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Garmin ANT+ Foot Pods: Everything you ever wanted to know

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Tis the season when the weather goes from bad…to ugly, and as such – many folks are heading indoors to the treadmill to get in their quality runs completed.

Of course, for data junkies like myself (and many of you) that means that the GPS signal on your various fitness devices is no longer able to record all the information you’re likely accustomed to – such as pace and distance.  But don’t worry, there’s a solution that can help you get all that information, despite your treadmill-bound workouts.

Enter, the foot pod.

Many of you from the ‘way-back’ era of…well…2000-ish, probably remember foot pods as the defacto way that sports watches could measure distance and speed – this being well before GPS fitness devices.  Back then the solution was looked at as a way to capture both distance inside and outside.  In the past, it was rather bulky as well.

The foot pod of today though is now a simple device about the size of a quarter that fits on your shoe.  From there, it broadcasts via ANT+ protocol to any number of devices, including your Garmin Forerunner, Timex Global Trainer and others.

Of course, some of you may be wondering why you’d need a foot pod when a treadmill tells you pace and distance.  Well, first, as many of you have probably realized over time, treadmill speeds are horribly unreliable (and thus by extension, distance too).  Second – and most importantly – you can’t easily record that data with second by second heart rate data, unless it’s all going to one device such as your Garmin.  Thus, the appeal of a consolidated system.  This way, you can download your treadmill workout and have the same important data that you would when outdoors: Pace, Distance, Time, Heart Rate – and any applicable laps/splits that you may have created.

But there’s one little piece of data you won’t get from a treadmill console – or from GPS – and that’s running cadence.  Yup, the foot pod will tell your cadence, which is a key area that many high end runners aim to improve (increase).  Think of it simply as how many times your foot strikes the ground each minute.  Ideally, this would start at about 92 times per minute, but that’s a whole different discussion for another day…

The device:

The foot pod itself is a very small and lightweight device that you simply snap onto your shoe.  It used to be that even just a couple years ago these things were the size of Twinkies, but now, being the size of a quarter you could just about make a phone call in a pay-phone with it.

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The device has two pieces, the main accelerometer piece, and the plastic clip.  Despite thousands and thousands of miles of running – from snow to sand to dirt to mud – I’ve never had one fall off.

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The device is designed to run about a year on the user-replaceable battery.  And once that year is up, you just turn it over, give it a twist, and pop the battery out and put in a new $3 one from the drugstore:

Footpod

Simple as that.  There’s no buttons, on/off switches, or any other area to poke at.  It just sits there on your running shoes…forever.

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And for those curious – it doesn’t actually matter which way the arrow points, as long as it stays pointing that way (the manual merely suggests one way to simplify support questions, I validated that with the Garmin Fitness support folks).

Connecting up the foot pod:

Pairing the foot pod is super easy.  It’ll vary by device of course, but just using the FR310XT as an example, you’d go into the ANT+ menu and enable the foot pod there by pairing it.  Each foot pod is assigned a unique ID, which then connects to your watch, so there’s no interference with others at the gym.  Quick and easy.

Once enabled, you typically want to calibrate it for the highest levels of accuracy.  In general I recommend going to a track – but if that’s iced over, you can also use GPS to calibrate it.

Once it’s connected, you’re good to go!  As long as you don’t adjust the position, you’ll never have to touch this menu again.

Going for a run…indoors:

To use the foot pod you literally have to do nothing.  Well, technically, if you’re running indoors you should put the Garmin into indoor mode by turning off the satellite.  This will ensure that there isn’t a satellite track recorded with a distance of roughly zero (since you’re not moving).

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(Yes, I know this photo is of outdoors, while talking about indoors – but at the moment my running shoes and luggage are apparently thousands of miles away from me elsewhere, so I can’t take a new photo quite yet…sorry!)

If you forget though, don’t worry – the unit will actually still record your pace/speed/distance using the foot pod.  It’s just that some older applications don’t correctly interpret this.  Though, none of the major ones in use today have any issues.

Once you’re done running, you’ll see two graphs on Garmin Connect (or other similar application).  First, is the speed and distance like you would normally see outdoors:

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Note how incredibly smooth the paces are – that’s because I’m on a treadmill running a set pace as part of intervals.

And second, is your running cadence:

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You’ll get cadence whether your indoors or outdoors from here on out.

Accuracy:

I get a lot of questions around accuracy of foot pods in general.  For example – if you change pace, are they still accurate?  Or if you do intervals, are they still accurate?  Or what about terrain, or snow?

I’ve found again and again that the latest generation of foot pods are incredibly accurate.  Last winter I put together a review of the FR60 – which is an ANT+ watch that doesn’t have GPS.  As such, it depends on the Garmin ANT+ foot pod.  After doing calibration I did many runs side by side with it’s GPS-enabled brethren, the FR310XT.

Perhaps the most telling test was one I did in the snow, for 7.78 miles, doing intervals.  The FR60 using the foot pod, and the FR310XT using GPS.  The end results?  Well, check out the photo below:

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Pretty darn impressive I think.

Using the foot pod or GPS outdoors?

Of course, another common question I get is whether to use a foot pod or GPS in race situations.  The actual root of the question usually stems from: “I’m looking to qualify for Boston and need to be able to pace an exact pace per mile, and I can’t afford to have it be off, or I won’t qualify”.

Well, the real answer here is: Don’t depend on either.

What I mean by that is that no matter what number your Garmin tells you at the end of the race – if you missed the time cutoff, it won’t matter.  As such, you should be actually taking mile splits manually based on the course mile markers and ensure that meets your goal time.  For virtually every BQ marathon course out there, the mile splits are probably going to be pretty darn accurate.

For general use – just use GPS, it’s generally easier and that way you’ll still get a pretty satellite map when you’re done.

Calibration without going to the track:

(Updated August 6th, 2011)

One really cool tool that’s come available since I originally wrote this is a tool which enables you to actually calibrate the footpod by just doing your runs as normal outside with the GPS turned on.  Based on those runs the tool can determine your correct calibration factor.  Pretty cool!

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For more information on that, check out the post I wrote up here on it.

Questions and Answers:

I literally have an entire e-mail folder full of foot pod questions.  I even dedicated an entire Slowtwitch article to them, but…there’s still more flowing in!  So here’s all the ones I’ve amassed, in simplified form:

Q: My foot pod says I’m running faster (or slower) than I think I am, what’s up?
A: More than likely the calibration has become skewed.  Try and re-calibrate it to re-gain accuracy.  It only takes a moment to run half a mile (ideal calibration distance), but the benefits are huge.

Q: Why does my foot pod show dropouts in numbers (i.e. 95.92.93.50.50.92.93.94.93…)?
A: This is typically caused by a battery that’s dying.  Simply replace the battery and you’ll be good to go!

Q: Do I have to set the Garmin to ‘indoors’ mode to get accurate distance indoors?
A: Actually, no.  All this does is turn off the GPS, so you get a ‘clean’ track.  Otherwise, some older applications may incorrectly process the GPS track (basically showing you standing still), instead of the foot pod tack (moving).

Q: Do Garmin units record distance both the foot pod and GPS at once?
A: No, the track points use GPS while outdoors and with signal.  No devices/apps that I’m currently aware of record both and allow you to use both tracks.  Not that someone couldn’t develop such an app, just not in the Garmin’s today.

Q: Is the number displayed in cadence (i.e. 95) per foot, or total?
A: The number if per foot, thus you’d double to get total cadence – (i.e. 190)

Q: Should I use the foot pod or GPS while trail running?
A: It depends.  In general, I recommend GPS (the newer GPS chips are incredibly accurate in trees) – but if it’s really dense and really twisty, the foot pod may be a better option.

Q: If GPS signal drops (like in a tunnel), will the foot pod pace be used instead?
A: Yes, foot pod pace takes over if GPS speed drops to 0, and foot pod speed shows a higher number.  The inverse is also true, if foot pod speed shows 0, and yet GPS speed shows a number, than GPS speed will be used.

Q: Can I set which speed source to use?
A: Yes, on some of the Garmin watches (such as the 310XT), you can go under settings to Speed Source and set which one to use.  Note however that the previous bullet still overrides that though.

Q: Does it matter which way I put the foot pod on?
A: As long as it’s not sideways, it won’t matter which way the arrow points.  It’s merely there for simplicity’s sake.

Q: Is there any difference between the different Garmin foot pods out there?
A: Yes and no.  In general, they all work just fine.  It’s simply that the newer ones have a longer battery life and are smaller, while the older ones are cheaper (albeit harder to find now).  They all are ANT+, and they all work with all devices.  And, they all have cadence and speed/distance.

Q: Is there any difference between the different non-Garmin foot pods out there?
A: In short, no.  The non-Garmin ones are OEM variants of one of the older Garmin versions, so aside from marketing, they’re all the same.  The new Garmin ones though are the smallest ones on the market today though, whereas the non-Garmin ones are a bit bulkier.

Q: Does the foot pod contain a GPS chip?
A: No, your ANT+ receiver will likely have one though (except the FR60).  There are no ANT+ foot pods on the market that have a GPS chip in them.  And there are no non-ANT+ foot pods that have them either to my knowledge.

Q: Will my Polar foot pod work with my Garmin or ANT+ devices?
A: No, the Polar foot pod works on a separate proprietary platform.

Q: Does my Nike+ foot pod work with my Garmin or ANT+ devices?
A: No, the Nike+ foot pod works on a variant of ANT, but is not ANT+ compatible.

Q: Can I use the foot pod to record kayak strokes on a paddle?
A: Technically, yes – but it’s unclear how long the foot pod would last over time at the end of a paddle.  There’s also some potential workaround discussed at the end of this thread.

Q: If I have a foot pod on my shoes in transition area, and then have a Garmin on my bike, when it gets to T2, will it automatically pickup the foot pod?
A: Yes, once in running mode (using multisport or manually), it’ll automatically pickup the foot pod within a few strides.

Q: Can I really put the foot pod in a phone booth pay-phone quarter slot?
A: With enough force and determination…anything is possible.

Q: Does the Garmin Edge series support the foot pod?
A: No, none of the Garmin Edge cycling devices allow use of the foot pod, it’s considered a different ANT+ device profile and isn’t one you can pair to the Edge devices.  Though I should note this is actually a really common request from cyclists that occasionally run.  Also of note is that the Edge series doesn’t display pace in Minutes/Mile, but rather only MPH (speed).  Again, another highly requested feature from occasional runners that are primarily cyclists.

Q: Does the Timex Global Trainer support the foot pod?
A: It does now!  As of August 4th, 2011 Timex released a new firmware version for the Global Trainer that does support the ANT+ foot pods.  More information here.

Q: Which Garmin devices support the foot pod?
A: The Forerunner 305, FR310XT, FR405, FR405CX, FR410, FR610, FR210, FR50 and FR60.  Note that the FR205 is NOT foot pod compatible.

Q: Does the Forerunner 110 support the foot pod?
A: No…and unfortunately won’t in the future.  The FR210 was released as an ‘upgraded version’ of the FR110 to specifically support the foot pod.

Q: Which iPhone Apps support the ANT+ foot pod?
A: Well, that depends.  But anything that supports the Wahoo Fitness iPhone Dongle will generally support the foot pod if it has a running mode.  Similarly, the Digifit dongle has the same capabilities.

Q: Which Android Apps support the ANT+ foot pod?
A: At the moment there’s only a few hard to get Android phones that support ANT+ natively, so support will look much better in Feb 2011.

Q: Is the foot pod waterproof?
A: Yes, it’s IPX7 rated waterproofing – so 1 meter deep at 30 minutes.

Q: How much does the foot pod weigh?
A: 10g…or…well…not much.  That’s less than an Oreo cookie (11g).

Q: Can I use the running foot pod on my cycles shoes to get cycling cadence?
A: No, you need the $30 cycling cadence kit to get both cycling cadence, as well as speed/distance (indoors).  And don’t be tryin’ to attach the cycling cadence kit to your running shoes now…I don’t want to have to bring out Chuck Norris on ya.

Q: When using the foot pod outdoors, will I still get the satellite image of my run?
A: Yes, as long as you don’t disable GPS, the satellite image will still appear.  If you disable GPS however (by answering ‘Yes’ to ‘Are you indoors now?’), then you will not get a route map.

Q: Is lap distance/pace recorded when using the foot pod?
A: Yup, all the same data is recorded.  The only thing not included is a map of where you went, and in the case of GPS-dependent watches – elevation data isn’t included.

Q: How much does this little thing cost?
A: About $45 for the most current generation one, new.

Thanks for reading all – and feel free to post any other foot pod related questions in the comments below!

Help support the site!

If you’re looking at picking up a footpod, you can save some cash and support the site at the same time.  Purchasing through either Amazon or Clever Training helps out.  And, if you purchase through Clever Training you’ll get 10% off your entire order with coupon code DCR10MHD.  And for over $75US, you’ll get free shipping within the US (though, the footpod is cheaper than that obviously).

Additionally, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top. Though, Clever Training also ships there too and you still get the 10% discount.

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices. These guides are all listed on this page here.

P.S. – If you’re looking at the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor for cycling – here’s the same style ‘All you ever wanted to know’ post for that sensor.  Enjoy!

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506 Comments

  1. First thing, thank you for the input.

    “No, the current Timex Global Trainer does not support the foot pod, nor will it be updated to support it (very long and messy story). The next hardware version due out in Spring 2011 will support it however.”

    Can you tell more about the messy story?

    Then about future gps watch, would it possible to have a regular size wrist watch, with a long lasting battery that would come with a second wrist band, that would includ the gps chip, making it just two regular wrist bands instead of a bigger one that you cant really have for your everyday life?

    Reply
  2. I really appreciate if you could put a thread on cadence and how to improve… it is something that I have discussed also on my blog.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the great review DC Rainmaker! I just ordered me one through Amazon Germany. Unfortunately you do not get any referrer bonus on that :-(
    One question I do have: I do have a Forerunner 405. When the foodpod arrives I just tell the watch that its there and thats it? Is the foodpod automatically calibrated after one run with gps on? And another one: Does the foodpod comes with only one “clip-in”? I do have several running shoes and don’t want to hassle when switching the food pot on different shoes! Thanks again!

    Reply
  4. Again a very complete review !

    Q :)
    does it fit to the nike+ hole ?
    i.e. does it has the same size as the nike+ sensor ?

    Reply
  5. Thanks Ray, answered a lot of my questions. Of course, I’m sure you realized you’d get more :-) So here’s a few: I know that you can set the 310XT to use the footpod as instant pace, but what happens to average pace – is that still controlled by the GPS? When you are done (assuming you had footpod for instant pace), what pace figures does the file use in the graphs, GPS or footpod? Finally, if you use the footpod for instant pace, are the distance figures taken from the GPS or the footpod?

    What I’d ideally like to be able to do is use the footpod for the instant pace, since it updates more rapidly than GPS, but have all the data in the graphs come from the GPS, since at that point I’m more concerned with total distance and pace averages.

    Oh, and my backordered 310XT from REI finally shipped, almost two months after I ordered it, so I guess I’ll have some answers for myself pretty soon :-) Thanks again!

    Reply
  6. Hi,
    Do you have any experience with the Adidas Micoach pacer.
    I’ve seen reports on the internet that the Micoach footpod and heart-rate monitor works with garmin devices.
    You can get the micoach pacer for 100$ nowadays, seems like a good deal to me.
    is there any disadvantage buying the pacer vs getting a garmin footpod and HRM?

    A

    Reply
  7. DC Rainmaker: I love your articles. They appeal to my athletic and geeky side equally!

    My footpod needs a rather high calibration factor to be accurate (111.5%). I have a feeling this is telling me something about my running form. Do you have any idea what that is?

    Reply
  8. HI DC

    As long as you don’t adjust the position, you’ll never have to touch this menu again.

    Can you clarify this statement?

    the reason I am asking that is that I am using my foot pod on two different pairs of shoes. On one it is clipped to my laces , on the other one I used the nike+ hole. (Which BTW fits perfectly to answer Julien’s question).
    Do you think it should be re calibrated when changing shoes?

    Reply
  9. I got a Foot Pod question that I have bee curious about for a while. It seems that the Garmin pod is the same oval shape as the Nike+ pod. Will the Garmin pod work in the slot found in certain model Nike shoes designed for the Nike+ pod?

    Reply
  10. Eli

    For your android answer are you saying at Mobile World Congress we should look for multiple phones with the ANT+ part of the radio chipset to be enabled? Any chance you’ll be able to post which phones support ANT+ as I get a feeling the normal Android reviews won’t make that information easy to figure out. (I need to replace my iPhone 3G)

    Reply
  11. I was just about to do a post about the Garmin foot pod, but then you posted this, so I’m going to link back to here for anyone interested – hope that’s OK.

    I have been having some trouble with my foot pod. It’s my new Christmas toy, and sync’d with my 305. It had been working great until a few days ago when on the treadmill, I was running 8:30min/mile and it was reading anywhere between 11-13:30 for pace. But cadence was accurate. I’ve been emailing with the fine folks at Garmin to work through this. Much of what they’ve said is consistent with your post. One addition – they recommend the foot pod be worn on your non-dominant foot. I have mine on my dominant foot as out of habit everything goes on my dominant side, minus a watch. I’m not sure why, but they suggested switching sides and recalibrating to the non-dominant and seeing what happnens from there. Just something to add… thanks for your post!

    Reply
  12. Sam S

    I can confirm that the Garmin ANT+ foot pod is the same size and fits in the same hole as the Nike+ sensor. I have the Garmin inside my Nike Free Run+ shoes. Works great!

    Reply
  13. Quote:
    —————-
    Q: If GPS signal drops (like in a tunnel), will the foot pod pace be used instead?
    A: Yes, foot pod pace takes over if GPS speed drops to 0, and foot pod speed shows a higher number.
    —————-
    I have a bad experience running the Detroit Half Marathon with 310XT and footpod activated because of the long tunnel under the river: Sure, when I got into the tunnel, the 310XT watch swtiched to the footpod to get inst. pace and distance. However, when I got out of the tunnel and got back GPS fix, distance and avg pace got screwed up since it added (a second time) the tunnel distance.

    I now leave the footpod at home when doing that race :)

    Reply
  14. SAC

    My foot pod quit working today mid workout. I only received it 2-3 weeks ago (Christmas). The battery should last a lot longer than that, correct? I pulled the battery out and reinserted it to “reset” things, and that seems to have temporarily worked, but I am assuming I should replace the battery entirely.

    Reply
  15. Matt

    I’ve been running in some really cold temps – i.e. single digit with negative wind-chill and I get the impression that the foot pod gets a bit squirrelly when it gets too cold. Did the Garmin folks give you any idea of what temps it’s rated to?

    Reply
  16. Wes

    The accuracy on my 50 is pretty bad with the footpod, yet I set the same calibration in my 310XT and the accuracy is pretty darn good. Another thing that affects distance is stride length. If you change your stride length when you speed up/slow down, that is going to affect your distance with the pod. I always try to keep my cadence at 90 or so. So my distance is most accurate when I run at my calibration pace :-)

    Reply
  17. Eli

    For temp range garmin claims:
    link to static.garmincdn.com
    32-104 F for sensor accuracy

    Reply
  18. @ascher, the Adidas miCoach HRM and Footpod will work, with Garmin, and vice versa. I’d recommend getting them as they are so much cheaper than Garmin’s.

    @Rainmaker the adidas footpod is the same form factor as Garmin’s smallest model.

    @Paulie: Yes those holes in Nike+ shoes will work. YMMV however. Since I got a long nail on my tibia, the signal from the footpod (or Nike+ footpod) will not reach the watch. I get lots of dropouts, so I need the footpod to be on the laces.

    Reply
    • Carl Weaver

      My experience with Garmin Foot Pods is that you are lucky to get more than 12 to 18 months of operation before the contacts go bad and the unit needs to be replaced (therefore per month cost is $9 to $12 ), so thanks for the heads up on adidas!

      Reply
  19. Great info, DC. I have one and love using it for treadmill workouts and cadence outdoors.

    Is there a way to pair more than one footpod (or HR strap) at a time to a Garmin watch? I’d like to have footpods on both pairs of running shoes (to avoid having to swap back and forth) but it seems like you can only pair one at a time. I also have a couple of HR straps and would like to alternate them (they get a little sweaty!) but have the same problem. Going through the pairing process every time would be a real PITA.

    Thanks!

    link to georgiatriathlete.blogspot.com

    Reply
    • Steve Knapp

      For the HR strap, I have many of the fabric parts and just swap the transmitter portion between them. This way no need to put on a sweaty strap nor repair.

      Reply
  20. Great information. I was unaware of the improvement of accuracy. The old Nike+ without battery replacement was a real pain.

    Reply
  21. mo

    Very useful post – thanks! Any chance you’ve gotten one of the new Nike GPS watches to test out?

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    Do you have to calibrate the Garmin foot pod to get accurate cadence?

    Reply
  23. Anonymous

    Just another foot pod question. Is it possible to calíbrate the foot pot after a run if you run with the gps on as well as wearing the foot pod? Alternatively if you know the distance of the route and use the foot pod. I mean – the relevant data must be there.

    Appreciate all the time and effort you put in all your reviews – your blog is sort of my go-to page when it comes to running gear.

    Reply
  24. Jon

    Ray,
    Can you please provide instructions or a link for calibrating the footpod to the FR305? Information on the Garmin website is sketchy at best.

    Thx, Jon

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    I generally like your reviews, but this one is not nearly detailed enough and doesn’t seem correct. They are really not that accurate, at all. You must have gotten lucky.

    They are most inaccurate when you change your pace (so fine for long-slow-distance but terrible if you want to mix things up).

    They are also inaccurate when you change surfaces, track, asphalt, dirt, etc.

    You want to change shoes? Either for a standard rotation or for running trails, travel, whatever. Doesn’t work.

    Recalibrating for marginal accuracy is very tiresome.

    Reply
  26. I have a quick question. Do you know if you can pair two seperate foot pods to one watch? I have a footpod in one of my pairs of running shoes (Nike Structure Triax in the Nike Sensor hole) and then have been having to switch it to a different pair of shoes I use for trail running. Do you know if I get a second foot pod, whether I’d have to keep repairing it to go back and forth between the two, or whether it would simply detect the proper one and have both saved as paired devices?

    Reply
  27. Kevin

    Would love to see a post on the ideal cadence, you mention 92, and how to improve.

    Reply
  28. Jason

    Wonder if these new ergonomic laces like on the asics gel kayano affect accuracy of the footpod

    Reply
  29. Anonymous

    Well….. I bought this after reading your review and…… out of the box it was .2 of a mile shorter than the treadmill (I know, bad choice) so I auto calibrated on a 400 meter track (ran 800 meters). Calibration was successful according to my 305. Next I ran a 5 mile loop I’ve been running for a long time and know the splits very well. Footpod was off by almost .4 miles which is too much. Bought this to use on the treadmill when the weather’s bad but I think I’m better off with treadmill data. I don’t find this to be accurate at all. One other issue is that there seems to be some crosstalk between the pod and my HR monitor. Life’s too short. Sending this back.

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    Just a quick thank you for an excellent introduction to this subject. I’m going to order a Garmin foot pod right now!

    Reply
  31. After a request on their website form, the nice folks at garmin sent me a couple of spare clips so I can easily pop the pod onto my home trainers, work trainers, and racing flats without having to re-lace to move the clip.

    I’ve mainly used the food pod for cadence data, but still need more work on my gait to shorten my stride/increase cadence.

    Reply
  32. Q: is the Nike+ footpod the same size as the Micoach or Garmin footpod.

    I have bought a Nike+ sportswatch and Micoach running shoes, but is all the footpods the same size??

    Reply
  33. Hi Pierre-
    RE: Timex Global Trainer Footpod

    Just a quick note to others that as of August 4th, 2011, the Timex Global Trainer now supports footpods. You can pickup and use any ANT+ footpod (including the Garmin one above). Enjoy!

    Hi Thomas-
    RE: Adjustment of position

    The calibration is based on the position on your shoe, if you adjust said position you’ll need to recalibrate.

    Hi Jan-
    RE: Nike+ footpod

    No, they are unfortunately not the same thing – very different and not compatible with each other. Sorry!

    Reply
  34. hello – a lot of info for runner, but unfortunately plantar fasciitis is keeping of the trail so i am taking to the jump rope to keep fit. Can the foot pod track total number of jumps, jumps (steps) per minute, etc. ?

    thanks.

    Reply
  35. Hi Sunny-

    It does not keep track of total number of steps, but it does keep track of steps per minute (simply cadence *2).

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  36. Edgar

    Hello,

    about the ANT+ foot pod that is now supported by the Timex Global Trainer:

    It works fine if the foot pod doesn’t need calibration. A new function of the firmware allows you to calibrate it in percentage of course but apparently Timex engineers forgot to link the calibration algorythm with the PACE (or speed) display on the watch.
    It is unfortunate as it is the main purpose of a foot pod: giving your instantaneous pace or speed.

    So if your foot pod needs calibration, let say 90%, the PACE display will remain the same as it was for 100%, with the same error. However the distance will be corrected.

    Hopefully the Timex team will hear of this bug quickly and correct it asap. Until then the foot pod is useless.

    Reply
  37. Hi Edgar-
    RE: Timex Footpod

    Yeah, I’ve noticed a few minor items with their implementation as well.

    That said, I wouldn’t go as far as saying the footpod is ‘useless’, as for many, the footpod is primarily used to provide distance/speed while indoors on a treadmill. Just my two cents.

    Reply
  38. Anonymous

    I have an FR60 and a new 310XT, but even though I calibrated the foot pod using GPS, I can’t seem to get them to coincide… 9.12 miles on the FR60 = 9.7 miles on the 310XT today. What can I do to fix that??

    Reply
  39. Hello-

    Go ahead and check out the calibration factor for both units. It’ll likely be something like 1.004 or slightly +/- 1.000 (or 1000). Whichever unit you think is closest to reality, you can manually set the other one to match. That’s what I typically do after I’ve calibrated it correctly on one watch and don’t feel like doing the test again on a different watch if I haven’t moved my footpod.

