These $150 bone-conduction headphones help keep me aware of my surroundings when I'm running - and they never fall off
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- I've tried a ton of workout headphones, but they all fall out of my eyes before my heart rate hits its peak. If you need a pair of headphones that can stand up to your toughest workouts, try Trekz Air.
- With bone-conduction technology and a no-slip, open-ear design, the headphones stayed on throughout my workouts, and are incredibly comfortable and lightweight.
- At $149.95, they're not cheap, but for the comfortable fit and peace of mind that they won't fall off, I'd certainly call them the best ones I've used.
There are women who glisten when they work out. I am not one of them. Don't get me wrong - sweat has never stopped me from completing my favorite HIIT series or kickboxing routine, but it has stopped me from listening to music at the same time.
No matter how sweat-proof in-ear headphones promise to be, I've never found a pair that actually stay in over the course of a serious workout. Similarly, no matter how lightweight a pair of over-ear headphones are advertised, the design isn't what I want when I'm sweating up a storm in front of a punching bag.
But as it turns out, I don't have to resign myself to a silent workout. I recently tried out bone-conduction headphones called Trekz Air from AfterShokz (currently $149.95 on Amazon), and haven't thought of another pair of headphones since. Unlike traditional headphones, the Trekz Air are neither in-ear nor over-ear headphones. Rather, they utilize an old kind of technology that's seen a resurgence called bone conduction.
If you think back to your high school physics class (you can do it, I believe in you), you may remember that sound, at its core, is simply vibration. With bone-conduction headphones, those vibrations are sent straight through the bones of your face - specifically your jaw and cheek bones - rather than going through your outer and middle ear. The vibrations ultimately stimulate the inner ear - where hearing actually takes place - and manage to reach your hearing organs in a more efficient way.
Beethoven was noted to have used an early version of bone-conduction technology when he began to lose his hearing. In order to hear his own compositions, he was said to have bit down on a stick or his composer's wand, which was simultaneously touching his piano, sending the subsequent vibrations of the hammers and strings straight to his inner ear. And since the 1970s, hearing aids have used bone-conduction technology to help those with varying degrees of hearing loss.
The military was also an early adopter of bone-conduction technology; in fact, Aftershokz got its start offering its products to the armed forces. But now, bone conduction is going mainstream.
Rather than sitting inside your ear, the Trekz Air headphones actually rest right in front of your ear at the top of your jawline. To ensure that they won't fall down even during serious activity, the headphones hook behind your ears and wrap around the back of your head. Really, you can almost think of these headphones as the strings that hold your dad's glasses around his neck - only with the added benefit of being able to listen to music.
The first time I tried them out, I was convinced that my music was actually playing from a speaker in my room - not because it was remarkably loud, but rather because the way the sound reverberates is much more intense than I'm accustomed to through traditional headphones.
And because of the headphones' open-ear design, you don't have music (or a podcast or an audiobook) blasting straight into your eardrum. Rather, it sounds as though you're just listening to music in your car.
I should point out that the sound quality from the Trekz Air isn't better or worse than that of traditional headphones. With bone conduction, the sound dissipates much more quickly because it isn't being trapped in your ear canal so it has much more time to bounce off of your cheekbones and go into the world.
As a result, you can't expect these headphones to ever get particularly loud or block outside noise. But that's actually one of my favorite elements of the Trekz Air. Whether I'm on a run or at the gym, I'm always a little concerned that I'll be so immersed in my music that I won't be able to hear what's going on around me. With the Trekz Air, however, that's never an issue - I still hear my music, but remain totally aware of my surroundings.
Another fabulous aspect of these headphones is that they're remarkably lightweight at 1.6 ounces. Thanks to the titanium construction, I often forget that I'm wearing them while working out or that they're hanging around my neck as I run errands.
On days when I do forget that I'm wearing my Trekz and think that the music I'm hearing is playing in my head, the headphones have enough battery power to sustain that musical for six hours on a full 90-minute charging cycle. A quick 15-minute charge gives you enough juice to get you through a serious workout or phone call.
Best of all, of course, is the fact that these headphones will not slip out of my ear because they were never in my ear to begin with. The wraparound design is secure and comfortable, and no matter how sweaty I get, I never have to worry about losing one of the tiny silicone earbuds - because there are none. And that assurance is enough to keep me going back to my Trekz Air time and time again.
Pairing the Trekz Air with your phone, laptop, or tablet Bluetooth is also really straightforward, though the headphones also use its own Audrey Says voice prompt system to tell you when your headphones are turning on and off, or going into pairing mode. While other wireless headphones take an excruciatingly long time to find a Bluetooth connection, I've never had to wait more than three seconds for my Trekz Air to pair.
These headphones are currently available on Amazon in four colors - Slate Grey, Midnight Blue, Forest Green, and Canyon Red. Like I mentioned previously, they'll set you back a pretty steep $149.95, but with the bone-conduction technology, non-slip design, and light weight, I can sincerely say that these are the last pair of headphones I ever plan on using.
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