As casual runners (meaning we run 15-20 miles a week tops), we've experimented and tested dozens of earphones, headsets and earbuds. While we've shied away from taking our oversized Bose headphones out for a spin (we would NEVER judge those who do!), our go-to option since 2012 has been Apple products: Earbuds, AirPods and now AirPods Pro — the sleekest set we've owned yet — and the most expensive.
*If you're in a hurry, here's the quick list!
- Wireless (no wires to flop around as you run)
- Comes with different ear tips for a better fit
- Earhoox compatible
- Active noise cancelling can make it difficult to hear surroundings
- Learning how to use the force sensor can take a bit of patience
Why AirPods Pro are the best option
Running is tough and sometimes hard to get motivated for, but let's be honest: it's free and it's highly efficient. You run out your door and 30 (or 45 or 90) minutes later you're back. You probably maxed out your heart rate a couple times, sweat through your clothing, pushed your lungs and put some great stress on your muscles. Whether treadmill, trail or turf, running is really the best way to maximize your exercise efficiency. Here's why AirPods Pro are going out for a run with us every time in the near future.
- We could not believe how easy the AirPods Pro were to wear, even outside in wind gusts. Like original AirPods, you can barely feel them, and with our AirPods Pro Earhoox, you never have to worry about them falling out. (A great insurance policy for a $250 USD purchase!)
- We spent a lot of time reading reviews about the Pros before making the purchase. The #1 complaint we found was about them falling out. When we tested them without Earhoox, they were definitely more secure than original AirPods, but still loosened up and fell out regularly. In fact, if you're a fast walker, it's hard to make it a NYC block without them flying out. But not the AirPods Pro with Earhoox. They are always snug and secure. (It made us feel extra confident in our decision to release the new Earhoox product.)
- We also liked how light (weight) these were. Most earbuds are pretty slim in size, and weight, so these weren't too different, but they also have a much smaller profile, which helped slip them into the ear with zero effort.
- Clearly, the wireless audio aspect is essential too. A few years ago we were all running with wired earphones, clutching the excess in our hand as we jogged along. But since AirPods and now AirPods Pro came into the picture, their true wireless audio capabilities and quality have only gotten better.
Why AirPods Pro are a problem
- Let's start with the obvious: AirPods Pro are very small, $250 USD, fall out (without Earhoox of course) and get lost regularly. The latter is why we make cables that connect them together, effectively making them EarPods - which you can buy for $29.
- Yes, we know, AirPods Pro can do many things EarPods can't, most crucially noise-cancelling. And that's another concern. May people run very early in the morning, and we all need to take precautions with our running path and those around us. With a device that blocks all ambient sound is not optimum for safety reasons. We want to hear music to get through our miles, but we also want to hear cars honking and footsteps coming up behind us. Luckily, this is a feature you can turn off — but it did take a few learning cycles for us to get comfortable figuring out how to do that without also turning off the AirPods or music as well.
- AirPods Pro have three settings on this front: active noise cancellation, transparency and off. Transparency actually lets you hear what's happening around you while pushing out music, podcasts and such. You can hold the sensor, and press on it, which will switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency.
- If you're using the Apple Watch, you just push on the icon that looks like a triangle with arcs above it on the left. That brings up Noise Control settings and you can toggle there.
Apple is rumored to be releasing new AirPods
of some design this year — although the company, and analysts, has made it clear there could be some affect by the coronavirus on its normal releases. Still, some have suggested a less expensive version could appear, or even an over-the-ear version of wireless AirPods, which would be less elegant, but less likely to ever fall out while active. But at this point, that's only speculation.