Okay, so it’s hardly a 2018 headphone list when we’ve only just started April, but it’s our 2018 list so far. In the last few months we’ve tested out quite a few and we’ve already found some firm favourites. That’s not to say we won’t find out some more over the next few months, but we may as well give you the heads up now (that was honestly an unintentional pun).
If you’ve taken part in any races recently, you’ve probably seen a few people wearing these things. We were sceptical when we first saw them. Headphones that don’t actually go in your ears, but instead conduct the sound through your cheekbones.
When you stick them on it feels weird. The sound is great, but it feels like everyone else should be able to hear it as well. Unless you have them at full volume in a quiet room, they can’t.
Aside from the fact they sound great, the main positive of the Trekz Air is the fact that you barely even notice they’re on your head. No uncomfortable bits of plastic stuck in your ears, no desperately trying to shove them in during a race as the sweat drips down your face. They somehow manage to securely hug your head without applying any noticeable pressure. The secondary benefit is that you can still hear peripheral sound, which is a massive safety factor when running in urban areas.
Best for: Urban Running
Bose SoundSport Free
Another product we weren’t exactly sure about to begin with, largely due to the fact we were worried we’d lose them. The SoundSport Free are fitness headphones without any wires, a bit like a the Apple headphones on steroids. They’re a bit chunkier than we expected, and once they’re in your ears you can look a bit like Frankenstein’s monster.
Don’t let that phase you though. The SoundSport Free are a lovely piece of kit. The sound is, as you’d expect from Bose, beautiful; standing up against any other pair of in-ear headphones we’ve ever tried. The battery life, another worry, is impressive, with about five hours held in the headphones and another ten stored in the handy usb-charged carry case.
If we were to suggest a training type for them we’d say gym, largely because of the fact that dropping them during a run is inevitably going to ruin your day.
Best for: Gyms
Monster iSport Victory
Alright, these have been out for a while now. They’ve never been this cheap though. We were a bit late to the party with the Victory last year, but they’re by far our favourite all-round headphones. Comfortable, amazing sound, reliable, sweat-proof and they’ve consistently held a perfect bluetooth connection. At £69 they’re an absolute bargain. Trust us.
Best for: All-round fitness
Vi Personal Trainer
The Vi Personal Trainer headphones are a little bit more than just your average ear buds. Sure, they can act as a standard pair of bluetooth headphones if you want, but the main concept behind these is as a running training tool.
So how do they work? Well, link them to the handy app and fill in your various details, then fire them up when you go out for a run. As well as monitoring things like heart rate, cadence and elevation, the voice coach will give you advice and updates on your run.
If you’re a seasoned runner, you won’t want these. The peppy updates are a little unnecessary if you know what you’re doing, but for beginners they act as a useful gauge on training as well as helping to keep your mind focused. A bit expensive if you’re just looking for a pair of headphones though.
Best for: Beginner runners (with money)
Sol Republic Relay
Considering the price, these are a lovely bit of kit. They’re the perfect headphones if you’re not entirely sure what you’ll be using them for but want something that looks and sound great without shelling out a load of money.
Sound-wise they’re spot on, as well as being a lovely fit. To be honest there’s not much more to say about them apart from the fact that you probably won’t find a better performing pair for the price.
Best for: Value
Picture credits: Sol Republic, Bose, Monster, Vi, Trekz
Note: We received tests product for this review.