JUMP TO:

Adidas Bluetooth Smart miCoach (Mini) Footpod In-Depth Review

IMG_6423

It’s been about 8 months since the first Bluetooth Smart footpod popped out into the market, introduced by Polar shortly after the release of their Polar Beat app.  However, while it technically worked just fine, it lacked one thing: Elegance. Or more specifically, it’s was flippin’ huge.  Like Polar’s past footpods, it is approximately the size of a Twinkie on your shoe – a rarity in the days of penny sized footpods.

So when Adidas quietly listed for sale their new Adidas miCoach SPEED_CELL Bluetooth Smart footpod, I ordered one up and decided to give it a shot.  The initial goal was for use within my Adidas Smart Run GPS review, but I quickly realized the appeal would actually be much larger than that.  After all, since it complied with Bluetooth Smart device profiles for footpods, it’d really work with any app that supports Bluetooth Smart footpods – even Polar’s app.

With that, let’s dive into my thoughts on it.  While this will be an in-depth review, at the same time I’m trying to keep in mind that it’s just a footpod, so I’ll keep things as brief as possible while still covering all the details.

Unboxing:

IMG_6417

When it comes to getting things unboxed, you won’t have to worry about the footpod being damaged in transit.  Trust me, the massively oversized box certainly takes care of that.

IMG_6418

It does have a peekaboo window though, so you can at least validate someone didn’t steal your candy:

IMG_6420

Inside, you’ll find precisely one item: The footpod.  You’ll also find three pieces of paper, describing the one item you received.  One tells you how to use it (quick start guide), one tells you how not to use it (legal thingy), and one tells you what to do if you screw up using it (warranty guide).

IMG_6421

The footpod technically has two pieces, the first is the pod itself, that’s the green part.  This is where all magic happens from a technology standpoint.  The second piece is the plastic clip – that’s the piece that holds it onto your shoe lace.

IMG_6422

You can see this below, where you simply pop it out to add/remove from shoe.  You’ll also notice the battery compartment on the back.  The unit takes a standard CR2032 battery like most Bluetooth Smart & ANT+ devices on the market today.  These are easily found coin cell batteries that normally run for $2-3 each.  On average, this battery should last you about a year or so.

IMG_6425

Here’s what it looks like on both sides:

IMG_7680

Now, it’s important to note that Adidas actually has two near-identical footpods: One ANT+, one Bluetooth Smart.  Above, you can see them both.  Yes, they’re identical.  The only way to tell the difference is to look at the tiny logo on them.  Below, you can see the ANT+ logo on the left one, and the Bluetooth Smart logo on the right one.

IMG_7667

In fact, you’ll notice that the footpod pretty much looks exactly like the other mini-footpods on the market.  The reason for that is simple: They’re all made by Dynastream.  Dynastream is more commonly known as ANT+, and…owned by Garmin.  In the case of the Adidas footpod, they first made an ANT+ variant a couple years ago, and since then they swapped out the communications chip and made the Bluetooth Smart version for Adidas.

IMG_7686

There’s some significant irony in that ANT+ is now making what I’d argue is the best Bluetooth Smart footpod on the market.  Small world sometimes…

Indoor Use:

DSC_0452

Ultimately, for most folks the footpod is likely to be used on a treadmill.  Because of the Bluetooth Smart nature of the footpod, it means that you can easily just place your phone on the treadmill without any special adapters and dongles and get accurate pace and distance information while indoors.

Of course, before you do that you’ll need to ensure you’ve calibrated it.  You have two options here, one is to manually calibrate it by doing some math.  In that case you run a set distance (such as half a mile) and compare the distance it thinks you ran (pretend .58 miles), and then manually determine the calibration value.  The problem with that…is that I’m lazy.

So instead, I just went outside with the Wahoo Fitness app and ran there.  As long as you run outside with GPS enabled, it’ll automatically calibrate the footpod for you each time you run.  Which, is kinda handy.

20140113_185845000_iOS 20140113_185848000_iOS

So, now I bring myself back inside, and prepare to go on the treadmill.  In this case, I’m making two key changes.  First, I’m setting the speed to be calculated by ‘Stride Sensor’, and second, I’m setting the cadence to be calculated by the footpod.

20140113_185854000_iOS 20140113_185842000_iOS

The reason I do that is that I need to ensure that it doesn’t try and use GPS for both of those, as that would mean that it wouldn’t show me going anywhere (since I’m on a treadmill).

Further, I’m turning GPS off.  I did this by creating a new sport profile.  You can call it anything you’d like, from ‘Indoor Treadmill’ to ‘Place with Sweaty People’.  But the benefit to it is that you can quickly switch between your settings for indoors versus outdoor.

