What are the recommended sports headphones for running?
Aug 30,2023 | David
I believe that people who love sports should have used many kinds of headphones, from Bluetooth lanyard headphones to various wireless headphones, the reasons why they ultimately break down are no more than charging problems, decreased battery life, unstable connections, the ingression of water, the aging of the silicone case, etc. In addition, another problem with wearing in-ear headphones during exercise is that if the range of movements are very big, they are easy to shift and fall out.
Exercise bone conduction headphones are comfortable to wear, feel like you are not wearing them, and are simple to operate, with an good balanced state between ambience interference and running while listening to music-especially the avoidance of auditory masking effect. It's almost a perfect match for running and can be given the highest level of recommendation.
Let's start with traditional headphones in general. In the past, we may prefer to run without external interference, so we are used to in-ear headphones, but most of the experience of exercising is not good. For example, most of the so-called true wireless headphones have a very intelligent design philosophy but a very poor practical experience: most of the operations such as changing songs/turning up and down volume/answering calls during running are very terrible. The touch screen is not as convenient as the button operation, but the button is generally pressed to the ear pain, it’s often not as convenient as directly pulling down the earbuds when encounter the need to adjust the noise reduction mode, and no matter how high the sweatproof and waterproof level they boast, it is inevitable that they will encounter the problem of not being able to charge in a short time. In this case, only the wired headset of traditional Bluetooth is relatively convenient to operate, and there will be no problem of fear the headphones falling out. However, it is embarrassing that almost all of the major brands today no longer produce such kind of headphones, all of which are models are from years ago, with a good wearing feeling but average battery life.
Only sports bone conduction headphones meet the requirements of long battery life, easy operation and comfortable wearing
The actual wearing feeling of sports bone conduction headphones
In terms of wearing feeling, the in-ear headphones (even the extremely comfortable Airpodspro.) still have a sense of blockage on the ear canal, it is difficult to achieve long-term comfort, and it is too fit to the ear for running, which will affect your perception of the outside world to some extent. The same is true for various ear-airfoil types of headphones, even if there are several sets of fins with different sizes, it can only solve the problem of not falling out.
But bone conduction doesn’t have this problem at al. Bone conduction headphones are headphones that can sound through the vibration of the bones, which transmit the vibration of the sound source directly to the inner ear to hear the sound, while ordinary headphones transmit air vibrations from the ear to the eardrum, which is recognized as sound and heard by the ear. The characteristic of bone conduction headphones is that it can enjoy music without need to pass through the ears or eardrums. It does not block the ears when used, it is on top of the ears, without putting extra weight on the ears, so it is not easy to produce a sense of pressure, which solves the stuffiness after sweating dramatically, and the headphones are hung on the ears, there will be no stethoscope effect like in-ear headphones, and it does not squeeze the pinna, which will not hurt at all after wearing it for a long time.
The biggest advantage of bone conduction headphones over traditional earbuds: the avoidance of auditory masking effect
The core point about whether should listen to music while running is that the sound emitted by traditional in-ear headphones will mask other sounds from the external environment, almost all the brain's workload will be taken up when the sound signal is particularly powerful, so that people can’t react to the outside sound - this is auditory masking effect of listening to songs when running.
Because the sound is more single after wearing the earbuds (only the sound of music in the earbuds remains), the nerve centers in charge of movement will be easily suppressed and fall into a rhythm that is unconsciously contrary to the training effect. And the body is always giving the most direct signals during running, such as the sound of footsteps landing, breathing and wheezing, and abnormal sounds of body joints which obviously will be blocked by traditional earplugs completely.
Conversely,is the biggest advantage of bone conduction headphones. Since bone conduction headphones do not block the ears when worn, you can still hear the surrounding environment after wearing the headphones, which undoubtedly provides increased security. Bone conduction headphones can hear the sound of cars and traffic lights while running and walking, making you safer when using them outdoors.
For those who like to enjoy music at work and need to pay attention to the sounds of their surroundings, especially the sounds of their boss and colleagues, bone conduction headphones are also a great choice. Also, I highly recommend trying to receive trackside interaction while listening to music when participating in running activities, such as marathons, it would be great pity if you are too immersed in your own music world to hear the sound of the race itself. This is precisely the part where bone conduction headphones do better than traditional headphones.
Some might say that isn't it safer to exercise without headphones and listening to music? Yes, in situations that require a high level of concentration to deal with, you certainly shouldn't be distracted by listening to music.
