Garmin Foot Pod Review (2024) Most Accurate Treadmill Tracker?

Garmin Foot Pod Review

If you are an indoor or treadmill enthusiast like me, then you definitely thought about purchasing a high-quality foot pod. What I will try to do in this Garmin foot pod review is evaluate whether the accuracy and additional benefits of this running device are worth the money you spend.

However, before we jump straight into the testing results, I would just like to mention something important. Since 2019, Garmin has stopped the production of this foot pod. This means you will only be able to find it in thrift stores or on some websites that sell used electronic equipment online.

In case you are only here for a brand new foot pod, then the next best thing you can buy to get everything, as with this foot pod and even more, is the Garmin running dynamics pod.


“I stumbled upon the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod, and it’s been a game-changer for my runs. No need for a chest strap, just clip it on and forget it’s there. The insights into my cadence and stride length are genuinely helpful. Kudos to Garmin for this discreet yet powerful running companion!”

— Alex from Denver, CO

Our Recommended Alternative Foot Pod

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
  • Utilize features like cadence for insightful running form adjustments
  • Enjoy a tiny pod that lasts a year, thanks to its automatic on/off feature
  • Experience freedom with no chest strap – wirelessly transmits data to compatible devices
CLICK FOR BEST PRICE

After thorough testing and extensive research, the results are below.

Garmin Foot Pod Review – How Accurate Is This Foot Pod?

What I really wondered is how accurate this foot pod is, so what I have done is calibrate the foot pod using the known distance. Then I decided to go for a run with a few different devices and to see how it would measure up. In fact, I wanted to see how well this foot pod would measure up against the built-in GPS in my smartwatch. 

So, I went out for a run and used a couple of different GPSs and fitness trackers. I also decided to use a Garmin Forerunner app on my iPhone. To make sure the distance was properly measured, I used a measuring wheel, which was kind of impractical during the running. However, this was the only way to check how the foot pod measured up against other GPSs, smartwatches, and fitness trackers. 

Unboxing of the Garmin foot pod.

I decided to complete a short two-mile run and compare the results of each device afterward.

What I got for my foot pod with the Garmin 310 is 1.98 out of 2 miles.

With the 205 Garmin model, which uses GPS technology, I got 1.99 miles.

Also, with the iPhone and the Garmin fitness app, I got 2.1 miles. 

Honestly, that was quite a bit off compared to the rest of the devices.

To conclude, the foot pod and the Garmin 310 were very close. That’s about as accurate as you can ask for, in my opinion. 

Some limitations to keep in mind include being aware that the foot pod is going to be inaccurate from time to time. Accuracy highly depends on what pace you calibrate your foot pod at. Let’s say you calibrate a foot pod at 10 10-minute pace, which is basically the pace I run with my Belgian Malinois from time to time; it’s going to be very accurate for that 10-minute pace. 

However, let’s say you start running at a five-minute pace. Then, you can expect the accuracy to go off quite a bit. This is why I found this foot pod to be extremely accurate and helpful during treadmill running. Also, you can easily import your data into your Garmin Connect online account without having to type everything in manually.

What I also found is that the foot pod isn’t accurate enough if you want to use it for time trials or faster runs like I do from time to time. When I use the treadmill, I calibrate my foot pod to about a 5:30 pace since that is the phase I do a lot of my faster runs at, and I want to get accurate data for those. 

Also, when you run on a treadmill, you need to expect the foot pod to be a little off. For example, yesterday, I ran a 5k time trial in around 17 minutes, and my foot pod device said I ran 2.99 miles. I measured the distance with the measurement wheel, and it was 3.1 miles. 

How Does Garmin Foot Pod Work?

Garmin foot pod works by using sensors and accelerometers to track the movement of your foot during running or walking.

What you need to do is attach the foot pod to your shoelaces. You can use both regular walking or running shoes as long as the pod is snugly placed on your laces and doesn’t shift or disconnect during your running (spoiler alert: the type of shoe and shoelaces is crucial here). The foot pod contains various sensors, such as accelerometers, which detect the motion and acceleration. 

