Have you ever used the Nike Plus Shoe Sensor? Last year in late August I purchased a Nike Plus GPS watch with the associated Nike Plus shoe sensor. Roadrunner Sports had a great deal on the watch/sensor combination and overall this GPS watch is one of the most affordable GPS watch options so that I could not refuse to buy it even though I did not need the sensor back then. I wanted the GPS watch to better monitor my marathon training runs, but did not have a need for the sensor initially.
I did not have a need to use the Nike Plus Shoe Sensor up until this last week actually because you only need it when you run inside on either a treadmill or an indoor running track. The weather has not been nice here and this week we have lots of ice and snow and very cold temperatures (it was Minus 11 this morning). While the temperatures are usually not a problem for me when going outside for a run, I do not feel the “need” to hurt myself by slipping or sliding outside and so it was time to check out one of the local indoor running tracks. I went for a run using the shoe sensor and the Nike GPS Watch. My average pace/speeds seemed quite faster compared to my normal runs and so I expected the sensor not being calibrated to the full extend.
Anyway, before I was able to test things out on my run I had to get the sensor and my watch synced up correctly. I had looked up on how to use the Nike Plus Shoe Sensor before, but that was months ago when I got the Nike Plus GPS Watch and so I had to go back and find out again what to do. Now that I know I thought I share this information with you as well.
Sync Nike Plus GPS Watch with the Shoe Sensor
You will need a shoe that either has the sole prepared for the sensor (aka you will need a Nike+ shoe) or you need to purchase one of those holders that then attach to the outside your normal running shoe. I do have a Nike Pegasus running shoe and it is pre-fitted for the Nike Plus Shoe Sensor. All I had to do is to pull out the soft foam piece from the inside of the shoe and to put the sensor into its place. From there things were really straight forward. Get ready for your run and have your shoes already on your feet. Start the Nike GPS Watch and select “Run”. On the next screen you see the option to turn on the “Shoe Pod” – it is turned off by default, so select it and hit the red button on your watch to toggle the setting from “off” to “on”.
Next select “continue” and the watch will try to sync itself with the sensor. You might have to walk around a few steps to make that happen, but the Nike Plus GPS Watch will remind you if needed. Once everything is synced up you select “quickstart” and you are ready for your run. Out of the box the sensor and the watch work together if purchased together and according to Nike they are supposed to be fairly accurate. However, I found information that suggested a 10 percent inaccuracy which in my opinion is a lot. If you purchase the sensor separately you can manually sync it with the GPS watch under options.
How to calibrate the Nike Plus Shoe Sensor with the Nike Plus GPS Watch
To improve the tracking you can calibrate the watch and the sensor by going for a run outside with the shoe pod activated. All you need is a good and strong GPS signal during the run. The Nike GPS watch will then calibrate the sensor based on the GPS measurements of your run. It is important that you run fairly steady during the calibration run to improve the final results. Nike suggests a minimum of 4 laps around a running track or a run of one mile to get good results for the calibration.
I did not calibrate it for my very first run. I decided to deduct 10 percent of my recorded mileage on the indoor running track, but I also used the average time it took me to run one lap as a measurement and surprisingly the manual count (time per lap * 10 = time per one mile | total time / time per lap = actual mileage) came very close to the default 10 percent deduction. Today I will actually head out for a calibration and then verify the results when running again on the indoor running track. For me this is not a super-big issue as I mainly run outside, but I can see this as important when doing a treadmill run or when running on an indoor running track.
Even though the accuracy of the Nike Plus Shoe Pod could be a bit better, I am fairly happy with being able to track my progress when running inside on an indoor running track. Besides using the Shoe Pod during Winter I can see this come in helpful during summer when the summer heat makes long runs less bearable. The Nike Plus Shoe Pod Sensor is very easy to use and the fact that it can be used with other non-Nike shoes as well makes it a no-brainer.
Update: Please read my posting about battery issues with the Nike Plus Shoe Sensor.