Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air bone conduction headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.
I’ve been wanting to try AfterShokz for quite some time. Then when I ran the Surf City Half Marathon in February, the person I was with was wearing a pair. At some point during the race I asked if she had them turned on, since I never heard music coming from them and we were conversing with each other pretty much the entire time. She said she did, and at a normal volume. I was honestly surprised. I guess I assumed with the headphones not positioned in the ears themselves, people around you would be able to hear what you were listening to. As it turns out, unless the music blaring at full volume, you are the only one that can hear what is playing.
If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know I haven’t run with music since my first marathon in 2013. The main reason for that is safety. Until recently, I have only run alone, and with the news stories I’ve seen about (mostly female) runners being attacked or worse, and after a near miss of my own, I abandoned listening to music on my solo runs altogether. I’ve definitely missed it though, so I jumped at the chance to try these out.
So what is bone conduction, and how does it work? Normally when we hear, sound travels through the air, creating vibrations that travel to our eardrums. The eardrums themselves then vibrate and send vibrations to the cochlea (inner ear). The auditory nerve then ‘translates’ those vibrations into sounds that we interpret with our brains. With bone conduction, sound travels not just through the eardrums, but also through the bones. According to the AfterShokz website, ‘transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them’. Did I mention I don’t like to plug my ears up due to safety reasons?
I played around with these headphones at home before taking them out on an actual run. They fit easily over and in front of the ears, and are very lightweight. They come in four different colors. I chose Slate Grey but had my eye on Canyon Red as my second choice. I figured the grey would go with everything and you have to look fashionable when you run, right? They come in a nice soft zipper-case that has a luxurious feel to it. They also come with a charging cable and a set of earplugs in case you do want to block outside noise. They have a six hour battery life, which is great for longer races or activities.
Set up was beyond simple – You basically turn them on and easily pair them to your phone using the bluetooth connection. Once connected, you can make and receive calls with just a touch of a button. I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington, DC this month and wore them for the race. With my usual M.O. of minimal training, I finished a good 15 minutes faster than I anticipated. Was it the music that helped me with my pace? I don’t know, but it seems to have made a difference.
The next test was how they would work when riding my bike. I always wear sunglasses when I ride, mainly to keep the wind and bugs or dirt out of my eyes. And of course I always wear a helmet, so I was worried all three things together would be too cumbersome and maybe even hurt or just not work. They all fit together so well, except for having music playing, I wouldn’t have known the Trekz Airs were there! I was able to listen out for traffic, have a conversation with my husband while we rode, and listen to music all at the same time.
A big question, of course, is ‘what about the sound quality?’ In a word…fabulous. I listen to a wide variety of music and tested these out with several different genres. The sound quality is crisp and perfect with any type of music I listened to. They also did great when I listened to a podcast on one of my treadmill runs the other day.
Without hesitation I would recommend AfterShokz! There are four different products (two are wireless and two are wired) with different price points, adding some variety that can fit most anyone’s budget or needs.
Interested in trying AfterShokz Trekz Airs? Check out the AfterShokz website for more information and for a limited time, get $50 off the Adventure Bundle using code BRBUNDLE! Do you already own AfterShokz bone conduction headphones? I would love to hear what you think!
* * * * * * * * *
I will be running the London Marathon on April 28th, raising funds for Whizz-Kidz, an organization that provides wheelchairs and mobility devices for children and young adults. If you’d like to contribute to my fundraising efforts, you can do so by clicking on the link below. Any donation, big or small, will help and is greatly appreciated!