NURVV Run review: like a Garmin watch for your feet, these smart insoles really can make you a better runner

NURVV Run review: some design niggles, but these smart insoles can add very useful new running metrics to your training

NURVV RUN review
(Image credit: NURVV)

NURVV Run review TL;DR: if you want to improve your running technique, the NURVV Run running insoles are not recommended, they are a must. Just make sure you don't break them straight away.

I was looking forward to testing the NURVV Run running insoles for a long time. After hearing about them late 2019 and talking to journalists who actually managed to get hold of them before, it's safe to say I was well-hyped to see how they worked. After a painful nine months of waiting, I finally managed to source a pair of NURVV Run insoles and – spoiler alert! – I was really pleased with them.

• Buy the NURVV Run running insoles directly from NURVV

Simply put, the NURVV Run insoles provide insights no other sensors at this moment in time can, including degree of pronation for each foot, cadence, footstrike analysis, training load recommendation, calories burned and so on. Admittedly, some of these stats can be acquired by wearing the best running watches and best heart rate monitors, but the NURVV Run insoles are still worth a try, especially if you are trying to improve your running technique to become a faster and more efficient runner.

NURVV Run review

(Image credit: NURVV)

NURVV Run running insoles: price and availability

NURVV Run insoles are available to buy for £249.95 / $299.95 at NURVV and selected third party retailers such as Apple.

Make sure you get the right size which is easy if you buy it through NURVV but at Apple, the sizing is different (small, medium etc.). If you are ever in doubt, just connect NURVV Support for any questions, they'll be happy to help.

NURVV Run review

(Image credit: NURVV)

NURVV Run running insoles review: ergonomics

The NURVV Run running insoles can be installed in a straightforward fashion: take the insoles out (the ones already in the shoes), slide in the NURVV Run insoles, place the running shoes insoles on top of the NURVV Run insoles and make sure the clip of the NURVV insole is secured to the lateral side of the shoes. That's it!

The pods are a bit more difficult to handle. Clipping the pods into place correctly needs a bit of practice, but the real challenge is taking them off. You see, the pods need to be securely attached to the cradle as you run; this is obvious. If they weren't, the pods would just fall off as you run. The issue is, the construction of the cradle makes this more fiddly than it should be.

There are little tabs on the cradle that can help taking the pods off easier but they need some time to get used to. At first, it will feel like you might break the pod when you will try to remove it, although once you find the right pressure, it gets easier. The same applies to taking the pods off the charger: the best way to go about it is to squeeze your finger in between the two pods to pop them off the charger cradle.

Once all is secured, the next hurdle will be turning the pods on. The I/O buttons are on the inside and you will have to locate them without looking at them, which is definitely not the easiest thing to do, especially if you have large fingers like me. Turning them off is the same ordeal.

On the upside, the actual insoles are really thin and flexible and you can't even tell they are in the shoes when you run and since you won't have to take them out when you charge the pods, they will live happily under the insoles of your running shoes.

NURVV Run review

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NURVV Run running insoles review: pairing and the NURVV App

Once you wrestled the pods into position, it's time to pair them to the app, which is pretty simple. Once downloaded, the NURVV App will automatically detect the pods, as long as they are switched on. From there, you can initiate runs or just check the trackers real-time.

Much like in other training apps, you will be able to see all the data captured from the insoles, after you ran in them, of course. Once you completed at least four runs totalling at least 10 km, the NURVV App will also give you a 'running health score': this is based on training load, pronation, cadence and balance data gathered from the insoles.

It's nice to see this data but much like in other running apps, take the information you are given with a pinch of salt. It takes a while for the app to establish training load and if you run more often, it will keep on saying you are overtraining. I had the same issue with every running wearable I had: according to Garmin, I always have a shortage of low-anaerobic activities and only do high-anaerobic training, regardless of how fast do I run.

As well as telling you how awful your cadence is, the NURVV App also tries to recommend ways to improve running technique. Granted, some of these nuggets of wisdom will only be articles from NURVV but that's still more than what you'd get by looking at raw data in other running apps.

Also in the NURVV App, you can create and initiate a 'performance test run'. This can be used to run a distance faster, create an interval training session or to recover. For all of these, you will need to have a 'base run', a previous run you had in the insoles the app can use as a tentpole. this base run needs to be the same length you would like to improve upon.

If you chose the 'run faster' option, you can set how faster you would like to run by setting your target score and the app will create a pace coach workout to achieve this. This can then be followed by either running indoors or outdoors. The 'pace coach' will prompt you when you stray away from then ideal pace as you run.

NURVV Run review

(Image credit: NURVV)

NURVV Run running insoles review: accuracy

The main appeal of the NURVV Run insoles is, of course, that it is capable of measuring the placement of the feet, footstrike, balance, pronation and cadence. As NURVV puts it, "NURVV Run is for runners that want to improve their technique, to run faster and reduce injury risk."

Now, I must say it is interesting to see all the data in the app, especially the pronation. I always thought I was overpronating with my left foot a bit but as it turned out, I actually underpronate with the right foot. Needless to say, it's hard to validate this data as I haven't got access to another device measuring pronation but based on how it feel when I run, the data seems to represent the difference between my two feet well.

The NURVV Run pods also have built-in GPS so you can use them without the phone. This feature also works well but you are not able to zoom in on the map to see how well the GPS followed your actual route in the NURVV App. From what I can tell, once the GPS signal has been picked up, it followed the course well.

The new app update that's been rolled to iOS devices now synchronises data with Strava so you will be able to determine precision better in the Strava App (I have Android so I can't verify this). The Android App update is said to be coming soon too.

It's important to note that you have to be stationary for the GPS signal to be picked up; you shouldn't walk around etc. while the pods are searching for the signal. You can see it clearly in the app when the pods find the GPS signal. Some reviewers mentioned it couldn't pick the signal up again when it was dropped, but personally couldn't make it drop the signal in the first place, so this was a non-issue.

NURVV Run review

(Image credit: NURVV)

NURVV Run running insoles review: verdict

The NURVV Run running insoles can provide some exciting new metrics for runners, things they could only check before by attending a running gait analysis session. The NURVV Run sensors make these data sets available for every run, every day and not only that but they also measure and score this information, making it easier to understand.

This data doesn't come cheap, though: you have to pay roughly as much for the insoles as for a Garmin Forerunner 245 and for some, a Garmin watch is still a more reliable source of data. But thanks to the recent app update, now you can connect a heart rate monitor to the NURVV pods and feed heart rate data straight into the NURVV App, the combination of the two effectively replacing a running watch.

• Buy the NURVV Run running insoles directly from NURVV

Not just that but even in itself, the NURVV Run system can provide data no running watch will ever will (possibly), such as pronation and footstrike, and recommend ways to improve them, should you want to. That said, much like in the case of other fitness wearables, all the data presented to athletes should be taken as a recommendation at best as opposed to a gospel. If the app recommends to run more but you don't feel like you want to, you definitely shouldn't.

The hardware could be a bit more refined, especially the pods/cradle system as the current iteration seems quite fragile. Thankfully, NURVV is very hands on with all this and customer reps are happy to help if you have any issue with either the hardware or the software.

I hope NURVV will redesign the pods for the second iteration of the NURVV Run. But although version 1 is not without design flaws, I can live with that. The NURVV insoles and app really can help make you a better, more efficient runner.