The Best Headphones for Outdoor Workouts: AirPods Pro vs AfterShokz OpenRun Pro

2023-12-09 16:00:00

I am obligated to include these on the list. As we noted in our roundup of Apple’s latest AirPods Pro (8/10, WIRED rating), these little white drumsticks are ubiquitous. You’re going to exercise with them whether I tell you or not, so you better keep reading. The two most significant differences from the previous version are that the case has USB-C charging instead of Lightning, which I already found incredibly convenient, and that in iOS 17 there are new Adaptive Audio features that automatically detect when you are talking and give people time to respond to you while you have the headphones on.

Parker Hall, editor-in-chief and our go-to person for audio and video, noted that although Apple declined to confirm the exact changes to the audio architecture, this latest version sounds better than ever. They are dust and sweat resistant (IP54), and noise cancellation is top-notch. Now, these are not my favorite headphones for running. The fit is comfortable, but they are one of the least secure headphones I’ve tried. Although if you have an iPhone, they’re by far the most convenient for everything (from work calls to plane rides), and are fine for quick workouts at the hotel gym.

The best for training outdoors

AfterShokz OpenRun Pro

Courtesy of Shokz

AfterShokz OpenRun Pro

I’ve tried many previous pairs of Shokz (formerly known as Aftershokz) and found their bone conduction technology, where sound is conducted through the bones of the head, very unpleasant. However, these headphones are more like tiny speakers placed near your ears.

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For that reason, they are not a good choice if you work out in a gym, and you would disturb other people with ambient noise. That said, they are comfortable and great for all outdoor workouts, and have quickly become my favorite headphones. I can wear them running or hiking (or while biking or skating with a helmet), and still hear everything around me. However, they don’t have a charging case, and the 10-hour battery life before recharging is significantly shorter than any other model on the list.

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