In this Aftershokz review, I’m going to be taking a look at the Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones. I’d like to quickly note, that for anyone wondering about the name ‘Shokz‘, it is Aftershokz’s rebranded name.
The OpenRun Pro is Shokz’ most premium bone conduction headphones to date.
This Shokz OpenRun Pro review explains how bone conduction headphones work, whether they’re good in terms of sound quality, fit, and comfort while running and doing other sports like cycling. Because I also have the Shokz OpenRun Mini, I also share a comparison between the OpenRun Pro and Mini, to help you decide which version is best for you.
I’ll also go over some key specifications and features including battery life, how durable they are, and how well consistently the software/hardware performs on a daily basis, as well as answering some FAQs including how to pair Aftershokz headphones, and how to wear the OpenRun Pro headphones properly to ensure they stay in place while running.
Toward the end of this post, I share the best place to buy them, my summary with pros and cons, and also a full product image gallery.
Hopefully, this Shokz review answers any questions that you may have about these bone conduction headphones but if not, feel free to ask me anything in the comments below.
Table of Contents
- What are bone conduction headphones?
- Key Features and why they matter
- Running with Shokz OpenRun Pro | INCLUDES VIDEO
- OpenRun Pro vs. OpenRun Mini
- Where to buy
- Review summary
- Image gallery
What are bone conduction headphones…and are they any good?
Bone conduction headphones, sometimes referred to as ‘bone headphones’, work by sending vibrations through your cheekbones, essentially bypassing the process of vibrating your eardrums and instead of sending that information directly to your cochlea, in order to generate what we perceive as sound.
The lack of eardrum involvement means bone conduction technology is a good choice for people with hearing issues, as the bone conduction vibration acts in lieu of the eardrum.
Bone conduction headphones don’t solely rely on vibrations, however, they also have low audio coming out of tiny speakers to help improve overall sound quality, when combined with the vibrations through your cheekbone to your cochlea. Thanks to Sound Guys for help with this explanation.
Benefits of bone conduction headphones | Reasons why you’ll enjoy using them
Bone conduction headphones, unlike earbuds, sit outside the ear, which means this can be a more comfortable experience for those who don’t like having earbuds plugging their ears.
I totally get it, especially when you’re running as having your ears plugged can be uncomfortable, reduce airflow into your ears (and consequently impacting your body’s ability to cool your head off).
Outside ear headphones like these bone headphones are also for anyone who wants to be able to easily listen to their surroundings and tune into ambient sounds while running.
The simple benefit of bone conduction headphones being outside the ear is that they improve awareness and safety when running in populated areas where vehicles, bicycles, and even people can be a potential danger.
Downsides to using bone conduction headphones
You may not enjoy using bone conduction headphones, however, if you’re a total audiophile and you want the best sound experience possible whilst running.
Audio quality will never be as immersive when using outside ear headphones, and that’s fine because they’re not really intended to compete against other better-sounding headphones/earbuds like Apple’s AirPods Pro, for example.
Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones key features and why they matter
9th Generation Bone Conduction Technology (TurboPitch™ Technology)
I’ve already talked about the benefits of bone conduction headphones while running but while there are other brands making bone conduction headphones, Shokz is the market leader.
They have gone through 9 generations of improving their bone conduction technology, and it shows because let’s face it, this technology is super smart and will appeal to so many people due to how enjoyable the listening experience is whilst running or working out.
The OpenRun Pro has two added bass enhancers and Shokz’s signature situational awareness and comfortable open-ear fit.
It’s really something that you have to try in order to fully understand how much better they are than earbuds or over-the-ear headphones whilst running.
Ok, so the bone conduction technology is top of the line, but why is that good?
Well, as I mentioned earlier in this review, you get a really comfortable running experience wearing outside-the-ear headphones, and you get a great awareness of things happening around you because your ears are not blocked off.
When running in areas where safety may be a concern, having that situational awareness could literally be lifesaving. It’s also generally a much more pleasant way of listening to music whilst you’re running too.
Watch my trail test video review below – It helps explain why I think they’re so good for running.
OpenRun Pro battery life
Although not as good as some alternative headphones for running, the battery life is still worthy of most running situations.
With around 10 hours of music and calls, plus Shokz’ Quick Charge feature – you likely never run out of battery during a run, unless of course, you’re into ultrarunning.
The Aftershox quick charge feature gets you 1.5 hours of battery life with just a quick 5-minute charge, using Shokz’s proprietary magnetic charging cable and port connector. The other end of the cable is a standard USB.
OpenRun Pro IP55 weatherproof rating
IP55 certification makes the OpenRun Pro Aftershocks headphones water-resistant, but it’s very important to note that they are not waterproof.
What this actually means is that Shokz does not recommend completely submerging them underwater, despite some customers claiming that their headphones made it through a few spins in the washing machine.
