Number Runners Michael Tchao and Stefan Olander

Oct 5, 2009
Outside Magazine
Michael Tchao and Stefan Olander

Left: On Tchao: J.Crew cashmere crewneck sweater ($188); G-Star 3301 Slim jeans ($200); Nike Air Maxim 1 ($120)

Right: On Olander: Levi's Slim Trucker Jacket ($90); Nike Sportswear AW77 Hoodie ($80); Nike Sportswear Tee ($35); Revel Seven Organic Vintage Straight Leg 10 Year Wash ($195); Nike Air Pegasus+ ($120)

"There's nothing more valuable to people than their own achievement," says Olander, 42, Nike's director of global brand connections. That's the basic idea behind Nike+: Give runners a simple system that tracks how fast and far they're going and they'll take off sprinting. Released in 2006, Nike+ was hardly the first device to record these numbers. But the gadgetry—a sensor embedded in your shoe that wirelessly transmits to your iPod—made the process effortless and cheap ($29 for the first-generation kit). The result: Some two million runners have since started tracking their mileage and uploading the results on (and, more recently, posting challenges and favorite routes). Now, Olander hopes to grow that community by providing more tools to interpret and broadcast numbers, while Tchao, 46, general manager of the Nike TechLab/Nike+, experiments with new data-gathering capabilities in the hardware. "In the space where the physical and digital converge," says Olander, "we have an amazing opportunity to make sports richer and more fun—and make athletes better."

Filed To: Running Shoes

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