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The Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones rest on a pair of running shoes.

Shokz OpenRun Pro review

The best bone conduction headphones on the market.
By
September 18, 2023
7.2
Shokz OpenRun Pro
The bottom line
The Shokz OpenRun Pro are as premium as bone conduction headphones get. Unlike Shokz' other bone conduction headsets, the OpenRun Pro have app support to better manage the device. With a dust and water-resistant build, you can take these headphones just about anywhere without worrying about damaging them. We like the OpenRun Pro for all the same reasons as the more affordable OpenRun and appreciate the premium carrying case that comes with the Pro model.

Shokz OpenRun Pro

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are as premium as bone conduction headphones get. Unlike Shokz' other bone conduction headsets, the OpenRun Pro have app support to better manage the device. With a dust and water-resistant build, you can take these headphones just about anywhere without worrying about damaging them. We like the OpenRun Pro for all the same reasons as the more affordable OpenRun and appreciate the premium carrying case that comes with the Pro model.
Release date

September 1, 2021

Price

Original: $179

Dimensions

130 x 97 x 47 mm

Weight

27g

Model Number

S810

Waterproof

IP55

What we like
Leaves ears unoccluded, good for safety
Bluetooth 5.1 and fast charging
Mobile app support
IP55 rating
Comfortable and lightweight
Good sound for bone conduction
Multipoint connectivity
No chance of inner-ear infection from use
What we don't like
Proprietary charging port
IP rating is less impressive than the more affordable OpenRun
Irritating "beep" with every button press
Microphone quality
7.2
SoundGuys Rating
7.5
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Durability / Build Quality
8.7
7.3
7.0
Value
6.7
4.4
4.0
Design
6.5
9.0
9.0
Connectivity
5.0
7.4
7.0
Portability
7.9
10.0
10.0
Battery Life
7.6
8.3
8.0
Feature
7.0
8.5
9.0
Comfort
8.3
5.0
5.0

Few feelings are 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 to keep you aware of your environment, but those don’t fit all ears well. Fortunately, Shokz has nearly perfected the formula for great bone conduction headphones, and the Shokz OpenRun Pro stay true to it. These headphones deliver a secure fit while keeping you aware of your surroundings.

The OpenRun Pro are more expensive than the company’s other workout headphones, but are they worth it?

Editor’s note: this article was updated on September 18, 2023, to add the Shokz OpenFit as an alternative.

About this Shokz OpenRun Pro review: We tested the Shokz OpenRun Pro for two weeks. The headphones ran firmware version 4.16, and the app ran version 2.0.1. The company provided the unit for this review. The original date of publication is November 8, 2022.

What you need to know about the Shokz OpenRun Pro

A person wears the Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
These headphones rest on your cheekbones and send vibrations down the inner ear, bypassing the outer and middle ear.
  • Shokz OpenRun Pro: $179.95 / $229.95 CA / $250 AU / ‎€189.95 / £130

Seemingly indistinguishable from all of Shokz’ other bone conduction headphones, the OpenRun Pro retain the unoccluded ear design that Shokz fans love. With the latest ninth-generation bone conduction technology, the OpenRun Pro are as premium as bone conduction headphones get. Like other Shokz headsets, the OpenRun Pro have a durable titanium headband that can flex in any direction. Unlike other Shokz headsets, the OpenRun Pro include a premium hardshell, zippered carrying case.

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are the only bone conduction headphones 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 controls too.

Screenshots of the Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones settings in the Shokz mobile app.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
Added functionality from the app includes the ability to choose the language of “Audrey,” the built-in voice prompt, and access firmware updates

The OpenRun aren’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 headphones send 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 come in four colors: pink, black, blue, and beige.

What’s good about the Shokz OpenRun Pro?

A hand pulls the Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones from a backpack.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
The lightweight, titanium frame can withstand getting shoved into a bag.