Setting up the Garmin Foot Pod

This is how your Garmin foot pod measures the movement of your foot as you take steps. Usually, the foot pod will use the data gathered from accelerometers to calculate the distance you covered and your average speed. Your Garmin foot pod estimates the distance you traveled by analyzing the acceleration and deceleration of your foot’s movement. 

Your Garmin foot pod also measures running cadence, which is the number of steps per minute. In my experience, knowing your running cadence can be an excellent tool for optimizing your running and walking stride and pacing.

According to a study from PubMed Central, the Garmin foot pod, Polar foot pod, and Piezo RxD are inexpensive, valid devices for the measurement of walking cadence at different speeds and slopes [1].

The Garmin foot pod also comes with ANT+ or Bluetooth wireless technology that communicates with your other Garmin watches and fitness trackers. This connection allows the Garmin foot pod to transmit collected data in real-time during your walking bouts and runs and store it for later analysis. 

You also need to calibrate your foot pod if you want the most accurate results. You do that by entering specific data, such as your stride length, into your Garmin device.



What Are the Benefits of a Garmin Foot Pod?

Rating


Battery: 5.0

Durability: 4.9

Price: 5.0

Features


Item weight: 1.6 ounces

Bluetooth wireless technology

Compatible with forerunner 405/910 models

The benefits of a Garmin foot pod include achieving better accuracy on a treadmill compared to the watch, compact design, 1-year battery life, optimized running bouts, and help with intervals due to instantaneous information while running.

Let’s cover each of these briefly below.

The image showcases the different benefits of a Garmin foot pod. These include better accuracy on a treadmill compared to the watch, compact design, 1-year battery life, help you optimize your running, and great for intervals due to instantaneous info while running.

Better Accuracy on a Treadmill Compared to the Watch

The Garmin foot pod is more accurate than your Garmin watch during treadmill running or walking because it uses the movement of your feet to count the steps. What most fitness trackers and smartwatches do is count the number of steps based on the movement of your hands. 

This somewhat makes sense as the movement of your legs is normally followed by the same movement of your arms, assuming you run contralaterally with proper technique. However, where this measuring process becomes inaccurate is when you grab a bottle of water to hydrate during your running, when you wipe your sweat or change the tracks on your iPhone or Android device. 

Compact Design

A foot pod is just the size of a peanut, making it easy to carry around. You or the people around you won’t likely even notice you are wearing it during your runs. In case you are embarrassed or shy for other people to see this device on your feet, this is the perfect solution. 

Holding the Garmin Foot Pod

Also, the small weight of this foot pod won’t alter your walking or running technique at all. This is crucial for maintaining the most efficient and optimal running technique.

1-Year Battery Life

What really amazed me when I first got the Garmin foot pod was the 1-year battery life. This foot pod was initially designed to run for about a year on a user-replaceable battery. Eventually, the battery will die. However, you only need to twist it counterclockwise, pop the battery out, and replace it with a new $4 alternative from the drugstore.

Helps You Optimize Your Running

The Garmin foot pod will help you optimize your running by providing more accurate distance and pace measurements than relying solely on your GPS device. This precision will help you with better gauging your performance and setting more realistic goals. 

Also, by knowing your running cadence, you can easily enhance your running efficiency and reduce the potential risk of injuries such as ankle sprains and shin splints. 

What I also found useful was analyzing my stride length, which helped me identify specific imbalances and areas of improvement in my running form. The foot pod will also offer you real-time feedback during your running bouts, which allows you to make the pace, cadence, and form adjustments on the go. 

Holding the Garmin Foot Pod before running

Great for Intervals Due to Instantaneous Info While Running

Lately, I’ve been doing a whole lot of HIIT and pure interval sessions. The foot pod helped me immensely by allowing me to monitor my pace instantly during each interval. This feedback loop helped me maintain the desired speed and intensity of my interval bouts. 