20140113_191401000_iOS 20140113_190032000_iOS

With that, I can go ahead and start the workout.  The unit will automatically show your pace and distance as you run.  And, it’ll track just fine across a wide ranges of paces:

20140113_200547000_iOS 20140113_200609000_iOS

In watching it during a recent treadmill run, I found that the distance was almost spot on with the treadmill.  When running at my steady-state pace in the 7:30/mile range, it was about 1.5% off.  Whereas, when running at faster speeds (about 5:54/mile), it was about 2% off – both, slightly slower than I was running.  When walking during my rest breaks, it was actually reading about 3% faster.  Which, oddly made things kinda even out.

However, there are two things to note.  First, is that I hadn’t re-calibrated it after a bunch of travel.  As such, the footpod may have moved around on my shoes in some 14,000 miles of flights in my luggage.  And second, we actually don’t know that the treadmill is 100% correct.  What’s interesting, as I noted above, is that it all evened out to be exactly the same distance at the end.

DSC_0457

In any event, I’m more than happy with 1.5-2% for treadmill usage across a broad range of paces.

Note that in addition to pace/distance, it also gives me cadence information as well – both on the screen (you can see it in some of the screenshots above), as well as afterwards in workout information – like below:

image

One item I did see which was strange was that the instant-pace data was a bit noisy.  Meaning, it fluctuated a bunch.  I hadn’t seen this before, nor on other footpods.  It’s interesting because despite the noise, the end-distance was still good.

image

I poked at it again outside, to ensure it wasn’t an interference there.  I also looked at data from both Polar and Adidas, and didn’t see it there.  Which made me suspect that it could actually be a battery thing.  I’ve found historically that when there’re issues like this, it tends to be battery driven.  So I swapped out the battery.  No luck.

So then I started pondering – what if it was a Wahoo Fitness app thing and not a footpod thing?  So I went and connected it to the Adidas app – which happened to add support for it that same day.  Instantly, beautifully smooth pace lines:

image

If using the Adidas miCoach app, you can calibrate the footpod based on a known distance.  The one thing to be aware of though is that you have to do that post-activity, but not totally-post-activity.  Sorta in the no-mans land between when you finish and activity and when you finish looking at the summary information.  I really wish the app would allow me to set it later in history.  In any case, you simply just enter the actual distance in.

I did this on a treadmill to make it quick and easy.  The first screenshot shows what the footpod ‘thought’ was the distance.  The second screenshot shows me clicking the distance and editing the actual distance.  And then the third screenshot is the confirmation.

20140120_183224000_iOS 20140120_183238000_iOS 20140120_183243000_iOS

But, you can also do an outdoor run and then tweak based on that.

Circling back to the noisiness issue.  I tested it out on Polar’s Beat app, also, clean lines.  No problems.  Which, then took me back to Wahoo.  In talking with them, they confirmed there’s an issue with the noisiness, and are going to address it in an upcoming app update.

So why not use Polar or Adidas?  Well, while Adidas did just add export capability yesterday (to GPX), that actually doesn’t cover indoor activities, which is what footpods are sorta all (mostly) about.  Further, on the Polar side, there’s no export at all.

Finally, with the Wahoo app I can export straight to Training Peaks, as well as other platforms like Strava and Garmin Connect.   I like data portability.

Outdoor Use:

IMG_8719

In addition to hanging out on a treadmill, the unit will record information outdoors in exactly the same manner as indoors.  I did a bunch of outdoor runs using the footpod in a few different ways:

1) To provide just cadence, while still using GPS for distance/pace
2) To provide cadence and distance/pace as if I were indoors – ignoring the GPS (off)

I did this on the Wahoo Fitness app, Adidas app, and the Polar Beat app.  No problems there.  Here’s a few screenshots, starting with the Wahoo app outdoors.

20140102_150223000_iOS 20140102_145426000_iOS

Here’s an example of post-run doing the calibration with the app on the stride sensor with the Polar app.  On the left side, is my initial distance from the unit.  I went ahead and tapped the distance icon and put in the corrected distance based on a separate GPS that I was using.  After that, the sensor was calibrated for future use.

20140105_165110000_iOS 20140105_165219000_iOS 20140105_165224000_iOS

Looking at the results on the Adidas miCoach app, I did this run where I used GPS as the speed source, but went ahead and pulled stride data from the cadence sensor:

image

Now, remember when using the Wahoo Fitness app you’ll want to select the correct data source for speed/distance and set it for either the footpod or GPS.

20140102_134933000_iOS 20140102_134913000_iOS

For me, I went ahead and created customized profiles in the Wahoo app to specify different configurations so I can quickly switch to whatever I’d like.