Most wireless workout earbuds block your ear to some degree, but the OpenRun Pro leave 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 get loud enough that auditory masking is rarely an issue while running (quiet volume output plagues older models like the AfterShokz Air). This 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, your 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 are durable and merit an IP55 dust and water-resistance rating. As long as you don’t submerge this pair of workout headphones, they should be fine.

The Shokz OpenRun Pro sound great, and bass output is slightly louder on this headset than on the older OpenRun. While more bass is always welcome in bone conduction headsets, these lag 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 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 are 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?

A hand holds the Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones to show the volume controls.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
When you press any buttons on the headset, it emits a loud beep, which is annoying when increasing the volume multiple steps.

Shokz’ proprietary 2-pin charging connector is even more annoying to see than a micro-USB 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 ($79 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, these headphones aren’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 headband 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 cost $179, and the OpenRun cost $129, but the pricier “Pro” have a lesser IP rating. With the OpenRun Pro, you get an IP55-rated headset, while the OpenRun are IP67-rated headphones. These ratings are the difference between being able to drop your headphones in water and it being fine, or you being out $179. 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 their specifications to make sure it fits the bill for your needs.

SHOKZ OPENRUN PRO
Size
130 x 97 x 47 mm
Weight
27g
Noise canceling
No
IP certification
IP55
Connection
Bluetooth 5.1; SBC
Controls
Buttons
Battery life
10 hours
Fast charging
Yes: 5 minutes charge = 90 minutes playtime
Connector
Proprietary 2-pin
Price
$179 USD

Shokz OpenRun Pro review: Should you buy it?

A person wears the Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones while sitting on a sidewalk.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
While $179 is pricey, the Shokz OpenRun Pro are a great pair of daily-use headphones for runners, climbers, and anyone else, really.

Resting at the top of Shokz’ product line, these really are some excellent bone conduction headphones for working out. Although I love these headphones, the app’s limited functionality isn’t a selling point. Instead, it could make more sense to purchase the Shokz OpenRun ($129 at Amazon) and save about $50. Sure, the “Pro” headphones deliver modestly better bass and battery life than the Open Run, but the OpenRun are 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 and costs $79 at Amazon. The headphones are 2g heavier than the OpenRun Pro, though.

Finally, if you want a more traditional fit, look at the Sony LinkBuds WF-L900 ($178 at Amazon). These donut-shaped earbuds also keep you alert and have a more compact form factor than bone conduction alternatives. You get an IPX4 rating for the buds and a mobile app that works on iOS and Android.

Alternatively, you can check out the Shokz OpenFit ($179 at Amazon), and these aren’t bone conduction. Instead, they’re individual buds that wrap over the top of your ears, but don’t actually seal the canal, leaving your ears unoccluded. They’ve got an IP54 rating and they’re notably smaller than the other Shokz.

No matter which pair of earbuds or headphones you go with, you’ll invest in a great running headset that promotes safety.

Shokz OpenRun ProShokz OpenRun Pro
Shokz OpenRun Pro
Unoccluded ears • Secure fit • IP55 rating
A hard-to-beat bone conduction headset.
The Shokz OpenRun Pro is a premium bone-conduction headset. It sounds great, stays in place firmly, and features Vocal EQ with an IP55 rating.

Frequently asked questions about the Shokz OpenRun Pro

The OpenRun Pro battery life is officially 10 hours, which is longer than the OpenRun’s 8-hour battery life.

A selection of Shokz/AfterShokz bone conduction headphones in a circle, including the OpenRun, OpenMove, Air, and Aeropex.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
Shokz corners the bone conduction headphone market.

The Open Run Pro use 9th-generation bone conduction technology with Shokz TurboPitch, while the OpenRun use 8th-gen bone conduction tech with PremiumPitch 2.0+. Basically, the OpenRun Pro reproduce a little more bass and do a slightly better job of keeping audio quality consistent when the headset shifts around.

The OpenRun Pro have a 10-hour battery life, and the OpenRun has an 8-hour battery life. Both headphones support fast charging. You must use the company’s proprietary charging connector no matter which headset you get. Interestingly, the OpenRun Pro have a more durable IP67 rating than the Pro’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.