I’ve never had headphones that are good to work out in. And it’s not because I didn’t try. Either they were uncomfortable, didn’t stay in my ears well, the cords got tangled as I ran, or (if you really want to know) got sweaty in the Orlando humidity. (Thanks, Florida.)
These headphones are like nothing you’ve ever tried before. They are “open air headphones” in that there is nothing that actually goes in your ears. The music player rests on the bone immediately in front of your ear. You hear the audio partly through your ear, but more so through bone conduction. That’s right, you hear the audio through vibrations in your cheekbones. It’s superbly cool. Here are some of the insane benefits:
They’re much safer than any other headphones.
When there’s something in or around your ear (which all headphones are), you hearing of ambient noises is hindered. There’s no way around that. You’re disrupting your ear’s ability to take in that information. But the Trekz allow your ear to hear the ambient noise happening around you.
It’s pretty amazing. When I’ve been running, I can hear the music or podcast or person I’m talking to, but I can also hear the traffic. Foot traffic. Bike. Car. Bus. It’s just much much easier to be very aware. And for that reason, I feel incredibly safer.
Surely this is the main reason why they made them, so hats off to them for their innovations.
The tech is crazy.
Speaking of innovations, these things are actually a little bit crazy. They remind me of when you put the speaker of your phone in your mouth and close your lips around it and you can hear the noise through your head. Ever done that? Yeah, me neither. But if I would have, I’d tell you that was the same thing. You’re hearing the audio through your head instead of through your every part of your ear canal. Wild.
There is a little knock on these because I don’t think I yet know the perfect angle to wear them while running. And when traffic is loud or wind is heavy, it can be difficult to hear. Also, these are not the headphones to use if you’re in a busy place, as you’ll be hearing mixed messages, unable to block out the ambient noise. That’s why, consequently, AfterShokz includes a set of ear plugs—particularly, they say, if you’re on an airplane or in a car traveling.
They are extremely secure.
I tried running with headphones sometimes but the number one frustrating thing that happened to me is that they didn’t stay secure. They’d fall out just as I was learning a key point of how to be a better person or waiting for the best part of a song. Zen level 0.
But these bad boys stay on snuggly around your head without being cumbersome. There’s a slight inward bend to the rubberized material that keeps them at your head. This is really nice when I’m jogging because I just don’t want to deal with having to adjust those things all the time. I want to zone out of those types of things and zone into paying attention to the things that matter—thinking, praying, and paying attention to my surroundings.
They’re easy to use.
The controls are not all that different from that of a set of iPhones. A large button on the side controls pausing, picking up and hanging up calls, and moving songs or tracks forward or backward. Additionally, there are two volume buttons that are easy to find on the underside of the band. The volume up button doubles as the power button when you hold it down for a couple seconds. When you turn them on, there is a satisfying “Welcome to Trekz Titanium. Connected.” This is accompanied by a small blue light by the button. There's a red light and a beep when it turns off.
Charging is simple as well, there’s a cable that plugs straight into any USB charger. And when the battery is getting low, it tells you "Charge me" every five minutes until it shuts off 10–15 minutes later.
The long and the short of it is, these headphones are an excellent attempt to help people be both safer and smarter. When I got them, I was a bit quizzical of them, but now I’m sold to be sure. A great product that helps me in the everyday of either of my homes—Orlando and San Francisco—as well as on any trail I might otherwise be able to find.