Monday, January 30, 2017

Kinematix Tune Review

I love running, running gear, and new technologies.  If you are looking for a newer product that would fit into all three of those categories, the Kinematix Tune might be that product.  Kinematix was founded in 2007 by Paulo Ferreira dos Santos.  Paulo has a Degree in Computer Sciences applied to Management and a Master in Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship.  He has started 5 different companies and is based out of both Porto , Portugal and Austin, Texas.

Kinematix has spent the past eight years taking its expertise in the movement of the human body and designed a product to help runners move better.  The Tune provides meaningful information about how your body moves during your run.  It breaks down that information into several key areas and then provides exercises to help improve your movement.  This can help you become a stronger, more injury-free runner.  Let’s start by taking a look at the Tune.

You get two boxes when your Tune arrives.  There is a long flat box that holds your two insoles with sensors in them.  There is also a rectangular box that has the sensors, instructions, charging port, and cables. 

Before your run, you should download the app, either on iTunes or Google Play.  You will also need to charge the sensors.  Once you have done that, you put the insoles in your shoes, under the shoe’s insole.  The thickness of the Tune's insoles will not cause a problem, although I had issues when using a pair of orange Superfeet insoles.  This is due to the fact that they have a hard plastic bottom with elevated ridges under the heel.  The insoles didn’t provide contact at all points on the Tune's insole.  Once the insoles are in, you slide the clip on and twist the sensor.

Now that you have your Tune in place, you need to connect it to your smartphone, via the app.  It is really easy to setup.  I did have an issue once or twice where it only recognized one of the two sensors, but upgrades to the app in late November fixed the problem.  Once the sensors are connected, you are ready to go on a run.  Let’s look at the information that you get after a run.

Gait Cycle Time
The gait cycle is how long it takes for you to complete a set of strides.  So let’s say your gait cycle starts with your right foot on the ground.  The cycle would end again when your right foot contacts the ground again.  There are two phases of the gait cycle.  The “Stance” is the period when your foot is in contact with the ground.  The “Swing” is the period when your foot is in the air.  Flight time is when neither foot is on the ground, which happens twice per gait cycle.  The faster your run, the shorter your gait cycle time. 

Steps, Cadence, and Step Length
The steps are simply the amount of steps that you took during your run.  The cadence is your average steps per minute.  The step length is also known as your “stride length” which is the distance you cover in a single stride.

Stance Time
The stance time, or ground contact time, indicates how long your foot is on the ground.  The reading also breaks it down into the percent of time that your heel is in contact with the ground.  The shorter the heel percentage, the shorter the stance time.  

This uses an index to measure the time in propulsion during the stance phase.  The higher the stance dynamics, the better you are at using the ground to move forward.  Basically, Stance Dynamics is the ratio between the time in propulsion (no heel contact) and the ground contact time.  A higher Stance Dynamics number means, the less is the time you spend moving from the heel to the forefoot (braking effect).

Heel Strike
This shows the amount of times (in a percentage) where you land on your heel first.  Heel striking  is not necessarily a bad thing unless you are overstriding , which could lead to injuries.  I always land on my heel, but my strides are short and it doesn’t slow me down or create excessive impact like overstriding  would cause. 

There is also a chart where you can evaluate each of these characteristics at specific times during your run.  You can change the parameters and see how you are performing while running up a large hill versus flats or downhill. 

My Experience
I first got my Tune quite a while ago. I started to test it out and unfortunately injured myself (and had to take some time off of running) from over training in pursuit of a marathon PR.  I had some issues with the Tune, mainly connection issues and some things I didn’t like about the app.  After I started running again, I updated the app and it fixed all of the issues I had.  The app became more user friendly as well.  I love the feedback and how it breaks down the movements into something I can understand.  The voice feedback is great too.  It will give you cues along the way to keep you motivated and let you know if your form is off.  Each of the readings has an “i” that provides more information about that stat.  I have 8 logged runs so far.

Once you get to 10 runs, the Tune app will suggest exercises that will help you improve your form based on the readings it has taken.  While I haven’t seen these exercises yet, I have read quite a few reviews from other people.  They not only like the exercises, but see improvements based on the recommendations.  Kinematix has been more than accommodating with my injury and delayed review so I want to get the review up.  I will update this post in about a month with my experience of the exercises. 

My only complaint at this time is that the Tune clips onto the side of your shoe.  If you run in no-show socks or no socks at all, it can cause irritation below your ankle.  I have only experienced this one time though, but it is something to be aware of.  All in all, this is an awesome product that can really help runners improve their form.  It has been featured in numerous magazines like Competitor as well as online write-ups.  It has also received high marks from professional athletes, coaches, and every day runners.

The Tune costs $199.  You can choose between a blue, grey, or red sensor.  You can also choose to purchase an additional pair of insoles for $49.99 in case you don’t want to take one set out and transfer them between shoes.  I just transfer them, but the option is there.  You can purchase yours at the Kinematix website.  The battery lasts for about 10 hours according to the website.  I think that number is a little high, but the battery life is decent.  You can charge both sensors at the same time with the charging port that is included and it doesn’t take too long. 

Kinematix is also coming out with myTune, which is a desktop version of their app.  It will provide even more information and will allow you to share that information with a coach/trainer so they will be able to better assist you on reaching your goals and overcoming imperfections in your gait.  This sounds like an amazing feature and I can’t wait until it comes out.

Provides a great deal of information
Suggests exercises to help improve form
Data can help you reduce risk of injury
8-10 hours of battery life (30 days in sleeping mode)
Decent price $199

Can cause irritation if you don’t wear socks

Kinematix’s Social Media Links

I really wasn’t sure what to expect out of the Kinematix Tune to be honest with you.  While I started out skeptical, I am very pleased with the results and information that I can gather from the Tune.  I can already see this making me a stronger runner and I am anticipating the exercises will help me become less injury prone.  I will provide an update in about a month.  If you get a Tune, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

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