Friday, September 23, 2005

Product Idea - T-shirt with iPod Headphone Cord Guides

Have you ever made "mods" to products you have purchased? Like sewing in a key pocket on your favorite running hat? Or maybe adding soft rubber to the ends of your sunglasses so they stay in place? It seems like I'm always making some sort of modification to my favorite shirts, shoes, etc. Not that the products are bad, mind you - it most cases they fit like a glove, and I understand a lot of design work went into making that happen. But often the product seems to be missing that one extra thing.

I'm going to add some entries to the blog called "Products I Would Like to See", in hopes that by sharing some field-tested ideas, some forward-thinking company will PLEASE MAKE THESE PRODUCTS! So Nike, Adidas, New Balance, North Face, Mountain Hardwear, and the rest of you, listen up - this is free customer feedback (and probably worth every cent you paid for it)!

So here goes...

Product Idea - The Mountain Hardwear© T-Shirt with iPod Headphone Cord Guides

You guys know I'm a huge fan of the iPod for trail running. Trail running is one of the few sports that encourages the use of an iPod, even during events. I just have one problem - the headphone cord that seems to magically grab itself on every passing branch, causing an instant "ear-ectomy". Not to mention that one out of three times your headphones get a yank like that, they don't work for crap afterwards. So I'm looking to a cheaper part of the ensemble - the t-shirt - to help out.

The idea is to have two mods to the back of your favorite t-shirt. First, a velcro loop right below the neckline that can quickly secure your headphone cord behind you. This would make sure you have enough "slack" to turn your head, but not so much slack that your cord is whipping around. By keeping it close to the center of your back, the cord has less of a chance of getting caught on passing branches.

The second addition would be a "sleeve" that runs down the arm to wear most people wear their iPod when exercising. This would keep the cord close to the body, and be a super-cool fashion statement. Well, to fellow running geeks anyway. ;-) A similar sleeve could run down the center of the back for those who carry their iPods in a fanny pack, belt, or shorts pocket.

I've tried the velcro attachment (yes, dudes can sew!) and it worked pretty well. It had the added feature of holding my headphones when I wasn't using them (I just took off my headphones, reached behind me, then gave the cord a tug, like a wetsuit zipper leash). Total weight - 2 grams. Total cost - 20 cents, plus 30 minutes of labor.

My suggested vendor for this product idea is Mountain Hardwear.

I have a lot of t-shirts (don't we all?), but always seem to reach for the form-fitting Mountain Hardwear shirts when it comes time to race. Plus Mountain Hardwear has limited offerings on iPod-related products.

There are alternatives to the hiding the headphone cord, but they have limitations. Logitech makes a wireless headphone for iPod, but the headphones are pretty bulky for running, and cost ($149) as much as the iPod itself. There are also t-shirts with pockets for your iPod, such as the ShuffleShirt or ScotteVest, but I will tell you, it's hard to run if your iPod is loosely dangling in your sleeve. It's better to have it snug against your body somehow. Perhaps the iPod Nano is small enough that the weight isn't an issue, but to date, none of the shirt-with-iPod-pockets have worked for me when running.

So that's the idea. If you have other mod ideas, let me know and link to them! I'm sure the product designers at our favorite co's would love it.

- SD


  1. That is SWEET!!! You should patent this. Where did you buy the velcro attachment? -Larry

  2. I run the cord inside my shirt, which keeps it from catching on bushes. But I like your idea of a shirt. It should be a running shirt though - CoolMax, not cotton. I would like a tank top option too.


  3. Larry -

    I got the velcro at "Michael's", which is a craft store. It helps to bring in the shirt and headphone cord and tell them what you're trying to do - they will point you to the right stuff.

    Emma, thanks for placing an order. ;-)


  4. Scott-

    Wireless may be built into future iPods. Check this out -

  5. Wouldn't it be difficult to feed the cord through the sleeve? Maybe if you broke it up into a few smaller sleeves, it would be easier.