A note about indoor cycling mode:

One slightly interesting mode that the Adidas miCoach app has added is the ability to use the footpod while on a bike – such as a gym spin or exercise bike.  In doing so, it’ll record your cadence information for you, which is (in theory) pretty darn cool.  It’s very similar to what you can do in my post last week with the Wahoo RPM.  Except, unlike the Wahoo RPM, this works in running.

Now, my repeated attempts at getting on multiple gym bikes this week at a hotel I was staying at was thwarted by the same gentleman each time slowly plodding along reading the newspaper.  His estimated cadence: 30RPM.

So, instead, I just did it on my own bike on a trainer.  Now ironically enough, what I found was that I probably could have stuck the cadence sensor on that man instead.  As the cadence values given to me were definitely not accurate.  While about half my actual cadence value, though it didn’t seem to increase/decrease too much with my change in pedaling cadence more dramatically than recorded below in the charts (if you had just doubled it).

photo 1 photo 2

Just to be sure, I uploaded it as well – and found the same thing:

image

It’d be interesting to see Adidas tweak this a bit more in software to correctly understand it.  I suspect this would probably be an easy change for them to make (or at least, in theory it should be).

Compatibility with Watches:

IMG_8121

The Adidas Bluetooth Smart footpod is compatible with any unit that supports the Bluetooth Smart footpod device profile.  The trick is, at this point, that’s almost no units.  In fact, the only unit on the market today is the Adidas Smart Run GPS.

This though is mostly a result of the fact that there are only two units on the market that support Bluetooth Smart accessories at all: TomTom and Adidas.   Everything else is ANT+ today (or, legacy Polar WIND).

Upcoming though for the April 2014 is Polar’s V800 triathlon-focused watch, which does support Bluetooth Smart accessories.  They’ve stated that they will support Bluetooth Smart footpods, which will include both their own footpod (the big one), as well as the Adidas one.  And of course any other footpods that adhere to the specification.

Over time, I’m sure we’ll see other Bluetooth Smart compatible watches, but right now the pickings are pretty slim and mostly focused on the app side (iOS/Android/Windows Phone).

Preemptive FAQ: Does it work with Garmin watches? No, it does not.  Garmin watches communicate with ANT+ to sensors, and do not at this time connect to Bluetooth Smart sensors (even units like the FR220/FR620 that have Bluetooth in them do not communicate with Bluetooth Smart sensors).  For Polar devices pre-V800, those devices don’t have Bluetooth capabilities in them – and thus, cannot connect to Bluetooth Smart devices.

Ability to Record Data without a Watch/Phone

Now originally, back in the day the first generation ANT+ Adidas footpod wasn’t actually designed to capture running metrics.  Instead, it was designed to fit in your cleats and track soccer (football) distances.  The idea was that you’d have no other device on your person (no watch/phone) and the footpod would automatically record the activity in a smart manner (figuring out start/end) and then give you stats such as speed, distance and things like ‘bursts’ (basically sprints).  You’d then manually supplement that with information such as game score and you’d have a neat little log of the game – charts and all.

IMG_4801 IMG_4800 IMG_4802

That same concept has carried through to the Bluetooth version of the footpod.  The only catch is that right now while the footpod does work for soccer (and others), it doesn’t understand just straight running.  See, you use a separate app – the Adidas miCoach Multisport app to access and download these metrics.  And that app is really more focused on other sports, specifically: American Football, Basketball, Soccer, Handball, Rugby, and Tennis.

So what happens if you head out for a run?  Well, it will actually capture that run, and in my experience the total distance is nearly spot on.  I’m seeing it be off by only about 1/10th of a kilometer on runs of 6-10 miles.  So basically, close enough.  However, you can’t actually specify a run.  So instead, you have to pick your favorite sport:

IMG_4808 IMG_4809 IMG_4806

I chatted with Adidas about this, and they definitely understand the potential here for making the experience the same for running and giving a running-focused sport option.  So you’ll see that later this spring added to the app.  Thus allowing you to ‘run naked’ without anything more than a footpod on (or in) your shoe.

Pros/Cons:

While pretty straight-forward, it’s probably worthwhile looking at some of the pros and cons of the device:

Pros:

- Works with compatible phone apps (and a lot more coming)
- Works with Adidas Smart Run GPS, Polar V800 down the road
- Tiny, small form factor
- Accurate when calibrated
- Great battery life – 1yr+
- Can download activities post-workout without bringing phone/watch (running set for later spring)

Cons:

- Doesn’t work with most watches on market today
- Only Bluetooth Smart, not dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart

Summary:

DSC_0466

Overall, the Adidas footpod certainly works well. It fits the bill nicely right now where the other options on the market aren’t terribly ideal.  It accurately gets pace and distance (and cadence) information into your app or Bluetooth Smart enabled watch with minimal fuss.  And does so in the tiniest possible footprint.

