Let’s Get It Started: Nike + iPod Sport Kit Review

Posted by Filed Under: Gear & Apparel, MP3 Players, Reviews, Speed & Distance Trackers

running gearYou’ve seen the ads, commercials, and read about it in online news and blogs. But does the Nike + iPod Sport Kit live up to the hype?

Before you start using the device, you need to calibrate the sensor. There is a menu option for this and it allows you to pick your distance. Either map out a very accurate distance or run on a track, and when finished with the distance you end the calibration. According to Nike, the sensor is only about 90 percent accurate if you do not calibrate and that can make a big difference over the miles. Once calibrated, that figure becomes 98 percent and you are ready to ipod

In my calibration run I chose one mile for the distance. Upon finishing my mile I stopped the calibration and the system had recorded that I had run 1.1 miles so it was off by exactly the estimated 10 percent. However, when I ran my second mile (just back to where I started), the system reported my distance as 1.01 miles so was quite a bit more accurate from my pre-calibration run. I have used my Nike+ on five to six runs since calibrating it, and from my estimates it is very close to the 98 percent accuracy range.

Essentially, the system tells you your overall distance covered, current pace, time, and calories burned. Once you plug your nano (the system only works with an iPod nano) into your computer you can upload your data to This site has additional features that allows you to review workouts, check your records, set goals, and even create challenges with other Nike+ users anywhere in the world.

The device is currently missing a heart rate monitor and split times along with other things you’d expect to find in a basic running watch. In order to later check your stats for a particular point in your run, you need to push the center iPod button, which does two things—creates a data point for future reference, and gives you a verbal announcement in your earbuds as to your current pace, time, and distance.

The Web site is fun and has some great little charts of your runs. However, it lacks the capability for you to name your runs, list what shoes you were wearing, and some other workout facts. Nike has a great free running log over at where you can track things such as shoes worn, surface you ran on, how you were feeling, etc. It would be great if those things could be incorporated into the Nike+ site.

In summary, it’s a great little product if you already have the Nano and are in the market for a new pair of Nike shoes (or want to try it without them). The Nike + iPod Sport Kit itself at $29 is a super cheap way to track the distance and time of your workouts, especially if you already run with an iPod nano. It’s a brilliant idea pairing up these technologies and it’s another way to make training more fun and more efficient though the use of new technologies. However, this system is lacking some features that more serious runners want to track in regards to their workouts. In its current form it’s probably best suited if you just want to track your distance, or if you are new to running and looking for something to keep you motivated.

(Disclaimer: Jessica works as a part-time sales associate at Nike Women.)

About Jessica

Jessica lives in Orange County, CA, home to hundreds of miles of trails and 30% green space along with the Santa Ana Mountain Range. After moving to California from artic Minnesota in January of 2005, she quickly became addicted to trail running, and upon meeting Dean Karanzes at a book signing was inspired to run her first marathon, and subsequently ultra marathon. She completed here first 50K race in July of 2006 and has 50 and 100 mile aspirations. In a short amount of time, Jessica has been active in the Orange County running scene by re-igniting the Saddleback church running group, founding a trail running group, and starting in 2007 launching a series of trail races throughout the county, beginning with the Twin Peak Ultra Marathon in February. In 2002, Jessica had open-heart surgery to repair a leaky mitral valve. Aside from running, Jessica is also a published author and an independent filmmaker. She works as an Information Security Engineer and part time at the flagship Nike Women store. When not out on the trails, working, blogging, writing, making films, or promoting races, Jessica can be found relaxing with her friends at the movies, lounging by the pool, or sharing a tasty meal and a good bottle of wine.

  1. Adeel on August 30th at 6:29 pm

    People are picky about shoes, so I would like to point out that if you don’t want one of the Nike+ shoes, you can try putting the gizmo in a shoe wallet (meant for carrying keys) on your shoe laces. I’ve sold a few kits to people who intended to do that. I don’t know if it actually works that way, but no one has come back to try and return it. If anyone has tried this, how does the system work?

    On the other hand, the Air Moire is a great shoe that I would buy even without the kit.

  2. bex on August 30th at 6:44 pm

    How sad is it that I STILL have not taken the Nike+iPod SportKit and the new pair of Nike Air Moires – which the kind folks at Nike gave me to review – out of their respective packages?

    My review isn’t due until Oct. 1. So I still have a little time to ran sans iPod …..

  3. Vee on August 31st at 11:49 am

    Abdeel or anyone, can you point me to a site (or any resource) that might have information about using the Nike Sports Kit with any shoe?

  4. DREW on August 31st at 4:30 pm

    Take a look at for one way to try this with any shoe.

    My understanding is that the battery in the pod is not replaceable. To me that makes the $29 for the kit a little less attractive if I have to shell out another $29 each time the battery runs down.

  5. Jessica on August 31st at 9:11 pm

    $29 each time yes. But the battery life is 1000 hours so that is a lot of running 🙂

  6. jank on September 1st at 10:51 am

    Your review rocks! I am completely loving Nike+iPod, way more than I thought I would.

  7. Bill on September 8th at 8:28 pm

    You can also try this:

    Its a pouch for the sensor which completely protects it. It works well – I have this same one!

  8. smoothrunner on November 23rd at 3:14 am

    I love my Shoe Pouch. Its small and accurate and very secure thru the laces. Plus its the least expensive.

  9. momontherun on January 29th at 8:19 am

    My biggest beef with the sport kit is that the battery in the sensor only lasts for 6 mos or so and is not replaceable. Once the battery is gone you need to buy a whole new sport kit.