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  40. Anonymous

    Thanks!

    I actually don’t think either of them reflects reality… but do you mean that I’ll have to calibrate the foot pod every time I move it to another pair of shoes?? That could get really tiresome, really fast…

    Reply
  41. Regrettably, yes.

    However, if you don’t move the location on the shoe I have a slight solution for you. Rumor is that if you ring up Garmin support they’ll send you a couple of the little footpod bracks so you can put them on different shoes and keep them in the same place and just move the electronics pod between shoes.

    The only catch being that unless the location is identical across shoes you’re going to see some differences.

    Reply
  42. Anonymous

    Thanks for all the useful info. I’ve been running on an Alter-G for the last month using the 310xt for HR data which has worked perfectly. However, I started using a Micro Footpod last week &,whilst the speed data his tied in very closely with the treadmill, there appears to be significant interference between the footpod & HR monitor. It tends to read between 195-215bpm on runs where HR is circa 130. Have you come across this?
    Thank you

    Reply
  43. FT

    I’m a barefoot runner and I was wondering if a foot pod would work correctly if I strap it to my ankle? Any idea?

    Reply
  44. Hi Anon-
    RE: Mix and match

    ANT+ devices don’t typically interfer. What sounds like is happening though is a HR spiking issue. Have you tried HR gel (or just licking it)? Typically when the HR is in the 195+ range, it’s either due to that, or to static electricity buildup. See the sidebar for my recommendations on how to fix spiking HR’s.

    Hi FT-
    RE: Barefoot running

    Hmm, I haven’t tried it. However, see this post for a potential thought:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    Reply
  45. Anonymous

    Thanks for the tips. Ended up switching from First Generation premium HR monitor strap to the New Soft strap with clip. HR has worked perfectly since. 2hr treadmill run yesterday with 95mins at a constant 16kph and the foot pod was 20m out from the treadmill reading at the end of the time. Close enough for me!

    Reply
  46. Meredith

    I recently used my Garmin on the treadmill using the foot pod to track my stats and multiple times during the workout, the pace display went blank (as if it couldn’t connect) but the foot pod icon displayed clearly at the bottom of the display while the timer also kept running. Since the pace wasn’t registering, the distance didn’t keep ticking along either. I use the food pod to track cadence while outside all the time while using GPS to track distance and have never had an issue so I don’t think the pod is defective… I’m curious if there’s something I’m doing wrong while indoors. Any suggestions you have would be great! Thanks in advance :)

    Reply
  47. efrenhc

    Hi,

    how do I display running cadence on my 305?

    Efren

    Reply
  48. I tested my foot pod for the first time on a treadmill today and although the pace seemed about right, I have erratic data. It shows lots of valleys around 45. Any thoughts on how to get rid of this? You can see the data here…
    link to connect.garmin.com

    Reply
  49. Hi Meredith:

    It sounds like the battery is going, just swap it out and you’re good to go.

    Hi Efrenhc-

    Simply add the ‘Cadence’ data field, that’s it!

    Hi Aaron-

    Like Meredith, yours is exhibiting a classic case of the battery dying. When the battery starts to die it does those weird drops frequently. No worries, it’s a cheap CR2032 battery that you can find just about anywhere for $3. It takes about 20 seconds to swap out. Even if the footpod is new to you, it may have sat on a shelf for a year or so prior, thus the battery may be lower than anticipated. No worries, super quick swapout.

    Reply
  50. Thanks! I will give that a try.

    Reply
  51. Hi Rainmaker, I swapped out the battery and tried another test run this morning. My graph is a little bit better, but I still get a lot of drops during the run to about 45 for cadence. Any other ideas on what might be causing this.

    Reply
  52. Calibrating footpod for the first time and a few questions.

    1) What is the optimum distance to calibrate. I read that you suggest 800M on a HS track instead of 400M, but would 1600M be even more accurate or overkill?

    2)Trying to decide about calibration pace as I read that pace and stride difference can impact the accuracy. I run several 5Ks at a 8:00 pace and I’m training for a 1/2 marathon estimated at 8:45 pace. My long runs (90% of my training) are at 9:45 to 10:45 pace. So what pace do I do when I calibrate it? I’m thinking the middle of my long run pace (10:15) because that is what I’ll spend 90% of my time running at. However, if I’m going to run a 5K some weekend at a 8:00 pace do I re-calibrate it just for that race and then change it back? How off will tempo runs (8:45 pace) be if the pod is calibrated to the long run (10:15) pace? I’m guessing anyone reading this will scream “just get out there and enjoy yourself!” :-) Thanks!

    Reply
  53. bas

    Awesome! Thank you for the article! Answered all my questions.

    Reply
  54. Jason

    Hi Ray,
    I think I know the answer from your article but wanted to get clear. My FR 310xt doesn’t acquire a signal quickly (I live in Manhattan–not too much open sky and lots of reflection). By the time I get over to the river (Hudson river park, great for a run), its usually functioning but I can wait up to 10 minutes if I stand in front of my house waiting for it to acquire all its satellites.

    SO–I was thinking, get the foot pod, I can get out the door quickly and when the GPS kicks in, fine–I get my map. But wanted to ask you if you knew what would happen if I just started running and let the GPS part of the watch catch up when it does.

    Your advice is greatly appreciated.

    -Jason

    Reply
  55. janmac

    After 1 yr (& with a new $4 battery) my foot pod popped out of its click-on thingy during a run. I’ve ordered a new one but can you tell me whether I’ll have to recalibrate it? I have an FR60. Thanks for your help! (Used your Amazon link to order the new foot pod.)

    Reply
  56. Hi Michael-
    RE: Min distance

    Generally 800m, after that I don’t find much further benefit. Nothing wrong with it, just not much benefit.

    RE: Calibration pace

    I generally go with my long run easy pace, not race pace, just easy pace – so in your case 9:45-10:45, or about 10:15. For me, no matter what I calibrate it at, it accurates grabs paces otherwise though.

    Hi Jason-
    RE: Map with footpod

    Yes, essentially. GPS will eventually kickin and provide that data from that point, with the footpod providing the first portion of the data. It’s often not pretty though, especially if the GPS data is highly inaccurate initially. Wish there was a better option there.

    Hi Janmac-
    RE: Calibration after new click-on-thingy

    Yes, absolutely. Reason being that the calibration is based on location and change to known location. So even though it’ll seem like ‘almost’ the same spot, it’ll likely be slightly different. Remember you can always do GPS calibration for just the first half a mile of your run, failing a local track.

    Enjoy all!

    Reply
  57. janmac

    I thought I’d let you know that after losing my foot pod & buying a new one I did NOT have to recalibrate! I jotted down my calibration factor from my watch in case it was lost during pairing. Then I paired the new foot pod with my watch. I checked & the old calibration factor was still there so, easy peasy, no recalibration necessary! (Its an FR60 so there’s no option for running with GPS to help calibrate.)

    Reply
  58. If I calibrate my Garmin footpod on one Garmin device, do I need to calibrate it again with a new Garmin device or is the calibration stored in the footpod?

    Thanks for all the info!

    Reply
  59. bs

    You mention that treadmills are not often accurate measures of distance.

    Trying to understand. Wouldn’t they be the perfect measure as they calculate rotations of a belt of a fixed length?

    Reply
  60. Hey Rainmaker, just wanted to post an update about the foot pod issue that I had with the forerunner 305. The solution to the problem where the plot data drops to about half when using 305 + foot pod, is to revert back to the old 2.8 firmware. If anyone else is having this problem, you can find a solution here
    link to forum.slowtwitch.com;

    Reply
  61. JRose

    Ray,

    I use the Garmin footpod with the Timex Global Trainer.

    When using the footpod, with GPS turned ON, will my distance and speed be measured by GPS, or by footpod data?

    Also, how do I calibrate, just set distance on .5mi, and walk it with the GPS on, then stop at .5mi and turn it off? I can’t find any info on how to calibrate in the manual…

    Reply
  62. Philippe

    Thank you for these great reviews.
    I use a Forerunner 210 for inline roller skating. Do you think I could get useful cadence information (not speed) from this device (or any other that you may be aware of). Thanks

    Reply
  63. Potentially, it would really depend on how distinct the cadence is while blading. Maybe if I’m really feeling like a bit of sun tomorrow I’ll take out my rollerblades and give it a loop around the neighborhood.

    Reply
  64. Any chance you know whether you can set target zone alerts for cadence (while running) for either the 610 or 310XT with the foot pod? Shin splint sufferer looking for an electronic nag to keep my cadence up (and thus stay off my heels). Thanks!

    Reply
  65. I have an FR610 plus this footpod.
    I have the feeling that instantaneous speed from footpod has lower variance that that from GPS. In practice I often see the instantaneous speed jumping up and down of about 20″ per Km, for few seconds. This does not happen with the footpod, it seems smoother.

    This is the reason I prefer to set the footpod as speed source, but I have found no confirmation or negation of this feeling of mine anywhere.

    What is your take on the matter?

    Reply
  66. Hi, I’m thinking about using a foot pod to track netball players indoors as GPS obviously doesn’t work inside. How accurate would the foot pods be with the motion of a netball player where there is a lot of direction changes and inconsistent movement of the feet?

    Reply
  67. Ramon

    I recently ran a marathon with my 310XT and the GPS kept losing signal. I had my foot pod on also because I read in your review that they work interchangeably. After the marathon my distance read 32.63. Any idea what the issue could be?

    Thanks

    Reply
  68. Anonymous

    Hi DC!

    I have a FR60 watch, with footpod. My footpod measures diffrent distances everytime i run (I run the same 4km route every time). It says everything from 4.05 to 4.21 – and it differs every time (never the exact same).

    I haven’t calibrated it, but it should still give me the same distance (+/-) – when I run a certain distance.

    My pod is placed on the same spot on my shoe every time – almost at the end of the shoelaces. And it’s placed thightly.

    Hope you can help
    Regards, Anders

    Reply
  69. Anonymous

    Hi Dc

    I’ve got a FR60 with food pod.

    I’m running the same route every time, but I never get the same distance readings from the watch. It differs from 4.05km to 4.22km. The pod is never removed, and is placed thightly. Do you have any idea why I’m not getting the same (or close to the same) readings ?

    The watch is not calibrated (out-of-the-box) – but that shouldn’t have any impact on the steadiness of the readings, right ?

    /Regards, Anders

    Reply
  70. Anonymous

    Hi Dc

    I’ve got a FR60 with food pod.

    I’m running the same route every time, but I never get the same distance readings from the watch. It differs from 4.05km to 4.22km. The pod is never removed, and is placed thightly. Do you have any idea why I’m not getting the same (or close to the same) readings ?

    The watch is not calibrated (out-of-the-box) – but that shouldn’t have any impact on the steadiness of the readings, right ?

    /Regards, Anders

    Reply
  71. Hi,

    I am interested to know in the case to get accurate feedback of pace (current speed). In terms GPS or footpod which one would be more reliable. I’m using Timex Global Trainer, recently just acquired a footpod but not calibrated yet. The GPS pace seems to spike a lot..

    Reply
  72. Anonymous

    Hi DC,

    I’m looking for a track workout solution to avoid the FR610’s GPS drawing a straight line across the athletics track when it temporarily loses coverage. Would the 1sec recording mode help? I can’t tell if the footpod I use with it compensates the distance somehow as it is set to take over in case of coverage loss, despite graphically of course it still shows the lines across the soccer field in the middle of the track.
    Would love to hear your thoughts on this

    Thanks a lot

    Fred

    Reply
  73. Hi Fred-

    1-sec recording will definitely help. If you’re seeing chunks of the track missing, definitely switch it over. My circles are usually quite round, and never cutting off/across the infield.

    A footpod will help even out pace on a track, but won’t fix the circles.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  74. Anonymous

    Hi,
    I am considering getting this foot pod to help myself keeping my cadence high.
    But has anyone tried to fasten this on Vibram Fivefingers? They don’t have laces, but rather a velcro strap going around the heel and over the top so maybe one could fasten on the side of the shoe?

    Regards, Ove

    Reply
    • Kevin

      I attached the mini foot pod to my Vibrams Fivefingers, however, they have the laces and not much room to work with. Will using zip ties to attach the pod to the velcro strap work?

      Reply
    • Zipties would definitely work. Just ensure it’s nice and snug. One of the things that traditional laces do is that while they hold it in place, it’s actually the top of your shoe being pushed up due to your foot inside it that keeps everything snug.

      Reply
    • David

      I went for the ‘LS’ version of the VFF Bikilas for this very reason. There aren’t many laces to work with but there is room nearer the top of the laces. It calibrated quite differently to all my other shoes but seemed accurate after that.

      Reply
  75. Searching for “Garmin” and “rowing”, I stumbled on an ANT+ device for rowing boats, waterproof, to be mounted on the ore. I am almost sure the device was manufactured by a NZ company. I think a new version of the product was to be released in June or July 2012. And now, for the life of me, I can’t find the site! Do you know of this transmitter? Can anyone help, please? Many thanks, and thank you for the excellent reviews!

    All the best,
    Peter

    Reply
  76. Yup, you’re looking for the Performance Blade. Last I heard, they were only selling products to the NZ Olympic Team, but I think once they get past London, they’ll be opening that up:

    link to performanceblade.com

    Reply
  77. Wow, thanks for the quick reply – this looks great, but also expensive I bet. A very interesting device! I am definitely going to keep an eye on it.

    But it wasn’t that. The device I saw was simpler, I think, and developed for racing boats (scullers etc.). A pod-like device to be mounted on the ore. They had already been selling it for quite some time but were now introducing a new and improved model.

    IIRC, you had to connect it to a multi-sport Garmin watch while in bike mode.

    Reply
  78. Rich

    Thanks for the information here…very helpful.

    Question: ave you ever heard of the Garmin foot pod only detecting exactly half of a treadmill run???

    I calibrated mine at a track by running a half mile. I then ran a mile and a half outside using the foot pod to detect my distance and compared that against previous GPS distance for the same run and it was perfectly accurate.

    HOWEVER, when I run inside on a treadmill at my gym the foot pod constantly disconnects from my FR405CX. (I see the little x appear over where the little foot icon should be.) The result of a 1.5 mile run on a treadmill was the foot pod detecting .75 miles of it. It might just be a coincidence that it was exactly half, I’d have to do more trials to see. But the fact is that the foot pod does not work for me indoors on a treadmill for some reason.

    Do you have any explanation for that?

    Reply
  79. Anonymous

    Does the Garmin ANT+ Foot Pod accurately record elevation gain when one is using a Stairmaster Stepmill?

    Reply
  80. Hi Rich-

    The only scenario I’ve seen both of your issues is when the battery is dying. Often, that’s the telltale sign, is that I start to get dropouts in the cadence, or only get about half of the cadence. Have you tried swapping out the CR2023 battery?

    Hi Anon-

    No, it doesn’t record any elevation gain. Sorry!

    Reply
  81. Richie

    I am thinking about purchasing a foot pod for my FR 210 and I was wondering if you can place the foot pod in the hole for the nike plus pod or does the foot pod have to stay on your shoe laces. If it can go in the hole for nike plus would the watch still be able to connect to the foot pod.

    Reply
  82. Results vary a bit, check out this post:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  83. Phil

    Hi DC,

    I have a Timex foot pod which I got free at an expo. I just bought a Garmin FR70 and when I first unboxed the watch and ran through the foot pod pairing, I was able to detect the foot pod, but no data was being transmitted. After syncing the watch with my PC, it won’t even detect my Timex foot pod. I realize that the Suunto Ant+ pod doesn’t work with Garmin, but since the Garmin pod works with Timex watches, shouldn’t the Timex pod work with Garmin watches? If the answer is yes, how do I get my Timex foot pod to pair with my Fr70?

    Reply
  84. That’s strange. One odd item to double-check is replacing the battery ($3). I’ve seen a few cases where the units sit on a shelf for a long time and the footpod battery is basically kaput after one use. Might be something silly like that.

    Reply
  85. Anonymous

    Does the Timex Run Trainer GPS watch work with the Garmin foot pod?

    Reply
  86. Yes, no problem. I use them interchangeably.

    Reply
  87. Rich

    Thanks for the tip on the battery…I tried swapping out the battery but it’s still not working right. I think it’s probably just a faulty device.

    I will experiment a bit more with it though because it really did seem to work when I was outside (I turned GPS off to make sure) but does not work when I’m on the treadmill.

    Reply
  88. Steven

    Rich:

    The same happens when I use both the FR305 and FR405 with the footpod on a treadmill. I’ve changed the batteries, changed footpods, but I think there’s some kind of interference that’s causing the footpod to report 1/2 true measured cadence. The speed is reported correctly and my distance is correct, but the cadence graph looks wonky.

    I should note that the cadence is dead on when used outdoors.

    Reply
  89. Anonymous

    Can the footpod be used in any way to improve instant pace? I have a garmin 305 (maybe 910xt soon) and the instant pace on it seems to be a little bit laggy.

    I realize from your FAQ that if a GPS speed is detected, that will override the foot pod but I’m wondering if my instant pace is off from GPS drop outs.

    Anyone have any experience with this?

    Reply
  90. Yup, you can use it in place for speed calculations, thus improving instant pace as shown to you on the screen. It tends to work really well for that.

    Reply
  91. Hello… I have used the foot pod (w/305) for about a year, always outside. Worked famously, until two weeks ago. Was on a long run and the cadence reading dropped out/went blank. I switched out the battery (and yes, put it in correctly), but still no cadence reading. By chance I just spoke with a friend who is having the exact same issue. Help, please..

    Also, twisting the back on/off is not easy… is there a trick?

    Reply
  92. Okay … continuing from 25 Sept. I found an on-line caveat that tells me to keep a battery out of the unit for at least a minute so it will completely discharge. I am told that I may need to re-“pair” it to the 305, but other than turning it on/off I can’t find a menu selection to pair it… (PS – I now have mastered the twisting of the back on/off.)

    Reply
  93. Anonymous

    Please tell us how to calibrate farming footpod with time global. Can’t find instructions anywhere. Thanks.

    Reply
  94. Anonymous

    Please tell us how to calibrate “garmin” footpod with Timex Global. I cannot find the procedure anywhere and am new to these concepts. Thanks!

    Reply
  95. Does Garmin watch (FR610) automatically switches to foot pod for measuring the distance when it looses satellite reception, for example when entering a tunnel?

    Reply
  96. Yes.

    Reply
  97. Despite all of this discussion about the foot pod, how accurate it is and how calibrating it is easy, there really doesn’t seem to be any explanation of how to actually calibrate the foot pod. Have I missed something? My Forerunner 210 came with a foot pod and no instructions on how to calibrate the foot pod. When I look at the setting for the foot pod (ie. the calibration setting — it simply shows a percent (e.g. 100) and allows me to change — but how do I change it? How do I know how much to change it? What do I actually DO to calibrate the watch? I run a mile on a track and look to see if the distance the watch has recorded is accurate — how short or long it is? Then what? Perhaps you’ve covered this in the reviews and I’ve missed it. If so, simply point me to the explanation. I’m surprised no one else has asked about this very basic how-to.

    Reply
  98. Hi Robert-

    You’re going to want to calibrate on either a track or a treadmill.

    I talk about it a little bit in the various sections above.

    Generally for a track I’d calibrate at 800m (2 laps), and do about the same for a treadmill. The minimum is 400m.

    You can use GPS, though it won’t be quite as accurate as the known track value.

    Reply
  99. I tried calibrating the foot pod on the treadmill. After 1 mile on the treadmill, my Forerunner 210 indicated I’d run LESS than 1 mile (about .96 mile). However, after 2 miles, the reading on the Foreunner were GREATER than the readings on the treadmill. After 2 miles, for example, on the treadmill, the forerunner indicated I’d run 2.06 miles. That seems strange to me! First it’s under computing then over computing the distance. So how should I adjust the calibration setting?

    Reply
  100. @Robert
    It might be a sum of errors, from the footpod and the treadmill sensor, especially that if it is not a good treadmill

    Both errors are not only characterised by a bias, but also a distribution, ideally gaussian, but might not be the case for cheap equipment.

    You need to run multiple times and make an average. I would do 6 measurements at least, and possibly using different treadmills. If you are in a gym this is easy.

    Also take into account that footpod calibration is influenced by your shoes. Training shoes and racing shoes might give you different values, 2-3 points difference.

    Reply
  101. garrubal

    Main issue: I’m not getting a speed that matches or nearly matches what the treadmill displays using the foot pod and Garmin 405.

    I first calibrated the foot pod using the GPS method by walking. I don’t recall the form factor, but it was well over 1,000 (1084?). Then I recalibrated by running the same distance back using GPS and got a form factor of exactly 1,000.

    I ran on the treadmill set at 5 miles per hour or 12 minute mile. The Garmin 405 was reading a much slower speed. In one mile, it read a 14 minute mile, and without changing speed on the treadmill, the following mile was a 16 minute mile. I checked the graph for pace on the Garmin Training Center, and the pace is not even. There are some areas where the pace hovers around 12 minute mile, but there are other areas where it slows to a 20 minute mile or less. Hmm. I think I might have answered my own question. I’ll change the battery, recalibrate, and see if that makes a difference.

    Reply
  102. Anonymous

    Hi there, thank you for the great information! I have a Garmin 610 and I replace the battery of my foot pod and I can’t pair it anymore. I have tried soft reset and nothing do you have any suggestion to fix this problem? Thank you very much for your time DC.
    Lucas

    Reply
  103. James

    Very good review. I have used a foot pod with a Garmin FR60 for about 1400 miles. I have noted that the lace position and shoe used make a big difference in the calibration number required. This is easy to obtain without going to a track if the course distance is known. I my case I have measured several courses with my bicycle and my wife’s bicycle plus with GPS. You can take the known distance and divide it by the distance measured with the foot pod. Then multiply by the calibration factor that the watch was set to during the run. That will provide the new calibration factor. After several runs with the same shoes and connecting to the same set of laces on the same foot the calibration factor can be very accurate. Even more accurate than GPS. The key is same laces, same foot, same shoe. Example: New Balance Zero with the foot pod connected to the second and third lace crossing on left foot has a calibration factor of 108.6. Adidas Rocket with the foot pod connected to the first, second, and third lace crossing on left foot has a calibration factor of 93.2. These are my numbers. Obviously not good for everyone. I used the most extreme shoes I have for examples. Most are near 100.0. The difference is how close to parallel to the ground, and the end of my foot the foot pod is. With the Adidas Rocket the Foot pod is in position to sense all the movement down on the flat part of my foot. With the NB Zero the laces don’t start till up on my arch so the best place for a firm connection has a pretty good angle down my arch. That prevents the foot pod from sensing all the motion so the calibration factor must be higher. The FR60 and Forerunner 305 I had before differ only in the decimal place. 1000 calibration factor in the 305 is 100.0 with the FR60.

    Reply
  104. Bill

    I just bought one of these foot pods with the hope that I could start a run with the foot pod while my Forerunner 405 is acquiring a satellite signal instead of standing around for several minutes and waiting for this to happen. However, I can’t figure out how to do this. Is it possible?

    Reply
  105. Kay

    I’ve been experimenting with my foot pod calibration and am already in severe mourning over my loss of all ability to reason with numbers. I’m an English teacher able to diagram endlessly, but can’t make sense of this process. Humbly, I must seek your help, DCrainmaker.

    What impact on my footpod pace does treadmill inline have? On a treadmill, I usually run at 6.7 mph at 1.5% incline to mimic running outdoor obstacles (wind, elevation,etc). Each time I run on the treadmill, are users meant to recalibrate? Or do I set the calibration factor to a number previous calibrated while running on the same treadmill? Should I calibrate on a treadmill at 0% incline to get an accurate baseline or calibrate running at my usual 1.5% incline?

    Next, At the local High school track this morning, I calibrated my footpod by distance (I stopped it myself once I went around the track twice) and then again by GPS (it automatically stopped calibrating at .66). Is one of these factors more accurate since I now have two numbers?

    Finally, What does it mean to select GPS as a speed source or the foot pod as speed source. This option is available in my FR405cx accessories/foot pod menu. I have been playing around with it by switching to back and forth yet don’t see any consistent trends.

    Have mercy on me and put an end to this numerical mystery!!!!!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Hi Kay-

      The incline would have no impact on accuracy (it doesn’t for me, and I run at 1% on treadmills), as it’s purely a stride mechanics aspect. Now, it’s possible your stride mechanics changes in some notable way at higher incline aspects.

      As for calibration, the track method and stopping after 2 loops is far more accurate. The reason being as GPS doesn’t do terribly well on tracks, because of the near-constant turning nature.

      As for speed source, it means as to what the displayed for speed. But not for distance. Essentially, for some folks they’ll see smoother results by using footpod speed. Some do that primarily for interval work. It doesn’t affect distance recorded – so it’s purely an item to help you out while running.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Tony

      Ray,

      I’ve noticed significant pace differences coming from my Garmin footpod at different inclines holding treadmill speed constant. For testing I calibrated my pod to sync near perfect with one particular treadmill at 0% incline. Holding speed constant a 1% incline caused a 15sec/mi pace drop. Subsequent 1% incline increases did not result in a linear decrease in pace but did decrease pace reading down to 25sec/mi below at 6% incline. I am very curious why this is happening. Running mechanics perhaps but the changes seem too significant for that to be the only reason.

      Reply
  106. Teresa

    Will the Foot Pod work with the Garmin Forerunner 10?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Unfortunately not. The FR10 isn’t ANT+ capable, so no ANT+ accessories such as footpods, heart rate straps or the like.

      Reply
  107. tim carter

    Hi
    Does anyone know if you are able to use the footpod on more than one device. I have one for my forerunner 305 and my wife is considering getting an FR70 which is compatible with the foot pod

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      No problem at all, you can pair to multiple devices at the same time.

      Do keep in mind however that if you’re physically moving the device back and forth it will likely change the calibration factor a bit.

      Reply
    • tim carter

      Cheers for the swift reply Rainmaker

      Reply
  108. JOE KENNEDY

    Can i use this when i am spinning to shoe cadence and miles

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      No, unfortunately not. It’ll produce some interesting cadence, but it tends to show about half of what you’re really doing. And the distance gets pretty wonky too.

