This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on them won’t change your shopping experience at all, but I might make a few cents.
If I jog early in the morning when the sidewalks are empty (shut up, it’s happened) I usually leave one earbud out. Same when I walk somewhere in the dark. I want to be able to hear what’s going on around me, like if someone is walking up behind me. And I would never bike with earbuds in. A woman on a motorized scooter was killed on my street years ago because she was wearing headphones and couldn’t hear an emergency vehicle approaching the intersection (plus, it’s illegal in NYC to bike with headphones in or on both ears).
Now, though, I have something to use that solves the problem of hearing what’s happening around me, while still letting me listen to music in both ears. At CES this year I received a pair of headphones to try that are incredibly cool, the Trekz Titanium from AfterShokz. They don’t go in your ears like earbuds, and they don’t go over your ears like regular headphones.
They go in front of your ears without covering them, so that you can hear your music (or podcast or whatever) and still hear what’s going on around you. They use bone-conducting technology so that the sound is being conducted through your cheekbones, to your eardrums.
They connect via bluetooth, and the connection has been nearly perfect (I occasionally have a problem if my phone is deep in my pocket or in a purse, but that happens with all of my bluetooth headphones). The sound is fantastic, with good bass. In fact, I can feel the bass “tapping” against my cheek if I turn the volume up really loud. There’s also a microphone. I’ve taken calls on my Trekz and the sound is great.
When used at a normal volume, very little sound escapes from the headphones. When played at a loud volume, more can be heard, just like with earbuds, although I think the bleed from these is a little worse. Walking down the street with my husband, he couldn’t hear the music playing in my ears. In a very quiet room, though, I think it could be an issue.
There are three buttons on the headphones: Volume Up/Power, Volume Down, and Multi-function. The Multi-function button is used to answer calls, access the voice-dial feature, pause music, and skip to the next track. When music is paused, clicking one of the volume buttons will give you a battery charge status.
I’ve worn these jogging at least ten times and they’re incredibly comfortable. Since they hook over my ears they don’t move around, and unlike earbuds they can’t fall out. They can be worn with a bike helmet, but how easy and comfortable that is depends on how much room your helmet gives you in the area behind your ears. They worked fine with mine, but I could see them being a problem with other helmets.
It rarely comes up that I would want to wear these with my glasses, but I tried it and it did work. The headphones are flexible enough that they fit over my glasses without pressing them into my head too hard.
They come with little “fit bands,” little silicone wrappers that are supposed to help the headphones fit better on people with small heads. I tried them, but couldn’t feel or hear a difference. Either they don’t work, or my head isn’t as small as I thought it was.
I do have one small complaint. Wearing them while my hair is in a ponytail is perfect. When my hair is down I can either wear them over my hair, which looks a bit odd, or under my hair. When I wear them under my hair I angle the headphones so that the strap is down as low as I can go; otherwise it would be pushing my hair up from underneath. However, if I tilt my head back even a little bit, the headphones are pushed out of place, which is really annoying. I do wish the strap was adjustable, so that I could make it smaller and wear it right up against my head.
Biking with the Trekz
This section is an update from when I first wrote this post. I’d tried them on with my helmet to make sure that they could both be worn together, but I didn’t actually bike with them, because it was early spring and I wasn’t biking yet.
Both my husband and I have worn them biking, and they are amazing! I’d never even ridden my bike with one earbud in, because I was afraid I wouldn’t hear something dangerous on that side. So I was a little nervous about riding with these. But I found them to be perfectly safe since I could still hear everything that was happening around me.
They fit perfectly with my Nutcase helmet, and I could still access all of the controls (some of them were under the helmet straps, but still easy to get to).
But here’s the best part: I was able to listen to music and google maps biking directions at the same time! That hadn’t even occurred to me until I was looking up directions to print up and realized I could use the live directions. I used to tape them to my handlebars. No more!!
If you bike, you need these. We may have to buy a second pair because if we bike together we’re going to be fighting over them.
When I Don’t Wear Them
Now, there are definitely times when I don’t want to hear what’s happening around me. I would never wear these on the subway, or on an airplane (although the headphones come with a pair of earplugs in case you want to use them that way). But they’re the only headphones I wear now when I jog or walk for exercise, and the only headphones I wear around the house, so that I can hear the phone, or the door, or my kids sneaking up on me (they don’t do it on purpose, but they have scared the crap out me when I was wearing earbuds).
These are definitely geared towards people who want to wear them while exercising. They’re not all that pretty, but they’re not supposed to be. They are water-resistant, so you can sweat on them and wear them into a sauna or steam room, but not in a heavy downpour or in the shower.
They come with a case, charging cord, earplugs, and fit bands. The case can hold the headphones and the accessories easily.
If you liked this post, I’d really appreciate a share!