The singular item that gives me pause however is that it’s only single channel – Bluetooth Smart.  As we saw a couple weeks ago at CES, there’s now a slew of devices coming out that are dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart.  This means that in many ways it’s a bit of a bad time to buy sensors, since many of those sensors are being re-released in the near future with dual-capable versions.

In the case of the footpod, nobody has specifically announced a timeframe for a dual-capable unit.  A few companies have talked around the bush a bit on potentially releasing one, including both Wahoo and 4iiii’s.  Wahoo has been a bit more clear they they will release dual-versions of all their current accessory products this year.  But that could be next month or next October.  I reached out to Dynastream as well (ultimate designer of both Adidas units), but they didn’t have anything to comment on at this time.

So, my advice is this: If you have a specific need that is Bluetooth Smart focused today, and you don’t anticipate needing ANT+ compatibility (read: you don’t have a Garmin/Timex/etc unit), then go forth and look at the Adidas unit – it sure as heck beats the massive Polar Bluetooth Smart unit.  But, if you don’t have an immediate need for one, I’d wait out a bit longer and see what floats down the product river.

With that – thanks for reading!

Retweet 13Like 18Google +1 22

71 Comments

  1. Jared

    Do you know if the calibration is stored on the footpod or in the app? If I use the auto-calibrate feature in the Wahoo app, for example, will that calibration be applied to any other run with a different app, or does Wahoo store the calibration and uses it when it reads from the footpod?

    Reply
    • Wawan replied

      Within the app, not the pod. You could see in one of the screenshot

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, correct, it’s stored by an individual app.

      Reply
    • Stevie replied

      Hi there, had one of these a couple of months back. A major Con missing from your Cons summary, is that it will only talk to a iPhone 4 and above. No androids phone and really annoying lying not an iPad either. I have an iPad3 which is Bluetooth smart enabled, and thus though I would be ok.

      They bury this information in a blog, but write on the packaging compatible with Bluetooth smart devices, androids phones, etc. annoying.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      If you bought it a few months ago when it first came out, the reason it didn’t work on your iPad was simply that the app to use it wasn’t released until last Monday (more specifically, the app wasn’t updated to use the BT Smart version till last Monday). Prior to that, it was only for the Smart Run GPS to use (or 3rd party apps).

      Reply
    • Stevie replied

      Well that is good to know – though I sent the unit back as it was of no use to me at that point, Don’t suppose you know if it works with other Bluetooth smart phones and tablets?

      It was just annoying that adidas advertised in their own store as compatible when it wasn’t (UK store).

      Great site by the way – new to it – but your reviews are great. If you fancy doing an austerity article, I am still using an old Nokia 500 (93 g) as my bike and run computer with Sports Tracker App. It has an accelerometer which does a decent step count (and cadence if you have it in your jersey pocket) and the normal GPS stuff. It also can play music or podcasts, and has hrm capabilities with the right Bluetooth strap.

      Looking to upgrade to a watch and/or dedicated bike computer but struggling to find anything that does as much especially when the nokia is about £30-£40 on ebay.

      Keep up the good work.

      Reply
    • Stevie replied

      The obvious limitations being that whilst running I keep it a spi-belt so you don’t get to see the screen and then is no audio feedback – so only good for post run analysis.

      On the bike you can mount it on the handlebars and then it has a very comprehensive set of possible display, but you do lose the pseudo cadence measure by doing this.

      Hence my wish to get a watch type solution. you can pop it into one of those arm wallet things, but I personnly never found one that didn’t annoy me.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      You can use it with the Adidas Smart Run GPS, as well as the Magellan Echo (a much cheaper/smaller watch). The Echo still requires pairing it to your phone however (iOS device with BLE support), but that can be in your spibelt. I have a review on the Echo up there as well.

      Reply
    • Stevie replied

      Sorry for the double post. The Speed cell was bought for use in my rugby boots, hence annoyed when it didn’t link up with any of my smart bt devices.

      Reply
    • Earwiggle replied

      works fine with my IPad 3 and IPhone 5s ( reason why I needed the update from ANT+) Am delighted, will be happy when also a Running app as the Multisport, could do with a landscape view as I use my IPad in that format on my treadmill). Third Party apps coming along, Polar and Wahoo, plus hopefully digifit soon.

      Reply
  2. Wawan

    I’ll just wait for the dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart version then for my backup (I have +ANT version) and for my wife’s workout (she’s using dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart 4iiiiiiiiiii HR strap, which I’m using too if I misplaced my garmin HR strap).

    -wawan-

    Reply
  3. Daniel

    Does this have the built in memory for data logging like the Ant+ one? You can put it in your soccer shoe sole and then download the data after the game. Also good for a Tough mudder event where you don’t want to take your phone, and are wearing running shoes with the cavity in the sole.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, it does. And good point, I just added a section on that. The only catch is that it doesn’t yet ‘understand’ running activities. In talking with Adidas though, that’s on the way this spring.