      Reply
  109. Marike

    Once again you reviews are very informative! I want to use my Garmin 610 for a 87km race that would probably take me 11:30 hours to finish. Off course, with GPS activated, the battery life is only 8 hours. I was thinking to use the watch with foot pod (GPS off) for a couple of hours, and then switch over to GPS (I am a data nerd, would love to have the GPS data for at least half of the course!)

    Do you think this would work to extend the battery life to 12 hours?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      It’s possible, I think probably pretty likely actually. I’ve gotta hook it up here one of these days and simulate it.

      Reply
  110. This is one of the best websites for a product I have ever seen. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  111. Bob

    If you use a foot pod for pace, GPS is still used for distance, right? If so, is the average pace given at the end of a run based on GPS distance over time or does the 610 average the instant pace provided by the foot pod over the course of the run?

    Reply
  112. Marcel

    i use the footpod with my Garmin cx405. It has been calibrated, and i see a calibration factor value on the cx405.
    However, i also want to use the footpod on my iphone + garmin dongle + garmin fit app.
    It pairs ok, but i don’t see the calibration/ factor in the garmin fit app.
    Is the calibration stored in the footpod, or is it simply not psooble to adjust or calibrate with the garmin fit app ?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Correct, it’s stored on the head unit, not the footpod. In the Garmin FIT app, you can’t set the calibration value (which makes it kinda useless).

      Reply
  113. Marcel

    Thank you for the reply! I wanted to use the iphone + garmin fit while running on the treadmill. So i keep the cx405 for now. Something to do for Garmin to make a calibration factor entry function in the Garmin Fit app.

    rgds from the Netherlands
    Marcel

    Reply
  114. Robert

    Is it possible to pair multiple foot pods to a single watch (e.g. FR610)?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      No, unfortunately not. There’s actually no watch on the market today that supports multiple footpods. It would be nice if you could do that like you can multiple bike profiles – sorta a multiple shoe-profile setup.

      Reply
    • Chris

      Is this still the case? I just got a Fenix 3 and was thinking of getting a footpod for the cadence (99% outdoor running). I rotate shoes so it would be nice if I could get a pod for each pair and just have it work when I go for a run. Is it possible? Thank you

      Reply
    • George

      Fenix3 will provide cadence without a footpod, either from the internal accelerometer or from the HRM-RUN strap.

      Since it also (like other recent Garmins) will NOT display current-pace from a footpod there’s really not a lot of reason to buy a second one unless you were doing most of your running indoors and rotating shoes.

      Reply
    • Frank

      Your speed and pace will be much more accurate at any point in time with a foot pod than without. I believe you would have to re-pair every time you change shoes. That might not qualify as “just work” in your book. You can also get Garmin to send you a spare clip for free and just move the pod when you change shoes.

      Reply
    • Chris

      Thanks for the replies. I’m lazy so I would probably get tired of re-pairing everyday. One pod + a clip sounds like the best solution for now. Based on the review of the Fenix, it sounds like the data from the watch accelerometer is significantly less accurate. Thanks again.

      Reply
  115. Thanasis

    Registering

    Reply
  116. Thanasis

    I wanted to ask whether you are aware of any BT footpod in the market? I’ve got the Wahoo Blue BT paired with my Motoactv and i’m resticted to another BT sensor only eitherwise i will need to get new ones both (HR + footpod) with ANT+…

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Nothing today. The problem at present is there actually isn’t a fully agree upon BT Smart device profile. So things are in a bit of limbo land right now. A number of companies are working on devices with draft standards, but everyone is kinda waiting. I suspect we’ll see some by late spring however.

      Reply
  117. Simon jenman

    Hi,
    Great review and your reviews have helped me decide which GPS device to buy, I’m going down the garmin route, my question is, does the foot pod work on a cross trainer? I have a knee injury at the moment and cross training is the only form of excersise I can do, any replies or experience greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Hi Simon-

      To clarify, when you say ‘cross-trainer’ – are you talking about an elliptical? If so, unfortunately not. It’ll give some data, but it won’t be super-accurate.

      Reply
  118. wait

    hey! just to toss in some fun, while it’s not a dedicated device, the Wahoo Fitness app on the iPhone can track in the distances of the GPS and the speed/cadence or footpod at the same time. I’m always fascinated at the end of a ride of the difference between my “distance” (as measured by the calibrated gsc10) and the “gps distance” as tracked by the phone.

    Just thought I would share!

    Reply
  119. MaciekZ

    I have 2 small questions about the usage of footpods:

    1. Does it matter if the footpod is placed more towards the toes or more towards the ankle?
    The miCoach SpeedCeel footpod is the same size as the Garmin one but it still gets a bit in the way when I’m stretching my quadriceps. Especially when I rest my foot like on the picture (A). I was thinking of putting it as high toward my ankle as possible. I guess a recalibration would be needed for distance measurment but right now I’m only using the footpod for cadence information…

    2. I’ve read in few places that the footpod should be placed on “non dominant” foot. Does it really matter?
    What’s your view on this? I’m not really even sure which of my feet is dominant – I am right handed but at the same time “goofy”. Right now I have the footpod on my left foot, simply because the manual was showing it that way :)

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      As long as the placement is within reason, you’re fine (not duct-taped to the front of the toe).

      I haven’t heard any issues with non-dominant foot placement. Mine is on my left right now, but I know it’s been on my right. And really, who truly knows which foot is dominant (it’s not as easy as you think, as I’m seeing looking at cycling data).

      Enjoy!

      Reply
  120. Peter

    Hi
    I’m using a foot pod to my FR 410.

    In Garmin Connect I get the average steps per minute (87-89), but I don’t get the total amount of steps, which I assume should be shown in the column “Steps”.

    Any settings, or things I can do or does the FR 410 not support this?

    Reply
  121. Bobby

    Is it safe to calibrate my FR60 & foot pod using a GPS running app like RunKeeper or something else? I don’t have a track that is accessible but need to recalibrate.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      I wouldn’t use an app, I find them generally wishy-washy. Instead, I’d grab a treadmill.

      Reply
  122. Gary

    Several here have noted an obvious flaw, at least on the 310XT, when using the footpod outdoors. During a run, if the GPS signal is lost, the footpod distance data is used. When the GPS signal is restored, the watch then ADDS a straight-line distance between the last GPS point acquired and the next GPS point acquired. This essentially double-counts the distance where the GPS signal was lost. It could be a function of the Smart Recording algorithm. However, it would be a big problem if one is relying on real-time distance accuracy, especially in trail race where there aren’t mile markers. Any idea how to address this issue while still wearing the footpod?

    Reply
  123. Jarport

    Thank you for your great review. I’ve decided to buy foot pod but because of price I’v bought micoach speed_cell.
    And I have problem with pairing micoach speed cell and garmin 910xt. After pairing speed cell is connected with garmin and works ok (but garmin doesn’t see ID number of speed cell – there is only something like “_ _ _ _ ” or 0)
    But after every a few hours without workouts garmin is not able to connect speed cell again. I know that micoach speed cell works because my PC can connect with itl. I have to reset micoach speed cell (by removing battery) in order to pair it again.
    What I have to do to pair them succesfully?
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
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    Reply
  125. Su-Chong Lim

    I have used a FR60 for 4 years and have become very familiar with footpod characteristics. My original footpod had a quirk that from the beginning inserted 15 second to several minute durations of arbitrary 1:55/km pace into my workout records. (No, I don’t actually run that fast, these were square notch artifacts overriding my actual pace recording). At first these happened so rarely that I didn’t catch on when they started happening more frequently later on. When it started happening very frequently, I thought it was a low battery or batter contact issue, so I changed the battery, bent the terminals and abraded the battery surfaces for better contact to no avail. By the time I checked back and realized this had been happening, albeit rarely since the beginning, I was over the warranty period, and Garmin didn’t wan’t to talk to me, period. Sigh.

    Back to how the footpod works (old one, and my new aftermarket one). The calibration is fairly good, but I find there is a slight drift according to my running pace (I run frequently over the same course with 1k marks painted on the path). I think when I’m running faster, the distance recorded tends to be longer (and the speed tends to be recorded as faster than actual speed). Also when I’m running in snow, even light snow, the previously calibrated accuracy is thrown off, the distance recorded is longer than the actual distance. I think this has to do with slippage of the foot on the pavement, even though this occurs at levels of snow-cover when I’m not conscious of any slippage. Possibly my running stride mechanics changes while running on different surface conditions; the accelerometer/inertial system is pretty impressive, but it uses a complex algorithm to calculate distance that makes several assumptions and approximations that only give consistent accuracy if your stride mechanics don’t change. I’m surprised that Ray didn’t notice any calibration drift during his run on snow. (Maybe his stride form is very stable dry or snow).

    This is directed at the person who calibrated his footpod walking over a measured distance: I recently sprained my ankle, and found I couldn’t run, but was able to walk, even walk fast, really fast. Being impatient, I started training myself to speedwalk. I got to speeds where my butt muscles hurt like crazy, then walked through that pain for several days till the pain went away, then reached speeds where my shin muscles are on fire, but even that is starting to ease up, even though my speed (measured by km marks painted on the running path) is still increasing daily. I currently am up above 8k/h (5mph). The odd thing is that the cadence is imperfectly captured when walking. I get a very consistent cadence capture when running, but when speed walking the cadence will jump from 75-82 obviously the correct cadence, suddenly to 37 or 41, with my walking gait confusing the speedpod sensor (despite not changing the calibration from the setting which was correct when I was running). The distance and speed is thrown off quite a bit, with a real10 k distance being displayed on my record as values form 10.8 to 12k. The variation is partly due to my varying gait, as, being new to speed walking, my muscle groups fatigue rapidly, and I’m constantly changing my gait pattern to relieve the muscle groups that are hurting. My point is, you should calibrate the footpod using the gait and speed that you will be using for the training sessions you are measuring. In particular, a walking gait is so dissimilar to running that walking should definitely not be used to calibrate a footpod for running.

    Reply
  126. Sheruns77

    Hello! I have a Garmin 405CX and the Garmin foot pod pictured above. I want to track my miles on my Bike Trainer and I’m wondering how accurate the mileage is if I clip the foot pod on a spoke on the back wheel tire. I did this today and my average pace was about 3:56 mph with the fastest being 3:14 mph. Now I recognize I will bike faster indoors but that is still pretty fast for me (outdoors I’m between 4:45-5:00 mph). Anywho, I want to continue to use the foot pod on my bike but not if completely skews my mileage.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  127. Don Montalvo

    I think it’s wolly thinking to expect any device to give accurate distance/pace based on.stride length. I bought the foot pod to show me cadence and nothing else. My Garmin Edge 610 has GPS so pave/distance is covered.

    Reply
  128. Su-Chong Lim

    @Sheruns77: if you read my Feb28 post you’ll see that the footpod is not bad in accuracy for most runners in calculating running speed, especially when calibrated. It is less accurate for some runners, likely a small minority, and progressively less accurate for walking and other non running rhythmic locomotor activities. In particular, I would predict it would be highly inaccurate for calculating bike speed, because an object on a wheel rotating at constant speed has a constant i.e. unvarying rotation, and the foot-pod algorithm is trying to detect and quantify a series of changing acceleration/deceleration spikes in 3 dimensions to approximate the best estimate of net velocity in one vector of the trunk (i.e. your body) attached to one of the legs on which the foot on which the footpod is attached to. Looked at this way, it’s amazing that the footpod is accurate at all, let alone how accurate it actually is for running.

    That said, I would think your recent computed bike speeds are totally arbitrary, and based upon the micro rotational accelerations and decelerations of pedal strokes rather than truly circumferential distance based. Based on that guess, I would doubt 3.56 mph is anywhere near close to your real bike speed. 3.5mph is a good walking pace; I could walk that speed before, and in the past 2 weeks have learned to walk at 5.5 mph over a 1+ hr duration, and I can run at 7.5-8 mph over a 1/2 marathon course, so I think your bike has to be faster than that.

    @Don Montalvo: I fully agree with you that it would be wise to exhibit skepticism regarding accuracy of footpod speed data. But, from personal experience, if you are mindful of the limitations of the footpod, and the sources of inaccuracy, the footpod can give remarkable accuracy for true running (often within 1%, and reliably within 5%) if calibrated and looked at with caution. That said, GPS data should be looked at with similar caution( for different sources of inaccuracy), and it would be nice if there was a way of recording 2 data streams, and leaving the judgement which one to choose (at different times) to the user, rather than a dumb algorithm which doesn’t know if you are on a track, a winding footpath, a closed in steep canyon, or a wide open plain travelling in a straight line, all of which pose different known challenges to footpod or GPS accuracy.

    Reply
  129. Su-Chong Lim

    Oops, I meant a small MINORITY in the 3rd line — Ray, if you edit it for me it would cause less confusion and you can delete this! Thanks.

    Reply
  130. Don Montalvo

    Two data streams is my thought too. I workout with both GPS (Garmin Forerunner 610) as well as an A-GPS (iPhone RunKeeper). I’m never surprised how inaccurate the iPhone is (A-GPS might be the cat’s meow in the city, but it can’t hold a candle to real GPS).

    Today was my first time using a Garmin Foot Pod and I’m impressed, since my personal goal was to capture cadence (61 spm) while walking/running…like I already do on my bike. :)

    link to connect.garmin.com

    vs

    link to runkeeper.com

    Don

    Reply
  131. Su-Chong Lim

    @Sheruns77: You can get a bike cadence/speed sensor (=bike computer); they are very accurate and stable when properly installed and calibrated, and are inexpensive (wired). Or for about $70 you can get an ANT+ wireless bike sensor from Garmin or 4iiii or others that will send data that your Garmin 405CX.

    Reply
  132. Su-Chong Lim

    @Don Montalvo: just a re-emphasis, as I mentioned in my prior comment — the foot-pod is pretty accurate for running gait, but when walking, the bets are off. There have been times in the past 2 weeks when my Garmin type ANT+ footpod registered accurate cadence data, but at other times, the accuracy was way off. i can only conclude that the original running-specific algorithm “sometimes” sort of works during walking, but the margin for error at the edge of the accurate capture bracket(s) is narrow, and when the walking signal pattern drifts out of the sweet spot, the cadence record goes way out of whack. Short story — I find walking cadence not consistently reliable on the footpod, but maybe that’s just me.

    Don — your mention of your Apple i-phone reminded me that this morning I got to test a new gadget (that you might find useful working with your i-pod) lent to me by my daughter who works for 4iiiii in nearby Cochrane. She gave me a new product the Viiiiva to play with and an i-pod. I tried the Viiiiva because it is a heart rate strap modelled after the Garmin special comfort strap — it indeed is very comfortable, but more important, has better electrical contact reliability than the older Garmin Strap that I own, and this morning, going for a speed walk session was in a heavy blizzard with strong winds in your face below freezing temperature, conditions that in my experience cause contact problems with the older Garmin strap.

    Well, the Viiiiva proved to be great as far as contact goes. But the real benefit was working with the actual unique feature of the Viiiiva, which I had never understood or appreciated before (in spite of my daughter working on its development!). It’s not just a very comfortable Heart Rate monitor sender chest strap. It also RECEIVES ANT+ protocol data from footpods, bicycle speed and cadence sensors, power meters, altitude, whatever, and RETRANSMITS IT IN BLUETOOTH!! I initially didn’t care, because I have a perfectly good Garmin FR60 to display the data on my wrist and a Sportiiiis heads up heart rate/speed/cadence device mounted on my sunglasses. But she gave me the i-pod to play with, and despite the blinding snowstorm, I got intrigued enough to play with the i-pod with its specially developed Viiiiiva app, which displayed the heart rate and pace and cadence data. This i-pod data readout, of course was large and bright enough to see easily through heavy blowing snow. I initially didn’t think I would care, but I see now that I can use this also as my data display for my new bike without needing to buy an Edge 500 or 800 (because I can still use my FR60 for recording, despite its being really too small to conveniently use as my bike mount real-time readout — ditto for a Garmin 910XT that I may buy). This is only one application that I thought up as I walked through the blizzard, but there will be myriads of possible applications that will arise for i-pod, iphone, i-pad and other newer version blue tooth device enthusiasts and users who are unsure if they want to continue using their existing ANT+ receiver device (Fore Runner series, 910 XT, Edge,etc, or other brands) or to buy a new ANT+ device, or to switch to a bluetooth transmitting device and receiving display combo, thus abandoning their previous ANT+ hardware commitment. Well by using the Viiiiva, they can have their cake and eat it — i.e. they don’t have to choose just one system and thus cut off all availability of using the other system and the collected hardware associated with the now abandoned system. It’s a brilliant concept. And now I have one heh heh heh. :)

    (Hey, Ray, why don’t you review the Viiiiva, it’s really great and fills a product void out there. Also, the company’s other product, the Sportiiiis a heads up sun-glass mounted LED display array that signifies heart rate, cadence, speed for running and bike — I find it a huge safety feature, because you really don’t have to look down as the LED tells it all, and there’s also an audio announcement of the same real-time data in your ear).

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      RE: Viiiiva

      Yup, a unit just came in last week. I’ve been using it, as well as spent a lot of time back and forth with the 4iiii’s guys on improvements.

      At present, I’m holding off my review until about 3-4 weeks for some firmware upgrades that need to occur for it to be truly useful. Right now it’s on the edge, but needs these updates before it’s of use to me (and others).

      RE: 4iiii’s HUD

      I’ve reviewed it previously. :)

      Reply
  133. Su-Chong Lim

    @Sheruns77: I just re-read your post, and I realized what you meant was not 3:14 MPH but a PACE of 3 minutes and 14 seconds per mile. You actually did say “pace”, but the mph threw me off — I apologize, this is, after all, a reasonable bike “pace”. However, I stand by my original comment, I don’t believe the footpod can generate a reliable or accurate bike speed/pace. I’t just not consistent with the design and mechanism.

    Reply
    • Sheruns77

      @Su-Chong Lim, thanks for your reply. You’re correct I was referring to pace instead of MPH. Since I have a couple more months of indoor riding and I do want to get the most true count of miles (I get there is absolutely room for a bit of error w these devices) I’ll be ordering the speed/cadence bike sensor. Happy, running and riding!

      Reply
    • Rich Robbins

      I read your comment on the new Viiiiva strap. I have a couple of questions I hope you can answer for me. How will we be able to update the firmware? The second thing I am curious to know is if i buy a foot pod, will I be able to use other ios apps such as Wahoo. I love the ability to export to Garmin connect and have been able to find only a few apps (Wahoo Fitness, iSmoothrun and the Garmin fit app) as of right now that have this capability built in the app without resorting to exporting a file.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker

      You can update the Viiiiva firmware wirelessly via the new 4iiii’s App (on the app-store today).

      Today, no on footpods. That’s part of the updates. There’s a lot of technical blockers today on the BLE side that are making this difficult. Some of it is lack of finalized ‘device profiles’ for BLE (some of it is trickling in), and some of it is the way the apps handle day (almost all utilize the Wahoo API, which is great, but has a limitation around duel-channel data that Viiiiva is working with them on ).

      Reply
  134. Jim

    Thanks for the detailed review.

    Am I likely to suffer accuracy if I use a pocket, such as this one:

    link to amazon.com

    Or should I just stick with the clip that it came with. (At $50, I’m worried about losing it if it is just attached via the clip.)

    Reply
  135. Great article! And given the stream of comments this topic is very much in demand. My question has to do with how the footpod can be used to correct for GPS inaccuracy when running amongst tall buildings that tend to mess things up a great deal. Too many times the watch assumes that I’ve run straight up the side of a skyscraper and back down, thereby recording that I’ve run severl hundred metres in the time its taken be to run a lot less (10-20m). Naturally, this means that the split where this error ocurrs is way off from the others and, ultimatley, messes up my stats for the run.

    Can the foot pod correct for this error, or is it only useful in such situations with the GPS off?

    Your help would be much appreciated as even Garmin wasn’t able to answer this question adequately…

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      No, you can specify most units to use the footpod for speed/distance during the run – but just not for the recorded speed/distance aspect of it. And when it does do the failover, it’s only if the unit GPS can’t get signal, not just for questionable signal.

      Reply
  136. Ton both

    Hi,
    I was wondering if a footpod like on te Garin Forerunner 610 can be used for measering the distance made indoors in a racketsport, for example badminton.
    I am a badmintontrainer and would like te measure the average distance made during a singles game.
    What do you know about this kind of measurements?
    Kind greetings
    Ton
    The Netherlands

    Reply
  137. Lindsay

    Hello, I currently own a footpod I purchased to use with my now defunct Garmin watch, but am considering purchasing the Forerunner 210 as a replacement. I assume I am able to use my current footpod with the new watch? Thank you!

    Reply
  138. Plicas

    Hi.

    i’ve already post this quetion in another post but i think this is the right one. Sorry for the duplicate.

    I’ve been thinking about buying a footpod and i’ve seen that the suunto and garmin footpods are produced by the same company and use the same protocols of comunication but the garmin is cheaper. Do you know if i could use the garmin footpod whith my sunto t4d???

    thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      No, the T4D doesn’t support ANT+, which is what’s required (only the Suunto Ambit does). The Suunto footpod broadcasts in ANT+ as well as proprietary Suunto-ANT, whereas the Garmin just does the open ANT+.

      Reply
  139. Greg O'Toole

    Thanks for all your advice so far.

    I’m running the Paris marathon tomorrow with my FR310XT and a new foot pod. There are several tunnels on the route. So , my question is, when the signal is lost in the tunnels, and my garmin reads “GPS signal lost, press ENTER” , should I press ENTER ? I’d like the signal to return to GPS as soon as I’m out of the tunnel and I wouldn’t want to disable it. I just want the foot pod in use in the tunnels.

    Can you help ??

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      It won’t actually matter if you press enter. 😉 Think of it merely as a notification. It’ll automatically switch back and forth.

      See ya out there at the start line, and good luck!

      Reply
  140. Greg O'Toole

    Thanks very much. It worked a treat just like you said! That was my 7th Paris marathon in a row and the tunnels had always been a pain when it came to my split second timing issues! Problem solved.
    Read your race report too. Seems you both had a great race. I was more or less at the same pace until around 30k and then slowed down a lot. Great day and thanks again for the advice .

    Reply
    • Boris

      Hi ! I just ran a race in Paris yesterday and going through a tunnel, I obviously lost satellite reception. Having no foot pod, my pace was obviously messed up for that lap and my Virtual Trainer was off as well (2 mn late) for the rest of the race. I decided right after the race to get a foot pod to address that problem. But as Gary notes on February 12th, it seems that my problem will go the other way around, adding the lost distance to the race (and messing up my VP as well). Is that right and is there any way to get around this?

      However, it seems that you had no problem with that issue, can you confirm?

      Reply
    • Having run through those same tunnels yesterday, you can see how a footpod kept me pacing along without issue. Check out my file from yesterday and note there aren’t any tunnel-sized gaps in it: link to connect.garmin.com

      (I was using the footpod).

      Reply
    • Boris

      Ok thanks! And congrats on your timing :-)

      Reply
  141. Dan

    Thanks, Ray, for your really useful reviews and information.

    One useful thing to know: while most of the current-gen dynastream pods are the same, including adidas’s regular (black case) stride sensor (included in their micoach pacer product), adidas also makes another product (usually green case) called the speed cell in the same form factor – at a similar price point.

    The speed cell adds a built-in memory (approx 7 hours activity monitoring) with time/date stamps, and doesn’t need any other device present (i.e watch).
    There’s two models, one with an ipod and iphone app/sync adapter, and another usb-based adapter/sw model for the pc.
    It otherwise appears like any other ant+ foot sensor…same size, same weight. Note you should set it to the “running” profile in the included software as it configures for other sports too.

    I wanted a way of accurately recording my (fast) daily walking/commuting distances without wearing a sportswatch to work, and (after recalibration for training on my running-only shoes) as a backup during training runs.
    Plus (no pun intended), wearing a sensor on my laces wasn’t work-friendly, and this sensor works well hidden from view in my commuter Nike Pegasus 29 Shields’ Nike+ holder.

    The Cool part is a watch can still see the speed cell like any other ant+ stride sensor when the gps drops, as well as the sensor having its own log…no missing speed/distance info this way.

    People interested in doing this should test compatibility with their watch. The sensor is apparently normal ant+, but there was (unconfirmed) chatter that certain watches wouldn’t see it…maybe because the sensor wasn’t “on” from sensing recent activity….

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      I don’t believe the Addias unit actually broadcasts open ANT+. My understanding is that it’s using private-ANT. I’ll pick one up and validate it, but I’m 90% sure it’s private-ANT (sorta like the older Suunto accessories).

      Reply
  142. Zarch

    Hey DC, great articles, love them.

    I have a FR610 and fancy getting a footpod solely for cadence recording. Will my FR610 continue as is, collecting everything via GPS, but i’ll just get cadence recorded on top? And there is no problem using both a footpod and HRM at the same time with the FR610?

    Finally, will this older model work with the FR610?
    link to cgi.ebay.co.uk

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Yup, that one works.

      And yup, unless you set it via the setting, the FR610 will use GPS first, footpod on failback (tunnel), and always collect cadence data.

      Reply
    • Zarch

      Thanks DC. I managed to pick up a cheap Garmin SDM3 Footpod and can confirm that you are right, it works flawlessly with my FR610.

      Reply
  143. Greg Niklaus

    Hi, I have a new forerunner 910xt. I see a number of problems and just wanted to ask if these are normal. Firstly running outside with GPS i see large speed spikes – sometimes i run along at a steady pace and it jumps up to 25kph. Is there something wrong or just a standard GPS issue.

    Secondly, i tried to calibrate my footpod after a few initial usages using GPS – i then ran on the treadmill and the speed graph is no longer smooth. very jerky. not sure why this is. i have since calibrated on the treadmill, and while its smooth it doesnt seem to respond too much to the speed increase. for example i run along for 5k at 13kph (garmin shows 13kph as this was the calibrated speed of my 800m) and increase the treadmill to 14. the garmin increases to 13.5, i increase to 15 and it goes to 13.7 etc… i am definitely running faster than 13.7… it seems only to calibrate to the speed i calibrate to. I know this isnt the best way to calibrate but i thought it would then calibrate more closely to the treadmill (even thought this may not be the ‘real’ speed).