  6. Maybe you should use this service -

  7. Scott, does submitting this to a blog consider it as prior art and thus make it tough for anyone else to patent the idea? Just wondering...Charlie1

  8. Have you sent this to Mountain Hardwear yet? I'm curious about what they would say. Chris

  9. I have already made the ultimate shirt for using the nano pod in the gym or on the trail.

    check iPod lounge ina few weeks.

    dr.pierre debs

  10. Sugoi is making one already. Too bad it is a bit warm for the material. But maybe they'll have the tshirt out for their spring 06 lineup

    Sugoi Wired

    - Paul

  11. Paul -

    Thanks for the link! I'm going to order it and check it out.


  12. The Blind Leader1/28/2006 10:55:00 PM

    *LOL* My running club does this and has done for some time.
    They punch the holes with an awl, buttonhole it and the cord is kept still by a flap that is sewn in on the inside of the shirt.

    There is also a variation for those who wear their electronic devices around their waists or hats as the armband is generally considered very flimsy.

    To be honest, I hope that a company doesn't make it. Modifying your own clothing allows people to be creative and prevents them from spending lots of dollars on things they can do for 2c.

    Why should we rely on Nike?


  13. I, like Emma, run with the cord inside my shirt if wearing short sleeves. However, women have an advantage here. When in short sleeves or no shirt, I let the cord dangle down my back (inside the shirt, if present), thread it up the center/back of my sports bra, and secure the twin "last-mile" sections of cord under the bra's shoulder straps before inserting the earbuds. When in long sleeves, I still do the shoulder strap bit. Either way, this keeps the cord neatly in place, where it essentially never catches on branches.

  14. Scott Dunlap... are you related to Aaron Dunlap by any chance?

  15. Not that I'm aware of! But there are a lot of us Dunlaps out there. Perhaps we are third cousins or something.


  16. If you made the tube going down your sleeve out of some sort of stretchy material that laid almost flat against the tshirt material, it would be fairly easy to feed the headphone cord down the tube and would also be held in place securely.

  17. Don't know much about the material, but it's some sort of "performance" T. Scottevest has come out with a shirt very similar to the one you described in the post. It's called their SeV performance T Shirt

  18. Hi,
    I know this post started a whole year-and-a-half ago, but what the heck...Here's a shirt that solves the problem too (not exactly like your description but does the job), and it's not too expensive either - $30. See it at It's called the SyncWear mp3 fitness shirt, and it's made for iPod nanos.

  19. There is a new iPod T-SHIRTS line with INTEGRATED earphones and a pocket for your MP3 player. You can unplug the upper part with the earphones and wash the thread with the t-shirt.
    Look at the italian Music and Sons line:


  20. Custom t shirts designed by Rhinestone T Shirts, strives to deliver finest 100% cotton tshirts and use rhinestones as the focal.
    custom t shirts

  21. had problems posting this, trying again...

    FYI, Nike makes ipod compatible apparel like this already (shirts, jackets, shorts, etc...)

    I'm still waiting for wireless.

  22. Though they are many T-shirts that serves the purpose better your idea is a different one. Though the blutooth head phones are more comfortable they are as expensive as ipod. I really appreciate your idea.We had a wireless stero headphones which are cheaper compared to bluetooth fallow the below link for that.

    wireless stereo headphones

  23. the idea given by you for the T-shirt with iPod Headphone
    Cord Guides is very nice. it will be very comfortable for the people who often use iPod.
    wireless stereo headphones

  24. IDea is Great: But if wire is coming from sleeve, so the ipod will be tied on arm.

  25. A friend loaned me an iPod Shuffle and I liked hooing it to my hatband and tucking the wires inside the hat. Very tidy. No good with larger iPods, though.

  26. I usually just tack my wire down with a safety pin on the outside of my shirt. It works better than the little clip my headphones came with. The same pins that you pin your race numbers on with work great and you don't need a special shirt. Of course if you go shirtless, I would consider getting your nipples pierced so you can have a hitch ring to connect to.

  27. Thank you for sharing this great article! Keep it up!

  28. We've developed a very nice ultra-lightweight prototype shirt to manage iPhone, iPod, etc. cords called the StreamLine Tech T:

    Full production versions launch soon! And it's 100% US-made from US-milled fabrics!

    Let us know if you would like some samples for review.

    Wishing you the best,
    Tim Vadney


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