      Reply
    • hollyoak replied

      Very interesting, hopefully that’s the type of app that 4iiii have in mind for their devices. How do you start/stop an activity with the Adidas device?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It just does it based on movement detection, so there isn’t a ‘start/stop’ per se.

      Reply
    • Daniel replied

      Good to see they’ve kept that capability. Adidas changed from having individual apps for soccer, tennis, running etc, to the Multisport app, which as you say, dosn’t have running. I still used the Running single sport app with the Ant+ version. Looks like they abandoned this app and never added Bluetooth support (link to itunes.apple.com)

      Reply
  4. hollyoak

    Thanks for the review. Would this work with a Garmin watch if paired to a Viiiiva HRM first or does the Viiiiva HRM (and future Viva devices) only work as an ANT+ to BTLE bridge ?

    Reply
  5. Maarten

    i use the ANT+ version in my rugby shoes, the only issue i have with them is the slightly different shape adidas used opposed to all the other small sized footpods. i once tried to fit the ANT+ version in the cavity of a nike running shoe and it didn`t fit as the curvature is not equal on both ends.
    hopefully it was a single occurence on my side, but maybe something to take note of if once is to place the footpod in the cavity of a non-adidas shoe.

    Reply
  6. Craig

    I’m confused – where would you put this if you were using it to track soccer? In the sole? Does that mean that addidas makes soccer shoes with a cavity there?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, Adidas makes special cleats with a spot on it. See this: link to soccercleats101.com

      Here’s a link to all compatible cleats: link to adidas.com

      Reply
    • Daniel replied

      Hi Craig – yes the majority of the current Adidas football boots (and rugby) have a cavity in the sole: link to soccercleats101.com

      I played for 2 seasons using it – very interesting to see how much ground I covered in games, and the number of sprints, etc. Definitely more sprints in the games were we had more difficult opponents!

      Reply
  7. Steve Knapp

    How much variance in accuracy do you see treadmill to treadmill?

    I’ve calibrated my footpod to the GPS using the offline tool you posted some time ago. Depending on the treadmill I see 0-10% delta between the treadmill and watch. And that error seems consistent to each treadmill.

    Does this seem normal to you?

    Reply
    • KenZ replied

      That seems normal to me. I have used a footpod religiously for like 5 years (no GPS, although I used a Garmin eTrex to calibrate it on a few runs). My treadmill speed with a footpod is definitely off from the outside. Might be the bounce in the treadmill surface? Remember, the footpod is a three axis accelerometer, and is very sensitive. For instance, when running try kicking your heel up JUST A TINY BIT on each step and the speed goes all over the place. Could be the built in ‘bounce’ of a treadmill surface is throwing it off, or something of the like.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Definitely not 10% for me. Assuming correct calibration, I generally see about 1-2%. Perhaps I’m a bit more focused on ensuring it’s right (it annoys me when it’s off a lot). In many cases I’ll see it within a few seconds/mile.

      Reply
    • Steve Knapp replied

      For me it’s specific to the treadmill, three I run on frequently. One is extreme, ~10% slower/shorter on the tread than watch. The other two less so. But these errors are consistent to each tread. As if I’d need to recalibrate the pod for each belt if I wanted them to match.

      It does drive me a bit crazy.

      Reply
  8. Mark

    That packaging is awful! There is so much wrong with it! If you disregard the wanton waste of materials to make a unnecessarily huge box, it still makes shipping and storage more expensive than needed.

    If they made the box proper sized, say a 2″/50cm cube, it would cost less to store – more number per m^3/ft^3 = less cost of storage per unit. And it would cost less to transit, especially by water, as shipping via ship is dictated more by volume than mass. If it costs, say, $500 to ship 1 cubic meter from China to LA, and you fit 50 per meter, that’s $10 in shipping per unit. If instead you fit 100 per meter, you halve your shipping costs.
    And retailers would be happier, as they could fit more stock or variety on shelves.

    Looking at all these unboxing pictures makes me sad usually, but this adidas box takes the cake! If I were in the market for a BTLE footpod, I’d avoid the adidas one specifically for this reason.

    On a nicer note – nice DS trainers! Mine, unfortunately, are much cleaner.

    Reply
  9. Tommy

    You mention TomTom as being one of the only watches out there supporting the BT sensors, any idea of they are planning on adding footpod support to the watch? Right now they use an accelerometer, which is problematic to say the least and a footpod would be a great improvement to the watch. Have you had any discussions with them regarding this?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I don’t know, I’ll poke and ask.

