I once had a trainer who swore that if your wireless headphones stayed in your ears during a workout, you just weren’t working hard enough. For years, I took this mantra with me to lift weights at the gym, learn a choreographed dance in a fitness studio and, of course, on runs in the great outdoors. But it turns out that even the toughest workouts are no match for modern technology, especially when you slip on a pair of AfterShokz’s newest headphones, the Aeropex.
Unlike the AirPods or Beats wireless headphones that you may be used to wearing for your outdoor runs, the wraparound Aeropex model—and the rest of the AfterShokz lineup—is neither in-ear nor over-ear. Rather, they use bone conduction technology. OK, what!? In essence, these headphones send sound waves (which, BTW, are the vibrations that actually create the sound you hear) straight through your jaw and cheek bones. Even though you’re not putting anything directly in your ear, the vibrations from the Aeropex stimulate your inner ear, which is where hearing happens, allowing you to listen to your music, your trainer or your mom on the phone—entirely uninterrupted.
Bone conduction headphones are, per doctor of audiology Deborah Price, “very safe.” While they’re not necessarily better for your ears than traditional headphones (because the sound from over-ear headphones is also transduced by the cochlea, just as the sound from other headphones are), they do give you significantly more awareness of your surroundings. As a result, they’re particularly well suited to outdoor activities.
I’ve been a fan of AfterShokz headphones for a while, and this latest pair certainly outperforms previous models in terms of sound quality. This is especially important for me when I’m working out outside and want to hear either my workout regimen or a Beethoven symphony (don’t judge) while still remaining aware of my surroundings. Moreover, the Aeropex is slightly lighter than previous models. The biggest game changer, however, is that the Aeropex headphones are waterproof, which means even if you’re jogging in the rain or doing your outdoor HIIT routine and pouring sweat, you don’t have to worry about short-circuiting your headphones.