    Also on the 910xt calibration gives a value (such as 989 calibrating to 800m distance) is this all the calibration does? or are there internal workings happening? i.e could i just change this value to say 1000 and it would show that im running faster? when new it had the value 1000 in the calibration and im just wondering if setting this value back would in effect reset the calibration?

    Thanks

    Reply
  144. Navin

    I’m unable to replace the battery. I don’t seem to be able to remove it from the battery holder. How does one do it?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      I just use a tiny little flatblade screwdriver to pop it out. Or, the edge of a credit card can sometimes work too.

      Reply
    • Navin

      Thanks buddy

      Reply
  145. M Breg

    Hi,

    1st of, thanks for the extensive reviews on all sports gear!

    One question remains:
    Is it possible to use 2 foot pods with 1 garmin (FR70?)?

    This is because i have 2 different track shoes…half way my workout i switch to spikes..i can imagine i have to end and then start a new training session on the watch? but is it able to remember 2 different foot pods, and will it notice the one im actively using?

    Thanks in adance for anyone able to help!

    Regards,
    Michel

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Unfortunately not. Really wish there was as I’m sorta in the same boat with different pairs of shoes.

      Reply
  146. M Breg

    Thanks for the reply!
    Thats a shame..

    Would i be better of with a gps enabled device? Was looking at the fr210, but virtual partner/speed/time alerts are missing.
    I only do track workouts, all interval training. I was convinced the fr70 was the watch for me…

    Thanks again for any advice!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Yeah, it’s tough as the price point there’s a big jump. If you don’t mind the size (and most don’t), check out the FR310XT. These days it’s about $210US. Not bad at all. Also, check out the FR10 – it doesn’t have the alerts, but does do virtual partner.

      Reply
  147. Marcel

    Hi,
    I just saw that Polar is bringing out a Bluetooth Smart Stride Sensor. Did you hear anything about this (and can we expect a test of this soon) ?

    link to polar.com

    grtz
    Marcel

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Yup, look for a review post on May 28th. Enjoy!

      Reply
  148. Josh

    Ray, I just finished a test run with my new footpod, the most up to date garmin model. I was using my trusty fr305, and running on my trusty TRUE PS300. I set the incline to 0.5%. By entering pace of 6.3mi/hr, or 09:31 pace, after 3 miles I saw my garmin with an average pace of roughly 8:40-8:50, something which varied slightly with cadence. Additionally, 3 miles on my fr305 was equal to 2.75 miles on my treadmill. I put the pace up to 6.0 on the treadmill, and the fr305 read around 09:00 give or take a little.

    My 910xt is arriving soon hopefully, but I’m not sure the results will be drastically different. What to trust, the treadmill or footpod?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      It’s funny, in general, if my footpod is calibrated – I trust the footpod over the treadmill (along with a bit of feel). You can test this a bit by taking two treadmills next to each other at the gym, putting them on the same speed, and seeing what you’re Garmin says.

      If it fluctuates, it’s likely the treadmills.

      Many times when I’ve done really long treadmill workouts (i.e. 90m+) at gyms and have had to switch treadmills, I’ll find that they will indeed be different at the exact same speeds. In most cases it’s because in theory treadmills do actually need to be calibrated and cared for, and many gym’s don’t bother to do so.

      Reply
  149. woody

    Love this site!
    I have a garmin 405. Just got the footpod to use for treadmill running. I’m always around 3/4 off on the mileage.??? Any tips to resolve this? thanks…woody

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Have you calibrated it? And if so, any chance that it’s changed positions – or is loose on your shoe?

      Reply
  150. thomas

    Hi,
    Great review as usual.
    Quick question, It is written in the manual that the foot pod is automatically desactivated after 30 mn of no use.
    I am planning to do triathlon using the course mode separating activities by laps.
    When starting the run, will the desactivated foot pod be reactivated ? how (just by moving the shoes) ?

    thanks
    thomas

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      The unit will automatically re-connect to the ANT+ footpod when the footpod wakes up. The scenario you describe is exactly how it works for me during a triathlon. You’ll get a little on-screen notification as well.

      Reply
  151. Joe Meehan

    So if I rotate between two pairs of shoes (slowly working my way into lower heel-drop shoes), do I keep switching the foot pod between them? If I do that, does the calibration get thrown off each time I switch?

    What if I bought another foot pod, one for each pair? Will the Garmin 610 know to pair with the right one?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      There’s not really a good answer here unfortunately. None of the Garmin units support multiple footpods being paired (in fact, I know of no watch that does).

      Switching the footpod is viable, but you’ll need to write down the calibration value and hope it gets put right back into the same spot. Though, if you’re running outdoors with primarily GPS, it’s not so much of an issue.

      Reply
  152. wawan

    i just ordered one garmin from the link above. Hopefully supporting you. @winanci

    Reply
    • Rainmaker

      Thanks! I appreciate the support!

      Reply
  153. Beth

    Hi,

    I have an FR70. I lost the footpod, and just bought a new one which the package says is FR70 compatible. The watch says it doesn’t can’t find the SDM. Is the watch supposed to recognize the new pod automatically, or are you supposed to do something to ensure the new pod can be recognized?

    Reply
    • You’ll need to go into the settings of the watch and look for the ‘pairing’ option to re-pair it to your new footpod. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be good to (and it’ll stay paired to that new unit).

      Reply
  154. Piotr

    I want to use SDM4 for tracking elliptical workouts. The elliptical I use is York X301 and it shows total KM.
    Would it be possible to calibrate SDM4 to the value of total KM after the exercise and use it with Forerunner 610 in the running mode ?

    Reply
    • Hmm, interesting. You could probably technically do that, and since the motion is consistent, it probably would actually work somewhat well. :)

      Reply
  155. Logan Miller

    Great review, Just 1 question. I use my footpod with the Garmin FR70, so I wouldn’t be able get satellite data, right?

    Reply
  156. Kelvin

    Can I use the Germin Foot Pod connect to my Sunnto Quest?

    Reply
    • No, only the Suunto Ambit 1/2/2s support ANT+ (which is what the Garmin footpod is), the other Suunto units use Suunto-ANT, which isn’t compatible (it’s proprietary).

      Reply
  157. dan

    will the Garman foot pod work with my suunto M5 watch? the garman looks just like the suunto but is about $35 less

    Reply
    • No, as noted in the previous comment, the only Suunto watches that work with the ANT+ footpods are the Suunto Ambits.

      Reply
  158. Tom

    Really appreciate your reviews. Two questions: 1. Can I use a foot pod for a Run-Walk training program or does that dramatic a change in speed really screw up the distance and pace? 2. I read someone’s blog that claims foot pods generally only last a year—-not the battery but the actual footpod. True?

    Thanks a bunch.
    TM

    Reply
    • 1) No problems there, I often have internal sets that include walking, and it correctly picks up the pace even in those sets.

      2) Not true. Battery is approximately one year, then swap of battery. I don’t even remember how long ago it was that I got my footpod, still going strong. Obviously, like any product it’s possible someone managed to kill it at the year mark, but not the norm by any means.

      Reply
  159. Francois

    I have a FR410 for one month and i bougth a week ago a Garmin foot pod because my speed graph as realy not stable when i get out for sort high speed sessions.
    For what i understood, foot pod should raise the stability of the speed measure, but i my case, it wasn’t the case. I got a as unstable as GPS speed graph. I was not using GPS at all to be sure to use foot pod. Then it was impossible to see my real speed look at the speed graph. I got some bad measure like zero when i was sure to do not stop during the lap.
    By the way the cadency graph is perfect, stable, clear with no bad value so the stability issue doesn’t seem to be link to the pod itself, but to the FR410 computed speed using the pod measure.
    What do you think? is there any wellkknow issue with FR410 (last version) and foot pod?

    Reply
  160. Depalma

    Hello, I have just received my Garmin sdm4 footpod to work with the Suunto Ambit (1st generation). It works ok, but definitely requires calibration :-) (strange deviation found during treadmill running). Can you please advice how to do it? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Depalma

      Apparently the procedure is like this: you just need to run the known distance – 800m or 1km and in the Summary screen to correct the shown distance manually (with the use of arrows) The problem is how to find the “known” distance (preferably straight) with enough accuracy?

      Reply
    • A track is usually the best place.

      Edit: Sorry, best if you’re doing a standard footpod calibration (non-GPS). For GPS, you should use as straight as possible.

      Reply
    • Depalma

      Could you please put more light to the mentioned “standard footpod calibration (non-GPS)”? FYI: I have Garmin footpod working with Suunto Ambit device.

      Reply
    • Sorry, I was referring to Garmin devices. Agree, Suunto is different.

      Reply
    • Depalma

      Would treadmill be an option for footpod calibration? I was also thinking to use the bicycle computer to determine the 1km distance before the calibration run…

      Reply
  161. Question… if food pods work so well, why get a GPS watch (if just running) ?

    Reply
    • I find that long-term, GPS tends to be more accurate, and you don’t have to deal with calibration. It also allows you to get directions back to where you came from, and look back at your training to see where you were (useful to try and understand why you were running slower or faster – such as a hill).

      Reply
    • Good point!! Thanks! So looks like the pairing of a GPS watch + foot pod = constant tracking = goal!

      Reply
  162. Gesper

    I just bought a new 310XT to replace the one that I have used for the past three years. I already had a Garmin footpod I used for years with the old 310 and the new 310 recognized it with no problem. However, when I tried to calibrate it at a track it showed “calibration failed.” I replaced the battery and tried it three more times with the same result. I am not new to the process so it should be working. Any ideas? Also, even though it didn’t calibrate, it showed my time for the 800m (e.g., 4:05) and the average cadence (88). Since I have distance, time, and cadence, can I calculate what the factor would be and then just input it in place of the default 1000?

    Thanks

    Reply
  163. BubbleMakerTrailer

    Good morning everyone, good morning Ray

    Just bought 2 garmin SDM4 foot pods to have them on my running pairs of shoes.

    I have however a concern, I suspect the version of the delivered foot pods might not be the latest. On it I can read IC 3797A-SDM4.
    Anyone can check on his? And shall I expect issue ?

    Reply
    • SDM4 is the latest. The number in front of it just depends a bit on which manufacturing batch (it changes over time).

      Reply
  164. Hi. I am a visual impaired runner and cyclist. I have been using the Nike+ foot pod together with iPod Nano on the treadmil. It gives me voice feedback with distance, pace, heart rate etc. After reading your articles, I have now baught a Garmin Forerunner 910XT with the foot pod for use both for running indoors and outdoors and for swimming. It Doesn’t give me voice feedback but can be set to beep every kilometer, heart rate warnings etc. Your reviews have been very helpful :)

    Just wonder if I need to run the calibration on the 910XT or if it calibrates it self when running outdoors with GPS? Like when setting the wheel size to auto on the Edge devices?

    Thanks again for your great articles and descriptions. They are very helpful even for me. Of caurse I need help with setting up the device but I can read all the data after it has been transfered to Garmin Connect.

    Reply
  165. Boris

    Hello again, since you seem to be living in France most of the time now and your readers must be from different countries, are you thinking of testing low budget items from Decathlon (present in numerous countries although not in the US)? In relation to this post, I’m thinking mainly of Decathlon’s own foot pod which is 20€ cheaper than the Garmin. Ever tried it?

    link to decathlon.fr

    Reply
    • hollyoak

      Good question as I’d like to add a footpod to my FR610, especially for running on the track where it fails miserably (adds 10%…), have you had a chance to try it yourself now?

      Reply
    • I haven’t tried it. But ultimately, they’re all the same units designed/made by Dynastream and just branded for various companies (including Garmin).

      Reply
    • hollyoak

      Thanks, well I went out and got one yesterday after verifying in the store that my FR610 could actually find it after I shook the box a bit 😉 Someone mentioned in another forum that Decathlon might drop the ANT+ compatibility and “code it” to their in-house devices, hasn’t happened yet, assuming its true.

      I used it on the open road and was quite impressed by its accuracy even without any calibration and wow, the consistency…instant pace is at last usable! I ran the log through the free calibration tool and it came out at 95.2% I think.

      There has to be a pretty refined set of accelerometers in there because it is able to estimate the actual stride, not just the cadence. I don’t think smartphones are able to do that, hence the lesser accuracy of pedometer apps. I guess it justifies the high cost somewhat, although if Decathlon can sell it for €40 what does Garmin want €70 for it…and it was briefly available on Venter-Privé for €15 in October!

      Reply
    • Nice, good to know!

      Indeed, if it has the ANT+ logo on it, then it has to be ANT+. If they go private-ANT, then they’re required to remove the ANT+ logo. Suunto and their accessory units are a good example of this.

      Reply
  166. I had to replace the battery in my foot pod, and then it was (of course) wildly inaccurate. I went in to “full edit” mode in Garmin Connect and corrected the distance on my two most recent runs. Now my foot pod seems to be back in proper range. Is it possible that when you adjust the distance in Garmin Connect, that also adjusts the foot pod’s calibration or is this just an odd coincidence?

    Reply
  167. Anne Maas

    Thank you so much for your helpful forum and all reviews.
    Maybe a strange question, but could you also use the foot pod for measuring a horse’s pace instead, by attaching it to the leg?
    I have no idea on which principle these pods work, but you should be able to calibrate in much the same way.
    The main question is whether the pod has a maximal stroke distance (which for a horse of course is larger) and whether it is important in which direction the pod is attached (since on a horse’s leg it would be hanging vertically instead of horizontal on a shoe).
    Very interested in the answer!

    Reply
    • Honestly, I have absolutely no idea at all.

      I know that it shouldn’t matter for orientation, as folks have done some other things around paddles and the sort. But I don’t know if there’s some issue with stroke distance being significantly larger.

      Sorry!

      Reply
  168. Anne Maas

    Wow, thanks for the super fast reply!
    I guess if it works with paddles, this should work too; the paddle stroke is also much larger than footsteps (depending on where you place it of course).
    Seems to me a nice test, I’ll see if I can get my hands on one! If so, I’ll share the results :)

    Reply
  169. Damon

    Hi! I’m strictly walking indoor on my treadmill. I built a treadmill desk! Would you recommend a foot pod for my garmin 305 or should I stick to the Proform 785 treadmill readings? Don’t need exact numbers, just a ballpark. But automatic data collection on miles into Garmin or Sport Tracks etc is tempting. Thanks!

    Oh and I did read your preview on the FR220, but I think the accelerometer wouldn’t help me since my arms won’t swing, but rather stay on the desk with a mouse and kb.

    Reply
  170. Damon

    I have the sdm4 and it works fine with the 305. Takes a while to pair though. But alas, it proves that my treadmill miles match up almost exactly with the foot pod. The calories between the treadmill, my Polar FT7, and the 305 are worlds apart.

    Reply
  171. Ricci

    My battery died and after changing it with a new one I’ve not been able to detect the footpod with my 910xt until now. I notice that in the cap or lid of the footpod where the battery sits before closing it sits a white piece with contacts for the battery. I had inadvertently taken this out when replacing the battery, which is fine BUT you have to put it back in a certain position. If you look very closely at the cap where the battery sits you will notice there are tiny grooves where the contacts should sit into. As soon as I line these up with the white contact piece, voila! Footpod was immediately detected. Try it if you are having issues after replacing a new battery.

    Reply
  172. Damian

    I’m using a footpod with my FR50 since 5 years. It’s that bigger one, I mean it’s the generation before that small one. To get right pace while running with different speed I have calibrated it to each speed that I’m training with. After that before training I set right factor depending of a speed that I’m using. Of course while doing intervals I set the factor right to speed while doing the work, that’s why the resting speed is always wrong. So it’s impossible for me to calibrate my footpod in order to have right pace running different speed. Do you have the same experience?

    Reply
    • No, you don’t need to do that.

      The footpod is best calibrated at your ‘normal’ running speed (think long distance running speed). In my tests I can go to the track and vary the speed easily for interval work to walking and just about have it spot on. It’s designed to account for variation in speed.

      Reply
  173. Damian

    Thanks for your comment.
    It’s true.
    When you set a factor for long distance running and you do intervals, the avarge speed of interval work (assuming fast and slow sections) will propably more or less the same as speed settled for long distance, and then the distance will be right.
    I did calibration several times using my 1,5km track with different speed, and to get exactly the same distance the factors looks like that: 6,0min/km – 1,2; 5,30min/km – 1,25; 5,00min/km – 1,35; 4:30min/km – 1,45; 4min/km – 1,55. So when I set the factor as 1,2 and run with 4:30 pace I get the distance 1,6 or higher instead 1,5km.
    Maybe the newest version of footpod works better, or maybe there are some differences between watches while reading footpod data. But I must said that when the factor is right settled the injunctions of the speed are very precice.
    Besides that all I’m thinking to change my old watch to FR620, but it shows speed with 0,5min/km precision while the footpod right calibrated shows it with 0,1min/km, and I think it’s important difference if I run with f.e. 4:38 or 4:42min/km (FR620 will propably shows 4:40). But after all the functionality of GPS wathes (especially FR620) is much much higher than my old one so I will surely move to FR620 and not have to change footpod faktors any more :).
    Thanks Ray and all the best.

    Reply
    • hollyoak

      Thank you for sharing your detailed observations. I’ve been calibrating my Geonaute (Garmin clone v2) FootPod on the track and made similar observations. While the FootPod does figure out that your stride length changes when your speed changes (as seen in Garmin Connect) it doesn’t quite manage to get an exact number for all paces, but it’s very close.

      Here’s what I got for an 800 calibration run on the track :
      CAL1 – Pace : 5’32″/km – GPS : 820 meters – Factor : 106.1
      CAL2- Pace : 5’18″/km – GPS : 816 meters – Factor : 104.9
      CAL3 – Pace : 4’32″/km – GPS : 832 meters – Factor : 103,4

      Then using CAL3 I ran 12×400/R200 at 3’49″/km and got 4820 meters for the fast parts instead of 4800 so a very good 0.42% error (and I was lapping manually too so that should be factored in). I now feel confident I can program my workouts on the track using distance and recovery in time. Before I had to go 400/200 and lap manually which was a bit of a nuisance/distraction.

      Reply
  174. Carlos

    Hello, the Garmin sensor is compatible with the Nike+ slot shoes?

    Reply
  175. hollyoak

    Actually I was looking at shoes at Decathlon the other day and noticed some Nike shoes with a little round logo and plastic “piece” on the sole so I thought that maybe they included the pod…but I lifted the insole and saw the familiar slot that seemed like it could accommodate the Garmin one like Adidas Tempo/Adios or Kalenji Kiprun shoes do. I have the Nike+ FootPod too and it seems identical to the Garmin one, maybe a tad slimmer. Is that why the Garmin FootPod won’t work in a Nike+ shoe?

    Reply
    • It just uses a different protocol. Some of them way back actually used private-ANT, but not anymore, and definitely not using ANT+.

      Reply
  176. Carlo

    Sorry, maybe im not clear whit my question. I want to know it’s: can i put the Garmin Sensor (the unit) inside the Nike shoe slot? (the slot for Nike + sensor)
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Yes, it fits in the hole (a reader up above confirmed it in the comments section).

      Reply
    • hollyoak

      Following my post above, I checked the two sensors and they are in fact exactly the same size so yes, it shouldn’t be a problem.

      Reply
  177. Kasey

    Quick question, I tried looking through the comments and didn’t see it asked already.

    I calibrated my foot pod last week with GPS using my Garmin 910. On the treadmill this week with shoes “A”, pace seemed about right in relation to HR. The next day in shoes “B” pace was about 45 – 60 sec slower at the same treadmill setting and same HR. This morning, back with shoes “A” pace was back to the same as first day.

    Do you have any feedback on different shoes giving different pace readings?

    Reply
    • 6co

      Same issue with mine.
      And even better! it drifts over with time on the treadmill. On a run at constant pace on the treadmill, my footpod says I am actually accelerating over time. Not very much, but on long runs, there’s up to 30 sec difference per km (!) by the end of the run as compared to the beginning.
      Seems like the treadmill has slowly accelerated, or like the footpod has moved subtly along the shoe laces and is making a different appreciation of my strides….
      6co

      Reply
    • hollyoak

      Yes I’ve noticed that too, but it made sense because on one pair I fit inside the sole (Adidas Tempo) and on the other on my laces and I use the Adidas for intervals.

      I just made a note of the settings based on speed and shoes. Works well and yesterday I was a bit “lost” when I couldn’t get a steady instant pace while trying some new shoes during my run 😉

      Reply
  178. Pat Shea

    Ray,
    I got a Garmin footpod for use with my 610 recently and am seeing odd spikes in the speed data on Garmin Connect when running on a treadmill. It goes from a fairly steady pace to off the top of the chart for 20 seconds. In a 50 minute run I have 22 spikes.

    Reply
    • I would start by ensuring it’s tight on the shoe. I’d also look at swapping out the battery – even if you think it’s a new battery, as sometimes things get stale in packages.

      Reply
  179. Matt Kirk

    Hey,

    I just bought the FR 220 and noticed that it doesn’t have the footpod calibration option like my old 405cx did. I rather use the footpod then the accelerometer. So how do I get the correct calibration factor? Thanks

    Reply
  180. Janell

    I’ve been trying to figure out– and finally came across your blog and the millions of comments on the foot pod…. I LOVE my pod for my treadmill but I want to use it for cadence outside. This might seem like a simple no brainer but I can’t seem to find an answer–:

    Can I keep both my foot pot and GPS on outside while running and still get an accurate record of data?
    I have no reason to lose satellite so I just want the pod on so I can track my cadence. Will the two (pod & GPS) interfere with sending info to my watch? I have the Garmin 405cx.

    Reply
    • Yup. All Garmin watches today will use footpod for cadence outdoors and GPS for distance/pace, unless otherwise specified. If you lose satellite while outdoors (such as running through a tunnel), then it’ll automatically switch over to footpod and then back when out.

      Reply
  181. Thibalult H

    I own an 8 year old Forerunner 305 with footpod. I think it’s a first generation footpod. The watch is dying after all these years of abuse. I’m replacing it with a Forerunner 620. My question is, should I replace my first gen footpod with a contemporary model? Are the new ones better and more accurate?

    Reply
    • Thibalult H

      Hmm….after doing a quick search on Google, my footpod may not be first gen. It uses CR2032 battery and says SDM3 on the back. Should I replace with SDM4 version?

      Reply
    • The new ones are simply smaller, which is the main appeal. I know some tweaks were made to improve accuracy, but I never saw any major issues on the older ones.

      Reply
    • Thibault H

      Thanks for the reply! I receive my Garmin 620 in a few days and look forward to seeing how well the footpod works with it.

      Reply
  182. simon

    fwiw I’ve just had my foot pod die after going through a puddle. About a year old and the first time it’s had a really good soaking, but died within a few minutes of running throught the water – the manual says waterproof to 10m and review above says IPX7 (1m for 30 mins)

    when I opened the battery compartment there was definately water in there, so not quite a waterproof as I’d hoped

    Reply
  183. simon

    anything’s possible but can’t see any cracks and it’s been sat inside the same pair of nike’s for 6 months. Battery cover was still in place. Rubber seal in battery compartment looks fine as well.

    Died within a few minutes of the dunking so I would think that it would have to have been a largish leak ?

    I suspect it might have survived if it had be mounted on it’s external mounting clip – but the cutout in the sole of nikes/adidas shoes is much neater.

    Normally run around puddles – but recent UK weather and flooding of Thames in london means I couldn’t avoid it yesterday :) Now if only GarminUK support would learn to answer the phone it’s still within warranty so hopefully I’ll get a replacement.

    Reply
  184. philipp

    Hi,

    is it possible to use the footpod as pure cadence sensor when running outdoors with gps enabled? I have a FR305 and I read somewhere it’s not possible to track cadence when in gps mode.

    regards
    Philipp

    Reply
    • Nope, all Garmin products will use GPS over the sensor outdoors for pace/distance (by default). And the watch will just use the footpod for the cadence portion. It’s what I’ve long done (before the FR620).

      Reply
    • Philipp

      Ok, if I understand it the watch then collects both gps data for pace/distance and the cadence information from the footpod?

      Reply
    • Correct.

      Reply
  185. Simon

    I’ve been trying the 14 day demo of FirstBeat Athlete which analyses HRV data from the 610. FBA also gives you an “error percentage” of the heart rate data, basically an indication of dropouts of glitches.

    At this time of year I find that static can be a problem with HR data so I always soak the strap in water before using. This tends to mean that I get good heart rate data on the watch and later when I upload to Strava/GC. What I am seeing, however, is very high error rates in FBA, up to 50%. If you zoom in on the data you can see multiple drops and spikes.

    Like strava/GC FBA can smooth these errors to give usable data so it’s not too much of an issue.

    BUT

    I’ve noticed if I run with a foot pod I get MUCH higher error rates than when I run without. Without the footpod I get <10% errors and with the foot pod I get up to 50%. I've tried different running tops, HRM gel etc but the pattern remains.

    There could be various reasons for this including some unrelated to the watch/HRM/footpod but I find it a curious. Could be interference, lack of watch CPU power writing the data or something else ?

    As I mentioned, you would necessarily notice this on the watch or Strava/GC but it's very noticeable on FBA

    Anybody else noticed this ?

    Assuming there is a problem (?) I wonder if this would be an issue when the HR data is already on the edge because of static issues, could using a footpod push this over the cliff and cause full dropouts/spikes.

    Reply
    • Erik

      Sort out your wifi. get it to not use channel 7-12. they interfere with Ant+

      Reply
  186. Frank Young

    Is a foot pod superior to the accelerometer capabilities of the HRM-RUN? If the foot pod is compatible with my FR410 why isn’t the HRM-RUN? Or is it compatible?

    Reply
    • The footpod is different than the HRM-RUN. The HRM-RUN provides cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time (Running Dynamics). It does not provide pace. The footpod meanwhile, provides pace and cadence. In testing, from a cadence perspective at all levels of paces and cadence ranges, there was at most only 1SPM of difference.

