What are the best headphones for you? There are a plethora of options out there right now, but traditional earphones are quickly making way on the shelves for a new contender: open-ear bone conduction headphones, which send sound through your ears and temples without your ears blocking out the world.
If you are after The best running headphones Then you have the option to choose between traditional headphones or a pair of earbuds The best bone conduction headphones. Bone conduction headphones do not obstruct your ears while performing any kind of activity, and wired models are quickly being replaced by truly wireless products.
In-ear headphones have been around for years and are now on the verge of taking off. While it took a few years for bone conduction headphones to be accepted by runners. After all, the idea of transducers that convert sound into vibrations reaches your inner ear via your cheekbones an act Seems a little crazy at first.
However, they are all the rage among runners for several reasons that we will explore. Can the open-ear design keep up with the tried-and-tested sound quality of earphones? Here’s what you need to know to make that all-important buying decision:
Bone conduction headphones: the pros
The biggest reason bone conduction headphones have become so popular as running headphones is that they enhance situational awareness. Since they don’t put anything physically in your ear—instead they place their transducers on your cheekbones to send vibrations to your inner ear—you can hear everything around you while you’re wearing them.
All this creates a product that is not only very convenient, but also much safer. First, because you can hear the traffic around you, which makes it safer to run near traffic and cross busy roads.
Second, the open-ear design is also less likely to damage your hearing, partly because nothing is in your ear and partly because they don’t tend to achieve a particularly loud volume. Bone conduction headphones can also be beneficial for anyone with hearing loss due to problems in the outer or middle ear.
While bone conduction headphones are excellent as running headphones, they can be worn for long periods of time, so they also work well in the office/home office for calls and listening to your computer audio.
Bone conduction headphones: Cons
Bone conduction headphones aren’t going to be the best running headphones for everyone. Whatever the brand, they all have the same neckband shape, wrapping around the back of the wearer’s head.
Except that’s not always the case: Depending on the shape of your head, transformers may rest directly on your cheekbones, but the neckband sometimes protrudes at the back, leaving a large gap. This can be annoying if you wear a hat while running. The textured silicone covers are designed to grip the skin around your ear, but if you have long hair, it tends to tangle.
However, the biggest negative when wearing bone conduction headphones is the sound quality. They tend to lack bulk, which makes them noisy when running along busy roads. Bass levels tend to be low, as products that claim to boost bass also create a slight tickle below the cheekbones. If you mainly listen to music and consider yourself an audiophile, bone conduction headphones are probably not your headphones of choice.
In-ear headphones: the pros
The most affordable option for running headphones is a pair of earphones. Using tried and tested technology, these in-ear headphones are discreet, lightweight, and easy to carry everywhere. There is no bulky neck strap to worry about. No cables anymore, true wireless models using Bluetooth are now mainstream, which come with charging cases.
With one tiny screen in each ear, you can get excellent quality music from the earbuds. It all depends on how much you’re willing to spend, but in-ear headphones will generally sound better than bone conduction headphones. Premium models can give you higher sound quality music at higher volumes.
Some offer noise canceling technology, which blocks out your surroundings while simultaneously giving you Transparency mode so you can hear what’s going on around you.
In-ear headphones: the negatives
Running through busy streets while wearing a pair of earbuds is risky. The biggest thing is safety on the road because while wearing earphones it is very difficult to stay aware of what is happening around you. This is why I wear other headphones of bone conduction models (Opens in a new tab) increasingly Banned by racing organizers (Opens in a new tab) On any single lane road that is not completely closed to traffic.
Another disadvantage of wearing in-ear headphones can be the desire to turn up the volume, which can have long-term effects on your hearing. The more comfortable they are, the higher the risk because you are more likely to wear them for longer periods.
Not everyone finds in-ear headphones comfortable. Some models will offer interchangeable earbud tips that fit differently shaped ears, but all in-ear earbuds can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods.
Whether bone conduction headphones or in-ear headphones will be the best running headphones for you will depend on your preferences and whether or not you compete in races. If you demand sound-quality music, lots of bass and want to block out the sounds around you – perhaps if you’re on a treadmill at the gym – then the earbuds are most likely for you.
However, if spoken words – podcasts and audiobooks – are what you listen to, you want to be more aware of the world around you while running, and you often compete in races, then bone conduction headphones would be the best choice. However, if you’re strapped for cash, don’t fret—one writer found that his cheap, working headphones served him just as well as the expensive models.