      Reply
    • Tommy replied

      Thanks for that. Looking forward to hearing what they have to say. The subject has come up on their forums and they seem pretty set on the accelerometer but that was also before there were really any variety of options for BT footpods. As more come out it seems like this would be an easy decision for them as it would attract a lot of people who don’t trust the accelerometer readings.

      Reply
    • Tommy replied

      Did you ever hear anything from TomTom on this one? It has been a fairly common request on the forums and was curious to know if there are any plans to implement BT footpods (no response from TT on their forums, unfortunately).

      Reply
  10. Rok

    It’s time to change your shoes Ray!!!! How many miles in them? Love your site btw…

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, I’ve got that on my list tonight to order new ones. Don’t even want to guess how many miles…

      Reply
  11. Sara

    And from out of left field… Lol
    Well Ray, you know I’m still passionate about my Garmin 610. But when not out to run (or cycle) I like knowing how much I’m moving, so a pedometer is great. (It’s the sitting at a desk that’ll kill yah). So I try to ‘see’ I have BALANCE throughout my day. Not a light switch -all on or all off.

    Since this pod has a ‘memory’ capability to it, why not have it also track steps? Just a thought…

    (I am however anxiously awaiting the new vivofit, but a pod on the foot for true step accuracy would be awesome and could gravitate me to use that instead).

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, I suspect we might see steps (in terms of displayed), once they support ‘Running’ within the Multisport app (the one targeted at soccer/etc…).

      Reply
  12. Justin F.

    It looks like there’s a version of this on Amazon that has both bluetooth and ant+. Is that the same unit? It seems a bit dubious that a retailer on Amazon would carry it but not Adidas.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      There’s an ANT+ version, and there’s a Bluetooth Smart version. There is no combo version. It looks like the retailer likely just has it listed wrong.

      In general, the easy way to tell them apart packaging-wise is that the ANT+ version has a small iPhone 30-pin adapter that allows the iPhone to connect to ANT+.

      Reply
  13. pepe

    Does Adidas have a miCoach Multisport app for Android?

    Reply
  14. Fabio

    This review came in perfect timing!
    Yesterday I was showing my mom how much data I can get with my Edge 500 and how this help me with my training program. She was amazed! Then, she moaned: “I wish I could get data running on my treadmill, but without this fancy and complicated computer thing….”
    Her birthday is coming, I was thinking about getting her a forerunner, but then again I would fall in the “computer thing” to analyse data. Her knowledge in computers are somewhat inexistent but she can do great in her smart-phone. She is also a enthusiast runner, she doesn’t need loads of data, fancy graphics and so on. She just needs something that she can look after gym and tell: “Today I run x km, a gazzilion steps,and hey, look, my heart is beating a lot!”
    Today the very first thing in the morning I see is this post. Something popped in my mind instantly.. “That’s what a perfect match. She doesn’t need a forerunner! She just needs this and a HR strap.” I just ordered the footpod and the HR sensor (both micoach). I think she’ll enjoy this very much.
    Thanks again Ray for your influence in my gadget buying process!
    Much appreciated.

    Reply
  15. KenZ

    Thanks for the review. You stated “Ultimately, for most folks the footpod is likely to be used on a treadmill.”

    While I don’t have the data or insight to disagree with what most folks do, that’s pretty sad if that’s what most folks do with one. I’ll be buying a GPS watch this spring, but bet your butt I’ll still be using a footpod.

    I use it every run, and refer to it all the time. Not for pace, but cadence, ESPECIALLY on long runs and races. After a few hours, you can really catch your cadence dropping off and starting to overstride; the footpod is friggin’ brilliant for helping keep that under control. It’s an amazing training tool.

    I do find it interesting that on the same flat run, my cadence is truly just a bit faster with lighter shoes (e.g. Kinvara) than heavier shoes (Mountain Massochist). Likely just me, but it’s interesting.

    The fact that Adidas can use the footpod for bike cadence is brilliant. Why don’t other companies do that?

    Reply
  16. Ray

    Hi, will it count and measure pull- ups, muscle-ups, leg raises, giant swings etc.?

    Reply
  17. Chris

    The BLE Polar Stride Sensor has the same issue with the noiseiness in the instantaneous pace data in Wahoo’s app. I’ve been running with it quite a bit this winter.

    Looking at it live on the treadmill, it bounces quite a bit. If you run a constant pace, the cadence is stable and the Wahoo app integrates distance perfectly. Hopefully they can figure a way to filter it.

    When you upload to Strava, they filter the pace data heavily so it displays well, but then when you have an isntantaneous change it’ll ramp down.

    Ray – do you know how the auto calibrate works? Does it calibrate only when you run w/ GPS enabled and lock in that calibration for the treadmill runs if you turn off GPS? Also, do you know what the record zeros options does?

