Disclaimer: I received a set of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
I was excited to try these headphones out because one of the main reasons I rarely listen to music while running is due to safety concerns. Logically, I know that the odds of a knife-wielding psycho popping onto the bike path behind me are small, but the fear is still real. Also, I’m often running in high traffic areas, crossing major intersections, or just needing to effectively share the path with other runners, pedestrians, and cyclists. It can be hard to respond safely and appropriately if you can’t hear the world around you.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones use bone-conduction technology. This means that-wait for it-there’s nothing in your ear. That’s right. No hard, annoying, under- or over-sized piece of plastic wedged in your ear canal. This allows you to hear ambient sounds like cars, dogs, or knife-wielding psychos (I’m telling you, the fear is REAL. Too many horror movies I guess…) while still hearing your jams.
Aftershokz are water-resistant, and offer LeakSlayer (TM) technology to make sure that the sound from the headphones doesn’t “leak” out to those around you. This tech is pretty magical. If I put the headphones on my face at a normal, completely audible volume level, and then take them off and hold them in my hands, I can barely tell that sound is coming out at all!
With the headphones, you get a semi-rigid, padded case, little winged fit adjuster pieces (which I fortunately didn’t need), a mini USB charging cable, and some reusable ear plugs in a little plastic case. That way, if you are in a situation where you don’t need to hear ambient sound (think air travel), you can block it out with the plugs. It all zips together nicely in the case, and I can just throw it in my backpack or gym bag when I’m on the go.
Set up was super easy–I charged them fully first, and was paired up with my phone and listening to my audiobook in a matter of minutes. When you power them up, you get a little “Welcome to Trekz Titanium” message, and then they tell you whether or not they have connected to your Bluetooth device. The connection is almost always immediate, and the signal is usually plenty strong, even if I walk a few feet away from my phone. There is a “multipurpose” button on one side that is used for stopping or starting playback, skipping songs, or answering/hanging up phone calls, and buttons for volume up and volume down. I found that the multipurpose button was a bit difficult to push; I really had to hold the headphones while pushing to avoid pushing them into my head.
These headphones are SO COMFORTABLE. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that no matter how well earbuds fit, after a while, having something in your ear is just plain uncomfortable. With these, there’s nothing there! I was worried about getting a headache due to the Trekz using gentle pressure to stay in place, but I’ve had them on for hours at a time and never gotten a headache.
The thing to keep in mind with the Trekz Titanium headphones is that you are meant to hear ambient sound. They are intended to offer you a safe way to both listen to music or whatever you want, and still hear any potential safety threats. Due to this design, it can be difficult to hear what you have playing over the headphones if you run through/past a noisy area. I experienced this multiple times when running on a busy road, or near a moving train. For me, this isn’t a super big deal. You just need to understand that that’s the way the Trekz are designed; it’s intentional.
I only have a few small complaints about these headphones. Number one is that the loop that goes around the back of my head hangs down a bit low, and can sometimes bump into my hydration pack. I need to play more with how I wear them and possibly involve the little plastic wings to see if I can eliminate that issue. Otherwise, I almost don’t even feel them. Next, wearing the headphones plus a hat plus sunglasses can be a bit tricky, but usually I can manage without any discomfort, and I feel that this would be a problem with any over-the-ear headphone setup. Lastly, I wish the headphones gave an automatic battery update upon power-up. I’ve had other Bluetooth headphones that did that, and it helps to manage battery life better. You have to push the multi-purpose button in a special way to get a battery update on these, which I find annoying.
The only aspect of these headphones I didn’t have a chance to test was accepting or making phone calls, but based on the sound quality while listening to music, I have no doubt that the call quality and volume would be great.
On the whole, these are excellent headphones, especially if you like to run outside while listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. They retail for $129.99, which is pretty average for high-quality Bluetooth headphones. If you’re interested in picking up a pair for yourself, you can use the code BIBRAVE20 for 20% off!
Aftershokz will be sponsoring our Twitter #BibChat on Tuesday, April 19, so don’t miss it–our sponsors usually run a giveaway!
You can also read more about the Trekz Titanium headphones by checking out reviews by my fellow BibRave Pros:
Do you listen to music/podcasts/audiobooks while you run? Why or why not?