plus — besides the city’s numerous general attractions, many of them catering to the health-conscious types — Austin is home to “RunTex”:, a shoe store manned by a slew of professional and amateur running shoe experts who go through a fairly extensive shoe selection process for each customer that comes into the store. Their regular workshop coordinators include runners-renowned orthopedic doctor, “Ted Spears”:, and Tutsi survivor and running champion “Gilbert”: “Tuhabonye”:

I know all this because of my wife, of course, who even managed to drag me once to RunTex. These are the vegans of running. They are certifiable, but they know running and Nike isn’t a brand they push. They sell shoes that are priced similarly to “high end” Nikes but have predictable milage spans that trump Nike in orthopedic quality and durability.

Comment from KMc
Time May 26, 2006 at 10:35 am

They don’t put meat or dairy in their shoes?

Comment from etrigan
Time May 26, 2006 at 10:59 am


Comment from jank
Time May 26, 2006 at 1:48 pm

I hear there’s also people who seriously use only Linux on handbuilt custom computers and are actual Vegans, too.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day – despite its disdain among “serious” runners, I’m willing to give Nike a shot with this one. I’m kind of scared of the shoes – right now, I’m rocking the finest Asics ever made, and am going to hate giving them up, but will, in the interest of science.

Now, to finish up a couple of things here at the office and head out for an hour and a half run on the roads around Newport…

(But I’m loving the fighting spirit! Just like the good old days, huh?)

Comment from Mixter
Time May 26, 2006 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for the advice.

Etrigan (John) is right about RunTex. I went in a couple of years ago looking for my first “real” pair of running shoes, and they steered me to Asics even though I mentioned that Nikes seemed to fit me well (I have a narrow foot). I bought a pair of 2090s, and they were the best shoe I had ever owned.

I still have them, which may help explain how I tore up my Achilles last summer. I was running on old shoes (though they still feel great, even to this day), got kicked in the Achilles playing soccer, and then ignored the subsequent heel pain I had for weeks. I thought I just needed to stretch. I’ve been going to PT 3 times a week since September. Note to runners: if you get tendon pain, shut it down IMMEDIATELY!

As for Nike, I love their soccer shoes and I am a sucker for good marketing. I rccentlty bought a pair of Air Structure Triax running shoes cheap, and I plan to break them in soon. However, I think another pair of Asics are in my future.

Maybe later I’ll spring for the Nike/Apple concoction.

Comment from Becky
Time May 26, 2006 at 5:49 pm

The nice people at RunTex fitted me in Brooks Glycerins when I took up running 6 years back and I’ve bought a pair every 500 miles since. I often run in Nike apparel, though, and see many other runners in the same.

Mick, if you’re in the market for a cheaper IPOD, I love the Shuffle – it’s a giant mixed tape where I never know what will come up next. Especially a blast for workouts because somehow the perfect song is always there to get me up the next hill.

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