    Thanks for the review, glad to see there is another, smaller option out there and that my Polar Stride Sensor isn’t defective!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, it’s a BLE noiseness thing across the board that’s broken (from Wahoo). It is funny/interesting that despite the noisiness, I see very solid end-state accuracy of distance (either interval or whole-run), and cadence is very clean. Go figure.

      For auto-calibrate, it’s only with GPS enabled. So yup, calibrate outside and then create a profile with just the GPS off. It’ll pull the calibration value in for you. I’m not 100% sure on record zeros in a footpod environment. In a cycling environment it means to record the zero value (such as 0 cadence or 0 wattage), rather than null (no value).

      Reply
  18. Nicola

    The Wahoo cadence graph looks very similar to the graph I get with my Forerunner 620 on the Garmin Connect website. If I use the Garmin footpad with any of my older Forerunners the graph is very smooth.

    Reply
  19. Randy

    What’s the street price of this thing? It’s on Adidas’ site for $70, which seems quite high for a footpod. (Or is it? I don’t know…)

    Reply
    • Christian replied

      It goes on sale sometimes for less. I picked up two of them for 38-ish bucks each when it dropped down to around 42-45 dollars and I had a 10% off code for signing up for the adidas email list. That puts it inline with most of the ANT+ footpads, I usually see them on sale for around 40-45 bucks.

      Reply
  20. Jirka

    Are there any applications for INDOOR CYCLING MODE on Android?

    Reply
  21. Thibaut

    Hello Ray!
    Amazing Website!

    Hello Everybody!
    How is it possible to download data after a session with an iPhone 5, and import them into Sporttracks for coupling with a GPS / HRM recording recording with my sports watch?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      With the addition of the GPX export last week to miCoach, you can get there for outdoor workouts. Not yet for indoors workouts

      Reply
  22. Thibaut

    Hello!
    Is it possible to have an example of exporting file .FIT or .GPX from micoach about a running session as you did for the FR620?
    For those developers in the house, here’s a zip file with a handful of FR620 .FIT files for your development pleasure. All of these files were done on the final firmware.
    If I run with only the SPEED_CELL, without iPhone App, will it be possible to export a GPX containing only the stride (without GPS data) so that I can integrate them Sporttracks?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  23. pepe

    Sorry for the typo error above,
    If I run with only the SPEED_CELL, without iPhone App, will it be possible to export a GPX containing only the stride (without GPS data) so that I can integrate them Sporttracks?
    It’s possible :
    1 sync speed cell workout with adidas site.
    2 use http://www.runningfreeonline.com to fetch that workout.
    3 export to tcx(not gpx)
    4 in sporttracks import the tcx file, select ‘Update existing activity’ instead of create and select the metric you want to merge into the existing activity, in this case cadence’.

    Keep time in your sport watch and in your speed_cell updated, so the merged file is consistent.

    Reply
  24. philipp

    hi,

    is the cadence issue for rpm meassurement fixed or does it still show strange values?

    many thanks
    Philipp

    Reply
  25. JB

    Have you found that the instantaneous pace is off but the distance is fine? For instance, I’ve calibrated it with a treadmill with the Polar and Adidas apps by walking at 6km/h. After going for another walk (at 6km/h), the pace is pretty consistent at 9:20min/km but I’m expecting 10min/km. The overall distance is fine though (e.g. if I walked 20 minutes, the final distance was 2km). It’s pretty odd.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, when I’ve seen the distance even out, it’s been because I was doing intervals and it would be slightly slow during run, but slightly faster during walk – so it kinda evened out by luck.

      Reply
  26. Frank

    I’m a little confused about the whole idea of using a footpod/stride sensor for speed and distance if there is just one calibration. I’ve not had one of these things but presume that they only record foot strikes. When I jog (I’m an old man and not so fast) my cadence changes very little (from150 to 160 steps per minute as I move from 5 mph to 7) with my step length accounting for most of the change (increasing from 35″ to 46″.) I don’t think I’m unique in this respect. Seems like this would only work accurately if speed changes were accomplished 100% with frequency and 0% with stride length. Am I missing something?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      There’s a bit more that goes into it than straight cadence though. It’s surprisingly accurate across a broad range of paces – and something I’ve been using for years (along with many others, just the ANT+ version).

      It’s actually looking at the foot stride, and the accelerometer within it is monitoring that. Thus it’s able to predict based on not just foot strikes but also how far forward/back each leg goes and then base distance estimates on that. I’ve always been blown away how I’ve gone out for 10-mile interval runs in the snow, with one watch just on footpod and another on GPS, and have them spot-on the same. Pretty cool.