      The HRM-RUN is not compatible with anything today except the FR620 and Fenix2. It can provide straight HR to older devices though.

      Reply
    • Gardner

      When the foot pod is used concurrently with the HMR-RUN, with a Fenix 2 will it record cadence from the HMR-RUN or foot pod?

      Reply
    • Run cadence hierarchy: HRM-Run, Footpod, WDR (Trail Running and Running modes only)

      Reply
    • David Smoot

      Confused about the distinction between pace and cadence. Cadence is steps per minute, pace is just cadence multiplied by your stride length. The footpod is a “dumb” device, it just counts steps and sends the count out over ANT+, right? The footpod has no way of knowing if it is attached to a 4′ 11″ female or a 6′ 6″ male so it can’t broadcast an actual pace number correct?

      So you understand where I am coming from, I have the original Fenix and I have lost my footpod and accidentally destroyed my HRM by forgetting to replace the O-ring on the last battery change. I am trying to decide the relative value of a HRM-run enabled Garmin only vs. footpod + HRM strap vs. footpod + HRM-Run.

      In your 620 review you have a chart showing how much better the cadence data is from the HRM-run vs. the footpod. So is somehow the pace data better sourced from a footpod instead of the HRM run?

      Thanks for your time and the informative site.

      Reply
    • Frank Young

      David. Cadence is the number of steps you take per minute. Pace is the number of minutes it takes you to cover a given distance (usually a mile or a kilometer). Pace and speed are directly related. For example, an 8 minute pace for a mile will always equate to an average speed of 7½ mph. Because the length of a step can vary, there is not a direct relationship between cadence and pace but they are related inasmuch as increased cadence usually results in a faster pace (lower number) and higher speed.

      A foot pod is not entirely dumb. It has an accelerometer which, in addition to recording foot strikes (cadence) also measures the time your foot is attached to the ground and the time and distance it is “flying” during each stride (two steps). Within a reasonable range of the speed for which it is calibrated, this enables a foot pod to accurately estimate your current speed (pace if you prefer) much more accurately than your GPS over short spans of time and distance. Most runners seem to rely on foot pods for minute to minute estimates of current speed outdoors and indoors for all estimates of spped and distance covered.

      Foot pods don’t do vertical oscillation which is a measurement of how much your torso bounces up and down with each stride. That is what the HRM-Run does in addition to attempting to do the same tricks as a foot pod. It’s hard to believe something mounted to your chest knows with precision how long or far your foot is flying or fixed but I believe it tries.

      Seems to me that the perfect setup would be all three but I’m not sure any of the devices support using them both at once.

      Reply
  187. Ray

    Hi Ray, thanks so much for your writeups, have always found them immensely helpful.

    Was wondering if the Fenix2+HRM-RUN can keep tracking pace when GPS signal’s lost? (Know that cadence is tracked with the internal accelerometer still) Or pace can only be tracked with the foot pod when indoors? 😐

    Also, what would happen if I were to use the Fenix 2 with the HRM-RUN and foot pod? Where would the pace and cadence data come from? Any gotchas?

    Reply
    • Ray

      Seems that there’s an option for setting foot pods to feed speed/pace data (Foot Pod Speed) to indoors. Will give it a try one day too to see how it fares.

      Reply
    • The Fenix2 actually does that without the HRM-Run. It uses measurement at the wrist to do it when GPS is lost (such as in a tunnel). No footpod, nor HRM-RUN is needed. This comment helps explain the order a bit more: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Reply
    • Ray

      Great, got it, thanks!

      Reply
  188. Danny

    I don’t understand- are you saying here that in order for the foot pod to work so that it tells me my distance and speed/stride length at the end of each jog I take- I need to have a pedometer wrist watch to go along with it? So the foot pod itself does not display distance or speed/strides taken- it only is a device to SEND A SIGNAL from my foot to the watch? What would be the cheapest Garmin Pedometer Watch I can use along with it so it will accurately tell me my distance while jogging- even though my stride length/speed alters while running? Also- what does it mean to ‘calibrate” a pedometer- is that when you walk a mile and manually count your steps first in order to program it or something with the average steps you take per mile? Do I calibrate my strides per mile into the pedometer watch or the pedometer foot pod?

    Reply
    • You can pickup the Garmin FR60/FR70, which is generally around $80-$100.

      To calibrate it, I discuss it in the post above, but essentially you need to run a known distance on a track or treadmill.

      Reply
  189. Debbie

    Wow, I so LOVE your posts and how much you break everything down for us exercise gurus who love our Garmins… I thought about getting the foot pod and based on some recent cardio circuits I’ve been doing, I wonder if it would work or pickup heart rate, calories and cadence for a StairMill? (I found somebody posted a similar question in July 2012, but there was no reply.)

    Reply
    • Thanks!

      With calories on a Garmin device, it’ll come from the HR strap, not the footpod (unless no HR strap is present). But in that case, you won’t typically get accurate distance on a footpod while on on StairMill unfortunately.

      Reply
  190. Joneil

    I was thinking about getting this to pair with my Fenix 2 to replace my Jawbone Up24. I’m curious how long the battery would last with the Fenix and footpod paired for the most part of the day. I see the Jawbone as an awesome pedometer but having everything streamlined with the Garmin ecosystem would be ideal if the data and battery is comparable, if not better than the Jawbone.

    Reply
    • You could put the Fenix2 into indoor mode (which disables GPS), and I’m guessing it’d last 40-60 hours. But, at the day, it’s not really an UP24 in that scenario, it’s just attempting to track walking distance. Ultimately, what you’re really looking for is the Vivofit (the competitor to the UP24), or, to a lesser extent the just announced FR15.

      Reply
  191. Fish

    Can the FR 610 now be calibrated with the footpod with gps data?

    Reply
  192. Juineg

    Hi Ray, great post again.
    I was just wondering whether the footpod needs to be accurately calibrate to give correct cadence data or is that just for pace/speed?

    Reply
    • Yes. Distance is simply a function of pace/speed. Thus, if pace/speed are incorrect (not calibrated), distance will also be incorrect.

      Reply
  193. Smokin'Schwalbes

    Is it possible to analyze a FIT file and discover whereabouts a footpod was lost? I’m sure there must be a few people where this has happened, and analyzing the activity might point to its last ‘known’ position and so aid its recovery.

    Reply
    • Yup, a few people have done so, primarily when using GPS along with it.

      In that case they’ve looked at the map and specifically the cadence graph. In that case find the spot where the cadence drops out, and that’s usually where the footpod is.

      It’s easiest to find the time on the cadence graph first, and then switch to the ‘Player’ tab and zoom in on that spot in the time graph.

      Reply
  194. Jenni

    Question about the foot pod and the Garmin Fit Android app… I am a recent iPhone convert and have been trying to replace what I used to track with Nike+ and my iPhone on my treadmill where I do 99.9% of my running. Your article pointed me toward the Garmin foot pod (thank you!!!!) and I have been using it with the Android Garmin Fit app as I do not have a “modern” Garmin watch. My problem is that the calibration is waaay off. My treadmill display is reasonably accurate for milage (I’ve compared outdoor runs with the Nike+ sensor for known distances after it was calibrated to the treadmill display and it is very close) so I would like to use the distance my treadmill reports to calibrate the Garmin app/foot pod. I can go out to the Garmin Connect site and fix the distances after the fact but of course this makes my laps not add up and I’m sure my cadences are not being calculated correctly. I’ve seen your artcles about downloading data from a watch and using a tool to find a calibration factor to enter back into the watch, is anything like this possible without the watch??

    Reply
    • Yeah, the Garmin Fit app is unfortunately pretty ugly (and hasn’t been updated in at least a year).

      I know the Wahoo iPhone app does support calibration, but I don’t think the Android version does yet. Nor does it yet support ANT+ devices. I don’t know that many other Android apps unfortunately that support both ANT+ accessories as well as supports sending that data to Garmin Connect site. :(

      Reply
  195. Bart

    I’m following a short triathlon clinic which shows me the other two sport (swimming an cycling) after doing running for some time.
    As my running watch is getting outdated (Polar RS800 (WIND)) and i want cycling and swimming registration i’m looking at ANT+ and Bluetooth light.
    Biggest Question: How to log a triatlon ? (from begin to end)
    (and of course show the info durring the race).
    Lets start:
    Swiming: as this is the first part a watch has no problems logging the possible data available (internal sensors for stroke and external HR strap (eq polar))
    Cycling: The main display will be the bike computer. But which device will log the parameters?
    Does the ANT+ HR stap automaticly connect to the watch AND the bike computer. and can the watch log the ANT+ speed and cadance (without touching watch or computer)
    Running: Fodpod, does the ANT+ pod automatic connect to the watch when in range?

    Problem is i can’t find any (detailed) information about this.
    As a part of the clinic we had a run-bike-run a week ago. I set up my HR strap and footpod (both Polar WIND)
    and running went fine. No logging bike computer so my watch only logged HR during bike part.
    Final after putting back my running shoes on the foodpod didn’t automatic reconnect and i had to manual restart a training sesion.

    So i’m very interested in how others do this and which devices are used watch+bikecomputer and are there ANT+ or bluetooth smart device which work the way i want (automatic multiple device connection)

    Reply
  196. Joe Seiley

    Newb question here…I have Fenix2 and the bundled HRM. Can I use both the HRM with the Ant+ foot pod at the same time while indoors on the treadmill? I assume so but was wondering for sure. LOVE THE SITE!

    Reply
  197. Joe Seiley

    Just completed my first treadmill run after GPS calibration of the foot pod with my Garmin Fenix 2. The resulting data lined up almost exactly with the tread mill data output (distance/time/calories), so I’m very happy with result!

    Reply
  198. Frank Young

    I finally gave in to the temptation to buy a foot pod. I’m not sure why. Perhaps curiosity or maybe I thought I just needed another step counter to add to my growing collection (Vivofit, Fitbit One, and Polar Loop). The second reason was a failure as my FR410 apparently will not count steps even with the foot pod paired. My Running Dynamics data appears to be confined to Avg and Max Run Cadence.

    But then there is the curiosity factor. I’m curious about the whole calibration thing. I have gotten the impression from things I have read that calibration is about fine tuning speed and distance estimation. I used GPS to calibrate mine while walking first day out and ended up with a calibration factor of 0906 whatever that means. I intend to calibrate it again today while running and am curious to see if I get a substantially different calibration factor.

    And that is the source of my curiosity. My step length changes pretty dramatically as I speed up—from about 30” walking at 3 mph to more than 44” running at 7 mph. Even sticking with running alone, my stride length is about 34”, 40” and 44” at speeds of 5, 6, and 7 mph respectively. Will every average speed require a new calibration? Does the accelerometer in the foot pod actually measure stride length? If it does, why the need for calibration? If one calibration suffices for all paces why the need to calibrate at all? The fact that the foot pod is as accurate in interval runs as those at a steady pace would indicate that it “knows” something about changing stride length.

    Reply
  199. Frank Young

    Update—I’m a little disappointed. Went to my local high school track and did a walking 800m calibration which came out at 907, very close to my GPS walking calibration of 906. Next I did a 800m fixed distance calibration while running. The Calibration factor jumped to 955. I turned the GPS off and took 9 laps around the track. My FR410 registered 3.40km instead of the 3.60 I had actually traveled. Out of time to play with fitness toys today, I did another GPS calibration while running home. That came out at 1035. I guess I’ll test that setting out tomorrow. Sure is boring running around a track though.

    I don’t know if it is relevant but during my nine lap test run, speed dropped to zero briefly three times and spiked into the 12-14 range three times as well. Most of the tall spikes immediately followed the zeros. The speed graph in general was very rough jumping up and down in the 8-10kph range. The cadence graph is super smooth averaging 162 and maxing at 164.

    Reply
    • I would start by trying a manual (non-GPS) calibration of 2 laps around the track at your comfortable long run pace (so neither super fast, nor walking) and see where that puts you. I find that by calibrating at my long run pace I get pretty solid accuracy across both running and sprinting (with a footpod).

      Reply
  200. Frank Young

    Yesterday morning, I scouted out a much nicer 400m track at Piedmont High. Pretty pristine rubber surface with all of the nice lines and numbers. This morning I went pack there and did the following tests:

    Manually set the calibration at 900, turn the GPS off and run around the track five times (2KM) at my comfortable long-distance pace of 9.5 km/hr (I know, its pathetic but I am old.)

    Next I incremented the manual calibration by 50 and repeated. I kept doing this until I I got to a Calibration factor of 1200. Then I did a few more things.

    Findings:

    1. As the Calibration Factor increases, so does estimated stride length and, therefore, estimated distance traveled. Set at 900, my actual 2km run was estimated at 1.70km. Set at 1200, my actual 2km run was guestimated at 2.26km. Every 50 point increase in Calibration Factor was worth about 0.1 km on a 2km course. The “right” number for me,for now, for running seems to be 1050 (2.01 estimated km).

    2. The calibration factor is quite a bit different for walking than running. I did three, back to back 800m known distance calibrations while walking. They came out 912, 906, and 916 in that order. All 130-140 points below my running Calibration factor.

    3. For neither walking nor running is known distance calibration (everyone agrees this will produce the most reliable result) the silver bullet of accuracy. In #2 immediately above, you see numbers that vary by a little more than 1% from high to low. I did three running known distance test calibrations today as well. Those values were 1033, 1048, and 1035—again a roughly 1% spread.

    4. As long as you stick to running OR walking, I think this is an impressive tool. Certainly for moment to moment pace/speed readouts it is WAY better than GPS and given the foot pod’s placement on a shoe, I have to believe the cadence numbers (which I would not have at all without the foot pod) are golden and a useful training metric.

    5. I don’t think my 410 is going a great job picking up/interpreting my foot pod signal. Here is my 1050 calibration factor 2K trial: link to connect.garmin.com. Look at the speed graph there and compare it to this one from Ray Maker’s 620: (Image 7 of 10 earlier in this blog post) It would be nice to hear from or be able to look at other FR4XX Foot Pod output.

    Reply
    • Yeah, that looks wonky (your FR410 activity). It’s hard to say whether it’s a footpod or watch issue, though I’d actually be more suspecting that it’s a footpod issue.

      Reply
  201. Frank Young

    Here is the very next one: link to connect.garmin.com. Seems odd to me that the big spikes correspond with laps (pushed the lap button at end of each track circuit) but it all looks pretty rough. I reread your 410 review a couple of times and there is no foot pod only speed graph in there.

    This evening, I plan to do a 10K with GPS off and Auto Lap set to 1K. We’ll see how that works out. It really is nice to have a better way to judge pace at a glance. Just based on glancing at the 410 from time to time the pace is less erratic than the graph would indicate and way less erratic than GPS. $45 well spent.

    Reply
  202. Frank Young

    Here is the data from this evening’s 10K: link to connect.garmin.com Calibration Factor at 1035 still a little off. Changed afterwards to 1050 which worked well at the track.

    Those spikes which seem to occur at 1k intervals (had auto lap set tonight) are odd and look suspiciously like the ones I got manually marking 400m laps at the track. All of that would point to the 410 or GC rather than the foot pod. The saw tooth pattern of the speed graph also seems wrong. I had the steady cadence of a robot.

    Again, the speed that shows up on the face of the 410 is nice and useful. I’m glad to have it. But . . . I get like a pit bull when my data does not “foot” to borrow a term from the accounting profession.

    One other bit of calibration trivia. Calibrations are recorded as Activites by the 410. If you do not reset after a calibration and before beginning a “real” activity, your last calibration session will become the beginning of your next activity. This information could save your life someday :).

    Reply
  203. Frank Young

    When I turned off auto-lap and quit lapping manually, the giant speed spikes/dropouts in the speed graph disappeared but the remaining graph is very jagged and not at all representative of actual performance: link to connect.garmin.com

    I would love to get input from other FR4XX/Foot Pod users regarding whether this is just as good as it gets with this combo or if I should be seeking to get something repaired or replaced.

    Reply
  204. nic

    Can the garmin footpod effect race timing chips? I’ve just had my 2nd no result recorded since using the pod but never had any before. Chip was properly placed on my other shoe and I definitely hit the timing mats. Maybe just coincidence but seems strange twice in a row?

    Reply
    • I’ve never heard of it messing with timing chips – and I’ve almost always had a footpod on without issue. Odd though.

      Reply
  205. Mary-Anne Walters

    Hi there. I saw a post asking if the foot pod of the Fr 70 is waterproof but I didn’t see a response. Is it waterproof? For trail runs and running through streams would it survive? Thanks so much

    Reply
    • The footpod is IPX7 waterproofed, so that means it can hang out in water 1-meter deep (3ft) for 30 minutes. No problems with streams/etc…

      Reply
  206. I was having problems with my footpod with Fenix 2 using my treadmill.

    The Fenix 2 was connected to my heart rate monitor and foot pod.
    It was showing GCT and V Osc but not showing distance or cadence.

    Changed the battery… still no joy.

    Then I noticed that every time I started an activity it searched for power.
    I would click on skip to get to foot pod search but no speed distance or cadence.

    I went into settings, sensors, and turned off power.

    Now the fenix 2 shows distance, speed and cadence as it is meant to.
    It seems it was trying to get the distance, speed and cadence measurement from the power meter and not the footpod.

    Problem solved. Hope this helps someone.

    Reply
  207. Denis

    Hi and thank you very much on the reviews for this one and for the fr 305 as well.
    I’m using my good old FR305 with 2.9 firmware and i wonder if i should buy the foot pod or if it won’t work properly and perhaps even lose the gps data to synchronize with my pc? I read (something from 2011) that there are problems with the new firmware cutting the cadence in half and furthermore I read that the 305 doesn’t sync the gps data if you’re using the foot pod. Can someone confirm either of these?
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • No, neither is true. :)

      Reply
    • Denis

      Thank you very much! :)

      Reply
    • Denis

      Hm, now that I bought the foot pod I ran a half-marathon to see how I am doing.
      But I cannot see the map neither in Garmin Connect nor in Sport Tracks 3.1. And it’s not only the map but there is no data provided for the elevation changes as well. And Sport Tracks doesn’t even show max. pace and no information about heart rate at all. (For Sport Tracks that might be effected by my free version as well, but it did work before) I can see the map if I look it up at the device, but no synced data. :/ And no, when I was asked if I’m using in indoors I said no! 😉

      Reply
    • Hmm, strange. All of the symptoms you describe sound like the GPS was disabled (n omap, no elevation, etc… Though, HR would have come through. Can you try another simple run (just do a 1-minute run loop around your home).

      Reply
    • Denis

      As I mentioned, I can see the map, not just the distance and elevation changes, the whole map on the device. It just doesn’t sync with the software no matter which one. I read it before in a review on amazon.de but wanted to try myself.
      I’ll try it tomorrow and give another feedback.
      Btw. thanks for the video reviews of the cameras from Paris. Loved to cycle through the busy traffic, though it was just a velib. 😀

      Reply
    • Denis

      OK, I have to revise this. Today I started at home after being asked to train inside -> no. I wanted to calibrate the foot pod but I saw that I need to have 800 m of straight track (rough translation). So I started without calibrating. After 1,45 km I wanted to calibrate the pod. After I pressed start I realized that it doesn’t work with gps but I have to have a known piece of track of 800 m to do this. So I canceled and started anew. After 1,8 km I realized that the symbol for gps was crossed so I stopped and checked the device. The gps was turned off. I turned it on and restarted again. On the way back I checked the middle part (1,8 km) of the track with gps, it was just 1,65 km so the gps was turned off and the foot pod didn’t measure right. I don’t blame it because I didn’t calibrate it. At home I uploaded it all to garmin connect and sport tracks and had the first part with map and all the rest. The second part without map but with all the rest. And the third part with a map and all the supplementary data. So it DOES work. But than something must have gone wrong last Saturday because the cadence and heart rate was corrupted in some way.

      Reply
    • Frank Young

      Wow Dennis. That made me dizzy. If you calibrate using a known distance, it does not matter whether the GPS is on or not and it does not have to be straight. You tell the device when you have begun and completed the known distance. 800m is the default (2X around most running tracks—at least the ones in the US). If you use GPS to calibrate, it is suggested that you run in a straight line so that the GPS does not clip corners. In that mode, the device will tell you when it has enough data for a calibration. In my experience with the FR410, I did both and then tweaked it manually until twice around the track measured 800m with the GPS off. The 410 measures distance using the GPS if it can whether the Foot Pod is set to Speed Source or not.

      Even then, it’s not bullet proof. I did two known 5K’s a few days ago using a 1050 calibration. The results of both indicated that the calibration should have been 1032. A few days before that, I ran a half marathon with the 1050 calibration and the measured distance indicated that the proper calibration should have been 1075. These last three experiments were run on a Fenix 2 which (unfortunately) uses the foot pod to measure distance whether the GPS is on or not if the foot pod is set to Foot Pod Speed Always On (which it must be to record pace outdoors). The 5K’s were on flat terrain. The half was a little hilly but we finished where we started so that should not have made much difference. All of these runs were on a paved surface. I wore Asics Gel Nimbus 14s for the 5K’s and Asics Gel Nimbus 12’s for the half. Maybe it’s not BS that the shoe makes a difference :).

      Reply
  208. Frank Young

    Seeking clarity on an issue I previously thought I understood.

    When I use a foot pod with either my FR410 or Fenix2 running outdoors, is my distance estimated using the GPS, foot pod, or a combination of the two? What I thought before it was questioned on the Garmin Fenix2 forum was that the foot pod was only giving me instant pace/speed feedback while the GPS was taking care of distance unless/until I ran into a cave at which point the foot pod would handle distance reporting as well until I reemerged to a clear view of the sky at which time the GPS would resume its normal distance measuring function.

    Reply
    • By default it’ll use GPS unless GPS = 0 and footpod = something other than zero.

      However, most Garmin units (except ironically some of the more recent ones like the FR220/620) support the ability to set the “Speed Source”, and select either GPS or foodpod.

      This might help a little bit in terms of real-world implications of it: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Reply
  209. Frank Young

    I enjoyed reading about your cruise ship experiments but it didn’t really answer my question which was about distance estimation rather than speed. So I devised a little experiment of my own which was to run a known 5K outdoors distance with my Fenix2 manually calibrated to a very low 900 and the GPS on. I then changed the calibration to 1,100 and ran back. Just for fun, I brought along my Forerunner 410 (also paired to the foot pod and fed intentionally low and high calibration factors). I also brought my iPhone running Runkeeper for one more set of confirmatory data.

    This is what I got:

    ——————————————Distance (km)
    ——————————–Fenix 2——FR410——-iPhone
    Run 1 (900 calibration)——4.36———5.01———4.98
    Run 2 (1,100 calibration)—-5.33———5.01———5.02

    Clearly, the Fenix is using the foot pod speed to estimate distance even outdoors with the GPS on. Just as clearly the Forerunner 410 is using the GPS to measure distance and is ignoring the foot pod data for this purpose. Both devices were showing the same slower than actual speed data on the the first run and faster than actual on the second.

    I do not believe it should be this way and will be asking Garmin to change it to the way the 410 works. If the GPS is on and getting a reasonable signal, GPS rules for distance. The foot pod can assist if the GPS signal gets really bad or disappears altogether. Obviously, if you turn the GPS off or tell it you are indoors distance estimation becomes pure foot pod.

    Reply
    • Frank Young

      Here is the data from these two runs just in case it helps:

      Run 1—900 calibration
      Fenix 2—http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/568255058
      FR 410—http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/568253943
      iPhone—http://runkeeper.com/user/fyoung1111/activity/416345693

      Run 2—1,100 calibration
      Fenix 2—http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/568255075
      FR 410—http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/568253959
      iPhone—http://runkeeper.com/user/fyoung1111/activity/416386343

      Reply
  210. Brian Ober

    I am using the FR210 with a footpod and am also seeing drop outs. My battery is less than 2 weeks old.

    Here’s what I am noticing…

    When I run indoors (GPS off), both the cadence and the timing indicating drops where it literally goes to 0 for a few seconds. Usually happens 2-3 times per run (~30-40 minutes).
    When I run outdoors with the footpod, I do not see this drop off.

    It dawned on me this morning that when I run indoors, I ALWAYS use a Bluetooth headset and am connected to WiFi. But when I run outdoors, I do not use either. So I am thinking it may be an interference issue causing the drop offs. I am going to do some experimenting next week, hopefully I’ll have it narrowed down then.

    Reply
  211. Leonard

    Thanks for the vast information on your site.

    Just one question on this foot pod. I’m planning to get the Fenix 2 with HRM-Run strap.

    Do i need to get the footpod for indoor treadmill run?

    as i understand, footpod produces cadence, HRM-Run also produces cadence + more.

    Since the base model now is at $299, extra $50 will give me an HRM-Run strap
    .
    If i’m getting the base model + another $40 for foot pod, it’s almost the same price as the performer.

    or do i need to get the performer model + the footpod for indoor running?

    appreciate if anyone could enlighten me, thanks.

    Reply
  212. Asaf

    Hi,

    I am looking for a footpod for (indoor) basketball activity.
    I read number of reviews but I am still not sure what is the best footpod for my needs:
    – Monitor the distance that I made on the practice
    – Monitor the peak and average running speed during the practice.
    – Stats graphes (per minutes)
    – Do I need to have a mobile device on the bench that will collect the data from the footpod? if yes , do I need additional plug for that mobile (I have iPhone4)
    – I assume that footpod must have logger (buffer) capabilities in case that there is no bluetooth connectivity , or maybe it can log few hours of data that I can be sent to the mobile app when I’ll get Home.

    I’ll appreciate some advices about the right product for me.
    Thanks

    Reply
  213. Jamie Moore

    I have a 405CX If I have understood your comments correctly, you can have your HRM and Footpod connected at the same time. In this scenario you will gain the same training info as with the GPS but with heart rates and cadence. Is my understanding correct?

    Many thanks,]
    Jamie

    Reply
  214. Gavin

    Hi – Great article! Quick question on the calibration, the excel spreadsheet standard is 1000 but my watch is 100. Its not clear how to read the new calibration number once the run data has been – can you advise?

