The Milestone Pod is an affordable foot pod that displays various advanced running dynamics parameters in the Milestone app. There may be much debate about the usefulness -or not- of advanced running dynamics, but let’s just say more data is more fun.
Because they are meant to be used on one pair of shoes, and are calibrated for that particular pair, it is best to have one pod for every pair of running shoes. With the relatively low price (29 euros) this is do-able if you have a few pairs.. but not if you have closet full of shoes and use all of them.
The Garmin HRM-Run and HRM-Tri also generate a boatload of metrics (Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation, Vertical Ratio, Ground Contact Time Balance, stride length and more).
But one thing that does interest a lot me is not provided by the HRM-Run or Tri, because those are embedded in a heartrate strap and not mounted on a shoe: impact force.
Greater forces at impact can lead to injury. The Milestone pod does provide that metric – and a lot of others that can be interesting. Increasing impact force can be an indication that your shoe is wearing out (the midsole foam). That can take the guesswork out of ‘when to replace your shoes’.
The app is quite nice, and you can get the information that is logged (at 1-minute intervals) in a spreadsheet, by email too. Because the pods store a lot of information, you don’t have to sync them every day, or have your phone with you if you run.
Note that the app does not store any information on your phone, it’s all “in the cloud”. No internet – no nothing. I am not very fond of that kind of solution, but the user data stored is minimal, no location information is present in the data, you can export the data to CSV, and you can delete the data easily.
There is a firmware update for the Pods (if you ask for it by email), currently in test phase, that allows streaming realtime data via BLE as if the Pod was a regular BLE footpod. It works with newer Garmins (Fenix 5/5s/5X, Forerunner 935), and apps like Wahoo Fitness on the phone.
Milestone pods also register walks, and it is a nice little motivator to go for a lunch walk if one is on your everyday shoes. I had not realized before how much distance my daily-wear shoes cover.
More fun with these pods: They have iBeacon technology in them. iBeacons are meant for use in shops, to “micro-locate” people. A shopper’s phone app will detect the beacon in the Pet Food department and transmit that the user is in isle #9 halting before the cat food, to some webservice that will then present the user with “relevant information” (“Buy 20 tins of HappyKitty, get one free!”).
The Milestone Pod app does not transmit your location though. The pods just share some of the technology. They advertise themselves with the ID for example “Milestone 1A” (if the BLE address ends with 1A), and only while they are in motion and for a short time after that.
As these pods become more widely used it can be fun to have an iBeacon scanner app active on a phone, to greet other Milestone users, or try to outrun them. ..or this information may bring you to wrap your Pod in aluminum foil. Don’t forget to un-wrap it before syncing. (All BLE and ANT+ pods, heartrate straps, bike power sensors etcetera, transmit data that everyone within 10-15 meters can receive.)
Milestone’s customer support is excellent, if you have a question or request they get back to you very rapidly, and are very helpful.
With the relatively low price, it’s worth a try to get one (or two), especially if you have no other source of Running Dynamics data, or when you just want a BLE footpod.
Accuracy for walking, hiking and run/walk
If you use the pod only for walking/hiking, it is extremely accurate. But there are a couple of things to consider:
- The pod can recognize the starts and ends of runs extremely well, but not the start of a walk. You will have to stand still for ~5-10 minutes before you start the walk, and sync immediately after your walk (or stand still for ~5-10 minutes again).
- If you combine running and walking, the software determines whether it’s a run or a walk on the majority of data in the session. If the whole session is classified as a walk, you miss out on a lot of data.
Use on a race day
That’s tricky. In my experience all the walking and warm-up running around before the start, the race itself and the walking/cooldown afterwards, becomes one big run with walking breaks and pauses. You have to sync the pod right before the start to avoid that.