The Shokz OpenRun headphones are essentially the Aeropex with a new name. They can charge quicker and still offer the same balanced sound and lightweight design.
- Slim, light, comfortable design
- Balanced sound performance
- Added quick-charge support
- More expensive than still available Aeropex
- Proprietary charging cable
- Not that different from Aeropex
- WaterproofIP67 rating protects from dust, sweat and water (but not swimming)
- Battery8 hours each charge and quick charge supported
The OpenRun are sports headphones from Shokz, the company formerly known as AfterShokz for making bone conduction headphones built for exercise.
Along with the OpenRun Pro, the OpenRun offer a neckband-style, open-ear design, relying on bone-conduction technology to deliver sound to your ears while still letting you hear the world around you.
These are essentially a rebrand of the Shokz’ Aeropex headphones launched in 2019, with added fast charging.
Shokz has pretty much dominated the sporty bone-conduction space, although there are newcomers on the scene that promise to offer similar features for less. So are the OpenRun the best conducting sports headphones to put on for a workout?
The Shokz OpenRun are available to buy from the Shokz website for £129.95/$129.95. That puts them just below the OpenRun Pro, which come in at $179.95, but that currently only appear to be available in the US from the brand’s website.
- IP67 waterproof design
- Weigh 26g
They might have a different name, but make no mistake – the OpenRun headphones are basically the Aeropex. The latter are no longer available to buy from Shokz directly, but you should still be able to hunt down a pair from third-party retailers for a while yet.
With an identical weight to the Aeropex at 26g and the same IP67 waterproof rating, the OpenRun headphones offer protection against sweat and rain, but you won’t be able to swim with them. They sport the same neckband-style design, and their pleasingly light and slim frame makes these headphones ideal for running and general exercise.
I’ve even dug out the Aeropex while testing the OpenRun, and they match up on all fronts. You’ll find the volume and on/off button on the right, next to the proprietary charging port, and the larger button on the outside of the left side of the headphones is for playing and pausing audio and handling calls.
Available in four colours – Cosmic Black, Blue Eclipse, Luna Grey and Solar Red – the offering is again identical to that of the Aeropex.
Most bone-conduction headphones I’ve tried have attempted to ape the look of Shokz’ headphones – and for good reason. These are light to wear, don’t budge during workouts and offer good water and sweat protection. They seem reasonably well-built, although I’ve seen those slender arms of previous Shokz units break, so these definitely aren’t sling in the bottom of your bag headphones.
- Solid connectivity
- Multipoint pairing supported
- High volumes impact battery life
From a connectivity point of view, I haven’t experienced any issues. The OpenRun come packing Bluetooth 5.1, promising a wireless range of 33ft. I’ve paired them up with Android phones and iPhones and haven’t suffered any connection dropouts. It’s also good to see that multipoint pairing is supported here as well.
The big change here really lies with the battery. The OpenRun include a 160mAh capacity battery, which is capable of delivering up to eight hours of battery life. After just over two hours of running, the battery dropped from 100% to around 60%. That’s 20% an hour, which would actually work to about 5 hours based on testing. Clearly, listening at higher volumes will see that battery life drop quicker.
When it’s time to charge, however, the OpenRun will take 1.5 hours to get from 0-100%, and a quick-charge feature gets you an hour of listening time in just 10 minutes. The charging cable magnetically clips to the port on the frame, but I’d definitely like it to sit more securely than it does; it can get easily knocked out of place.
- Bluetooth 5.1
- Quick-charge feature now included
Like all Shokz headphones, the OpenRun rely on bone-conduction technology to send sound up towards your ears via vibrations using transducers. There’s generally always been a compromise with the type of sound quality you can enjoy with this method of delivering sound to your ears. Shokz has typically stood out for offering the best sound quality, minimising the vibration sensations felt with some cheaper alternatives when you crank up the volume.
The OpenRun use Shokz’ 8th-generation version of its bone-conduction technology, which promises less leakage, fewer vibrations and better overall sound. From the range of such headphones I’ve tested, if you value clarity over roaring power and bass then these are up there with the best.
The OpenRun sound profile is nicely balanced, offering a little punch of bass and some nice detail to ensure they work well across a range of music genres. If you’re hoping for an audio roar, you’ll be disappointed. However, in the context of bone-conduction headphones, they sound pretty decent.
Inevitably, these headphones will still leak a little, but nowhere close in league to previous-generation Shokz headphones. The OpenRun maintain a good balance between isolating and letting sound in around you. These headphones won’t entirely block out the noise of wind or traffic on a run, but they certainly don’t leave you struggling to hear what you’re listening to either.
You can take calls with the OpenRun, too, and there’s dual noise-cancelling mics to deliver the kind of call quality that certainly works better in more modestly loud environments than super-loud ones. It’s easy enough to take calls and the volume is good enough, but you are making compromises overall.
Should you buy it?
You want sporty bone-conduction headphones that are light to wear The OpenRun weigh just 26g, so whether you’re running or jumping in the gym, they certainly don’t weigh heavy once you get going.
You already own the Aeropex Name change and quick-charge feature aside, you’re getting exactly the same headphones as the Aeropex, which launched when Shokz was AfterShokz.
The Shokz OpenRun are an example of bone-conduction headphones for exercise done right. They’re comfortable and light to wear, offer good sound quality, and good enough battery life – which is now backed up a quick-charge feature. If you own the Aeropex already, there isn’t a compelling reason to upgrade. However, if you’re looking for your first pair of bone-conduction headphones – and are prepared for the fact that these don’t deliver a big and bassy sound – then the OpenRun are worth a look.
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Tested for more than a week
Tested with real world use
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While its IP67 rating is enough to protect it from sweat, dust ingress and extreme weather conditions, the Openrun is not recommended to use for underwater swimming.
The two main differences are that the Openrun has Bluetooth 5.1 and now comes with a quick charge feature.