There are two kinds of runners, those that never use headphones and those that always do. I prefer listening to music to motivate me, distract me from the pain, and keep me occupied on long runs. However, in the fall and winter when I run in the dark, I don't have headphones with me so I can pay closer attention to my surroundings and increase my situational awareness.
The Trekz Air headphones from AfterShokz provide an excellent audio experience without ever even entering my ear canal. The Trekz Air use bone conduction technology to guide vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ear.
I thought it was some kind of gimmick at first, but after testing them out for the last few weeks on my runs I am blown away by the performance of the headphones and don't think I can go back to having my ear canals filled with an earbud.
The Trekz Air headphones are available in slate grey, forest green, and midnight blue for $179.95. I tested out a midnight blue color. The Trekz Air fits over the top of your ear and back around your neck with the ends resting on your cheekbone just in front of your ear. They are lightweight at only 30 grams and I wore them for hours without ever feeling any discomfort. Most in-ear headphones tend to cause some discomfort after a couple of hours of wear or else tend to fall out with excessive sweat or rain.
The Trekz Air uses Bluetooth 4.2. The headphones charge via a microUSB port in about two hours. Nanocoating and rubber gaskets provide an IP55 water and dust resistance so you should be fine with sweat and most weather conditions.
Standard microUSB is used to charge up the headphones with a port under a rubber cover. Earplugs are included in case you want to use the headphones in an environment where you need ear protection.
It was rather stunning to put in earplugs and still hear audio through the Trekz Air.
The multi-function button is found on the outside of the left earbud. It is rather large and easy to find and press while running. The button is used to play/pause music, skip to the next song (double press), answer/end calls, and manage phone calls.
One of the more useful button options is a press and hold for two seconds to access your smartphone assistant. I have it set to Google Assistant on my Android phones and Siri on my iPhone X.
Under the block on the right side is a small rubber door providing access to the microUSB charging port with the two volume buttons behind it. There are also two microphones on the right earbud and a small LED indicator.
In addition to volume control, these buttons are used to power on/off the headphones, mute a call, change the equalizer setting, and check battery status.
The inside view shows the rubber pad that rests against your checkbone to conduct the sound. Audio does come out of the speakers on each end too, but a person has to get very close to you to hear it.
While wearing the Trekz Air you can hold a conversation with someone while music is playing. I loved that I could hear cars, other runners, and objects in the night while out and about.
I wear a hat when I run and the Trekz Air fit just fine with a hat on my head. I've also tested the headphones while wearing glasses and that works as well. The headphones are very light and the soft touch material is comfortable around the back of your head.