Knowing your running cadence also helps a lot because you must maintain a consistent number of steps in a predetermined amount of time to improve your running efficiency while also reducing the risk of injury. You can also track the duration of each interval you do, ensuring you adhere to pre-planned work and rest intervals. 

Pros

  • Improves your running efficiency by measuring your stride length and running cadence
  • Comes with a long-lasting battery, allowing you to focus on your running without worrying about it dying mid-run
  • It is much more accurate compared to fitness trackers and smartwatches for counting the number of steps on the treadmill
  • It can act as a backup option if you are running in the forest or tunnels where GPS from your trackers doesn’t work

Cons

  • Not 100% accurate for distance measurement
  • You will often need to recalibrate it based on the desired running phase if you want to maintain high levels of accuracy


“As someone who enjoys the simplicity of running, the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod has been a pleasant surprise. I love how it effortlessly sends data to my watch, and the tiny size is a big plus – you really do forget it’s on. Monitoring my running form has become a part of my routine, and I’m genuinely pleased with the experience.”

— Emily from Portland, OR

Our Recommended Alternative Foot Pod

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
  • Utilize features like cadence for insightful running form adjustments
  • Enjoy a tiny pod that lasts a year, thanks to its automatic on/off feature
  • Experience freedom with no chest strap – wirelessly transmits data to compatible devices
CLICK FOR BEST PRICE

Are There Any Drawbacks to Be Aware Of?

The drawbacks I would like to point out are design flaws and difficulties during the battery removal process.

Let’s start with the design flaws first.

What I noticed is that the Garmin foot pod wasn’t designed consciously to fit almost any shoe on the market. For some types of shoelaces, it slips out of the laces much easier than you would think. Well, this practically makes it a shoelace and not a shoe-only issue. From my tests, it fitted nicely on Nike+ and Adidas shoes, but when I tried some other models with different shoe and shoelace material, I experienced some issues. 

One of my friends had a pair of Nike Turbo 8 Shox shoes, and he mentioned how the pod continually slipped out of his shoelaces. 

Placing the Garmin Foot Pod on shoelaces

Secondly, I noticed the battery isn’t as easy to replace as I thought it would be. Even though accessing the battery is easy, removing it requires some type of prying tool and careful hands. You need to be extra cautious because the foot pod is made mainly from plastic, making it extremely easy to scar it when trying to remove the battery. 

Who Should Use a Garmin Foot Pod?

Athletes, professional runners, running enthusiasts, and treadmill and indoor running lovers should use a Garmin foot pod. Foot pods are especially useful in scenarios where GPS doesn’t work or during your treadmill runs when you want to measure the number of strides you took and your stride length.

Who Shouldn’t Use a Garmin Foot Pod?

Casual exercisers, people on tight budgets, and users satisfied with basic metrics shouldn’t use a Garmin foot pod. You don’t get much value-wise from using a foot pod if you are exercising less often and already have everything you need tracking and measurements-wise. 

Where Can I Buy It and What Is the Price? 

Sadly, you can’t buy a new Garmin foot pod anymore. The company has stopped producing this simple foot pod model since 2019. You can only buy used ones in thrift stores and on some websites that sell used equipment. 



Garmin Foot Pod Alternatives

Here are some Garmin foot pod alternatives to consider.

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

By far, my go-to alternative for the simple Garmin foot pod is the Garmin running dynamics pod.

Essentially, this pod has everything the simple foot pod already has. In addition to that, it also automatically turns itself on and off, making the whole running experience effortless. It also sends up to 6 running dynamics metrics to your Garmin device so you can better analyze your running and improve your efficiency.

You can easily analyze your stride length, cadence, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation, and vertical ratio. These measurements have proven useful for helping you understand your current running form and how to improve it.


“Being a runner in a tech-driven world, the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod felt like a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t scream ‘technology’ but quietly delivers valuable metrics. I appreciate the honesty in my running form feedback. It’s not just a gadget; it’s become a reliable running companion for me.”

