I have always loved to wear headphones while running and rucking. It’s the one time I really get to be by myself and not have any work or tasks lingering over my head. Detaching from my to-do list and just getting outside for a workout is critical (to me) to staying sane. Sometimes I like to do that without any sound and sometimes I like to listen to some music or a podcast. This is what led me to the AfterShokz Trekz Air.
In the past I bought cheap (maybe $20) headphones for working out with. I figured I’d just end up sweating all over them anyways so why spend a significant amount of money. My recent pair was failing and I saw a post in the GORUCK Tough group about headphones for rucking. There were tons of suggestions for AfterShokz so I figured why not splurge, grab a pair, and see if the hype is real.
Unboxing & Contents
Here’s the box you’ll receive if you purchase these headphones.
Quick picture of the back with their marketing specs and stats.
Finally a picture of the side of the box before we open it up.
Inside we have more marketing and the headphones!
Take the headphones out and you can see all of the accessories that come with them.
First off we have a silicone case for the headphones and cables. It doesn’t offer much protection from being crushed but it should be great for keeping them dry and clean.
Finally we have a small bag that has a few additional items in it…
… like the instructions, charging cable, and ear plugs.
AfterShokz Trekz Air Video Review
Prefer to watch a review? Check out the video review for the AfterShokz Trekz Air above!
AfterShokz Trekz Air Review
For what it’s worth I’ve owned some decent headphones in my life. The cans I use for editing the podcast are currently the Sony MDR-7506. Once you own those headphones you start seeing them show up everywhere: TV, movies, real life… they’re all over. When I travel I use the Sony WH1000XM2 noise cancelling headphones. I’ve also used the Bose QuietComforts and dozens of pairs of cheaper in-ear and over-ear headphones over the years.
All that to say, I’ve used a lot of headphones over the years from varying price ranges. I’ve used headphones in situations where sound quality is key (audio production and mastering) and in situations where it doesn’t as much to me. Running and exercising is one of those areas, to me, where the sound quality should be good but it doesn’t need to be perfect.
I’m not one for lists of random stats however here are the ones I think are important:
- IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture, from workouts to wicked weather
- Enjoy six hours of continuous music + calls on a single charge
- Standby time: 20 days
- Charge in: 2 hours
Starting off IP55 means it’s dust protected and protected against water from a nozzle spray source. From experience these have been perfectly fine during Seattle rain which is all I could ever hope for. Six hours of continuous music + calls on a single charge is huge. Rarely do I have a workout that exceeds six hours so the battery on these is perfect for me. Couple that with 20 days of standby time and only a 2 hour charge time I have to say I’m beyond thrilled.
The quality section for headphones is broken out into two areas: physical quality and sound quality.
In terms of build quality the AfterShokz Trekz Air are well constructed and don’t feel fragile. I can’t imagine that dropping these would damage them. They’re very light (1.06 oz) and the headband is made of titanium and covered in silicone.
Although they don’t *feel* fragile I’m usually beyond careful when it comes to headphones.
When I transport these I always put them in a case and put them somewhere that they won’t be crushed in the backpack. The silicone case that comes with the headphones does an incredible job of collecting dust.
I went so far even to pick up another case from Amazon that has more protection so that I can just throw them in the ruck.
There’s something satisfying about being able to lob the headphones into a backpack without babying them.
When it comes sound quality the AfterShokz Trekz Air perform well. They are definitely decent in the mids and highs but are lacking in the bass. My thought here is that it has something to do with how the sound is transmitted. Unlike traditional headphones that throw sound down your ear canal these push sound through your skull.
When I’m out rucking or running with these I’ll either listen to music or, more often than not, podcasts. I’ve never had any issues hearing or understanding the podcasts (due to sound quality) and that goes the same for the music. My expectations of sound quality for workout headphones is much lower than studio headphones.
The sound quality doesn’t leave me wanting more when I’m out for a ruck or run. However if I’m sitting at my desk using them I find myself missing my other headphones.
Speaking of the sound the way these deliver the sound is very unique. It almost feels as if there’s a voice in your head making the music. This is one of the hardest parts to explain but it doesn’t sound like regular headphones. It’s kind of like if someone was following you around with a boombox you could hear both that music and the outside music as well… kind of. I know I’m doing the worst job explaining this but there’s almost nothing like it.
The AfterShokz Trekz Air (like most headphones) are one size fits all. However unlike most headphones there is no way to adjust them.
That means if you have a small head the wrap around on the neck might have more room than if you had a larger head.
This isn’t as big of an issue as I thought it would be because of the way they’re worn. Since the pads sit in front of the ear they can be tilted to remove some of that extra headband room.
