Headphones and earbuds come in all shapes and sizes, with budgets and features for pretty much everyone. If you have a particular need, or a price range to work with, you likely have a few models to choose from.
If running is a big part of your life, and you need an audio solution that works for the “on the go” moments in your life, you may want to check out the Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone-Conduction Headphones. They’re a great product for someone who spends a lot of time out in the world, running and conditioning.
What makes the Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone-Conduction Headphones so interesting and somewhat unique is that they do not go on or in the ear. Instead, they rely on bone-conduction technology for audio. That is to say it basically turns your temples or cheekbones into speakers, of sort. Sound is transmitted via vibrations to your aural nerve, making it feel as if the audio is coming from inside your head.
Shokz, previously operating as AfterShokz, has been in this game for some time now with a number of bone-conduction options along the way. The OpenRun Pro are more or less an upgrade to the OpenRun (formerly known as Aeropex) and feature a much stronger bass experience.
In the past, one of the best parts of bone conduction has also been its shortcoming. Because it does not fit in the ear or over the ear, it doesn’t put the sound and vibrations where it needs to be. That’s considerably different here as the OpenRun Pro are quite an impressive experience.
As I immediately found with a variety of music genres, sound comes across much richer and more heavy than with other bone-conducting headphones. Thanks, bass transducers!
Wearing a pair of headphones that operate this way can be a little bit off-putting or awkward at first. One gets the sense that they are broadcasting music to everyone in the vicinity; however, it’s just a semi-private affair for the wearer. Those who do sit or stand in the area can make out what’s being played but it’s nowhere near how it is when someone plays music on a phone.
The sound was enjoyable enough that I found myself grabbing these for working around the home and office. They’re not the kind I’d use for mowing the grass, of course, but they work extremely well when it’s just me and myself. That’s in the kitchen, downstairs in the office, on the Peloton, and backyard at the grill.
As much as I like to dig into music and enjoy the soundscape of, say, The Dark Side of the Moon, these aren’t the sort of headphones I turn to for immersion. More often than not I find myself in situations where I need to be actively aware of my environment. Be it listening for my wife or sons, cars, or announcements at the gym, I appreciate that my ears are not covered and that I can hear what’s going on.
I found the design of the OpenRun Pro to be a comfortable one, constructed of a single piece of flexible material that connects two modules. While it sticks out ever so slightly, I hardly noticed it was there after a few listens. Moreover, the headphones fit nicely under a hat, too.
The right module, or earpiece, is where you find a pair of buttons for volume. Long-pressing the top button acts as the power control. For what it’s worth, these do not power off automatically so remember to do so when not listening to anything.
The left module is where the playback controls are with one click for pausing music, two for advancing a track, and three to go back one track. Interestingly enough, the buttons are not symmetric in that they’re in the same place on each module. This took a little bit of time to get used to but is otherwise a small point.
Charging the OpenRun Pro is done via a proprietary cable that connects magnetically to the right ear module. It takes all of 5-10 minutes on the charge to get enough power for a workout (90 minutes). Rated at around 10 hours of total playback per charge, there should be enough juice to get you through a full day of work or a couple of longer workouts.
I also appreciate that the Shokz OpenRun Pro have IP55 water resistance which means I can get caught in a rain or work up a sweat without any issues. And should there actually be a manufacturer defect, Shokz backs the headphones with a two-year warranty.
Learn more about the OpenRun Pro at Shokz website where you can purchase them in blue and black color options for $180.