    Thanks!
    Gavin

    Reply
    • Simply transition things one digit. So it should be 100.0. Thus, if you had 1028, it’d be 102.8.

      Reply
  215. Fabrizio

    I just purchased two Adidas miCoach speed_cell footpods (ANT+ version, ANT+ USB stick and iPhone Adapter included).
    I am desperately trying to pair them with my Forerunner 305 and 405CX but none of the two can find any of the two foot pods. I found similar reports on the Garmin and Adidas forums but no real solution.
    I put in a brand new Varta battery, let it stay without battery over night to reset itself, put in the battery reversed to reset the pod.
    Using the USB stick on either the PC or my Android tablet immediately detects both foot pods, though!
    Firmware on both Forerunners is the latest one.

    Can anyone put me in the right direction making the sensors talk to the watches?

    Thanks,
    Fabrizio

    Reply
  216. chris aylmer

    Thanks for a great article. This device sounds like it should be great for measuring running cadence throughout a run and I intend to buy one of these. Up to now I have checked cadence intermittently by counting 90(same foot) strides on my normal wrist watch which has a stopwatch mode. During a running event it is easy to count strides and stop and start the watch without looking until afterwards.
    However, something bugs me about the distance measurement by the foot pod v GPS. I assume you calibrate your stride length on a level even surface like a track. Surely your stride will significantly shorten uphill and lengthen downhill, if your cadence stays fairly constant. Therefore on an uphill section the speed and distance will be overestimated and underestimated downhill. If you do not finish the run at the same elevation this could lead to distance discrepancy. The GPS is not brilliant here either. Most GPS devices(all of them as far as I know) see the run as on the level in two dimensions from above, so that uphills and downhill are measured as if on level horizontal ground. This always underestimates the distance travelled. The GPS graph certainly shows the elevation of the run(best using topographical data rather than altimeter readings) but does not include the ups and downs in the distance travelled on the X axis. By printing out the elevation graph of the run, I have used a map wheel to run along the GPS elevation line, and after adjusting the vertical scale to equal the horizontal distance scale I found that a fairly hilly 10K run was actually about 85m further than the horizontal distance. That is why GPS distances are nearly always a little short by maybe 0.5% to 1% compared to accurate wheel measured distances, depending on the ups and downs of the ground level.A lot of people are blissfully unaware of this inaccuracy in GPS distance measurements.

    Reply
    • A couple of random thoughts:

      1) The ANT+ sensor actually doesn’t simply take stride rate and use a multiplier, rather, it measures the full stroke. You can dig into the ANT+ documents on this, hence why even if your cadence shifts the pace is still accurate.

      2) While there is some different in GPS distance going uphill/downhill, it really is tiny (barely a percent) in most cases. It’s not until you’re doing something with significant incline (such as skiing), that’s it’s even barely noticable. Which, is ironicaly why Garmin added it in two winters ago intially as part of a Ski mode, and now part of a 3D distance mode.

      3) For the vast majority of people, GPS will register long, not short, in races. This is due to zig-zagging, as discussed here: link to dcrainmaker.com. For training, you’ll typically only see being short if you’re doing trail running.

      Reply
  217. chris aylmer

    Thanks for your comments DC Rainmaker,
    I don’t agree with a couple of points you make. The loops and turns are more likely to lead to reading short on a GPS, as if you go in a circle, some of the circumference is lost from reference point to reference point. Plot points on a circle and join them up and it comes to less than the real circumference. I do regular wheel measured 5K parkruns which are very twisty and turny and they invariably show up short on my Garmin…I don’t think I’ve ever had one long yet.
    1% discrepancy on a run distance is not negligible. 1% of a marathon is about a quarter of a mile! On a 5K run it is equivalent to 50m distance. This can take an average runner like me about 15 seconds which is significant for PBs or PRs.

    Reply
    • That’s why I said “trails” for twists and turns could shorten it. Ironically, what often happens though is that poor GPS accuracy adds incorrect data points offset to the sides end up adding ‘extra’ un-run distance. Of course, as you noted, mileage will vary.

      However, 1% is within spec for GPS (up to 2%), and honestly, on a footpod with variation you’re likely to get the same as well over time (due to changes in position).

      Reply
  218. Timo

    Hi, I bought a footpod to increase the pace accuracy of my Fenix 2 as it has often bad gps Signal and also for threadmill use. I’ve seen good accuracy for lower running Speeds. But if I started to do Speed runs and Intervall workouts. I’ve detected a strange behavior. When running faster than 4min/km pace increases to 3:40, when running at 3:30/km it Shows 2:50 and at the end of a 10Km run there are 1200 meters missing.
    Has anyone experience at higher Speeds? or do I have a defect unit?

    Reply
  219. Jamie Moore

    The garmin foot pod has been around for a few years now, does anybody know when it is likely to be replaced with a new model. This usually happens about 1 month after I have bought something :)

    Reply
  220. Tipo Gemma

    Does the footpod (sensor) somehow wear out/uses up. I use the SDM 4 now for more than 4 years and especially on the tread mill it showed good consistent values. This season the SDM4 (more than 4000km)
    wobbles between 5:15 and 6:30min/km when I run 10km/h on the tread mill in the Gym. First I thought
    the tread mill has some problem. But a frieds foot pod shows the pace +/- 5 seconds/km.
    I bought a new one and it again works without problems…

    Reply
  221. mark

    I went to calibrate my 310 and was at home so set it too GPS. The device has frozen up and i cannot exit the screen that says its calibrating. Any assistance with this problem would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  222. Jonas

    It necessary to calibrate the foot pod? I’ve had mine for a month and run 200k outdoors with Fenix 2 the foot pod, which I haven’t calibrated. So has the foot pod learned to know my stride and is good for using on a treadmill? Or do I still have to calibrate it?

    Reply
    • Nope, it doesn’t learn on the footpod side unless you calibrate it. The Fenix2 however does learn for the wrist based pace/distance though, so that would have helped there.

      Reply
    • Jonas

      Thank you sir!

      Reply
  223. kari

    I use my footpod when I run on my treadmill and notice a weird thing with it showing my pace gradually increasing throughout the run. For example, if I do 6 miles at the same level and incline for the entire run on the treadmill the foot pod shows my pace faster each mile (I have my garmin set to auto split every mile for steady or long runs), such as from a recent run where it showed the paces for 6 miles: 8:05, 7:55, 7:50, 7:57, 7:45, 7:40. I didn’t change anything on the treadmill so my pace should have been the same for each mile. Also, I’ve noticed the same thing when I do interval workouts. If I do each hard interval at the same level on the treadmill the foot pod often shows my pace is slightly faster for each interval. This doesn’t make sense to me. If I haven’t changed the speed of the treadmill then my pace should not be changing. Have you heard of anyone else with this issue? And do you know any way to correct it? If it was just a couple seconds it wouldn’t bother me, but there is a fairly big difference between running 6 miles at 8:05 pace versus 7:40 pace.

    Reply
  224. Pete R.

    Ray – I have come to rely on your site for all things running, cycling and now swimming. Thanks for all your insights. I have been using my footpod boyh indoors and outdoors for months with my FR15 and find it very consistent for distance. As you describe, I simply ran outside with it and when I ran inside on the treadmill, I got good distance and hence pace data. I recently upgraded to the FR920xt and assumed the same process would work. But after a half dozen outdoor runs, the footpod doesn’t semi to be calibrated for treadmill running. I *think it must be a 920 issue, but haven’t had any luck on the Garmin forum or your 920 review Q&A. I unpaired then re-paired the footpod and restarted the watch, but no luck. Any ideas? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Pete R.

      Ran inside on the treadmill after 60+ miles outside with GPS and footpod. Seems to be calibrated now.

      Reply
  225. Irondad

    How to you calibrate the footpod with a Garmin 920XT?

    Reply
  226. BillM

    Hi DC, great article to refer to.
    Swapping my footpod between two pairs of shoes I regularly use I am getting a bit worried about wearing out or breaking the clip and so am considering buying another footpod so I’ll have one on each pair of shoes. Will my 910xt pair with two footpods so that whichever one I am using will link up automatically with the watch? I saw in an earlier post that you said another model watch wouldn’t do this but not sure about the 910xt.

    Reply
    • No, only one footpod unfortunately at a time. But as long as nobody is around, you’ll just re-scan and it’ll find it immediately.

      Reply
  227. BillM

    Forgot to mention that I’m only using it for cadence so will try it out on my wrist to see what happens, ever heard of anyone using the pod on their wrist?

    Reply
    • Never heard of one trying it on the wrist unfortunately. Sorry!

      Reply
    • BillM

      Taped it to my 910xt strap today, had it oriented in direction of swing as is done when placing on a shoe. I know my cadence would have been around the 180 mark and got an average of 140 on a 5k run. I know from the audible alerts coming from the 910 that it was in the rough ball park of 180 at times but on average it was giving too low a count. I found the fact that it would almost instantly show zero or low figure when I stopped my hand swinging to look at reading a bit of an irritation as well as it giving me alerts every time I went to scratch or wipe sweat etc with my hand. I’m sure for some it will work if their swing has a more rapid deceleration than mine but I’m not going to mess with my swing for sake of this setup and so the pod goes back on the shoes again.

      Reply
    • Frank

      Hi BillM. If you call Garmin and ask very nicely, they will send you a second clip for free. At least it worked for me several months ago.

      Reply
  228. Win Hughes

    Do you know whether a foot pod would work on inline skating to measure glide distance?

    Reply
  229. Xavier Gastaud

    Here is a new question for an old post! In theory, are there any hardware reasons why the footpod could not provide the same GCT and VO indicators as the HRM run? If not, in theory, could someone with the appropriate programming skills use connect iq to create similar data fields using the footpod as the data source on newer devices? Just wondering…thanks!

    Reply
  230. Vikki

    I would like to track my running when playing indoor hockey. I have a garmin forerunner 15 and have been looking at the garmin foot pod – is the sdm4 and ant+ the same thing – if not which one would i need?

    thanks
    vikki

    Reply
  231. Artem

    Ray, kudos for your reviews. Bought this footpod on Clever Training with your promo code – hope this supports your effort! :-)

    I’m curious whether it’s advisable to calibrate it w/920xt whenever I do LSD runs at a covered track, as opposed to (more regular) interval/tempo runs at the same track? The reason I’m asking is that having had a couple of initial outdoor runs (with a regular speed) with my new 920xt I’ve noticed that on the indoor track 920xt shows more or less correct mileage only when I run at about the same speed/cadence/step length as I probably did on the outdoor runs. On the other hand, when I did a couple of slow runs on that same indoor track, the distance logged by 920xt was considerably longer – by ~20%? – than it was in reality (I counted laps on my 920xt). My take on this is that my LSD runs were super slow and, quite likely, with shorter step lengths – probably, 920xt just applied the “average” step length obtained from my outside/GPS-enabled runs and applied them to the number of steps I did on the indoor track. I’m not 100% sure about this argument myself, as Garmin Connect did show different step lengths on each track lap (possibly, again based on some sort of adjustment to the “calibrated” outside run). I’ll be running quite a bit indoor during this winter and I could probably calibrate the footpod whenever I know that my training will include shorter strides. What’s your take on this? Thx.

    Reply
  232. Frank

    Neil, you are not alone pretty much everyone changes pace by changing both stride length and cadence. The foot pod compensates for this by attempting to measure the time and distance your foot is flying through the air as well as the time it is planted on the ground. Calibration kind of anchor’s the device’s expectations of your “average” stride. Also, completely different gaits will require completely different calibrations. For me, walking is 950 and running is 1040. If I run really slow or really fast this number will be off a little and over a very long distance the accumulated error will be substantial but, if I want to know my pace right this second, the foot pod info is 90% more likely to be close to right than GPS derived speed which averages out quite nicely but likely to be inaccurate at any single moment in time.

    If I was a talented as Ray and capable of videoing it both ways while running at a constant pace, I could show you but I am not that talented :).

    Reply
  233. Frank

    There are my numbers from a recent treadmill experiment:

    Speed—–Cadence—–Step Length
    —2————88————-29″
    —3———–106————-35″
    —4———–120————-40″
    —5———–158————-34″
    —6———–158————-40″
    —7———–162————-44″

    And these are the speeds my fenix 2 reports while sitting still in a lawn chair: link to s1375.photobucket.com

    I left it out there for 15 minutes and it hiked 317 feet without ever leaving the chair :).

    Reply
  234. Colin

    I come from China and I have a question related to footpod. I have 2 footpods one is garmin and the other is from adidas micoach pacer. The question is that if i can use the same calibration factor with both footpods, or i need to calibrate each other independently? Another question is if the 2 footpods are the same brand, can the calibration factor be used in common. Sorry for my English, hope you can understand my question.

    Reply
  235. Frank

    If they look the same and are both Ant+, they were built by the same company and should calibrate exactly the same. That said, they should probably each be calibrated independently after being attached to the shoe you intend to use it on. I am guessing too much is made of this but the conventional wisdom is that the brand of shoe and exact attachment placement can make a significant difference in calibration.

    Reply
  236. Adji

    Hi,

    Thanks for the review. My question is, will the foot pod work when i use this during indoor exercise on elliptical cross trainer? I mean will it calculate the pace and the distance? -Thx-

    Reply
  237. Sean

    Ray,
    Sorry if you answered this and I missed it. Does the footpod calculate pace by:
    1) Gathering the cadence, then use (steps * user-calibrated-stride-length)
    2) Use actual acceleration information & time, to derive a change in position off of a position equation?

    Solution one seems kind of worthless, so I doubt it but just wanted to check. Also, do you know if Garmin’s software has been updated to be able to use GPS & footpod concurrently? Skyscrapers where I live cause GPS to give really wonky results sometimes, so I was hoping that if I got a fenix3 and a footpod, either automatically or in post-processing, I could update my records to show accurate info.

    Reply
    • Sean

      “worthless” was too strong of a word, it could use different stride lengths for different speeds?

      Reply
    • Sean

      For solution two more specifically I mean:
      for pace: integrate accelerometer data
      for distance: double integrate accelerometer data?

      Reply
  238. Frank

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste. You could have read the article and posts. Instead you can read this: link to dynastream.com

    It’s not quite as user friendly as DCRainmaker but will answer most of your questions :). The answers to the others are in this thread.

    Reply
    • Sean

      Thanks for link. I skimmed the comments but clearly didn’t spend enough time doing so and missed some relevant (several yours) comments.

      Reply
    • Frank

      Now you are a Scholar AND a Gentleman. Please do read the linked document both critically and thoroughly. A lot of people are religious about these things. Ray himself—as objective as he normally is—likes them a lot.

      For me—a pretty inexperienced runner but lover of all gadgets—foot pods are only good for two things: 1) Running in overhead environments whether treadmill, indoor track, Manhattan, or Michigan Avenue. When GPS sucks, these things rule. 2) When pace matters. If you are as inexperienced as me, an 8 minute mile feels just like a 10 minute mile (at least for a little while). If you rely on GPS for pace, it bounces all over the place. With a foot pod—calibrated or not—it is dead nuts on.

      Get one. link to clevertraining.com

      Reply
  239. Jeroen V

    Has anybody got any idea if the Geonaute ONmiles Pod from decathlon(40€), has the same accuracy as the other ant+ pods ?

    Reply
  240. Frank

    Has the same FCC ID Number as my Garmin which looks identical as well. I would be willing to bet they are made by Dynastream just like nearly all of the other Ant+ foot pods and will function exactly the same.

    Reply
  241. Todd

    I have the Garmin 310XT I tried to recalibrate today, when I accidentally hit a button the watch stopped calibrating and the alarm/buzzer started to go off cautiously. I tried all the buttons simply pressing them and or holding in for a few seconds.. The watch is just buzzing and nothing else… What did I do and how do I fix it? Thank you

    Reply
  242. Joseph

    I’m trying to work on maintaining a decent cadence (spm>180). When I run on the treadmill, I’m usually pretty close (176-180 spm). When I run outside, I’m around 164spm. It occurred to me that one possibility is that the values for cadence get recorded at 0s when I stop at a light. Is that a possibility? Otherwise, I’m having a hard time figuring out why the data would be so consistently different. Thanks.

    Reply
  243. Frank

    Yes. That would do it. I believe Garin uses the total time of an activity rather than the moving time to come up with average cadence. Three minutes of standing still in an activity with a total time of 60 minutes and an actual cadence (while moving) of 180 will knock your average down to 171. Five minutes standing still will take you down to 165.

    Reply
  244. BillM

    I’ve used the footpod for barefoot running by placing it on an elasticated strap on my foot just above the ankle. Results were pretty accurate as far as I could tell running 5k on hard sand by the sea.

    Reply
  245. Benjy Lovat

    could you use the foot pod to track your movement and distance covered in sports like squash, tennis and badminton?

    Reply
  246. Noah Tibbetts

    Is there a newer one out now?

    Reply
  247. wayne

    Can i link my samsung gear and samsung 5 with the foot pad to sink heart rate with pace

    Reply
    • George

      That’s entirely up to the Samsung Gear and Samsung 5 (whatever that is) in terms of whether they can receive ANT+ signals. The footpod just transmits its data to any device able to listen. Unlike bluetooth which is two-way pairing, with ANT+ any “pairing” is one-sided on the receiver end and the transmitting device (such as the footpOd) merely broadcasts its signal. This has the benefit of allowing multiple receivers for one transmitter (i.e. testing multiple watches all with one HRM)

      Reply
    • The S5 supports any ANT+ accessory. But it requires a specific application top of it, such as ipBike.

      Reply
  248. Flo Loferer

    Hello Ray,

    can this Footpod store data and send it to an App or watch afterwards?

    Is there any Footpod with ant+ on the market who can do this?

    If not – are there any plans to implement this?

    kr Flo

    Reply
    • No, it doesn’t do store/forward.

      Only the Adidas ones do – and even then, only with the Adidas apps.

      Reply
    • Flo Loferer

      thanks ray.

      background to my questions is:
      I play a lot of soccer and due to a lot of stop and go during training the GPS is not so reliable. so I think about using a footpod for the distance and speed analysis. During training i wear my Fenix3 and it would be cool to have the footpod data on the watch (therfore ANT+). During an official match I am not allowed to wear a watch so I cant wait for the new HRM Tri from Garmin but I would also like to have the possibility to analyse the footpod data afterward (on phone or on PC).

      this leads me to another 3 questions:

      1. do you mean the old Adidas one with ANT+ or the new one with Bluetooth smart

      2. how do I get the data from the Adidas with ANT+ on my IPHONE 5S? I fear not possible. so the only way to analyse is via USB dongle on PC, right?

      3. do you have another idea how to solve my problem.

      thanks for your superb work.
      kr Flo

      Reply
    • 1) Both do, but I was primarily looking at the new BT Smart one since I don’t think they even sell the ANT+ one anymore.

      2) You had to had the dongle on your iPhone, which would require an adapter.

      3) No, unfortunately it’s pretty slim pickings. :(

      Reply
  249. Frank

    I got a very pleasant foot pod surprise yesterday. Actually, I got it first day before yesterday but my aging eyes missed it. In short, while running on a treadmill, My fenix2 buzzed and displayed a “Foot Pod Battery Low” message keeping it on the screen until I dismissed it with the ^ button.

    Given the way my Garmin HRM’s have always just sort of gotten wonky when the battery was low or strap began to fail, I assumed that the Ant+ specification had made no provision for a low battery warning.

    For the record, that run where I got the second Foot Pod Low Battery warning was recorded as 7,338.51 miles long. In case you are wondering, I did NOT really run that far :). link to connect.garmin.com

    That foot pod had the original battery in it. I began using it 13 months ago 4-5 days a week on average so the one year life expectation looks solid to me.

    Reply
  250. Daniel

    Do I still need a footpod for indoor or can I rely on the HRM-Run Strap ? Which one will give me better and reliable results?

    Reply
  251. antonio francese

    Hi,

    I have a conversion issue with my garmin footpod. maybe It is just settings matter but still didn’t find out how to solve it.
    I calibrated my foot pod using different method, (800m athletic stadium and food pod calibration tool).
    Until now i was using the footpod i was only using the footpod for the cadence and the pace (min/km) was still set on GPS data, and data were pretty accurate (comparing them on the calibration tool)
    But due to really bad weather those last few weeks, i had to run on treadmill couple of times. I selected the pace detection (on my FR910xt) on footpod and some display issue on my Watch appeared. The pace was display in m/sec instead of min/km (when using GPS detection outside).
    After Upload the data on Garmin connect, the data remained in m/sec instead to be convert in min /km.
    To be more clear, Watch diplay a pace of 3.5 min/km (actually was more near 5 min/km which correspond around 3.5m/sec) and after download on connect, it displayed 3.5 min/km instead of 3.5 m/sec of 5 min/km.

    I don’t know if there is a converstion problem or just a setting to adjust to make all devices (footpad, Watch, gamrin connect) working on the same wavelenght ?

    Reply
  252. Frank

    I don’t have a 910. I use a Fenix2 with my foot pod. With that disclaimer, it looks like you have both your watch and Garmin Connect set to display speed instead of pace. Of course, those numbers are just two sides of the same coin and should translate back and forth precisely. In your case 3.5 m/second (speed) is exactly equal to 4.76 min/km (pace).

    3.5 m/sec = 210 m/minute = 4.7619 minutes/km.

    You tell your watch which to display (or display them both at the same time if you like). Same with Garmin Connect only is is one or the other at a time. There is a little box near the heading titled Timing that can be toggled back and forth between Speed and Pace that instantly changes all velocity related figures under this heading from one format to the other. This is the case in both the Classic and Modern versions of Garmin Connect.

    I do not believe there is any relationship between what you have your watch set to display and what Garmin Connect displays.

    Reply
  253. Tomasz

    Hi Ray,
    How long does it take for 920xt on an outdoor run to do the failover from GPS to foot pod? When I run under bridges (I imagine something like 6-8 lanes wide) I get, I think, over 1 minute/km difference at the exit than before running under the bridge. It’s not a big deal, but it’s kinda irritating (I tend to run under fair few). Do you think foot pod could solve that (over relatively short distance without GPS)?
    Thanks.

    Reply
  254. frank

    Hi Tomasz,

    I’m interested in Ray’s answer as well though my fenix2 won’t do that failover trick at all. I use the foot pod all of the time as I am inexperienced enough not to just “know” what pace I am running. I run primarily in forested environments and the pace provided by GPS is all over the place from one minute to the next. That provided by the foot pod is always steady and rock solid.

    There are a couple of minor caveats with the foot pod. I use manual calibration. The faster I run, the lower the calibration needs to be and the perfect calibration for a set pace on a treadmill is different than for the same pace on pavement. I believe that you can set your 920xt to display pace from the foot pod while calculating distance from the GPS which is the best of all worlds. Unfortunately, my fenix 2 won’t do that trick either though the firmware upgrade to support it was promised a few months ago.

    Get a foot pod. It will be the best $50 fitness investment you ever made.

    Reply
  255. Tomasz

    Hi Frank,
    Thanks for your comment. If I understand it correctly for 920xt it is not possible to set the foot pod as a source of pace as long as GPS signal is found. So I would have to run in “Indoor” mode outside to use the foot pod, losing GPS.
    Ray mentionet it here: link to dcrainmaker.com (search for “failover”)
    Hence my question about the time required to switch between GPS and foot pod.
    Thanks anyway:)

    Reply
    • frank

      Tomasz,

      Sorry to hear it is still that way. I was assured way back in February that this upgrade was coming for my fenix2: link to forums.garmin.com.

      Really hard to believe you guys with the newest toys still don’t have it either. At least with the fenix2, I can look at foot pod based pace while I lay down a GPS based track.

      Frank

      Reply
    • Tomasz

      Apparently the new firmware 6.10 allows to set foot pod as speed source:
      link to www8.garmin.com
      “Added support for using a footpod as the speed source while running.”
      But I don’t have the foot pod to check if this really means that it’s possible now to use a foot pod on outdoor run with GPS on..

      Tomasz

      Reply
  256. Lothar Pelz

    I have a quick question. If I pair the foot pod and use the heart rate monitor belt with my Fenix3 would there be any interference between both as they both provide cadence data, so in essence can I have both paired and run on the treadmill.
    Thank you

    Lothar

    Reply
    • frank

      Lothar,

      If you link to the same article Tomascz referred me to: link to dcrainmaker.com ans scroll down to just beloe the photo of a FR620, an HRM_RUN, a Foot Pod and a running shoe, all will be made clear.

      Frank

      Reply
    • frank

      Lothar,

      Forgive me. My reply was too hasty. Actually your answer lies under the heading: “What is the order of precedence if you have an HRM-RUN and a footpod?” in the FAQ’s section of that same article.

      Given this answer to a later comment: link to dcrainmaker.com, I would say that your fenix 3 will take cadence from the HRM-RUN and pace from the foot pod when you are running indoors.

      Frank

      Reply
  257. May

    Which absolutely will depend on what you are generally at ease.

    foot bed before fitting the straps from the MBT.
    You can opt an superb sport shoes shop to buy one, for you will have
    a wide selection for your shoes.

    Reply
  258. Sudipto

    Does the foot pod show cadence on the watch during a run?

    Reply
  259. tony dennison

    I run barefoot on treadmill, and outside for that matter…..how would I attachtach a pod? Ankle with wristband? Where? side ankle? Shin? How would I orient it? Arrow toward front if on side of ankle? Arrow up and down if on shin?

    Any help would help, or at least it would feel like it helped,…at least for a while.

    Thanks

    Reply
  260. david

    Hey there,

    footpod used to kick in whenever I was running through tunnels. Now, on my 920XT it doesn’t seem to do the trick anymore. Footpod is ok, I am using it in gym without any problem. Outdoors, it doesn’t seem to switch over automatically right now. Does have have to do with the setting “footpod to use for speed when GPS is off”? Emphasis on off, as it is on but just not getting a signal in the tunnel?

    Appreciate your insight!

