If you listen to music while you exercise outdoors, you know how hard it can be to hear cars, bikes, or other people around you. Hear how one editor at Consumer Reports solved that issue on the streets of New York City.
New York City is often anything but peaceful, but much of the noise disappeared during the pandemic.
An editor at CR started running again during the pandemic as a way to escape her small studio apartment. But to feel safe, she felt she needed to be more aware of her surroundings-especially when wearing headphones. That’s when she first tried her partner’s Shokz.
Shokz headphones feature a unique bone-conduction technology. Bone-conduction headphones have blocks that are pods, which send the vibrations into the sides of your head.
The editor recently upgraded to the Shokz OpenRun Pro, for $180 ($230 in Canada).
Despite their cult following, three different models of Shokz don’t do very well in CR’s ratings.
Generally, bone-conduction headphones in CR’s tests have been found to have sound quality that falls toward the bottom of the portable headphone ratings. However, Shokz did receive Excellent ratings for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, based on Consumer Reports’ member survey.
If you do want to hear your surroundings but also care about sound quality, CR recommends
the Sennheiser CX Plus, $130 ($180 in Canada) and the more budget-friendly 1More ColorBuds 2, $70 ($100 in Canada). Both of these noise-canceling headphones have ambient sound monitoring-which allows you to adjust how much ambient sound you hear.
Some people own more than one pair of headphones-different types for different uses. To help you figure out which types of headphones might work for you, check out CR’s headphone buying guide on our site.