But exercise tends to be a long-term process, more often repetitive mechanically. For example, hiking, often walking for a whole day, no matter how beautiful the scenery is, it is easy to aesthetic fatigue. At this time, if there is music to accompany, it can not only drive away the boredom, but also boost morale. While improving the enjoyment of exercise, it is also easier to achieve sports goals. Then bone conduction headphones are your best choice.
Disadvantages of bone conduction headphones:
It leaks sound more easily than traditional in-ear headphones. Bone conduction headphones are structurally prone to sound leakage because it is open, the vibrator will vibrate the surrounding air while vibrating the bones, resulting in sound leakage. Ordinary headphones are placed in the ear and sealed, so it is difficult for the sound to leak.
When you wear bone conduction headphones with the volume turned up very loudly, the sound leakage will be more obvious, at this time, if you happen to be in a quiet place such as a library, people around you will hear everything, this not only disturbs others but also reveals their own privacy. Of course, the sound leakage problem of bone conduction will be different between different brands, such as the Wissonly brand, which has greatly reduced the sound leakage problem through integrated sealing design, vibration buffer and other technical optimization.
So how to select sports bone conduction headphones?
1: Sports bone conduction headphones also have two connection methods like wireless and wired, wireless bone conduction headphones are characterized by no cable connecting headphones and audio equipment, can be used comfortably through Bluetooth connection, no cable winding and other shortcomings, so you can use your smartphone freely. However, it should be noted that some Bluetooth-connected bone conduction headphones may have problems such as sound interruption or delay. In addition, since the battery is built into the host, the battery level will affect the usage time, if you need to use the headphones for a long time, please select a model with a built-in large-capacity battery whenever possible.
Wired bone conduction headphones are the type of headphones that connect headphones directly to audio devices with a cable. Since it does not need to be equipped with a battery, there is no need to worry about the battery running out,and you can continue to use for a long time.Another advantage is that the sound is unlikely to end or delay. On the other hand, wired bone conduction headphones have troubles unique to cables, such as cable stuck and disconnect or fracture. These headphones are not for people who don't like the hassle of a wired connection, or people who want to use them in sports scenes.
2: When selecting sports bone conduction headphones, pay attention to the fit. Because, even if you select a model with excellent performance, if the fit is not good, you may feel that it is difficult to use. In order to use it comfortably for a long time, try to find a model with a good fit that fits your fit. Most bone conduction headphones are basically worn between the temples, so the fit of the headphones varies from the size of the head. Moreover, wearing glasses and masks can easily affect the fit. When selecting, you’d better select those headphones that can be flexibly adjusted.
3: You can choose bone conduction headphones with suitable waterproof performance according to the usage scenario. If you want to use it in sports scenes or outdoor scenes, you should pay attention to the waterproof performance of bone conduction headphones. The waterproof performance is defined by the JIS standard and marked as "IPX◯". The higher the number in the circle, the better the waterproofness.
If you plan to use it in general sports scenarios, we recommend bone conduction headphones with at least IPX4 or higher waterproof rating, so that they can work well when sweating or raining. Some headphones can be washed with water, please focus on them if you're looking for headphones that are easily cleaned. IPX7 or higher models can be used in submerged scenarios such as swimming or diving.
4: If you have the opportunity to make hands-free calls in business scenarios, choose a headphone with a microphone. The bone conduction headphones do not block the ears, making it easy to hear yourself during hands-free calls. Bone conduction headphone with boom microphone that brings the microphone closer to the mouth and is suitable for people who use it to discuss important matters in business situations.
5:Don't have harsh requirements for sound quality. Before using bone conduction headphones, I didn't expect any sound quality from it. But when I first heard the sound of bone conduction headphones, I was surprised that the sound quality was better than I thought, but it was inferior compared to regular noise-canceling headphones. The sound quality of bone conduction headphones is characterized by clear and easy to hear high-mids, but weak bass. Therefore, it is very easy to hear the human voice, which is perfect for making phone calls. When listening to music with bone conduction headphones, it is more suitable to listen to music as background music, it is very suitable for running, exercise and other scenes!