      Reply
  27. TM220

    I’m looking for something that will send live pace info to iPhone 5 MapMyFitness during treadmill runs. I think this fits the bill, but before I go that way, I would prefer to have an activity tracker that would dual purpose in this role during treadmill runs, but still give me (if even through a different app) a regular summary of activity. Is there anything that does that? It seems so simple, but I do t find any examples.

    Reply
  28. Chris

    Have you seen Dreamsport’s Bluetooth foot pod sensor?

    Reply
  29. Kurt Owens

    Does this work with iSmartRun?

    Reply
  30. David

    Looks like Adidas will be rolling out Android compatibility soon: link to community-micoach.adidas.com

    I’ve ordered one in anticipation, hopefully with the adidas app gaining support for Bluetooth 4.0 footpods, Runtastic and other android running apps will follow suit, I mean they already have BTLE HRM support can’t be that hard to implement if you’ve already got the framwork and basis.

    I’ve only started recently running and will be doing my first 5km fun run soon. But I’m a bit of a tech geek and these fitness gadgets seem to motivate me in running, I’m like “you’ve bought this 60$ HRM, you have to use it now by running” :P Does anyone preform any other analysis other the basic graphs shown in apps? I’m interested in what people do with the data! Can’t find much googling though.

    Reply
  31. AAG

    Ray, thank you for the very helpful review, which like so many others is helping me feed the athletic technology industry. I had a couple of questions in follow-up that do not appear to be covered in the prior comments.

    1. You mentioned the immanent launch of dual band stride sensors. Which manufacturers do you expect to first launch with this, and around what time do you expect the retail availability. Basically, is it worth waiting or should I just strap BTLE to one shoe and my legacy ANT+ to my second shoe?

    2. Does Adidas have any plans to fix the accuracy of the stationary / exercise bike functionality? This is an area where I have a lot of interest in a dual band options (or, even just an ANT+ option) as I find a small watch such as the FR70 to be less obtrusive than carrying an iPhone on my body (and I inevitably forget it in the classroom if I place it on the bike).

    3. Regarding bridging a legacy Garmin ANT+ stride sensor to Wahoo Fitness using Viiiiva HRM, for some reason I always find this process to be unnecessarily complex and therefore do not end up getting cadence data into my Wahoo Fitness workouts. Am I missing something?

    Reply
  32. SuzyTwo

    This seems like the best running foot pod. I’m in the UK and can only seem to get one of these by importing via Ebay, which means no returns. (Actually, there seem to be ZERO options for bluetooth stride sensors at the moment in the UK except for a brand called Jump i-gotU – what’s happened?! They’ve all disappeared!!).

    Can I upload to Strava and see running data or will it just export basic time, calories, HR?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It doesn’t directly upload to Strava. But if paired with another app (like the Wahoo App), then yup, absolutely).

      Reply
    • Raymond B replied

      I have the Adidas BLE SpeedCell and use Wahoo to upload to Strava, Runkeeper, Garmin etc. You can use Strava directly as you can have it link with the Speed Cell.

      After using Wahoo, iSmoothRun, Strava (all supporting the BLE FootPod directly), I like Wahoo the best only because I find the screen more readable.

      My problem with Wahoo, that I have opened a support ticket with them about, if you set your distance to measure from GPS and cadence/stride to come from FootPod… for some reason although the Wahoo App shows the stride data, it won’t export to Strava or other sources that recognize the running cadence/stride data.

      Now if I set Wahoo to get its distance from the stride sensor and cadence also from the Stride sensor… for some reason it WILL export the stride/cadence data properly.

      Not sure whats going on there… but if they would export the run cadence properly when tracking GPS, I would be 100% happy. Also note, I am just using the phone while I wait for either the Bia or V800 as I sold my Garmin 610 late last year. Now I wish I would have held onto it longer.

      Reply
  33. Tyrell

    Hey Ray, What would you say were the pros and cons of a cellphone (iphone) with heart rate strap and the speedcell vs a traditional watch like garmin 220?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      In general, it’s portability and ease of seeing the screen, and durability of a watch vs a phone.

      That said, as of yesterday, the Speedcell can now be used in full running mode by itself, and then downloaded post-run. This is ideal for places you don’t want to take anything with you running, or in sports where you can’t (i.e. soccer).

      Reply
  34. Harald

    I am using the new Wahoo Fitness app 4.0.1 and I cant find a possibility to autocalibrate the sensor. the micoach sensor has been found and labeled automatically speed_cell, however there is nowhere a screen, where I could check the autocalibrate function. I can only choose the various options for data sources, whether distance is coming from GPS or from the sensor – but that is it. Help is highly appreciated.

    Reply
  35. Harald

    addendum to my previous post: Just received the following reply from Wahoo support: “Sorry about this! This feature is currently missing from the app, but the developers will add it back in an update.”

    Reply

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>