Nike+ IPod Nano Shoe Mod




First, you buy an iPod Nano, then a Nike/iPod Kit and then (optional, but important) an armband to hold you ipod and Nike+iPod. By this time you've already spent $250+ and nike/apple tells you that you can't use the Nike+ kit without their special shoes.

To hell with that!

There are many options out there that will help get around buying Nike's special shoes, but for those of us who run outdoors, and run long distances, we just don't feel safe mounting it above the shoe (at least I don't). So why not just model my current running shoes after Nike's special shoes?

NOTE: This Instructable involves cutting a hole in your shoes. I am not responsible for any damaged shoes, injured legs, cut fingers, or broken Nike+ kits. '

All of the instructions are detailing how I did this, how you should do this depends on your shoe, shoe size, and preferences, but it should be mostly the same (just different measurements involving sensor placement)

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Step 1: Tools/Hardware Needed:


iPod Nano
Running Shoes

X-Acto Knife
Foam Core/Mat Board X-Acto Blade (optional, but helpful)

Step 2: Measuring

Start by measuring the sensor and your shoes. The sensor is approx. 1/4" deep, and it will be going inside of your permanent soles, so make sure that your shoe can comfortably fit.

My measurements are (you should measure your own to double check my measurement):


1 3/8" x 15/16" x 1/4"

Step 3: More Measuring

After pulling out the removable sole at the bottom of the shoe I traced it to find the size. Then I took a look at my foot's arch to see where it would sit best without my heel or toes smashing it down.

With my foot I had about 1- 1/2" in depth of area that my arch was raised. Obviously while running this will change, but this seems like one of the best spots for minimal pressure and stress.

Step 4: Placement Ideas

After measuring my arch and sketching it out I looked for placement of the sensor. You don't have to necessarily do this step, but it made me feel more comfortable with the placement.

Step 5: More Measuring, More Cutting

I went ahead and figured that the sensor would be placed at 4 7/8" from the back of the shoe (measuring on the inside).

I cut a strip of paper out at this size to fit into the shoe, because I don't have any rulers that will fit inside of my shoe. After placing the strip inside my shoe I marked the first corner.

Step 6: How Much More Measuring?!

I went ahead now and took another piece of paper, measured it and cut it to the size of the sensor, and traced it inside of my shoe.

The dimensions for the sensor are 1-3/8" x 15/16" (ignoring depth for now).

For my shoe, the easiest way of tracing it on was using a thick pen (.8mm).

For those of you not happy about having to write on your shoes, consider that in a few moments you'll take a Dremel and X-acto to them, and that the pen should be the least of your worries.

Step 7: Cutting!

I played around with several different methods for cutting the hole where the sensor will rest. Depending on your shoe, some techniques will work better than others.

What I did here was take a foam-core x-acto blade and set the blade out to 1/4" (depth of the sensor). I went inside of the shoe and scored across the midpoints of the square to determine the depth.

Step 8: Now the Fun Part

At first I started with an X-Acto blade (standard type) to cut the oval shape out.

That didn't work well though, granted it got a lot of pieces out, but it was choppy and difficult (cutting through rubber).

So using my Dremel with sanding bit I went in and sanded out the whole.

Keep in mind here you are NOT cutting out the entire square drawn, but just an oval shape that fits within it. Do NOT cut a square. Seriously, you'll ruin your shoes (more so)

As far as the curves of the sensor went, it was more a matter of estimating. Someone with extra time could probably go and measure the radius's, but for me it was more a matter of starting smaller, and testing by trying to put the sensor in.

The cut marks made earlier (optional step) are nice because they'll give a rough estimation how far you should sand down. Also they help to ensure that the hole is flat at the bottom. If you didn't do that step, you could probably just do it carefully by checking the depth very often.

Step 9: Placement/Finished!

Hooray! After about 30 minutes of work, a lot of measuring, and some sanding with a Dremel, your sensor should fit (if you measured correctly). Before you're completely done, make sure to check and double check the depth of the sensor when in the hole. In my case, the sensor rested about 1/16" below the rest of the padding. It's also a smart idea to put in the removable sole and walk around in the shoe to make sure it feels alright (as far as depth goes). In my case, I couldn't even tell it was there.

Clean out the dust, and make sure the sensor fits snug. It should not move around within it's hole or you'll get inaccurate readings. Place the removable sole over the sensor and you're set.

Nike does recommend taking the sensor out when you're not running to save on battery life. For someone like myself who runs a lot, these are strictly running shoes, so I don't have to worry about that. I can't say what the shoe would feel like without the sensor in place, so if you plan on removing it you may have to mod a small piece of rubber to fit in the hole.

Step 10: Results/Testing

I went out right afterwards and ran a quick 3 miles to check timing/distance.

At 3 miles (according to the Nike+) I ran 20:07

Using Gmap-Pedometer, I checked my distance and got 2.9873 miles.

About 1/100 of a mile difference. I'm impressed!

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    18 Discussions

    I was actually pretty stoked to find out that my sensor fit perfectly into the side of my Adidas shoes!! If there are some of you who are timid to dremel your shoes, check out the interior of your shoes to make sure there aren't any areas that you could tuck it into. My adidas just happened to have some stitching that created pockets on the sides of the interior.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I did the same thing to my shoes, but my wife did not want me to cut her shoes. For those of you who are unsure of "milling" the insides of your shoe I have done the following. Purchase a foam insert, i.e. Dr. Scholl's. They tend to be a litle thicker than the ones most shoes come with and are a few mm's thinner than the sensor. Do what was done here to find placement of the sensor, but do this on the 'new' insole. Trace sensor shape onto the new insole in the calculated loactionwith a sharpie, and then cut out a hole in the new insole with an Xacto knife. Remove the foam insert that came with the shoe and replace with new insole with hole. Place Nike senor into hole and your ready to go. Works great, and is an easy way to change shoes.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    wow powertools. I just marked it up on my comfort sole i bought with a pencil and cut it out with my penknife.


    9 years ago on Step 9

    I might have a solution for people who might want to remove the sensor. Some of the Nike+ sneakers come with this little foam piece that goes where the sensor should be when you're not using it. If any has it and wants to try it let me know if it works.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Why not just try a pair of Nike shoes? I work at a running store and I sell alot of ASICS but I know alot of people are starting to switch over to Nike's because they last longer

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Because Nike shoes are way too narrow for some of us, and they are not available in the size I would need. I wear a 14 new balance (and ONLY new balance). Trying a 14 in nike was just painful. I figure to get the width right I would need about a size 17, and that would be too long. Nikes are for people with petite feet.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    This is not for Nike shoes necessarily. This is for anyone who wants to use the "Nike+ iPod Sport Kit" but does not want to buy the special Nike+ shoes.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Cool Instructable. I have the same problem (don't want to buy special Nike shoes to use the kit), but I think I'll go for a more lightly-engineered solution. I'll probably mount mine on the laces. There must be plenty of good ways to keep it secure...

    2 replies

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction makes a plastic piece that ties right into the laces and holds the sensor just for that purpose. I haven't bought any yet, because i have the Nike shoes, but for $1, I'd probably try them out:

    fungus amungusnagutron

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    The Nike+ kit is awesome, but my feet don't like Nike shoes. I was going to take the time to cut them out like this, but ended up doing something much more basic. I cut a small slit at the very tip of the tongue on my shoe. I then slid the sensor in and was ready to go. To be extra secure you can use a safety pin or even sew it shut. Been working out well for the past 7 months.