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Go the Distance with a Well-Fitted or High-Tech Shoe

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Go the Distance with a Well-Fitted or High-Tech Shoe

Your Health

Go the Distance with a Well-Fitted or High-Tech Shoe

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JANE GREENHALGH: I'm Jane Greenhalgh in Portland, Oregon. If you're a runner who wants to push yourself harder, there's a new high-tech running aid on the market that's built into your shoe. It's a small device that signals to your iPod, which interrupts your favorite iTune to talk to you.

NIKE + IPOD VOICE: Forty-nine seconds completed. Distance, .05 miles. Current pace, 10.06 per mile.

GREENHALGH: The Nike + iPod consists of a pair of running shoes with a built-in pocket under the insole. A sensor inside the pocket measures your running pace and wirelessly transmits the data to your iPod Nano.

Mr. DAVID HOWARD(ph) (Runner): This is the sensor, and it's, what, the size of a quarter, maybe. Very light.

GREENHALGH: David Howard, a runner and Portland businessman, has one, and he's agreed to demonstrate.

Mr. HOWARD: Sure. Let's do it.

NIKE + IPOD VOICE: Walk around to activate your sensor.

GREENHALGH: Howard activates the sensor, selects a playlist, and we're off.

NIKE + IPOD VOICE: Beginning workout. Press menu to end your workout.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. HOWARD: Here we go. Green Day, American Idiot.

(Soundbite of song American Idiot)

GREEN DAY (Rock Band): (Singing) Don't want to be an American idiot...

GREENHALGH: When you want to know how far you've gone and how fast you're going, just press the center button.

NIKE + IPOD VOICE: Fifty-four seconds completed. Distance, 0.1 miles. Current pace, 8.06 per mile.

(Soundbite of song American Idiot)

GREEN DAY: (Singing) I'm not part of a redneck agenda...

Mr. HOWARD: Yeah, see, it's already working. A 10k power play, we're cruising, eight-minute miles.

GREENHALGH: Howard says it's like having your own personal trainer running with you. It'll even congratulate you if you're running particularly well.

But if you look for this kit at the Portland Running Company, you won't find it.

Mr. DAVE HARKIN (Portland Running Company): The short answer, and the diplomatic answer, is that the shoe itself is not a shoe we would normally carry.

GREENHALGH: Right now, the iPod sensor is not available in all of Nike's shoes, and for Dave Harkin, the owner of this Portland running institution, the only criteria for buying a shoe is the fit.

Mr. HARKIN: One more time, Jake. Give those a spin.

GREENHALGH: Harkin watches as Jake Gartland(ph) runs in his old shoes.

Mr. HARKIN: The big toe is a giant cue. As he comes back towards me, his right foot, slightly different than this left, comes a little faster towards the big toe. It rolls over. Jake, have you had any injuries?

Mr. JAKE GARTLAND (Customer): I have knee problems every now and then.

Mr. HARKIN: Is it on the right side, by any chance?

Mr. GARTLAND: Ahhh, yeah.

GREENHALGH: Like most other runners, his body is not perfectly aligned, causing problems for his knees and his hips. Harkins suggests a shoe with a little extra support under the arch of the foot.

Mr. HARKIN: To make it firmer on that side, to help slow the foot down and keep him off the big toe. So why don't you put these on and I'll watch you run again, see how they look.

GREENHALGH: This time Jake Gartland's knees and hips line up, meaning less stress on his joints and fewer injuries.

Mr. GARTLAND: Yeah, these feel good.

GREENHALGH: A well-fitted pair of shoes, a good pair of socks, and a water bottle are the key, Harkin says, to a healthy run.

Jane Greenhalgh, NPR News, Portland.

(Soundbite of music)


If you have questions about your stride or chi running, e-mail them to us at There you'll also find answers to your questions on diabetes from last week's Your Health segment.

And we want to correct a mistake some of you may have heard in an early edition of our program about a new form of inhalable insulin. It won't be available as a nasal spray. Instead, diabetics will use an inhaler to breathe in a powdered form of insulin through the mouth.

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