The titanium band beneath the silicone ensures the headphones keep their shape. I’m used to both wired and Bluetooth headphones that have the headphones connected by wires. The wires end up bouncing during a run and can be a annoying. The titanium in the band completely prevents that.
The multifunction button is on the left headphone while the volume buttons are on the right. The separation is nice because then you don’t end up hitting one of the buttons while searching for a different button.
The volume increase button (which also controls power) is marked with a dot so it’s easy to find while you’re wearing them.
I went with the Slate Gray color as it seemed the least likely to stand out. In addition to that color there are also Forest Green, Midnight Blue, and Canyon Red. None of the colors are by any means bright which I’m a fan of.
The usability section covers both the buttons on the headphones as well as they work from a sound perspective.
Button & Headphone Usability
I am so thankful that I can kiss the days of earbuds falling out of my ears goodbye. There’s nothing like running down a road listening to a podcast then wondering where the sound went. Oh wait… it fell out twenty feet back. Although this isn’t as much of an issue when rucking it’s still a pain to have to adjust earbuds to keep them in and secure.
The way the AfterShokz Trekz Air sit on (and outside of) your ears is entirely different from earbuds. They aren’t staying in because of the seal created in your ear drum. The titanium band is gently holding the headphones against your skull to send the music through.
This is why when the headphones are sitting around the ear pieces cross over each other.
Besides the fit the other major focus for usability is the buttons… and they can do a lot.
The volume buttons handle powering the headphones on and off, mute, EQ settings, battery status, and volume adjustment.
The multifunction button handles play/pause, next track, answer/end call, handle call waiting, handle call rejection, prompt device assistant, and redialing the last number.
Between the three buttons you can accomplish sixteen different functions which is a lot. It can be difficult for me to remember what everything does while I’m out there sweating it out. The big surprise to me was how useful I found the ability to prompt the device assistant. When I’m out running or rucking and remember there’s something I need to do it’s easy to hold the multifunction button then tell the assistant to remind me to do something when I get home. This allows me to have the most stress-free workout possible.
These headphones are designed to allow you to hear your surroundings while you’re exercising. This means when you’re running or rucking you can hear cars, people, birds, planes, and pretty much everything else. The added safety here is absolutely phenomenal.
That being said if you’re out near a busy road the car noise can absolutely drown out the sound from the headphones. In these cases I either need to turn up the volume or pause the sound especially if it’s a podcast. This is a fine line because the headphones are doing their job by letting me know of nearing dangers but I’m also not able to hear the music. The only place I run into this is when crossing a five lane road on the post office rucks. While I’m waiting at the crosswalk it can be very difficult to hear when semi-trucks are driving by.
One place these really don’t work is at a gym if the gym plays their own music. Because these are designed to let all outside noise in you’ll end up hearing your gym’s awful music in addition to the music from the headphones. I don’t count this as a negative as the headphones are working as designed but it’s just something you should note. In those situations you’d be better off with a cheap pair of headphones off Amazon.
Overall I love how these headphones work. They allow you to hear all of the sounds around you while also listening to music or podcasts.
The added safety here is second to none and the minor inconvenience of loud traffic noise is something I’m more than happy to put up with. If the headphones drowned those out then they would absolutely drown out the quieter noises which is what we don’t want.
The AfterShokz Trekz Air retail for $149.95. That number is by no means cheap and is one of the main reasons I put off getting these for so long. They had been on my “buy” list for months before I finally splurged and bought them.
That said if you have a Clever Training VIP Membership ($9.99 for lifetime access) then you’ll get 10% off and free 3-day (or less) shipping. That’s what I did… the 10% off was the best I could find and the free shipping put it lower than Amazon. I actually buy all of my fitness tech items from Clever Training now. Those types of products generally have minimum pricing so they all cost the same between Amazon, Clever Training, REI, etc. With Clever Training giving 10% off (or 10% back as store credit) and a 60 day return policy it’s tough to beat.
Once I finally purchased these headphones I understood why they cost so much. The added safety alone is worth it and I don’t see myself ever going back to “regular” headphones for rucking or running. So much of my life revolves around those two activities which would make getting hit by a car that much worse. If $149.95 will help prevent that and let me listen to some music then that’s a steal to me.
AfterShokz Trekz Air Review Conclusion
If you are looking for headphones to wear while outside on a ruck or a run then these are perfect. They allow you to stay safe by hearing everything around you and still enjoy your music. They work well for treadmills and indoors as well as long as you are not trying to drown out other music. In that case you’d be better served with a cheaper pair of in-ear headphones. I’m glad I purchased these headphones and they actually make me more excited to ruck and run alone. If you want to check them out they can be found on both Amazon and Clever Training.