6:Please choose products with a price of 70-150 USD. Price is always the most critical consideration when buying a product, and under the premise of ensuring product quality, the lower the price, the better. However, it should be noted that bone conduction headphones under $50 generally perform poorly, and sometimes fake bone conduction headphones are accidentally bought. Products higher than $150 are less cost-effective, except for a small number of headphones for online meetings or underwater sports and other scenarios, it is not recommended to choose products with a price higher than $150.
Sports bone conduction headphones recommendation:
Combining with the 6 elements of choosing bone conduction headphones mentioned above, I would like to recommend a sports bone conduction headphone that I bought and have been using last year --- the Hi Runner of the Wissonly brand.
Wissonly is the fastest growing brand in the last half year and is headquartered in Hong Kong. Their team consists of some technical experts in the field of bone conduction headphones, as early as 10 years ago, they began to develop ear friendly bone conduction headphones, mainly producing high-performance bone conduction headphones with good sound quality, low soud leakage, high waterproof rating, high comfort, cost-effective and other characteristics, received the support of sports fans. With its excellent bone conduction vibration unit optimization program, it has been recommended by the majority of audiologists, and there are also many channels on Youtube recommended it.
In terms of comfort, the Wissonly Hi Runner integral frame is made of adjustable aviation-grade titanium steel material, which can adapt to different sizes of head circumference and ensure stable wearing. The surface of headphones is made of high-tech hypoallergenic silicone material, chemical free which avoids allergies, the overall touch of the headphone is as silky as baby skin, avoiding long-term wearing will feel uncomfortable. And it is very lightweight, less than 30g which will not feel heavy when worn. After wearing it and taking it off at the end of the run, this Hi Runner didn't let me have any extra adjustments. As the flagship model of outdoor sports of the Wissonly brand, it is the most comfortable and cost-effective one in all bone conduction at present.
Hi Runner sports bone conduction headphones are open-ear design, it is worn directly on the temple, so your ear canal is completely open, which makes it easy to hear the sound of cars and traffic lights outdoors in sports scenes such as running and walking, making you safer when using it.
Although the name of the Wissonly Hi Runner is Hi runner, it also has a higher IPX8 waterproof rating than the industry standard, this is a great advantage of it which allows it to work normally when swimming and diving.
It is also equipped with 32G body memory, which can store 5000 songs, and supports both Bluetooth and MP3 modes of operation. In underwater sports or without a phone scene, you can use it as a Bluetooth MP3 player.
Its battery life is very strong, and it can listen to songs for 10 hours continuously, which makes up for the disadvantages of wireless headphones.
Due to the particularity of the technical principle, bone conduction earphone is more difficult to improve the sound quality. Wissonly Hi Runner subverts the traditional sound quality scheme by using a large wireframe vibration unit, improving the effective vibration area through structural optimization, so that the sound has a good performance in both treble and bass.
Its sound leakage reduction performance is excellent, we actually tested it, turn on the Wissonly Hi Runner, set it to 60% volume, at a distance of 2 meters from the headphone, no sound can be heard at all, which is good for privacy.
It should be noted that the microphone of the Wissonly Hi Runner is a hidden microphone, and the scenario of requiring an external microphone may not be applicable.
In terms of price, the Wissonly Hi Runner only costs $99.99, the cost performance is really high, because other brands with the same performance are basically more than $150.
Some usage summary of sports bone conduction headphones:
Back to the topic, "What are the recommended smart headphones for running?", taking Hi Runner as an example to summarize the experience of using bone conduction sports headphones:
1: There is no auditory masking effect of traditional headphones, which is also the biggest advantage of bone conduction headphones
2: There is no sense of presence at all after wearing, and the head won't feel oppressed. (of course, Hi Runner will do this better than other models);
3: The actual use of nearly 10 hours of battery life + magnetic fast charging can meet the vast majority of a single running training, Hi Runner will not have any battery life anxiety;
4: IPX8 level waterproof, no problem to cope with a lot of sweat and rain, can be used when swimming and diving.
5: The most suitable use scenario is obviously sports such as running, of course, I personally think that it is actually very suitable to use at work and at home (it would not miss other things/other people's signals). Bone conduction itself cannot reduce noise and block the ears, and it is easier to leak sound, so it is not suitable to use in vehicles with loud noises such as airplanes (to prevent cannot hear the sound in the headphones) and some environments which are too quite (to avoid disturbing others).
6: If you use it frequently, it is still recommended to buy the outdoor sports flagship Wissonly Hi Runner directly in one step, the hearing and wearing feel are excellent.