Shokz, maker of some of the world's best running headphones, has given its top-end headset a refresh for the summer months. In addition to the standard black and blue colorways, the OpenRun Pro is now available in pink and beige as well.
Shokz (known as Aftershokz until January this year) specializes in bone conduction headphones. Unlike conventional earbuds, which sit within your outer ear, and headphones that totally enclose your ears, these leave your ear canals open so you can still hear what's happening around you while also enjoying your music, podcasts, or audio books.
Although many in-ear headphones have a 'through' mode that uses an external microphone to pick up ambient sound and mix it with the audio streaming from your phone or running watch, this doesn't allow you to hear which direction the noise is coming from. Is there a car approaching from behind, or is it passing on your right? Can you hear children playing on the opposite side of a fence, or are they just around the corner?
With bone conduction headphones, you keep your spatial awareness, letting you stay aware of your surroundings while running, hiking, or cycling outdoors.
How bone conduction works
Bone conduction headphones like the Shokz OpenRun Pro work by sending vibrations through your cheekbones to your inner ear, directly to the cochlea – a spiral-shaped, fluid-filled structure.
The vibrations cause small ripples in this fluid, which causes tiny hairs to bend. These hairs release an electrical signal, which is transmitted via the auditory nerve to the brain where it's processed and interpreted as sound.
Sound from bone conduction headsets usually lacks the depth you'd get from more conventional running headphones, but the OpenRun Pro has improved bass transducers that do a noticeably better job at transmitting low frequencies.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).