You can receive phone calls with them
The OpenRun Pro Aftershock headset is equipped with a dual noise-canceling microphone which enhances the quality of phone calls while you’re working out or running.
The Aftershokz App and 3 reasons you will need it
Once you’ve put your OpenRun Pro headphones into the Aftershokz pairing mode, and have successfully paired them to your smartphone, you immediately get more features and settings to play with.
By the way, pairing was super easy to do and very reliable every time I have had to do it, to test them on different devices, including my Peloton static bike.
Below are the 3 reasons why you should install the free Aftershokz app onto your smartphone:
Reason #1: EQ Modes
With a valid connection to the app, your OpenRun Pro bone earphones can now switch between two equalizers.
The Standard EQ makes the audio sound richer in the bass, for things like music, while the Vocal EQ makes listening to things like audiobooks or podcasts much clearer.
Reason #2: Multipoint Pairing
This allows the OpenRun Pro to have two concurrent Bluetooth connections. You may have noticed in the past that wireless headphones tend to only allow one connection at a time, so if you wanted to switch from your smartphone to your laptop, then you would have to disconnect one before connecting to the other – this was such a pain to have to do!
I have the OpenRun Pro connected to my Peloton and iPhone so I can use the headphones with either device seamlessly.
Reason #3: Firmware upgrades
Every now and then, Shokz will release firmware upgrades that improve the functionality of your bone conduction headphones. The only way to initiate these updates is through a valid connection via the app.
Running with Shokz, OpenRun Pro
The video below gets into the nitty-gritty of why running with these bone conduction headphones feels so good, and it also shares some of the disadvantages that I discovered while running with them.
The video also shows how to wear Aftershokz headphones, and how they feel whilst running in them.
The OpenRun Pro, as the name suggests, is primarily targeted toward runners – so it made sense that we at Trail & Kale HQ rigorously test them on the trails.
I noticed a few immediately obvious benefits to wearing bone conduction headphones such as the OpenRun Pro from Shokz.
The main benefit in my eyes is that I can hear my surroundings, and I know exactly what’s going on. I really like that on the trails and I can imagine it being even better in populated areas where safety might be a concern.
Having this level of awareness about your surroundings is awesome. The other benefit is that they sit outside your ear meaning they’re not kind of blocking your ear airways, and if you’re familiar with running with earbuds then you’ll probably know that your head just gets hotter because you don’t have that airflow going into your ear canal.
It can also be quite nauseating running with earbuds.
The other benefit of outside-the-ear headphones, is you don’t get that feeling that you’re actually hearing your heartbeat when you’re running really hard.
Sometimes, because earbuds have such a good seal in them, it can feel like you can hear your heartbeat and there’s a kind of pounding thudding noise which can become so nauseating.
There’s none of that with these bone conduction headphones from Shokz.
They’re also very comfortable to wear whilst you’re running, there’s really not much jiggling, and they’re very lightweight too.
Ok, so let’s get to some of the obvious disadvantages of the OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones while running.
The sound quality is of course never going to be as good as in-ear earbuds.
The fact that they sit outside your ear, you do get some wind noise when you’re running, so I would definitely not recommend these for cycling because you just won’t hear your music when moving that quickly.
The adjustability or lack thereof on the OpenRun Pro does mean that if you have a particularly small head then they may not fit very well.
I have an average-sized head and had no problems with fit while running.
The final downside or disadvantage would be the fact that the control buttons are very small and it can be hard to know which one you’re pressing unless you’ve had experience.
I prefer to use my Apple Watch to control my music anyway (assuming I’m wearing it), so this isn’t too much of an issue for me.
Shokz OpenRun Mini vs. OpenRun Pro
A lesser-known fact about Shokz headphones is that their popular OpenRun (non-pro) headphones (formerly known as ‘Aeropex’) are also available in a smaller size, called the OpenRun Mini.
The Mini is essentially a smaller, waterproof version of the OpenRun Pro. As the Mini is smaller, if you have a smaller head that means there’s less space between the back of your head and the headphone band, so these could be a great option for you.
With the Mini you get up to 8 hours of playback battery life (compared to the Pro’s 10), and a slightly slower charge time.
For a smaller set of waterproof bone conduction headphones, the Mini is a great choice given it also costs $50 less than the Pro.
Where to buy Shokz OpenRun Pro (and Mini)
We recommend buying the Shokz OpenRun Pro and Mini on Amazon.com to get yourself a good deal on them.
The prices are currently $179.95 for the Pro and $129.95 for the OpenRun Mini, which I feel are pretty well placed for such premium headphones that make running with music enjoyable again.
The OpenRun Pro are also available at these stores:
2 new from $179.95
2 used from $172.75
I hope you enjoyed reading this bone conduction headphones review – If you have a question, drop it in the comments down below.