With daylight savings time kicking in and a geographically-scattered training group, I wasn’t looking forward to a lonely week of solo workouts. While I enjoy (and need) some easy runs on my own, when it comes to pushing myself and #PuttingInWork I really need my squad. I enjoy the social aspect of training and I was feeling glum for workouts to come – until I was given the opportunity to test out a pair of wireless, bone-conduction headphones from Rackets & Runners.
I worked at a finance/tech company for a couple years but I certainly wouldn’t claim to be a tech-y person. With the exception of my GPS watch, I’m not usually into gadgets – but I’ve been curious about the “Trekz Titanium” for awhile now. When asked if I would like to test them out I jumped at the chance and I’m very excited to share my thoughts with you. The pairs we’ve sold at the store have received rave reviews (one woman described them as one of the top three things she has ever purchased), but as they’re relatively new-to-market my hope is that this post will serve as a helpful tool for people considering investing in a pair. As always, let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to get back to you ASAP.
In the coming months I will be doing more product reviews because:
- I love trying new things
- I love learning about new products/business models
- I love talking about products/services that I think could enhance others’ lives
So without further ado…
If you value safety, these headphones are for you. They have awesome sound, are light-weight (36g), comfortable, free of pesky-cords, and pair with any blue-tooth compatible device. The BIG difference between these and any other headphone is the open ear technology that allows you to hear sounds around you in addition to your music/podcast/phone call. Traffic, other people, animals – you can hear them all! This is a game changer for cyclists, runners, and pedestrians. When you can hear you can get out of the way, be more respectful of other peoples’ space, and better enjoy your own time – regardless of the activity you’re enjoying.In the past I’ve found that normal headphones make my ears hurt after a couple hours (providing they’ve stayed in that long and aren’t always falling out), or strangle me with easily-tangled cords. In contrast, the Trekz hook over the top of your ears and wrap around the back of your neck for a very comfortable fit. While they really are one size fits all, I opted for the “mini” version as my ears are deceptively small.
I am going to make a sweeping claim here – but I really think this product is ideal for anyone. Whatever your use for headphones; whether you take a lot of calls, love listening to music, or are an audio book/podcast enthusiast – you can benefit from a pair of these. Two of my closest friends have hearing impairments and they were pretty excited about this initiative as it will enable them to listen to music in a way they’ve truly never experienced before.In particular, I think these are an invaluable product for female runners. I wish we could all run without a care in the world, but sadly that just isn’t the case. Being alert is an important step in reducing your risk when you’re on a run, especially if you run alone. In the past I’ve paused my music when I’m running through an area that seems particularly isolated, and these headphones have allowed me to have the peace of mind that I’m more alert, without disrupting my music. I’m not going to sacrifice the joy I gain from running on my own, but I can take responsibility for increasing my safety.
Whenever/wherever you want!
Predictably, I used these the most when I was running. I LOVED being able to listen to audiobooks/podcasts/music without being completely oblivious to the sounds around me. On my runs I often pause my music when I run past other people to say hi or chat with someone, which increases the wonderful community vibe of running in Vancouver – and isn’t as easy to do when you’re ears are plugged. I also received several compliments when I was working out, which I wouldn’t have been able to hear had I been wearing my usual earphones.
“Wow, you’re moving!”
“You have a beautiful stride”
Side note: I think random strangers complimenting me on my running might be my biggest validator that I am good at this sport LOL. So if you haven’t been having this positive reinforcement it’s 100% just because you can’t hear them ;)*
*Aftershock does not make this claim, but I DO
I found myself surprised at how much I enjoyed using the headphones when I was commuting on my bike as I’m a nervous cyclist living in constant fear of being hit by a car. I would NEVER use normal headphones on my bike, so I really liked using these when I was doing errands and zipping around town. My Trekz fit under my helmet with no problem, and I would definitely use them again for easy listening – or Google Maps if I was headed off my familiar routes.
I also found these super helpful in the gym, as I could make sure I wasn’t in the way, and could hear if someone asked to work-in with equipment or share weights. As I’m sure you can imagine, they’re also great for just walking around town.
The only time I don’t recommend wearing them would be when you’re somewhere that you actually want to block out noise – such as on the bus, or anywhere where people are having loud conversations (that you have no desire to hear). The headphones do come with ear plugs – which really make the sound incredible – and while I’m keen to use them on the plane, I’m unlikely to put them in while I’m commuting or trying to listen to a podcast while my boyfriend games or cheers enthusiastically for the Canucks.
Safety. Enjoyment. Enrichment.
I’ve been startled by bikes countless times (which means I was probably in their way #whoops), and I’ve found myself pausing music when I’m running in areas where I know I should be more alert.
You sync the headphones with your phone (or other device) by connecting bluetooth, then pop ’em on, and away you go! I experimented with ponytail placement and didn’t detect any real difference between a high, mid, and low ponytail – all worked fine.
Battery life is 6 hours. This is more than enough for me as I charge my phone every night so charging it every couple days isn’t a big deal – but if you’re someone who is likely to forget to charge that could be annoying.
What I love
- You really can hear! Not only can you hear people around you: saying hello, cheering for you and/or complimenting your stride – you can hear yourself. Keeping in touch with the rhythm of your stride and your breathing are important training indicators. Sometimes I’ll pause my music to listen to this – now I don’t have to!
- Excellent quality. The vibration/bone conduction action is really cool. You feel like the music is all around you.
- One of my favourite things about being part of the running community is saying hello and just being included in the run dialogue. When you’re plugged in you’re isolated, with open-ears you have the option to be included.
- The fit. Light, comfortable, and since they don’t go in your ears they can’t be falling out of your ears all the time! Maybe I just have tiny ears… but this has been really annoying for me in the past. I really have to jam headphones in, which makes them sweaty and can make my ears sore by the end of a run/workout
- The wireless aspect was a first for me. No more getting tangled up in cords!! This was an especially big game changer in the gym.
- Side button makes it super easy to pause/play songs and juggle phone calls #Popular
- They have a good range – I put my phone down when I was doing stair intervals and as long as I stayed relatively close by there was no impact on the sound
What I didn’t love
- The headphones need a bluetooth connection which means I needed to have my phone with me on my run. I don’t like this because I enjoy a “break” from the constant connectivity of everyday life. I like being unavailable for an hour, and I find my phone heavy and annoying to run with. However, having my phone means I can stop and take great pictures, and I know it also means that I’m safer. (But since this is something I won’t always want to do I just ordered a $35 bluetooth MP3 player #ProblemSolved)
- The headphones do not give you much warning before they run out of battery. They say they need to be charged and then they’re dead in under 20 minutes.
If you’re not convinced come on down to Rackets & Runners (3880 Oak Street, Vancouver BC) and you can try them out and have your mind blown.
Let me know if you have any questions/comments. Stay safe,