Shokz (Formerly AfterShokz) OpenRun Review – The best bone-conducting headphones for runners and cycling

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Shokz OpenRun Review Rating

Summary

If you are a keen runner or cyclist, the Shokz OpenRun are the best option I have used if you want to retain some environmental awareness.

Overall
90%
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  • Overall - 90%
    90%

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality (for bone conduction)
  • Easily audible over loud & windy environmental noises

Cons

  • There will always be some head feel from the bone conduction

In December, AfterShokz announced their rebranding to Shokz, at the same time they announced the new OpenRun bond conduction headphones.

Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction Sports Headphones, Bluetooth...
  • 【Bud-free comfort】Unlike traditional wireless...
  • 【Open-ear safety】Whether you are running,...
  • 【England Athletics' official headphones partner...
  • 【8-h calls & Bluetooth V5.1 】-Quick charge and...

Shokz OpenRun vs Aeropex

The new Shokz OpenRun headphones are identical to the previous flagship Aeropex. However, they have now been upgraded to a new quick charging solution.

It is worth noting that in the US, they have also launched the OpenRun Pro. While the OpenRun does have this new quick charge feature, if you want to charge it fully, you are only saving 30mins with these charging in 90mins vs 120mins. The quick charge will give you 1.5 hours worth of use in a 10 min charge.

The new OpenRun have launched for about the same price as the Aeropex. The RRP is technically lower, but current Aeropex pricing is £120-£150, so there isn't really any reason to choose the Aeropex over the  OpenRun

Shokz OpenRun Pro vs OpenRun

Shokz OpenRun Pro

As for the OpenRun Pro, they have launched in the US for $179.95, and there appears to be USD/GBP parity. If these launch in the UK, I'd expect them to be £179.95.

The OpenRun Pro have more differences. They use the 9th generation gone conduction technology, which I would assume offer a superior sound quality.

They weigh 2g more, but they have 10 hours battery with a 1-hour charge vs 8 hours with 1.5 hours.

Oddly, the Shokz OpenRun Pro are only IP55 rating for water resistance rather than IP67 that the normal OpenRun has. This looks to be a result of the meshed design for each bone conduction driver.

With all that cleared up, I have been using the Shokz OpenRun for the past couple of weeks. I have not used the Aeropex, but I did review the Openmove almost a year ago.

Specification

  • PremiumPitch 2.0+ Stereo Sound Powerful bass and higher volume
  • Bluetooth 5.1 with SBC
  • IP67 Water-resistant
  • Titanium construction weighing 26g
  • Quick Charge: A 10-min charge for 1.5 hours of usage
  • 8 hours battery with 1.5 hours full charge via Magnetic Induction

Design / Fit / Glasses

These fit very comfortably for me,  there are no adjustments required. They just sit comfortably on my head with the speaker part resting where it should naturally. They are ultra-lightweight, so the overall comfort is excellent. I know many people who don't like the sensation of in-ear headphones, and these would therefore provide a good alternative.

I don't wear glasses, but when I reviewed the Mu6 Ring, they were almost impossible to use with a cycling helmet and glasses. There is less of an issue with these, the hooped section that goes over your ears is quite thin, and I can comfortably put a pair of glasses on. There is not much need to wear sunglasses at the moment, so I haven't tested this extensively, but I think these should work well for anyone who does wear glasses.

Dissapointly, these use a proprietary charging cable rather than USB-C that was used on the OpenMove. I assume it aids with the IP rating but it is inevitably another cable I will misplace.

Sound Quality / Bone Conducting Sensation

The overall sound quality and the sensation you get from bone conduction is significantly improved on these in comparison to the Openmove or any other cheap bone-conducting headphones.

At moderate to high volumes, there is minimal vibration on the side of my head, whereas I found the vibration of the Openmove a little disorientating at high volumes.

Bass is improved too, not just the depth achieved but the overall quality of the bass with much more natural low tones. They still can't beat in-ear, but they will outclass alternative technologies such as air conduction or audio frames.

I have not cycled outdoors with these yet, the weather has been grim, and my road bike is in no condition for the roads. However, I have gone on several outdoor runs, many of which have been windy and unpleasant. These can easily be heard over environmental noises and wind noise. In comparison, the Soundcore Frames would easily be drowned by car or wind noise.

As always, with headphones like this, there is some sound leakage, but it is negligible for outdoor use. Importantly, I found that I can achieve a good level of volume that I can hear music through over environmental noises while keeping the sound leakage below what any passerby could hear.  

I'd even say the overall sound quality and sound leakage make these suitable for use other than outdoor fitness. I have used these in my home gym a few times and I could happily use them in a normal gym.

Shokz also includes some earplugs, which improves the overall quality of the sound and reduces environmental noise. As appealing as that sounds, it defeats the point of buying these in the first place.

Price and Alternative Option

The Shokz OpenRun have launched for £129.95, which is about the same price as the older Aeropex sells for.

The Shokz OpenMove are a much more affordable £80. While they are excellent, there is a significant difference in the overall audio quality and comfort of the OpenRun.

You can also still buy some of the older models, such as the AfterShokz Trekz and Cosmic.

For competing options, I found the Mu6 Ring to be good. These are “air conduction” sports headphones, which I think technically means they are just normal speakers on the side of your head. Sound quality is good, especially for the price of just £60. However, they suffer from all the issues none-bone-conducting open fit headphones have, low volume that's easily drowned out.

For casual wear, Bose and Anker Soundcore have audio glasses. Both of which are excellent and are more attractive to wear when walking about. They have good sound quality but have all the issues associated with none-bone conducting headphones.

There are numerous no-name brands on Amazon selling bone conduction headphones. I have tried a couple, they provide an acceptable level of performance if that's all you can afford, but they don't come close to any of the Shokz headphones.

Overall

The Shokz OpenRun are easily the best bone conducting headphones I have used and also better than any other competing technology.

I have personally not been a big fan of using bone-conducting headphones in the past, unless absolutely necessary (on the bike). I'll happily sacrifice environmental awareness in favour of sound quality. However, with these, they offer a level of performance where I could quite happily ditch my in-ear earbuds for my outdoor runs.  

They are obviously not cheap, and they are quite niche compared to your in-ear alternatives. However, if you are a keen runner or cyclist, these are the best option I have used if you want to retain some environmental awareness.

Last update on 2022-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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