As a fitness fanatic that is cursed with heavy sweating, I am on the constant lookout for the perfect sports headphones. In the past year or so we have seen the trend of earphones move towards entirely wire-free, and while I appreciate there appeal, for fitness, especially running and cycling, they are not ideal. In the middle of a bike ride, the last thing you need is for one of the earpieces to completely fall out onto the road.
So, I refuse to give up sports earphones that have a wire between them. Not only that, but I have grown to appreciate headphones that have an additional loop that goes around your ear. While I love the SoundSport earphones, when running one side does have a tendency to fall out, which is annoying at best.
While there are a lot of cheap options on the market, many of which claim to be IP rated, during my use I have found that they often break due to liquid ingress. I do sweat a lot more than average, but I also train harder than the fast majority of people I see, so waterproof earphones are essential.
The Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT70BT Bluetooth headphones, therefore, tick every box I have for a sports headphone.
These wireless earphones are IPX5 Waterproof Certified, so you can wash them off when your workout is through, and there is an ear-hook design which keeps the headphones securely in place while running.
Design & Build
The earphones have a premium look and feel to them, the model I was sent is rose gold, and the cable is a navy blue. Each earpiece is elongated protruding in front of your ear, it appears that all the battery and components are located in the earpieces themselves, rather than in separate units like some other options. Unlike many options, the microUSB port has no cover for it. Hopefully, this is not an issue, and with phones being IP rated with exposed ports, I don’t think it should be.
The ear hook is a bendable metal-like material allowing you to customise how it hooks around your ear.
The power button and volume are located on the left-hand side a bit down from the earpiece.
All the cabling and ear hook are coated in a thick rubber material with a rubber cable grip/adjuster in the middle, allowing you to tighten up the cable on the back of your head.
You get the typical 3 sizes of rubber ear tip plus a bonus pair of foam comply ear tips, giving you a better than average selection.
The overall build quality feels exceptions, the ultra-thick rubber cabling feels like I will never have an issue with liquid ingress and the bendable ear hooks are a nice concept allowing you to customise the fit.
As with all Bluetooth devices recently, pairing the earphones is a simple affair, just power them up, hit a pair on your phone and away you go. You don’t get voice prompts but there are audio beeps that make it clear when the earphones power up and successfully pair.
Getting a comfortable fit with the earphones is a surprisingly challenging affair. At first, I thought the bendable ear hooks would be a revelation in comfort and fit, but in reality, it takes quite a bit of effort to get them to fit right. Because the ear hook is stiff rather than soft rubber, it has a tendency to do the opposite of what you are trying to achieve and push the earpieces out of the secure seal in your ear canal. With a little perseverance, you can get a good fit though; I found it easier to straighten the ear hooks, get a good fit within your ear, then carefully bend the hook loosely around your ear.
Furthermore, I found the thick rubber cable along with the cable adjustment on the rear contributed to the earphones popping out of my ears. I ended up cutting off the cable adjustment allowing the cable to hang more freely, which improved things greatly for me, maybe my head is just too big.
Once you do get a good fit you will be greeted with a rich and vibrant audio profile when listening to music, the bass is deep but not booming, which may not be the audiophile’s preference, but it is perfect for the gym. The bass didn’t overwhelm and the mids or highs, and I found them well presented with the performing well when I listened to rock, indie and metal tracks.
There is a unique function that allows you ambient noise hear-through function allows you to hear people and traffic around you for safer use outdoors. In practice, it feels like it just turns the volume down. Due to the time, it takes to get a good fit this can be a useful feature as it avoids you taking them off.
Regarding gym, running and music performance, these perform perfectly. The ear hooks ensure you never have the annoying situation of having to completely refit the earpiece mid-run, and while the earphones did slip out of my ear on occasion, they were usually quite easy to get back into a good fit again.
With all earphones getting a good fit is critical and for me, these proved to be a little challenging to fit quickly, but with a bit of effort they do fit nicely within my ears, and the ear hook prevents them completely falling out.
If you are willing to spend a little time getting that right fit you will have a pair of earphones that are perfect for the gym, the bass is rich and energetic, while the rubber cables ensure no sweat will ever break them.
You can by the Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT70BT today directly from audio-technica.com for £119.00This is a sponsored post, but all the opinions are my own and completely honest.