My legs don’t want to run anymore, but they have to. I’ve run 37 kilometers. Only 37, because I have to run 52. It’s time for some distraction. It’s time for a podcast. It’s time for my Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones.
Okay, that sounds a lot like an advertisement, but trust me it isn’t. The Shokz OpenRun Pro are just the headphones I wear during a run to listen to podcasts and sometimes music. I bought them myself. If you’re a runner who likes to listen to some music, or a podcast, let me tell you what I like and don’t like about my Shokz.
I can hear the traffic around me when I have to cross a road. That’s the main reason I bought them. I used to run with my Sennheiser headphones. For the headphones freaks; the HD 350BT. There’s nothing wrong with them, except for the on/off button becoming a bit doggy after a year. They are nice and comfy, but they are pretty soundproof. I like that around the house, but not when I’m running.
I mostly run in the forest. I like to listen to the birds, I like to spot deer, rustling in the bushes, and I like to hear the traffic when I cross the road. That’s why I looked for a new pair of headphones and that’s why I bought the Shokz. They do their job. I can hear the traffic, I can even hear the birds, and at the same time I can listen to a podcast. Now I admit, my ears are pretty sensitive, so I never play music full blast.
Lightweight and compact
The Shokz headphones are very light. They weigh 28 grams. In comparison the Sennheiser weighs 228 grams. That’s 200 grams more. Okay, 200 grams doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you run an ultra every gram starts to count. I mean I read a story in the book The Rise of the Ultra Runners that some runners even trim the hairs or their toothbrush so carry less weight.
Besides that the Shokz are very compact. I can easily put them in the pocket of my trail run vest. During a training run I often listen to podcasts, but during races I don’t. During races I chat with other runners or just look around me at the beautiful scenery. A podcast distracts me.
Except, except when I need distraction, when my legs start to hurt and my mind starts to tell me to quit running. That’s the moment I want to grab my headphones and listen to something.
According to Shokz their headphones have TurboPitch technology and added bass enhancers. I am not sure what that means. Okay, I know what a bass is, but TurboPitch? What I do know is that I like the sound. Now I admit, I am not a purist. I can’t tell you if music needs a little bit more bass or a little bit more … euh, … see, I already don’t know how you call all those other things. I just know if something sounds bad, okay or good. My Shokz sound good.
Not just when I listen to music, but also when I listen to podcasts. Okay, not all podcasts are clear, but that has more to do with the quality of a podcast. If a podcast sounds bad on my Shokz, it sounds bad on my Sennheiser headphones as well.
Having said that, I can’t put the volume too high. If I do, the headphones start to vibrate, which I find really irritating.
The Shokz are relatively comfortable. Most of my training runs are around an hour and a half. I can wear them that long. After two hours they start to be uncomfortable, because of the constant pressure, just above my ears.
Wearing them with sunglasses is another story. Two things that like to be wrapped around my ears start to irritate me after an hour. When it’s sunny I also wear a bandanna. The Shokz have to go over the bandanna, but around my ears, which means my ears are exposed to the sun. Not the best thing, while running in the mountains.
In winter I have another problem. I wear a beanie. The band that passes around the back of my head sticks out more or less 2 centimeters, so if I want my beanie to cover my ears, it leaves a gap at the back of my neck. Shokz now has a mini version that has a tighter fit, maybe that could be a solution; as long as the width is the same.
To buy or not to buy?
I am happy with my Shokz as running headphones. At home, baking bread, making lunch, I wear my Sennheiser to listen to podcasts. But on the road I feel more safe with my Shokz. The sound is good, they are comfortable for runs up to two hours and on longer runs I don’t wear them all the time anyway. So for me it’s a thumbs up.
This is just my opinion. Maybe you are a fan of Shokz, maybe not. There are a lot of brands out there. If you’re looking for a new pair of headphones, go to a shop and try them out. Feel how they fit, listen to music and decide based on your own opinion.