    David

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hi all,

      I just got a new VivoActive and a foot pod. I can’t for the life of me figure out how one is supposed to determine the calibration factor. It seems that the default calibration is 100. I’ve done all kinds of web searches and read this review and the VA review and I don’t see a clear answer. It seems that if you do a run with GPS it’s supposed to self calibrate somehow, but if you run a known distance, you can use that. How? Where would you enter it? And if you’re supposed to use the distance to compute the calibration factor, how do you do that? The foot pod instructions say to see the device owner’s manual for calibrating instructions. The VA manual says increase the calibration factor if distance is too low and decrease it if too high. Are you supposed to keep doing the known distance and adjusting until you get it right? I’m not dumb, but this is stumping me.

      Dan

      Reply
    • Frank

      Dan, I don’t have a VA so have to answer you in a general way. Go run a known distance in Indoor Run mode. Divide that known distance by whatever your VA reports for that run and multiply that result by 100. This is your new calibration factor. For instance if youvrun a mile and your recorded activity is 1.1 miles your calibration factor is 91 (1÷1.1=0.9090909091×100=91. Remember though that your calibration factor is pace dependent. On my fenix2 (1000 point calibration scale) proper calibration for walking is 950, long, slow run is 1040 and faster runs are closer to 1000.

      Notwithstanding foot pod accolades you will find elsewhere in this article or comments, don’t expect perfection. Remember that the main purpose of a foot pod is to allow you to both see and record pace when running on a treadmill. To make matters worse (if you get all hung up on precision) I have discovered that the right calibration for a given pace on the road is different than the correct calibration for running the same speed on a treadmill. Go figure.

      Reply
    • Dan

      Thanks. Not that complicated. I don’t know why they just don’t come out and say this in the manual for the FP.

      Reply
    • Frank

      No it is not. It may be that the real deal is not quite the simple, linear relationship i describe but it will definitely get you in the right ball park.

      If you think about it theoretically, a thing that knows how far and fast your foot travels as well as how long it stays stuck to the ground ought to be all knowing and require calibration only once if ever. The truth is more complicated but a foot pod is still WAY better for instant pace feedback—indoors or out—than GPS. If you don’t think it is working as advertised, just run in place and see what happens to your pace. Pretty cool stuff.

      If only the Garmin devices would support the capabilities and best uses of these devices, they would sell a lot more of them.

      Reply
    • Dan

      I’m not that concerned with the pace information. I’ll mainly be using it on a treadmill (at least during the winter) and I don’t think the built in accelerator is very accurate for distance. Hoping this will be more so.

      Reply
  261. Simen

    Does this work great if you change shoes a lot or do you have to re-calibrate for each time if you switch the foot pod from a pair of shoes to another?

    Reply
  262. Abe Garcia

    Hey Ray,

    I move my Garmin footpod to different shoes for Treadmill runs. I always have the arrow facing forward on any of the shoes. Will changing to different shoes hurt calibration? To calibrate my footpod with my Fenix 3, I usually go do mile repeats on the high school track. The calibration is automatic, right Ray? I don’t have to enter a manual calibration factor if I’m using a high school track do I? Sorry for the questions, just want to clarify.

    Reply
    • If you’re doing it on a track, you may want to do manual calibration there, because GPS often struggles on a track (versus a more straight road).

      But yes, you should re-calibrate if moving between shoes.

      Reply
  263. I just got a Garmin 235 and a footpod. I am a new runner – started in August. I mainly do 2 min run/1 min walk intervals at a pace around 10 min for run and 15 for walk.

    That said, I used the watch a few times on local rails to trails so far and love it. I plan to use the footpod on an upcoming cruise (on the track on it – Oasis of the Seas). And tried the footpod on a treadmill tonight. The treadmill said I did 3 miles in 34 minutes. The watch/footpod said I did 3.23 miles in 34 minutes. So a pretty big difference.

    I switch between two pair of shoes all the time. And have a third pair to start using too. And Garmin did not seem to indicate that this would be an issue — but I am thinking I need to calibrate. If I just wear the footpod on outdoor runs does it auto calibrate on the 235 or do I need to change things in the settings? But if I switch shoes, then this is a problem. Should I just not worry? Which is likely more accurate?

    I also read your cruise article. Not sure if things have changed since you cruised, but if I use it on the track – but the ship is moving, do I set it to indoor or outdoor mode for the most accurate distance and pace info?

    Also on a cruise, will activity/steps track as normal – or does the moving ship throw that off?

    Thanks so much. Love your site and reviews.

    Jodi

    Reply
    • Unfortunately the challenge with all the new Garmin running watches (basically almost everything from/after 2013) is that Garmin doesn’t allow changing a pace source (i.e. GPS or running).

      Now, they’ve just started adding that into units, such as the Fenix3, and it sounds like they’re working their way back down to other units. But right now the FR220/225/230/235/620/630 doesn’t allow selecting the footpod for speed while outdoors. So yes, it’ll be messy on a ship at sea with GPS on too. :( GPS off – no problems!

      As for regular activity data , no issues there with ship movement (unless your in horribly rough seas, but if they’re that rough, activity data is the least of your issues, I’d be looking for my life jacket). :)

      Reply
    • So basically use indoor mode while outdoors, connected to the footpod while cruising?

      Thank you! I thought I was losing it as I could not seem to find what you mentioned – but that’s because it is not there anymore.

      Reply
    • Yup, exactly!

      Enjoy the cruise!

      Reply
    • Frank

      Jodi,

      To answer your other question, there will be a calibration difference between shoes but it will probably be minor unless your shoes are significantly different such as training vs racing shoes. For me, the difference between well worn Asics Nimbus 16 and fresh, new Asics Kayano 22 was about 3½%. If you are using the foot pod to evaluate pace, 3½% turns out to be surprisingly significant.. If I am doing the time math right, your 10 minute running pace in my Niumus would show up as 9:40 in my Kayanos.

      Also, the distance reported by the treadmill is at least as likely to be off as your foot pod calibration. Worse the correct calibration for me on pavement is significantly different than running the same speed on a treadmill. Your mileage may vary :).

      Last, but not least, we all seem to forget that foot pods were invented primarily to allow you to record some kind of reasonable pace information as a component of your indoor runs and not as a highly precise speed or distance measuring instrument.

      The Fenix2 has always used foot pod data for speed and distance estimation indoors or out as long as you have it set that way. Now that the Fenix3 can finally report foot pod based pace indoors or out, I am trading up.

      Reply
  264. Frank

    I asked a series of questions related to the fenix3, sensor pool concept and foot pods here: link to dcrainmaker.com under the fenix 3 review but go no response. Does anyone know the answers?

    At the moment, I use my newer shoes on the treadmill and older ones outdoors. Not only is the calibration different for each pair of shoes but it is different for the same pair depending on whether I am on the treadmill or the road.

    Reply
    • Frank

      Sorry about the mis-que. Apparently I have forgotten how to do the permalink trick. It was comment #2608. Anyway, here it is in its entirety:

      I’ve been waiting for this foot pod based speed/pace display capability and am in the process of exchanging my flaky (3rd) fenix2 for a fenix3. While I wait, I have a few questions for those of you that have used this newly “restored” capability:

      1. Is the foot pod derived instant pace information used only for display purposes or is it also used to estimate distance even when running outdoors with a good GPS lock?

      2. Is the failover capability also back? In other words will the foot pod stand in when you run into the hypothetical tunnel and hand things back over to the GPS when you come out the other end?

      3. Does the fenix3 accommodate multiple foot pods in line with it’s overarching sensor pool concept?

      4. If the answer to #3 is yes, can each foot pod have a separate manual calibration?

      Reply
    • 1) If you specify the setting, it’ll be used in place of GPS lock.

      2) I’m pretty sure, but haven’t validated this in a way that would easily separate it out from WDR.

      3) Yes.

      4) Don’t know off-hand.

      Reply
  265. herve

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks a lot for your site and reviews !! i am a huge fan !!
    I would like to have an aswer here as i am not sure…
    I run mostly in urban context with alteration of the signal wich causes instant pace errors.
    That’s why i bought the sdm4 in complement with the fenix3.*
    What should i use in the footpod settings to be able to have the most accurate instant pace reading on the fenix3 ?
    Thanks by advance !!
    Cheers

    Reply
    • Frank

      Herve and Ray,

      I finally got my fenix3 and a second foot pod so I can answer a few of my own questions as well as Herve’s.

      If you are looking for reliable instant pace numbers out doors, set your foot pod Speed setting to Always. You can also set Distance to Always but I prefer to let the GPS take care of that and have mine set to Indoor.

      I currently have one pair of shoes and a foot pod named OUTSIDE that I use exclusively outdoors. I have a second pair of shoes and a second footpod named TREADMILL that I only use indoors. You set your preferences and calibration factors for each foot pod independently. This way, when my f3 sees the OUTSIDE foot pod it defaults to Speed Always, Distance Indoor, and the asphalt calibration factor. If it sees the TREADMILL foot pod, it defaults to Indoor for both speed and distance and uses the calibration factor for that foot pod as well. In short, this seems to be working exactly as I hoped it would.

      As for the failover in a tunnel scenario, I’ll try to figure out a way to test that. We are a little short of tunnels in this land of rolling hills but I’ll figure something out.

      Reply
    • herve

      Thanks a lot Franck for your answer,

      I tested today with both speed and distance set to allways.
      It seems to me that when distance is indoor, i don’t have the pace from footpod, but i might be wrong…I will have another test tomorrow, to be sure of that.
      If anyone can confirm ?

      Reply
    • Frank

      My fenix2 was all or nothing (if you wanted outdoor speed from your foot pod you also had to accept outdoor distance so that is what I normally did). I often ran where the distance was known and generally checked my calibration after every run. That number always came in between 1030 and 1050 but seemed to change on every run. Put another way, if you are not a highly trained running machine, your foot pod distance will generally be wrong. As bad as GPS is over a short distance, the errors generally average out to a better number over a reasonable distance. That is why I recommend leaving distance set to Indoor.

      I may have misunderstood you but, if you ARE indoors, the pace can ONLY come from your foot pod. What you describe is the way I run OUTDOORS and the pace seems much more stable so I think it is coming from the FP but I only have one run so far with my new f3.

      One way to test this theory is to change your calibration to something way off like, perhaps 50 and run a known distance at your normal pace. Then do it again with the calibration cranked up to say 150. The error induced on both distance and pace should be pretty dramatic. That way, you will know for sure what signal is controlling each estimate.

      If you want to be crazy thorough, it will take eight runs (four at each calibration setting) but what the heck—you were going to run anyway :). If no one beats me to it, I’ll probably give it a go myself later this week.

      Reply
    • herve

      Hi again Frank, and once again thanks for taking time to answer…
      I made 2 tests today (simple jog but not ideal gps conditions):
      I am OUTDOOR (never run indoor)
      Footpod speed allways and distance indoor (as you suggested me)
      – 1st one with calibration of 150= the instant pace reading in very fast (normal) so it works
      – 2nd one with calibration of 50= theinstant pace is very slow so it works again.
      Now what is strange is in garmin connect: the pace curve shows the values from the footpod (very slow or fast) but the average pace of the run is corrected by connect.
      It’s probably because the distance was calculated by the GPS? but the footpod was in INDOOR mode… I am kind of stupid i think i am a bit lost with these settings…
      Could you indicate me what are the differences between “allways” and “indoor” for both speed and distance ?
      THANKS A LOT !!!

      Reply
    • Frank

      You are not stupid. Garmin’s terminology is confusing—even for me whose first language is English. I think the short answer to your question is that INDOOR as the setting for either SPEED or DISTANCE is functionally equivalent to NEVER—OUTDOORS. If this does not clear it up for you, perhaps the next 1,000 words that follow will.

      A few foundation ideas may help put the terminology in a context that makes it easier to understand. First is the idea that GPS rules. If there is a good signal available, that is what people like Garmin think you should use—for everything. Second, at least since the invention of wearable GPS, foot pods have been viewed as a necessary evil to capture pace/speed in a GPS-signal-free environment (indoors).

      SPEED, in Garmin parlance, means how fast you are moving right this second (momentary speed) and applies equally to the concept of speed and pace which are, after all, just two different presentations of the exact same information. For example a 10:00/mile pace will always equate to 6 mph and 10 kph will always equate to 6:00/kilometer pace.

      DISTANCE is pretty straight forward. How far did you go? Where things get a little tricky is when you consider how do you know how far you went?

      In the world according to Garmin, SPEED (whether shown as mph, kph, or minutes per mile or kilometer) is like the speedometer in your car. It tells you how fast you are traveling at any given point in time and has nothing to do with distance traveled. DISTANCE is how far you went and has no direct relationship to speed. It is like the odometer in your car. If you travel 100km at 10kph or 100kph does not matter you still traveled 100km. You can derive average speed from distance divided by time but that tells you nothing at all about how fast you were traveling at any particular point in time along the way.

      The GPS signal will almost always be wrong at any particular moment in time. Since these errors are random, they tend to cancel each other out over time. Smoothing algorithms combined with speed (the more the better) mask but do not eliminate the scale of this error at any given point in time. This is why your speed, measured by GPS, will jump around a lot when you are walking, less when you are running, and almost not at all when you are zipping around in a jet.

      A foot pod, on the other hand will ALWAYS be wrong but only a tiny bit wrong (if calibrated). That tiny bit is cumulative and adds up over a long distance unlike the random, error canceling nature of GPS. The foot pod attempts to measure both the speed and distance your foot flies through the air with every step. If you choose the foot pod to measure distance, it will just add up all of those estimates (cadence X stride) to estimate distance.

      One more important basic concept is that your foot pod is ALWAYS capable of providing estimates of both SPEED and DISTANCE presuming only that you are performing a step-based activity, indoors or outside, with or without a GPS satellite signal. Getting this input from a GPS satellite is dependent on getting a GPS signal which normally will not happen unless you are outdoors with a reasonably clear view of the sky. If you tell your watch you are indoors by recording that type of activity, it will not even look for a GPS signal. As such, setting your foot pod to ALWAYS or INDOOR is only relevant when you are outdoors, have a good GPS signal and are recording an outdoor activity. Note that NEVER is not a foot pod setting option for either speed or distance though INDOOR is functionally equivalent to NEVER OUTDOORS. You can only actually achieve NEVER by having your watch forget your foot pod or by leaving the foot pod at home. If the foot pod is not present, my fenix3 automatically defaults to using GPS for both speed and distance. In this same scenario, my fenix2 would record zero distance at a speed of zero while recording a nice GPS track of my forward progress.

      To come to the point, in my personal experience, a foot pod is ALWAYS a better estimate of momentary speed than GPS at speeds humans are capable of under their own power. In the same way, rotations of your bicycle wheel generate better estimations of momentary speed than GPS. In distance running, however, the GPS will nearly always trump estimates from a foot pod for distance and should be used for that metric when a decent signal is available.

      Setting a foot pod SPEED setting to INDOOR means that speed/pace input from the Foot Pod will be ignored by your watch unless you have told it that you are running indoors by selecting INDOOR RUN as your type of activity. Setting it to ALWAYS means that your watch will always display speed and pace information derived from the foot pod irrespective of whether you are recording an outside activity (HIKE, RUN or TRAIL RUN) or an INDOOR RUN.

      Setting foot pod DISTANCE setting to INDOOR means that distance estimates will ONLY be derived from the foot pod when you are recording an INDOOR RUN. Otherwise all distance estimates will be GPS derived. ALWAYS for distance means that the GPS signal will be ignored in favor of foot pod data for estimating distance irrespective of whether you are indoors or out and irrespective of the type of activity you are recording.

      For 99 situations out of 100, I would recommend setting your watch to ALWAYS use foot pod data for speed/pace and only INDOOR for distance. The only situation I can conceive of where you would want to use the foot pod ALWAYS for both SPEED and DISTANCE is if you were trail running under a particularly thick forest canopy (think rain forest). Even then, if your watch defaults to foot pod data whenever signal is lost or unreliable, I might stick with INDOOR as the Distance setting for your foot pod.

      Reply
    • Frank

      Correction: Possible options for setting the variables SPEED or DISTANCE include the aforementioned INDOOR and ALWAYS options but also include OFF which is I am assuming a way to disable input from the foot pod without forgetting (unpairing) it or leaving it behind. So OFF means never ever; INDOOR means only when recording an indoor activity whether you are indoors or not; and ALWAYS means just that—every time you are recording an activity that involves walking or running, indoors or out, with or without a good GPS signal being available.

      Reply
    • herve

      Wow !! Frank !
      THANKS A LOT for all your explanations ! It must have taken you a long time to write all of this and i thank you A LOT !!!
      It makes now things much much clear !!
      I made some test yesterday and it seems that maybe the distance “Allways” is a good option as i am in a city preety much dense in terms of buildings, and maybe if it’s well calibrated there won’t be annoying things like “under the bridge” problem where the gps suddendly cut the line… I still don’t know.
      Then i would have a last question….
      I searched on the excellent Ray’s post about the fellnr calibration tool, but didn’t find the answer:
      With the fenix 3 the calibration settings of the FP is separated in two parts (2 screens) with begin with 100 and 00.
      I suppose then it’s 100,00 wich means 1000 in the James’s tool.
      But what about for example, i put 150,00 in the fenix3 (to test like you said earlier) and then on the tool it goes from 800 to 1200….
      What is the right things to do ?
      – Import the fit file
      – Put the calibration from the watch
      – eventually insert the distance if known
      – the tool will tell a calibration that we have to put in the watch back
      But for example yesterday, with a number of 150 (in watch) i couldn’t make 1500.00
      (put 1200.00) and it answered back a strange number like 1650, wich i couldn’t put back in the watch because it goes from 50 to 150….
      What do i have to do ?
      Excuse me i am such a Noob….(much less because you gave me a lot of explanations)
      THANKS by advance Frank !!

      Reply
    • Frank

      Herve, I have never used a calibration tool. I started out on a track using the auto-calibration tool with my FR410. That number bounced around a lot (the GPS signals at that outdoor track near San Francisco were pretty erratic) so I began using manual calibration. On my fenix2, the Calibration scale was 1000 points. I finally settled on 950 for walking and 1040 for distance running.

      I believe that the 100.00 scale on the fenix3 translates with a simple 10X multiplier. For example, my 1,040 on the f2 would translate to 104.00 on the f3. Having said that, I have never bothered to change my f3 from 100.00 because I am no longer relying on it for distance outdoors and the difference between 100 and 104 in terms of an instant pace display are too granular for an inexperienced, untrained, old runner like me to worry about. If I shoot for a 9:00 pace, it is just about all I can do to keep it between 8:30 and 9:30 if I don’t watch it every second and I don’t. Still, it is way better than having instant pace from GPS which wanders all over the place even if I, by some happy accident, run at a steady clip. I may try to fine tune it down the road but I need to fine tune myself first.

      50 and 150 are both absurd numbers useful only when you want to make the foot pod’s contribution stick out like a sore thumb. I believe they are also the upper and lower limits that the f3 will accept. I think you will find that 99% of people will find their sweet spot well within the 90-110 range.

      If you are going to use the Foot Pod for distance outdoors, It is more important to calibrate it pretty precisely though I think you can ignore the last two digits unless you run like a machine. Set Distance to Always and manual calibration to 100.00. Go to a place where you can run a precisely measured distance that is at least ¼ mile long and run it. Start your activity from a running start (pass the start point and push the button to begin the activity after getting to your expected pace for whatever type of running you do) and keep running past the end point pressing the end button as you pass it, Compare the distance recorded in your activity to it’s known length. If you ran a measured kilometer for example and your activity reports 0.96km, your calibration will be the known distance divided by the measured distance. 1/0.96 or 104.17 in this case. Change the calibration and do it again. This time it should be spot on. It is best if yo can do this on a close loop or out and back route so that the effects of wind and elevation changes will cancel themselves out.

      I actually bought a surveyor’s wheel to measure my favorite courses. Even courses with posted distances have often turned out to be as much as 140 meters (8%) longer or shorter than they purported to be.

      Reply
  266. Tim

    I just bought one of these foot pods from Amazon (tho’ supplied by a 3rd party).

    I noticed that on the unit I got, the arrow is uncolored, there is no white dot behind the arrow, and there is no blue triangle above the N in Garmin.

    All the images that I see in all the unboxings and promotional materials have a white arrow, white dot, blue triangle.

    Does anyone know if Garmin regularly changes small details like this? Or if different production cycles look different? Or perhaps this item was a “second” (cosmetically irregular, as described), and thus was $20 below regular price from the seller?

    I’m a little concerned about it…

    – Tim

    Reply
    • Frank

      I just looked at the one I bought a couple of years ago as well as the four clips I have at home. The arrows are not colored on any of them and most of the clips came direct from Garmin. My two-year old pod has no triangle over the N in the word Garmin. Looking at the box my December 2015 foot pod came in, the picture on the front shows a blue triangle over the N in Garmin but the unit itself is on my other shoes at the gym. I’ll look in the morning.

      In any event, if it works I wouldn’t sweat it and you should know pretty quick unless you have no confidence in your treadmill speeds. I’ve also never heard of knock-off foot pods. I would think the price too low and the market too small to make it worth the effort.

      Reply
    • Tim

      Thanks! Let me know what you find on your shoe. 😉

      I’ve contacted the seller to ask them, just to check, as well.

      – Tim

      Reply
    • Tim

      Just as a followup, the seller said they get their stuff straight from Garmin. I called Garmin, and the guy on the phone grabbed a foot pod and said it looks like mine (no graphics on it, translucent cover) – so it looks like their ad copy and their actual devices can differ in these particulars. Funny.

      – Tim

      Reply
    • Frank

      Tim, as you already know, my newer foot pod looks just like the old one. The word GARMIN in white is the only adornment on its surface. Interestingly, my tempe (same exact form factor) does have the blue triangle above the N as well as the word TEMPE below the MIN in Garmin. It does not have the white ink on the arrow on the clip nor the white dot on the sensor that show up here: link to buy.garmin.com on Garmin’s own site. None of the six clips I can currently find have any color on them at all. Attention to detail is not a Garmin core strength :).

      Reply
    • Tim

      Thanks! Glad to know I’m not going crazy! 😉

      – Tim

      Reply
  267. Frank

    Failover Test Failure. It seems Garmin’s often superb hardware engineering has subverted my diabolical plan to test the failover performance of the fenix3 (where footpod data automatically stands in for GPS when the GPS signal is weak or absent).

    The set-up. I set my outdoor foot pod to SPEED-ALWAYS, DISTANCE-INDOOR, and Manual Calibration 100.00. I began a RUN activity and ran a measured 2 mile outdoor course attempting a steady 10:00 pace. Without stopping the activity, I walked the 400-500 feet from the running path to a treadmill in the gym and ran one mile at a 10 minute pace. I walked the 400-500 feet back to the outdoor running trail and did the same two miles I started with, again attempting to maintain a 10:00 pace. At the end of that segment I ended the activity.

    Here is the resulting activity: link to connect.garmin.com

    The short story of my failure is that the fenix apparently never lost GPS lock even inside this two story concrete building. I never got a notification that signal had been lost. As you would expect in this situation, while my recorded pace never varied, the f3 recorded only 0.19 miles of distance during the mile I did on the treadmill.

    For my next attempt (or for others who may wish to try this) I will either move a treadmill into my underground bat cave or (more likely) I’ll drop my watch into a tin box while I am on the treadmill at the gym.

    The fact that the f3 recorded 1,000 feet of movement during the 10 minutes that I was stationary on the treadmill does indicate a degraded GPS signal and I would have hoped that, in that set of conditions (weak GPS signal, foot pod enabled and present, foot pod pace 10:00, cadence 162, GPS speed 1.14 mph [52:38 pace]) would have been enough to trigger a failover but it was not. Perhaps the f3 has no failover capability at all but until I can rob it of even a weak GPS signal in the middle of a run, I won’t know for sure.

    Anybody else already know the answer to this one? Any details about how complete or long of a signal loss is required to trigger a failover? How strong or how long to trigger a reversion to GPS?

    Reply
    • Frank

      Without actually testing it, I now realize that the tin box idea won’t work. It will probably have a bigger impact on shutting down the Ant+ signals from my foot pod than it will the GPS signal. After all, I think my gym has a metal roof.

      Instead, I have installed an app on my iPhone called GPS Check. I’ll use that and my Garmin GPS76Cx to try to locate a treadmill that has no signal and is in reasonable proximity to an outdoor running venue. Too bad the fenix3 no longer had a GPS accuracy screen. I imagine people were misusing that information to torment Garmin so they ditched it.

      Reply
  268. Charlie

    Can the forerunner 610 be set to display running cadence readings on the watch unit while running with a footpod?

    Reply
  269. Steve

    I have a Fenix 3 and have been using it indoors mainly on an elliptical trainer and a bike, but frustratingly I see frequent drop-outs in cadence when using the watch. These drop-outs happen irregularly and aren’t associated with me taking a drink or checking my pulse rate, but seem to be random in nature.

    After a brief and unsuccessful foray into using a Garmin cadence sensor in my shoe on the gym bike (I came to the conclusion that the cadence sensor needed to be inverted to register a rotation, and that wasn’t happening when attached to my shoe!) I’ve just invested in a Sunnto ANT+ Foot Pod but have found that the drop-outs are still present. When on the treadmill both the watch and Foot Pod work as expected, I’m assuming because the forces of a running footfall are greater and more distinct than the gentle rotation if the trainer.

    So my question is, has anyone got a reliable elliptical trainer cadence measurement, if so is there any advice you can give on Foot Pod placemen, and how can I be sure my Fenix 3 is taking pace/cadence data from the foot Pod as opposed to the watch?

    As an aside, I did note that my first Foot Pod elliptical session of just over 1hr using the Foot Pod registered a measly 0.21 miles with an average cadence of 125 (comprising my 170 actual cadence with drop-outs) as against an estimated 6miles at 140 average when using the watch alone.

    Reply
    • George

      I think the thing that makes Ellipticals popular also works against you in using a footpod; simple that there’s no sharp acceleration as with when your foot hits the pavement.

      Yes there’s a decelleration/accelleration as your foot rotates in an ellipse, but the acceleration pattern isn’t what the footpod’s internal software is looking for and thus it gets confused. Same for using a footpod on a cycle / spin bike / trainer. The movement pattern doesn’t match what the footpod is looking for in order for it to do it’s motion calculations.

