The shoe odometer was designed by a long distance runner and coach from Wisconsin, Rick Cleary. His passion to create an effective running device for his runners went through many iterations of testing, perfecting and miles of trials. The result: a solid state, waterproof, extremely accurate running recorder. And it’s worth mentioning that it was 100% designed and manufactured in the U.S.A! His dedication to making this a worth-while venture became more and more evident as I tested its use and functionality…and am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised…this is no ordinary pedometer.
After just running almost 2 weeks with the shoe odometer…49.4 miles…66,702 steps, this tiny and powerful gadget has really grown on me. Here are my favorite aspects of this device:
It’s clear that a lot of thought went into the design and ergonomics of this tiny odometer. It comfortably laces on your running shoes and is so light-weight (14 grams) that you’ll forget it’s there. The spacing between the two buttons and small screen are optimally sized to view the workout details that you want to see.
I am shamed into admitting this – but stride rate was not part of my runner vocabulary until I tried out the shoe odometer. And as I’ve read more about this running metric in Runner’s World and several running blogs...I found it to be a great performance measure and something I plan to incorporate into my own training & coaching through some downhill workouts! My stride rate is 163 strides per minute, but includes some walking cool down and warm-up periods. I’ve now made it a personal focus area of my training and have found another dimension to improve (Thanks, Rick!).
The main difference between the shoe odometer and just another pedometer is the fact that it becomes a permanent part of a runner’s most important gear – their shoes. I have been a long time advocate of replacing running shoes regularly to avoid injury. And sometimes I fall victim to forgetting my own advice. I can feel aches and pains in my joints when my shoes approach 500 miles. This is usually the point when the cushion in my shoes loses their elasticity and instead of absorbing shock, they begin to transmit it up through my legs and joints?! Having an odometer where I can scroll down through and see “Shoe Life – 25%” gives me a nice heads up to go ahead and mail order another pair of running shoes! This is a feature that distance runners will really grow to appreciate.
I’ve owned many pedometers from mechanical dampened springs to wrist accelerometers and this one falls near the top for accuracy. I think the reason for this is the unmistakable heel rise has much less chance of error than a recording device on your hips or wrist. Think about it: visualize your running movements and how to best record your strides…I would say the engineers did a good job with this as I have yet to do a workout with the shoe odometer that isn’t within 2-3% of the actual distance…very impressive.
There are not many running gadgets that I own that are built to last for 8-10 years. This one has a super long battery life and a plastic casing that was designed to go through a war. When I was first asked to do this product review, I watched the “U-tube” videos on the shoe odometer website to see it get run over by a car and still work?! I wouldn’t try that with other pedometers on the market!
I found the shoe odometer to be an extremely reliable and effective running tool. It’s compact and indestructible design paired with its super long life battery (8-10 years) make it a quality product that you should get years of good use out of. And in addition to offering the normal pedometer data (steps, miles, etc..), it offers some truly useful measurements that long distance runners will appreciate like shoe life and stride rate. It’s great to see a well-designed product that came from the passion and hard work of runner and a coach and within the price-range of the lower quality pedometers on the market.
In summary, I’d highly recommend this product to any serious distance runner that’s looking to enhance their training. While I still run with a GPS, I’ve grown to enjoy the dependable shoe odometer and the added dimension that it has brought to my training.