Running outdoors with music has never been my thing. However, I recently purchased a pair of AfterShokz headphones that may be a game changer.
I’ve been eyeing Aftershokz for a long time. The fact that there is not a component that goes in my ear is completely bewildering. See, Aftershokz play music through bone conduction. If you don’t already know about it, check out their website for a full explanation of this fascinating technology. I know, wild.
You see, I have never found a pair of headphones that work well for me. I recently googled the average diameter of the human ear canal (.7cm) and strongly believe that my ear canal is about 1/3 that size. Earbuds of any kind simply do not fit in my ears. I start running and they pop right out. I’ve tried dozens of varieties – specifically, many varieties that wrap around my outer ear and tuck the bud neatly in place inside my ear. Nothing has worked.
Then I learned of Aftershokz. I got the opportunity to try them out at the Carlsbad Marathon expo. After months of wondering how they work, I finally got to experience them firsthand. Upon returning home from California, I ordered a pair and they arrived just last week. I’ve had the opportunity to use them twice – one time on a 5-mile treadmill run and once during an outdoor 10-mile run. Here are my thoughts:
I LOVE that they don’t go inside my ears. I can hear the music wonderfully (this bone conduction thing is a great work of SCIENCE) and I’m aware of my surroundings. As I’ve written about before, I like to by hyper aware of my surroundings when I’m outside running alone. It’s important to know if cars or other pedestrians are coming up behind me. I also like to know if I’m being approached by a predator (animal or human).
Another reason I love that they don’t go in my ears is that they cannot fall out. I know you understand when I say wardrobe malfunctions are one of the most annoying things that can happen on a run. I count shoving earbuds back into my ears repeatedly as a severe wardrobe malfunction.
Lastly, an important thing to point out is battery life. Living in the frozen tundra of Northern Michigan, battery power is typically shortened by brutal elements. I’ve had days where my phone died before I reached the end of my driveway. It was a mild day when I tested these outside (20 degrees), but the battery didn’t dip down at all. Mind you, these are brand new headphones so who knows what the battery life will be like once they are well-worn, however, I was impressed. I’ll have to try them out on a truly cold Northern Michigan day to put them to the real test.
I have very few gripes, but one in particular stands out. My winter running gear includes a full head/face mask and a hat on top. I put the Aftershokz under my head mask and hat so that the ‘transducers’ were touching my skin. Towards the end of my 10-mile run, I could definitely feel the pressure of my winter gear smashing the transducers against my face.
Lastly, I was less present in my run while listening to music. Running is my therapy time and I was quite distracted by my jams. Though it was a nice distraction, I traditionally prefer to be more mindful on my outdoor runs. I mean, if I’m going to be outdoors, I want to fully be immersed in nature.
Overall, I’m a huge fan of these headphones and am very pleased with my purchase. I will likely only use them on indoor runs, but it’s nice to have the option to take a pair of headphones on an outdoor run if I need some extra motivation.
PS If you don’t already know about it, you need to check out the Spotify Playlist I’ve been loving lately – it’s called “Throwback Workout” and fulfills all your 90’s desires.