      That said, DCR looked into an option that might work for you: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Reply
  270. Cindy Ho

    Hi there, I apologize if someone had asked this question before, as the comments date back several years, but I was wondering how one would use her Fenix 3 to record data from cycling on a stationary bike?
    I do RPM classes a lot at the gym, but I’m not an outdoor cyclist (I use my watch for running / hiking mostly). I don’t even know what metrics cyclists want to see from their rides, but can I get them from my Fenix 3 indoors? I would like to know how I’m progressing in terms of my riding fitness.

    If I can, what other devices will I need – a foot pod / heart rate monitor strap?

    Thank you very much in advance for any advice you might have!

    Cindy

    Reply
    • Cindy Ho

      I just saw this after I posted my comment above:

      link to dcrainmaker.com

      This answers my question; but instead of getting Wahoo could I use the Garmin foot pod instead and have the data on my Fenix 3 simultaneously? Are the Wahoo and Garmin foot pods basically the same thing but from different makers? (this might sound like a really elementary question)

      Thanks,
      Cindy

      Reply
  271. Steve

    I couldn’t get the Garmin bike cadence sensor to give any information at all when riding a gym-bike. I tried Ray’s suggested position (side of shoe), vertically, horizontally, at 45 degrees, left-side, right-side and on-top but to no avail. The Garmin cadence sensor appears to require inversion to record, which is something your foot isn’t designed to do! I can only think the Wahoo version works differently.

    I can’t get the Foot Pod (Sunnto version) to reliably work on the bike either.

    It would appear that there isn’t a reliable gym-equipment sensor available at the moment. The most success I’ve had is to cycle with my watch-hand on my left knee which actually records cadence surprisingly well!

    Reply
    • Cindy Ho

      Thanks Steve! What a shame, it would be great to have just the one foot pod that works across everything.

      Reply
    • Frank

      I’m afraid Garmin foot pods have never recorded cycling cadence indoors or out. The Wahoo work around suggested by Ray won’t talk to your fenix as it is BTLE only while your fenix will only accept sensor input from your Ant devices.

      I see no easy solution to your problem apart from changing to a gym that has Ant enables spin bikes. They seem to be somewhat rare. link to dcrainmaker.com

      Reply
    • Cindy

      Thanks Frank. It makes me wonder why Garmin would bother availing bike apps at all on the watch when it can’t even do much with those activities.

      Reply
    • Dan

      Well, it does work well for outdoor cycling where people use their own equipment and can set up the sensors.

      I have my own spin bike and was able to set up the garmin cadence sensor so it works. Couldn’t mount the speed/distance sensor to get it to work, although as Ray said somewhere, speed/distance on a stationary bike is meaningless. Cadence is probably too, but a little less so.

      Depending on the bikes your gym has, you may be able to attach the garmin sensors with zip ties or something else that would be easy to put on and take off. If you brought the zip ties in bulk (link to amazon.com) you could probably do it. Don’t know that it’s worth the effort. Assuming the bikes don’t have a power meter, HR is probably the most meaningful info you can get while using a stationary bike.

      Reply
  272. Steve

    I’ve this evening tried sticking a Footpod in my sock in various orientations, but can’t get a reliable cadence reading on either the exercise bike or elliptical trainer so I think I’ll have to concede defeat and accept that indoor cadence isn’t viable.

    In the process I’ve also found out that the Footpod data doesn’t contribute to the watches daily step count.

    Thanks to all of you’ve who’ve offered their thoughts, it’s now time to give up with measurement and just get on with the exercise!

    Reply
  273. Jeremy

    Ray, I just got the new Forerunner 235 and I am thinking about getting a foot pod. Do you think this is a smart buy or does the 235 do a good enough job for indoor running?

    Reply
  274. Theresa Bagshaw

    Hello,
    Where did you see is the cycling cadence kit for $30?
    The link goes to Amazon, and the price is $93US.
    Thank you.
    Theresa

    Reply
  275. Jeff

    So, I just bought a foot pod to use on the treadmill and my fenix 3. I don’t see a way to manually calibrate it. It is set on a cal factor of 100.
    Manual calibration is recommended if you know your calibration factor. If you have calibrated a foot pod with another Garmin® product, you may know your calibration factor.

    The directions are listed below…
    “Hold UP.
    Select Settings > Sensors > Foot Pod > Cal. Factor.
    Adjust the calibration factor:
    Increase the calibration factor if your distance is too low.
    Decrease the calibration factor if your distance is too high.”

    What is your recommendation on the easiest way? Do you list the speed and distance to “always” and run outside with gps? Will it automatically calibrate or is it all manual?

    Thanks for your help

    Reply
    • Frank

      Your questions are somewhat unclear but let me try to intuit what you are looking for.

      First, congratulation on your new foot pod. It is a very useful device indoors and out.

      Frankly, I would not futz with the foot pod calibration. The default value of 100 is very likely already good enough. If however, you are certain that the treadmill you are using is properly calibrated and therefore accurate AND the distances being recorded by your f3 (when using the foot pod for distance) and the treadmill are materially different, then adjust the foot pod calibration. You have already posted the correct sequence of button pushes to do this. If that is not working, the most likely problem is that you have not yet paired your new foot pod with the watch. To do that, shake the foot pod about a bit to wake it up. Then UP > SETTINGS > SENSORS > Add New > Foot Pod.

      To arrive at the “correct” manual calibration, divide the distance recorded by the treadmill by the distance recorded on your f3 and multiply the result by 100. This is your new calibration factor. For example, if the treadmill shows 10.21 miles and your watch shows 9.75, your calibration factor is 104.72. You could do the same trick out doors if you have a measured distance of reasonable length you can run at your normal pace. Having said that, unless you are running in the jungle (urban or tropical) I recommend letting the GPS take care of distance outdoors. Which leads me to your next general question.

      Set your foot pod to Speed Always and Distance Indoors. That way, when you run outside, the distance will be calculated by GPS and your pace information will come from your foot pod which is a much more stable source of moment to moment measurement but tends to drift over longer periods of time.

      As for Auto Calibration, I see it is a Calibration option on my 6.50 Update F3 but I would not use it. First, there have been a number of reports that it simply does not work. Second, I don’t like the idea of values changing without my intervention or knowledge. Third, the correct calibration for the treadmill is likely to be different than the same number for outdoors runs and I am presuming that Auto Calibrate only does it’s thing outside where it has a GPS signal it can use to second guess your existing calibration.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
    • Jeff

      Thanks for the reply. Sorry for the confusion on the post. I was in a rush.

      I ran today on the treadmill. The treadmill had me at 7 miles and the foot pod had me at 7.58 miles. I did some intervals at 650 on the treadmill and the pod had me at 615. I know I wasn’t going 615. I used the formula to make the calibration adjustment. Is there a way to correct the data from the run I just performed?

      Reply
    • Frank

      Not as far as I know but I have never used any of the alternate analysis software such as TrainingPeaks which may or may not accommodate such a tweak.

      I am sure this vary’s a lot from person to person. Keep in mind that I am an old man that just started running in the last few years. Having said that, I have noticed that my “correct” calibration is somewhat pace dependent but within a reasonable range of running paces the difference between slow and fast is only 2-3%. Now that I am not forced to use Foot Pod for distance outdoors (as was the case with my F2) I don’t bother to calibrate anymore.

      Your 6:15 6:50 scenario indicates a correct calibration of 91.46 which is pretty substantial. I would probably make that adjustment. Unless you are a highly trained machine, you should probably spot check the calibration a few times a year and every time you change shoes.

      Reply
  276. Kevin

    Hi DC, I have been getting this bizarre pace info on a number of recent runs (real pace is around 5:40 per km). These appear not to be battery related (as cadence is still correctly reflected). Could this merely be an old tired footpod (about 4 yrs old) or is this more likely to be a battery issue?

    Thanks for your help (and wonderfully informative site),

    Reply
  277. Stephane

    When I’m driving my Garmin vivoactive is still counting steps would a foot pod stop it from counting in the car or is there another gadget you know of that would.

    Reply
    • For some people, some devices will indeed do this. While extremely rare – it does seem to happen. It’s possible a different device from a different company will resolve it, but it’s hard to say.

      I’ve yet to get a clear explanation from any company (Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, etc…) on why or what triggers it to happen for some people. Whether it be orientation, or driving style, or even car make. It’s one of those things where it’s likely some quirk in an algorithm that this falls into an edge case for. :(

      Reply
    • Frank

      You could power it down while you are in the car. I don’t thank pairing it with a foot pod would stop it from counting steps. My fenix 3 does not stop counting steps while I am standing still in my foot pod equipped shoes chopping onions. Yes. I get a lot of steps preparing delicious fresh food. Unlikely your Vivoactive would behave any differently :).

      Reply
  278. Gerome

    Hello Ray and folks!

    I have a few questions for you:

    From Ray’s Q&A:

    Q: When using the foot pod outdoors, will I still get the satellite image of my run?
    A: Yes, as long as you don’t disable GPS, the satellite image will still appear. If you disable GPS however (by answering ‘Yes’ to ‘Are you indoors now?’), then you will not get a route map.

    Q: Is lap distance/pace recorded when using the foot pod?
    A: Yup, all the same data is recorded. The only thing not included is a map of where you went, and in the case of GPS-dependent watches – elevation data isn’t included.

    1. I find the above two answers somewhat unclear and conflicting: If you don’t disable GPS, do you get a map (as per answer 1) or not (hinted at by answer 2)?

    2. Can I set the Garmin fénix 3/fénix 3 HR/epix (please note which, if they’re different in this respect) to record cadence, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, ground contact time balance, stride length, and vertical ratio (except for epix in respect to the last three, meh) from the HRM-Run/Tri, running pace and distance traveled from the Garmin foot pod, and still get a route map with elevation data from the watch’s GPS? If so, what changes do I need to make in the given watch’s settings menu?

    3. Would you recommend getting a foot pod to complement Garmin fénix 3/fénix 3 HR/epix GPS watches if one desires best pace/distance traveled accuracy?

    Thank you very much!

    Reply
  279. tim

    I’ve generally had a footpod on my shoes for the last few years. The first one I had seemed to go a bit bonkers within a year, and Garmin replaced it with a new one… but I have seen the new one now also giving really odd pace data (I will try to attach a GC plot picture).

    My question: is this a normal failure mode? I have had 2, and they both seem to do this eventually… the first definitely within a year, the second may be a similar timeframe give or take 6 months. I’ve tried swapping batteries and putting a battery in backwards to reset it… nothing seems to have fixed it yet.

    I’d just grab a new one, but given that I basically only use it for cadence 90% of the time (I am outside), and have a fenix 3 now anyway… maybe I’ll just abandon the thing. I do like the smooth cadence data when pushing a stroller (the wrist based jumps around depending on arm used for the push) though.

    Reply
  280. Hi Ray. Sooooo, I did the Paris Marathon today. Just purchased the new Fenix 3 HR (through Clever Training) and paired the footpod. However, when I ran through the tunnels I lost GPS but the footpod didn’t take over. I’ve one kilometre of well over 8 minutes! Any ideas? I am fairly sure the footpod was recognised by the watch at the start of the race.

    Reply
    • HI Stephen – congrats!

      Hmm, hard to say without knowing the exact footpod settings (i.e. how it was configured).

      However, it sounds like the calibration was off, if it was still tracking a distance but just a wrong distance. Did you set/determine a calibration value ahead of time?

      Reply
    • No, if I’m honest I didn’t calibrate at all. I have used this footpod with my 920xt for ages and I’m pretty sure I ran with it in Paris last year. I’ve done paris 5 times and never had a problem in the tunnels before. I had the watch set to default INDOORS for both speed and distance. I assumed it would simply use the footpod when signal was lost. Calibration may be a thing then. Might try and get to the patisserie on Tuesday btw.

      Reply
    • Yeah, unfortunately calibration values aren’t stored in the footpod, but on the watch. :(

      Unfortunately the main CupCakery locations is closed right now (owners of the space decided they wanted to do their own thing). We have a second locale, but it’s just for special orders/catering/events/etc…

      Sorry!

      Reply
    • Aaah no!! Never mind. Thanks Ray. Take care.

      Reply
  281. Jim

    I see that the original review of the Garmin footpod was from 2012 and Ray found it very accurate, but I have read many other reviews that say accuracy degrades when pace changes. I’m interested in using it primarily for treadmill runs with intervals. I want to use it with a Vivoactive.

    So I’m wondering, is the footpod sold today and same as the one reviewed? Has the firmware in the watches changed any to make it accurate across different paces?

    Reply
    • Frank

      Yes it is the same device they were selling as their “new” model in 2012.

      It is not perfect but, for treadmill work, it is the most accurate pace measurement sensor you can get. To make it super accurate you would have to be able to give it pace specific calibration numbers and that capability is not currently supported. I have sent two emails to Dynastream (Garmin subsidiary that manufacturers the foot pod) requesting that they auto-detect walking vs running and support multiple calibrations. Heck, a Vivofit can do it so why not a foot pod? Those emails were ignored.

      The best you can do today when running intervals is to select a calibration value that, on average, is right. Of course, if your treadmill is not calibrated, figuring out what is right is kind of impossible. I finally decided I was spending too much time worrying about stuff like this and not enough time running. My foot pods have all been left at their default 100 calibration ever since.

      Reply
    • Dan

      ” I finally decided I was spending too much time worrying about stuff like this and not enough time running.”

      Really! Sometimes the tech takes on more importance than the actual activity. Unless one is a world class athlete and every tenth of a second is important, for the most part it is much ado about nothing.

      Reply
    • Jim

      Thanks Frank. Actually I doubt the foot pod has any calibration in it. It probably sends raw data and it’s up to the watch or whatever to apply any calibration factors.

      My Vivoactive reports a 3.8 mile run while the treadmill reports 3 miles, so i have quite a discrepancy. I expect I could improve it by setting a stride length for running; I have only done that for walking. But hey, another toy! I’ll give it a try.

      Reply
    • Jim

      So, when you change your pace, how much is it off by?

      Reply
    • Ryan

      Jim,

      If the Vivoactive is like the Forerunner 235, if you go for a run outside with the footpod connected, it will use the GPS distance to help auto calibrate (Mine has a calibration factor 98.7 without me actually doing anything)

      Reply
    • Frank

      Well, sometimes my OCD just adopts a new target. Lately it is the application of Segal’s law to the subject of outdoor distances. When I figured out I could not trust my fenix 3’s GPS, I switched to my bike. Couldn’t be 100% sure it was correctly calibrated. Besides, the resolution of the Edge is limited to two digits. That’s up to 53 feet in a mile or 10 meters in a kilometer. Then I wore my self out pushing a commercial grade surveyor’s wheel around my favorite courses. Kept getting different measurements. Took it to two different USATF calibration courses. Turned out to be about 0.75% generous. That’s 40 feet per mile. Thinking about ordering a Jones counter. How sick is that?

      Reply
    • F

      I have not done that experiment in a while but you have tweaked my curiosity so I’ll do it again. The reason I know it is true is that my former fenix2 was incapable of supporting foot pod pace without also using it for distance. When I repeatedly ran the same course with that set-up, the distance recorded was a factor of average pace. The most noticeable gap is between walking and running at practically any speed. If I recall correctly, walking was about 95 and running 105. My current fenix3 supports using the footpod to display pace outdoors without requiring you to use it for distance too. That’s really the main reason I quit obsessing over calibration factors.

      Reply
    • Frank

      OK. I did a very limited, one-off experiment with these results:

      MPH __CALCULATED PACE___REPORTED PACE ___INDICATED CALIBRATION
      3_____0:20:00_____________0:18:33____________107.8%
      4_____0:15:00_____________0:13:40____________109.8%
      5_____0:12:00_____________0:11:35____________103.6%
      6_____0:10:00_____________0:09:41____________103.3%

      For those interested in the gory details, this is what I did—

      I got on a 16 month old Matrix model T-5X-07-C treadmill set at a 1% incline and walked for 10 minutes at a setting of 3 mph. At 10 minute intervals, I increased the speed by 1 MPH up through 6 mph. I was wearing a fenix3 on 6.90 software, an HRM-RUN and a SDM4 Garmin foot pod. The foot pod was set at a calibration of 100.0 on the fenix3. At 2 and 3 mph, I was walking. At 5 and 6 mph, I was running.

      I have no way of knowing if the treadmill is properly calibrated for speed but it felt “right”. Besides, the main goal of this experiment was to determine the impact of relative pace on calibration factors as opposed to determining whether either or both of the displayed treadmill speed/indicated foot pod pace were actually accurate.

      The numbers I used in the REPORTED PACE column were the ones reported in Garmin Connect as Avg Moving Pace.

      As previously reported, the big difference comes when running vs walking—a full 5% in this case. In both running cases, the difference in indicated calibration seems pretty insignificant. On a 10K course, running uncalibrated at 5mph would bring you up 360 meters short vs. 330 meters short at 6 mph if you used the foot pod for distance and assuming that the treadmill speed was accurate.

      I theorize that these results will likely vary considerably from one individual to the next. I am both old and inexperienced. My 20% speed increase from 5 to 6 mph was accomplished with a less than 1% increase in cadence and 19% increase in stride length. I am guessing this is not an optimal combination.

      The actual activity is available here: link to connect.garmin.com.

      Reply
    • Jim

      Hi Frank, nice test thanks!

      I actually did buy a foot pod but I have only had a chance to use it twice, both times on the treadmill. Before the footpod, my Vivoactive was reporting a 0.8 mile increase over what the treadmill said was ~3.0 miles. Using the foot por right out of the box showed a much better result but still not perfect. I did some math and changed the calibration to 0.965% and this time, over about 3.25 miles it was off by 0.02 miles. Based on that I further adjusted the calibration to 0.966% and I’ll see how that works tonight.

      But, the “run” was a mix of brisk walking (17:00 pace) and running at about a 9:30 pace to an 11:00 minute pace. To have it only off by 0.02 miles during all that made me quite happy.

      Reply
    • Jim

      Here is my Garmin Connect on that “run”:

      link to connect.garmin.com

      BTW, your watch gives you much more interesting data than mine, I may have to get a new running watch!

      Reply
    • Dan

      Jim,

      The problem is that you don’t know if the treadmill is accurate (unless it’s been accurately calibrated recently). So if it’s off and you use it to calibrate the foot pod, then the foot pod is similarly off. I think the best option is to calibrate the foot pod using a known distance outdoors (such as a track). Still not perfect though because I think your stride length will tend to be different outdoors than on the treadmill. And, as Frank notes, pace will change your stride length. So, when you do the calibration you would want to mimic your treadmill pace and stride as much as possible.

      Reply
    • Jim

      Thanks Dan, that’s in the plan. Typically I don’t get home from work until 8:00PM, and it’s dark, and my weekends are too often consumed with stuff I didn’t have time for all week. The guy at the gym said the treadmills are accurate, but I’ll get to the high school track as soon as I can, or just run on the road and let the GPS do it. For now, I’m finding out how consistent it is, at least with my treadmill pace.

      Reply
    • Frank Young

      Fortunately, there is a USATF 400m calibration course a few steps from the front door of my gym. I did some test runs there a few days ago. I don’t like the data for the 10:00 pace so I am going to repeat it all again. I can tell you already though that things look generally different on pavement vs. treadmill.

      I may also try to put my surveyor’s wheel on treadmill #8 this week to try to get a picture of it’s general level of accuracy.

      Another variable is treadmill incline. I inclined it 1% for my test as conventional wisdom is that this is required for treadmill running to match the perceived level of effort for outdoor running at the same speed. Not sure how it impacts the foot pod though. Maybe that is another experiment worth doing.

      If I don’t run out of experiments to do, I might actually get in good shape some day :).

      Reply
    • Jim

      I tried to calibrate mine this weekend by simply doing a 1/2 mile run at the track at the local high school. First I reset the calibration factor to 100. Then I did a GPS run for two laps:

      link to connect.garmin.com

      (BTW, I’m not terribly impressed with the GPS accuracy).

      I was expecting the watch to adjust the calibration factor, but it didn’t. So I uploaded the data to my iPhone running Garmin Connect, still nothing. Then I pulled out the laptop, still nothing! The cal factor is still set to 100.

      So, either the Vivoactive does not update the cal factor or 100 is the correct cal factor. So… I tried running a lap with it set to indoor running:

      link to connect.garmin.com

      It measured .26 miles, which I guess if I didn’t push the button exactly right is feasible. But I’m not sure. The guy at the gym sure could have been wrong when he said the treadmill was accurate, and I don’t have a wheel to check it. But the difference between the treadmill and the footpod set to 100 is substantial.

      I’m going to read up on the Vivoactive and see if it is supposed to self calibrate, but so far the manuals have not said much about this. More googleing…

      Reply
    • Dan

      The vivoactive doesn’t self calibrate. This is how you do it (credit to Frank): Go run a known distance in Indoor Run mode with the pod. Divide that known distance by whatever your VA reports for that run and multiply that result by 100. This is your new calibration factor. For instance if you run a mile and your recorded activity is 1.1 miles your calibration factor is 91 (1÷1.1=0.9090909091×100=91.

      Reply
    • Jim

      Okay then, mystery solved, thanks Dan and Frank! I won’t be able to get to the track (at least in daylight) until the weekend. But I did recall that when I ran the one 1/4 mile lap the Vivoactive, set to 100 as the cal factor, reported 0.24 miles. So I’ll try setting the cal to 104 and see what that gives me. Will I know if its right? Npe, not until the weekend but what the heck!

      Reply
    • Jim

      Actually 104.2.

      Reply
    • Jim

      Do any of the other watches have better GPS receivers? I realize that the higher end running watches will take position readings more frequently, but would the reading be any more accurate than the Vivoactive?

      Reply
    • Frank Young

      This better receiver debate has gone on seemingly endlessly in various forums online. In my personal experience, practically all of the receivers do a pretty darn good job over reasonably long distances. They all also have bad days when the satellites aren’t aligned just so or you have overhead interference in the form of tall buildings or dense tree cover. Practically all consumer grade GPS’s fare poorly over short distances which is why they do such a poor job of measuring pace. It does help if you can force your running watch to sample every second instead of less frequent or “smart” frequency.

      Reply
    • Frank Young

      Your track is probably 400 meters (0.248548477 miles) but it could be ¼ mile or even 440 meters. For people that do not have a track readily available, check link to usatf.org. I sugges you put in your state and select Course status: Active and Course type: Calibration. While you are on their site, you may as well read: link to usatf.org. For a real appreciation of the answer to the question “How far is it anyway?” download and read this: link to usatf.org and/or this: link to dcrainmaker.com.

      Reply
    • Frank Young

      Alrighty. I’ve done a bunch of testing. This is what I have found:

      1. It is hard to determine treadmill speed accuracy. It turns out that it matters (maybe a lot) whether there is a person on the treadmill. Matrix tells me that their TX-5 draws 2.5 amps running at 2 mph with no person on board. Add a 200 lb person and the current draw jumps to 6.5 amps. I don’t think I can run on the treadmill with the wheel. It would take the help of another nut like me to count belt rotations in a loaded state. That could be hard to find.

      2. Pace—at least in my case—has a dramatic impact on calibration when running on pavement. At my preferred long run pace of 9:00/mile, the proper calibration looks to be between 102 and 103. For both walking at a leisurely 20:00 and sprinting at 6:30, I am coming up with 96. It looks like a bell shaped curve with a peak of 104 at around 9:30.

      3. Treadmill calibration is significantly different. At all running paces my treadmill calibration came out at 97 + or – 1.

      If you are really only interested in pace (my case) the difference between calibrations of 97 and 103 if you are actually doing 9:00 is 8:44 vs 9:17. I’m doing well if it can stay within 30 seconds of my target. Nonetheless, I do have indoor vs outdoor running shoes each pair with its own foot pod so I will probably enter different calibrations for each.

      Reply
    • Frank Young

      Whoops! I got my math backwards. The preceding table should read:

      MPH __CALCULATED PACE___REPORTED PACE ___INDICATED CALIBRATION
      3_____0:20:00_____________0:18:33____________92.8%
      4_____0:15:00_____________0:13:40____________91.1%
      5_____0:12:00_____________0:11:35____________96.5%
      6_____0:10:00_____________0:09:41____________96.8%

      If your reported pace is less than (faster than) your theoretical pace, the foot pod thinks you have gone further than you really have so the calibration should be less than 100 not more. In any event, dividing the reported pace by the “actual” pace should always give you an appropriate calibration factor regardless of which side of 100% it falls on.

      I have since reconfirmed these numbers with another test: link to connect.garmin.com

      Reply
    • Jim

      Very interesting, thank you..

      Reply
  282. Jim Anderson

    I recently was given a Garmin “Activity Monitor” by a friend. It looks exactly like the food pod shown in the article above except under the word GARMIN on the front in smaller letters it says Activity Monitor.

    Does anyone know what this device is, or how it differs from a standard foot pod?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hmm, any chance it’s actually a Garmin Vivoki? That’d be a fitness tracker. It looks very similiar when missing its rubber pod:

      link to buy.garmin.com

      Reply
    • Jim Anderson

      Definitely not a Vivoki. Believe it or not, I’ve actually seen a Vivoki in person. I’ve got a chirp and a tempe at home and this is the same size, shape, etc. I’ll try to get a photo this evening.

      I have searched the Garmin website and the web in general with no luck.

      Reply
    • Jim Anderson

      Here’s a photo..

      Reply
    • Craig

      What does the back look like? A vivoki has the name molded into the case.

      Reply
    • Jim Anderson

      This is what the back looks like

      Reply
    • Jörg G.

      Ok. There is SDM4 on the back. So it should be a foot pod.

      Reply
  283. sam

    I’m having trouble connecting my footpod with fr235 fir indoor bike/spinning as there is no indoor bike option on the watch. Any idea how i can get pace and distance fir indoor bike using footpod and fr235?

    Reply
  284. Kannan

    Can Garmin ANT+ Foot Pods connect map my ride android app parallelly? if yes, should the blutooth be on to connect ant+ signal?

    Reply