14 June 2015

FEATURE: Running Headphones

Four pairs for fitness freaks.

If all this summer sun has encouraged you to get out into it and improve your fitness, going for a run or a jog is the easiest way to get started. Troubles is, running ain't half boring, guv. To make things more interesting you should listen to music as you jog, and to that end we've decided to check out four pairs of in-ear headphones suitable for a sweaty jaunt around the town. We tested them all ourselves, with our own sweaty ears. Gross.

Monster iSport Superslim Bluetooth Earphones

First up, headphone experts (and regular guests on The Test Pit) Monster have created an extremely small and compact pair of Bluetooth in-ear headphones which, we are very happy to discover, do not require a chunky dongle to connect to your phone. The iSport Superslim are simply two small earbuds connected by a wire. AWESOME.

Clearly the light weight makes for a huge advantage when using them for sport, and the soft silicone hook snags on the folds of your ear to help keep them in. They're comfortable, even after a long work-out, charge via the included Micro USB cable, and include a carry pouch. Which regular readers will know really turns us on.

Thankfully Monster have managed to convert their excellence in headphones to this smaller wireless package, as the quality of the audio was great. The OmniTip earbud really helped to drown out unwanted exterior noise, and allowed the natural range of depth the iSport are capable of achieving show. Basically, they are great.


Boompods Earpods

If the price of the Monster pair above is making you feel sweaty before you've even pulled on your trainers, allow us to introduce the Earpods. The latest in-ear headphones from Boompods (whose speakers have appeared on this site in the past) the Earpods are affordable, comfortable, and come in range of funky colours.

The biggest thing to note is that these babies are wired, so if you are about to pound the pavement on a run, you need to consider your cable. To be honest, we're never bother about using wired headphones while working out, especially if they stay in your lugholes (which these certainly do) and don't burn a hole in your wallet (which these won't).

Despite the low cost the Earpods perform very well, and sound much better than whatever piece of crap your smartphone manufacturer threw into your phone's box to justify the 'headphones included' label. They also ship with a nice bendy carry case around which you can wrap the cable. The colours didn't make us want to be sick, either.

Around £25

KitSound Outrun Headphones

But if wireless headphones are essential for your fitness regime (but spending anything more than £50 is not), consider these new beauties from KitSound. The Outrun Wireless Headphones use Bluetooth to connect to your device and, like the pair from Monster, feature a very slim design with no chunky dongle.

Complete with a nice carry pouch and a choice of earbuds, the Outrun are comfortable to wear and easy to pair (look, we did a rhyme!). They also charge via an included USB cable, but unlike the Monster iSport this plugs into the remote on the connecting wire, which helps to keep the headphones themselves as slim as possible.

We're big fans of KitSound here, as they seem to be able to get great sounds out of relatively inexpensive bits of kit, and the Outrun are no exception. Although they weren't as effective as blocking exterior noise as the other pair of wireless 'phones reviewed here, they did produce some great sounds with a rich quality. Basically, they performed far better than you would have expected after paying less than fifty quid.


Adidas Responce ACT Headphones

Before you wonder if sports equipment maker Adidas has indeed now branched out into the music industry, these compact wired headphones are actually made by Monster working alongside Adidas. Clearly Adidas know a thing or two about work-outs, as although being made by the same folks that created the first pair reviewed above, these in-ear headphones are very different.

First they have been designed to allow outside noise to get in - therefore making them ideal for road and street runners. They are also sweat-resistant, washable, and feature anti-microbial eartips. We found them to be the most comfortable of the four to wear, but that might be because they penetrate a little less deeper into the ear than the others. Regardless of that, these tiny blighters stayed good and firm, using a similar hook as the one found on the Monster iSport pair.

Yes, they are wired, but if anything we thought that helped to keep the quality of the musical reproduction high. They are nowhere as near as immersive as the other, but that is intentional - allowing ambient sounds in will always lessen the effect. That said, they are still very good, and knowing you can still perceive the world around you is a great comfort while out for an embarrassingly slow and painful jog.


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