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Shokz OpenRun Pro
September 1, 2021
130 x 97 x 47 mm
There are few feelings better than running outside while plugged into your favorite workout beats, but blissful unawareness can get you into trouble. You could buy a pair of AirPods that can keep you aware of your environment, but those don’t fit all ears well. Fortunately, Shokz has nearly perfected the formula for a great workout bone conduction headphones, and the Shokz OpenRun Pro doesn’t fix what ain’t broke. This flagship device delivers the same secure fit whilst keeping you aware of your surroundings.
The OpenRun Pro is more expensive than the company’s other workout headphones, but is it worth it?
Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article and we will update it as the market changes.
What you need to know about the Shokz OpenRun Pro
- Shokz OpenRun Pro: $179.95 USD/ $229.95 CA / $250 AU / €189.95 / £130
Seemingly indistinguishable from all of Shokz’ other bone conduction headphones, the OpenRun Pro retains the unoccluded ear design that Shokz fans love. With the latest ninth-generation bone conduction technology, the OpenRun Pro is as premium as bone conduction headphones get. Like other Shokz headsets, the OpenRun Pro has a durable titanium headband that can flex in any direction. Unlike other Shokz headsets, the OpenRun Pro includes a premium hardshell, zippered carrying case.
The Shokz OpenRun Pro is also the only bone conduction headset in the company’s portfolio to receive mobile app support (iOS/Android). The app is simple, but opens the door for firmware updates to keep the headset competitive down the line. You can also switch between EQ modes (Standard and Vocal) and enable multipoint connectivity, but you can do that directly from the headset’s controls too.
The OpenRun isn’t exclusive to runners, anyone can wear these safety-first headphones, and many urban dwellers do. Bone conduction headphones like the OpenRun Pro are also good for those with certain hearing impairments. Rather than send sound waves down your ear canal, the headset sends vibrations through your skull, bypassing the outer and middle ear. This means you can wear the OpenRun Pro with certain types of hearing aids.
The Shokz OpenRun Pro comes in four colors: pink, black, blue, and beige.
What’s good about the Shokz OpenRun Pro?
Most wireless workout earbuds block your ear to some degree, but the OpenRun Pro leaves you free to hear everything. While I enjoy running with the AirPods Pro (2nd generation)’s Adaptive Transparency enabled, I prefer the real world sound from Shokz’ open fit. The OpenRun Pro even gets loud enough that auditory masking is rarely an issue while running (quiet volume output plagues older models like the AfterShokz Air). This kind of design keeps me keyed into traffic jams or unexpected sounds that could signal danger. Bone conduction headphones protect you from more than just your surroundings, they also keep your ears healthy by lowering your risk of an ear infection. With traditional earbuds, you ears trap heat and moisture, which is conducive to bacteria growth—that’s not a concern here.
Aside from putting your health and safety first, Shokz does its best to make this sturdy headset comfortable. The headband offers the right amount of tension to ensure stability without inducing headaches. The rubberized coating helps the headset grip your cheekbones and makes it easy for sweaty hands to grip the headset. Like other workout earbuds and headphones, the OpenRun Pro is durable and merits an IP55 dust and water-resistance rating. As long as you don’t submerge this pair of workout headphones, it should be completely fine.
The Shokz OpenRun Pro sounds great, and bass output is slightly louder on this headset than on the older OpenRun. While more bass is always welcome in the realm of bone conduction headsets, it still lags behind even the AirPods (3rd generation). Compare the OpenRun Pro to even a cheap pair of earbuds like the JLab GO Air POP, and the earbuds will win every time because they actually seal your ear canals. The most notable sound quality improvement over the OpenRun is the OpenRun Pro’s ability to keep audio quality consistent when chewing. If the standard OpenRun is even a little displaced from my cheekbones, audio quality significantly declines. When placed properly, both headsets sound quite similar. The Vocal EQ preset is a great feature for those who listen to spoken word content on their runs, since low-pitched external sounds can often mask vocal frequencies.
What’s not so good about the Shokz OpenRun Pro?
Shokz’ proprietary 2-pin charging connector is even more annoying to see than a microUSB port. The connector helps keep the headset compact and lightweight, also leaving more room for battery cells, but we know Shokz can install a USB-C port on its headsets—just look at the more affordable OpenMove ($59.95 at Amazon).
Equally frustrating are the seemingly indistinguishable volume up and down controls. When running, it’s a gamble as to which one I end up pressing. It’s particularly difficult to differentiate the buttons with gloves on. In fact, this headset really isn’t friendly to cold weather garb: beanies, headbands, and ear warmers all feel uncomfortable with the OpenRun Pro. These articles of clothing all push the headset against my head in an uncomfortable way, which isn’t the case with earbuds or over-ear headphones.
Anyone who lifts weights may also be dissatisfied with how the headset shifts when lying down for a bench press, and cyclists may feel unnerved by the fit beneath a helmet. Rock climbers, however, will appreciate the open-type fit, rugged materials, and dust resistance. Whether this is a good workout headset for you boils down to what kind of exercises you engage in most.
The last gripe is more of a curiosity: the OpenRun Pro costs $179.95 at Amazon and the OpenRun costs $99.95 at Amazon, but the pricier “Pro” has a lesser IP rating. With the OpenRun Pro, you get an IP55-rated headset while the OpenRun is an IP67-rated headset. These ratings are the difference between being able to drop your headset in water and it being fine, or you being out $179 USD. It just seems silly to lessen the durability of the seemingly more advanced product.
Shokz OpenRun Pro specs
Before you buy the OpenRun Pro, check out its specifications to make sure it fits the bill for your needs.
|SHOKZ OPENRUN PRO|
130 x 97 x 47 mm
Bluetooth 5.1; SBC
Yes: 5 minutes charge = 90 minutes playtime
Shokz OpenRun Pro review: Should you buy it?
Resting at the top of Shokz’ product line, this really is the best pair of bone conduction headphones you can buy, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone. Although I love this headset, the app’s limited functionality isn’t a selling point. Instead, it could make more sense to purchase the Shokz OpenRun and save about $50 USD. Sure, the “Pro” model delivers modestly better bass and battery life than the Open Run, but the OpenRun is more durable. You even get multipoint connectivity with either headset, making them equally good for work.
To really save a buck while still getting a reliable pair of bone conduction headphones, check out our Shokz OpenMove review. You get the same IP55 rating, design, and Bluetooth specs, but this package includes USB-C charging. It is 2g heavier than the OpenRun Pro, though.
No matter which pair of Shokz’ headphones you go with, you’ll invest in a great running headset that promotes safety.
Frequently asked questions about the Shokz OpenRun Pro
The Open Run Pro uses 9th-generation bone conduction technology with Shokz TurboPitch, while the OpenRun uses 8th-gen bone conduction tech with PremiumPitch 2.0+. Basically, the OpenRun Pro reproduces a little more bass and does a slightly better job of keeping audio quality consistent when the headset shifts around.
The OpenRun Pro has a 10-hour battery life and the OpenRun has an 8-hour battery life, and both support fast charging. You must use the company’s proprietary charging connector no matter which headset you get. Interestingly, the OpenRun Pro has a more durable IP67 rating than the Pro model’s IP55 rating.
Yes, on December 28, 2021, AfterShokz renamed itself to Shokz. Shokz changed its name on its 10-year anniversary to lead into the next decade with a simplified and easier-to-share message than the former name “AfterShokz.” With this name change, came a revamped logo to better illustrate the bone conduction technology.