Must-Have Running Gear
Photo by me
?I?ll be happy if running and I can grow old together.?
If you are anything like me, you have to listen to music when you run. Although I will forego the headphones when on the trails, they are a must when running on the road, in races, or even when cross-training.
I?ve gone through all kinds of headphones, and while I have one pair of wired headphones I love, the wire is what keeps me from using them on runs. I?ve also worn several pairs of wireless headphones but could never find the right fit for my ears and they would end up hurting me on longer runs.
Enter the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless bone conduction headphones. If you don?t know what ?bone conduction? means, you aren?t alone. I had no idea there was such a thing when it came to headphones but am glad I took the time to test them out my local running store to get a feel of what it?s all about.
Bone conduction transmits sound to the inner ear via the bones of the skull instead of through the eardrums like ?regular? headphones. And they don?t fit inside the ear which allows you to hear other noises besides the music. This is important for all runners, especially when running on the road or in busy traffic areas. Along with runners, it is a technology used for those with hearing impairments since it does not rely on the eardrum for sound but through the vibration of the bones outside the ear.
If you are an audiophile and are mainly concerned about the quality of sound, bone conduction headphones are probably not for you. There are plenty of other alternatives available for those whose main concern is sound. But for the runner who needs to hear their surroundings, these headphones serve a much-needed purpose.
I?ve had the opportunity to wear these headphones in all kinds of conditions including hot and cold weather and during all lengths of runs ranging from a couple of miles to a marathon. I wear them around the house doing yard work and also during workouts. They have become my most used pair of headphones (wired or wireless), and I find them to be well worth the money spent. Whether you want to do the same is completely your decision but I?m hoping this review can give you a little more insight to see if they are right for you.
How Do They Fit?
My side and rear mug ? photos by me
First, let?s talk about fit. The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium comes in two sizes, regular and mini. Both sizes have the same technology and specifications, however, the mini?s are about 1-inch shorter than the regular size. Although I have been told I have a large noggin, the mini size fit me better as to where they fall on my head is smaller than most people given I don?t have a ton of hair. To figure out what size you need, you can either go to your local store and try them on or access this handy size chart which will give you a better idea of the size which works best. I tried them on at my local running store before purchasing to test out both fit and sound quality.
As you can see by the photos, they fit me quite nicely and do not stick out like some alien antennae. The over the ear wraparound headband is lightweight and does not rub against my neck or cause any type of friction on or near the top of my ear. If it wasn?t for the music playing, I might even forget I?m wearing them. I liken it to trying to find your sunglasses and finally figuring out they are on top of your head because you get used to it and don?t feel them anymore. That?s how comfortable and lightweight they feel. According to the manufacturer, the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium weighs only 1.27 ounces (36g).
I have also never had any issue with them sliding around, causing any type of rash, blister or any other type of irritation to my head, ear or neck area. They are stable on long runs, short runs, wearing a hat, sunglasses, and even my temple tape. As far as fit is concerned, I have zero complaints.
Photos by me
The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium feature wireless Bluetooth 4.1 technology and boast 6 hours of continuous play according to their site. They have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a standby time of 10 hours. The wireless range is reported at 33 feet (10m). Other features include them being certified to repel sweat, dust, and moisture.
Now that some more important technical specifications are out of the way, let?s talk about the other features. In addition to the fit mentioned above, my favorite feature is the ability to skip a song. Unless you?ve perfected your playlist (which I haven?t), you will probably want to skip a song every once in a while without having to pull out your phone while running. I realize there are watches with this feature, but most headphones I?ve worn do not include this option. Let?s be honest too, trying to get your phone out of your pocket, your armband or whatever contraption you are using to skip a song is not the most ideal situation when you are running.
Skipping or pausing a song is easy and is achieved by double-clicking a multi-function button placed on the left side of the device (see photo above) while a song is playing. The same button allows you to pause/play a song and also answer/end call along with several other options including voice dial and call waiting functions.
On the other side set back from the earphone, there are volume up/down buttons which also allow you to mute, change the equalizer settings, and check battery status. All the buttons are easily accessible and I have never run into any issues with functionality or use.
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
As much as you?d like to hear about the sound quality (no pun intended), I will not go into it all that much because, frankly, I don?t know enough to say whether it will meet your requirements. Everyone is different when it comes to what type of quality they are looking for and my hearing will not be the same as yours.
I?ve spent time in the military and worked in law enforcement for many years and given all the bullets I?ve fired and loud noises I?ve heard, I?m not the best judge of whether something sounds good. However, they sound awesome to me and most importantly, I can still hear everything which is going on around me when I run. I even held a conversation with someone during my last marathon while the music was playing and could hear both fine.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Here?s what you really want to know, isn?t it? How much are these going to cost?
The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium sale for $99.95 on their site and can also be purchased through Amazon here*. They also have several other models, both wired and wireless, ranging from $49.95 to $149.95.
They also have other products and bundles you can purchase including cases, sports belts, and water bottles. And if you aren?t sure what model of headphones are best for you, the site offers a comparison of their products.
Are they worth it?
That question can be answered in many ways. For me, the answer to whether they are worth it is: absolutely. They are my favorite pair of headphones when running and the first one I choose. The $100 price tag may be steep for many people but these are a high-quality pair of headphones which I believe will last me for a long time. They?ve already been on runs totaling hundreds of miles and I do not see them wearing out anytime soon.
They are durable and versatile and the fit and comfort are much better than any pair of wired or wireless headphones I?ve worn. The cost is worth the security of knowing I can hear everything going on around me while I?m running, which is its best feature.
The only complaint I have is they sometimes cut out when I turn my head a certain way and also when it contacts my neck on occasion. It is rare when this occurs and does not happen often enough to warrant not using them nor does it detract from all the other features and benefits.
If you are in the market for a new pair of running headphones (or just headphones in general), I highly recommend the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium. They have been excellent for me and I?m sure you will receive the same satisfaction from them as I have.
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Originally published at jefftherunner.com on March 25, 2019.
*Disclosure: The Amazon link above is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.