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Aftershokz Earbuds Review

Review of How Aftershokz earbuds compare to Apple Airpods for working out.

For the past few years, I’ve been pretty loyal to AirPods for running and working out. I love a good running playlist, so having headphones I like is important! However, there is nothing more important to me than safety when I’m running. For years, I’d heard about headphones called Aftershokz that were supposed to be a safer alternative to in-earbuds or noise cancelling headphones for runners. After looking into Aftershokz a little more, I finally bought them. And the verdict is: I WISH I BOUGHT THEM SOONER.

Today’s post is my honest review of the Aftershokz earbuds after using them for a few months, for all types of workouts, including running, riding the Peloton, strength training and HIIT. I love them, but there are a few cons. Let’s jump in.

Aftershokz Earbuds Review

Aftershokz Earbuds Review

Aftershokz Earbuds Review

Aftershokz Earbuds Review

What are Aftershocks?

They’re headphones designed for runners. They use bone conduction technology instead of just blasting sound through speakers into your ears, so they’re open ear headphones. That’s what makes them safer for runners logging miles outside since they allow for better situational awareness. Since there isn’t a piece actually going into or covering your ear canal, you can hear your surroundings, like cars, other people, etc., all while still listening to music or podcasts. Aftershokz’ first pair was the Aftershokz Trekz, and the company has been around since 2011. Now they have 5 different pair to choose from.

Instead of two in-ear earbuds, Aftershokz use a wraparound design with the buds attached so you don’t have to keep up with them individually. They’re a little bit like a headband, except you wear them around the back of your head near the top of your neck. And the buds sit outside your ear, near the front.

There are multiple models but I got the AfterShokz Aeropex Mini Bone Conduction Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. They have a size guide so you can decide between the Mini or Standard. Either option is $159 and can be purchased at a variety of places online, or directly from Aftershokz. They are waterproof but not designed for swimming. If you want an option for the pool, go for the Xtrainers.

Amazon: mini / standard

Best Buy: mini / standard

Walmart: mini / standard

Battery life

Aftershokz are powered with either 6 hours or 8 hours of battery life, which is plenty for most athletes! I charge them just a few times a week. They’re wireless earbuds, so they do require a speciality charging cable (that’s included with your purchase) and charging port to plug it in.

Audio Quality

While the sound is good, it isn’t the best ever. Since the earbuds aren’t actually in your ear, they don’t deliver sound the same way as  AirPods or something of the like.

Price And Availability

Aftershokz are a similar price point to other running headphones such as AirPods. The kind I got at $159 but you can get the entry level pair, the Trekz Titanium, for $79 and the Trekz Air for $119. You can find them at many of the retailers you’d expect like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.

Design

I talk about this below, but the design is the most unusual thing about them. They almost look like a headband that you wear behind your head and above your neck. I wear them under my pony tail so you don’t notice them much, but they are significantly different than normal looking headphones.

Aftershokz Earbuds for workout

Pros

They don’t fall out when I tap to change the song

My struggle with Airpods is that they slip out sometimes while I’m trying to change songs, especially when I’m mid-run. Aftershokzs don’t do this at all, since the wraparound band and their placement prevents slippage. And since they don’t  actually plug your ears, they don’t have to fit your ear shape perfectly like AirPods do.

They don’t fall out when I wipe my sweat 

I’ve had this problem so much with AirPods. Maybe my ears just aren’t the right shape for them to work seamlessly, but whenever I wipe sweat from my face while working out at the gym or on the Peloton, my Airpods fall out if they are even slightly brushed by the towel. But my Aftershokz have stayed put exactly where I want them and I don’t notice them at all, even during the sweatiest bike ride that leaves me constantly wiping my face. And that’s high praise.

I can hear my surroundings 

These are not noise canceling headphones, but that’s the point. Since they don’t require you to put anything in your actual ear, there’s nothing blocking other sounds from being heard. They use bone conduction technology, so the speakers sit on the spot in front/above your actual ear on your temples. You’re still able to get pretty great sound quality with them but it isn’t perfect. More on that below.

Much lighter weight and less bulky than I anticipated

Since they are not as sleek as AirPods, I expected then to feel bulky or heavy. They don’t! They are really light and extremely comfortable. I hardly notice them.

They don’t bounce

With other wraparound earbuds I’ve had in the past, the band that goes behind my neck bounced. These don’t. I think having the option for the mini and the shorter band helps with that. Even with burpees, jumping squats and other plyometric moves, they stay put.

Cons

Can’t hear as well when taking phone calls

They are not as great in the office as AirPods are. But since they’re made for runners, that makes sense. I wasn’t planning to use them in the office when I got them, so this hasn’t been a big deal for me. I love how easy it is to connect my AirPods to my phone and computer for work.

A little clunky with any head accessories

While they were lighter and less bulky than I expected, with a hat or ear band, they do sometimes get in the way. My guess is that for those with short hair, they are amazing. Since I like a visor or hat, I’ve found that I have to adjust them a bit to get everything to feel comfortable. And if I need to adjust my ponytail once they’re on, I need to take them off first.

Bass isn’t as clear as Airpods

The bass in the Aftershokz isn’t great. Sometimes the songs sound a bit tinny. Since the speaker isn’t in your ear, you aren’t going to get the same experience, but I guess it’s better for your hearing in the long run. (Heh.) But, if you love music as much as I do, that’s a con.

You can’t let your guard down

This isn’t really a con, but more a reminder. I expected the noises from traffic, other pedestrians, dogs, etc. to be pretty noticeable, but I do still have to pay pretty close attention to my surroundings and I can’t blast the music with the high volume since it’s still easy to zone out noises with the distraction. That may be habit so I think overtime I’ll get used to picking up on noises. But, if you run in the dark, I’d probably still leave these at home.

Are The Aftershokz Earbuds Worth It?

I highly recommend them, all things considered! I’ve had them for a few months now and love how much more aware I feel while I use them versus my AirPods. I’ll continue to wear my AirPods for work and phone calls, but Aftershokz bone conduction headphones are my new favorites for running, riding the Peloton, bootcamp style classes and lifting weights.

Aftershokz earphones for workout

Aftershokz Earbuds Review

Shop Aftershokz 

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    at

    I’ve had Aftershokz for about a year now and really like them. They are super light and I feel better about being able to hear what’s going on around me in addition to my music. I live in Minnesota and was having trouble finding the right hat to wear with them. Since they sit outside the ear, my beanies pressed too hard on my head and it hurt my ears, and my handbands didn’t cover my ears plus headphones well enough. I ended up wrapping a Smartwool buff around my ears like a headband, which was wide enough to cover my ears and not too much pressure on the headphones.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    at

    I’ve had the Trekz Titanium for about 4 years now – my partner gifted them to me so that I’d be more safe while out running with music. I love them and use them on every run! They’re a little tougher to wear in the winter when I have a thick headband to keep my ears warm, but I don’t have any trouble with them in the summer when I wear a hat or visor & sunglasses. I will say it’s also a challenge to hear podcasts or audiobooks when running next to a busy street, but I just pause it until I get to a quieter path (which is more enjoyable anyway).

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