Nike shoes talk to Apple's iPod in new system
Updated: 2006-05-25 14:08

Nike is to make running shoes that will be able to send data about the wearer's performance to an Apple iPod using a new wireless system called Nike+iPod.

Using a Nike+iPod Sports Kit, expected to retail for about US$29, ($47.22) consumers will be able to access time, distance, pace and calories burned through the earphones of a nano version of the iPod via a sensor in the insole of special shoes that communicate with the digital music player.

Nike also launched a line of performance clothing, including jackets and shorts, that holds iPods and keeps wires untangled and out of sight.

"We share the same types of consumers," said Trevor Edwards, Nike's vice president of global brand management, who said more than half of nano users already use the device while running.

"We know that these two brands work really well together."

A 2002 deal between Nike and the Netherlands' Philips Electronics NV that resulted in an mp3 player that tracked time and distance fizzled, Edwards said, because of differences in the two companies' target consumers.

Analyst John Shanley of Susquehanna Financial Group said the Nike+iPod launch was innovative but would not appeal to the company's core base of teenage boys.

"Is it going to move the needle in terms of them selling more footwear?" he asked. "Probably not." But investors and sporting goods retailers were encouraged by Nike adding to its performance apparel business, since sales of that line have been outpaced by growing brand Under Armour Inc..

The Nike+ Air Zoom Moire line of running shoes - priced at US$100 - are the first to work with the system, but others will follow, Nike's Edwards said.

The shoes and kit will be available in stores in the US within two months. Nike will sell the kits in its Niketown stores and Apple will also include a Nike Sport Music section on its iTunes music store, the companies said.

The Nike+iPod system will let runners call up a favorite song instantly, and athletes can listen mid-workout to a voice through their headphones detailing their progress.

Consumers can transfer collected data onto a Nike website,

The partnership was announced in New York during an event attended by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, Nike CEO Mark Parker, Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe.

Shares of Nike rose over 2 per cent in the US as it capitalized on the popularity of the iPod line, which dominates portable digital music players. But one analyst said a relatively narrow section of Nike consumers would be interested in the running products.