— Jake from Austin, TX

Our Recommended Alternative Foot Pod

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
  • Utilize features like cadence for insightful running form adjustments
  • Enjoy a tiny pod that lasts a year, thanks to its automatic on/off feature
  • Experience freedom with no chest strap – wirelessly transmits data to compatible devices
CLICK FOR BEST PRICE

Polar Running Sensor

The Polar stride running sensor comes with smart features, which are excellent for measuring your speed and distance when paired with a Bluetooth Smart-ready device and an app such as Polar Beat. 

It also comes with unique small, shock, and waterproof sensors, which are excellent at handling the most demanding runs. 

What I didn’t like about this alternative is it wasn’t compatible with devices, such as the Polar monitor, limiting its versatility and compatibility with other devices.

Garmin Premium Chest Strap

The Garmin premium chest strap is an excellent heart rate monitor that captures the dynamics of your running by transmitting information over ANT+ and Bluetooth wireless technologies. 

It is compatible with different Garmin devices, fitness equipment, and additional apps such as the Tacx Training app. 

It captures the essentials of your running dynamics, such as your ground contact time, vertical oscillation, and vertical ratio, which are all useful for helping you improve your running form. 

It also comes with a battery life of one year, and it is straightforward to use.

FAQs

Is Garmin Running Pod Worth It?

Garmin running pod is worth it for runners seeking accurate distance, pace, and cadence metrics. However, casual exercisers might find it unnecessary. 

Did Garmin Discontinue the Foot Pod?

Yes, Garmin discontinued the foot pod. Garmin discontinued the foot pod already in 2019, which means you can only find used Garmin foot pods, often in thrift stores or on websites selling used electronic equipment.

Does Anyone Still Use Garmin?

Yes, many individuals still use Garmin devices for fitness tracking and sports activities. Garmin remains a popular choice among athletes and outdoor enthusiasts for its GPS watches, fitness trackers, and related accessories.

How Do I Add a Foot Pod to My Garmin?

Go into your Garmin watch’s menu system and click the Setup Menu or Sensors, depending on your model, to add a foot pod to your Garmin. Follow the on-screen instructions to pair the foot pod with your watch.

Can the Garmin Foot Pod Be Used for Cycling?

No, the Garmin foot pod can’t be used for cycling. However, for outdoor cycling, Garmin offers dedicated sensors like speed and cadence sensors that are better suited for bike-related metrics.

Our Verdict on the Garmin Foot Pod

While my tests have proven that the Garmin foot pod is an excellent device that is both accurate and comes with a long-lasting battery, I am still not convinced enough to recommend it.

Why?

First, you can’t buy the new foot pod anymore. Also, purchasing the used ones comes with the risk of receiving a damaged or worn-out product, which we definitely want to avoid.

Second, after I found out about the design and battery changing issues, I needed to reconsider whether this foot pod is worth the money, even if you buy the used one.

That’s why I would recommend the best possible Garmin alternative, which is the Garmin running dynamics pod. This device is much more advanced and offers additional features that don’t come with a simple Garmin foot pod.

Based on my experience and the research I conducted for Garmin’s running dynamics pod, I believe it is one of the best value-for-money alternatives you should consider.

Our Recommended Alternative Foot Pod

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
  • Utilize features like cadence for insightful running form adjustments
  • Enjoy a tiny pod that lasts a year, thanks to its automatic on/off feature
  • Experience freedom with no chest strap – wirelessly transmits data to compatible devices
CLICK FOR BEST PRICE

References:

  1. Smith SFC, Short MA, Sénéchal M, Bouchard DR. Validation of Practical Tools to Identify Walking Cadence to Reach Moderate Intensity. Int J Exerc Sci. 2019;12(4):1244-1253. Published 2019 Nov 1.
Vanja Vukas

Vanja Vukas

Student at the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education and a hardcore functional training enthusiast. Heavily inspired by Michael Boyle, a strength & conditioning specialist, and by Adam Sinicki, the founder of Bioneer. Vanja believes that transitioning to a movement-based exercise program can drastically improve your fitness, balance out your muscles, and support your current lifestyle.

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