I sweat so much I damage my headphones. Here’s what I wear now instead of running

Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

When I first got serious about running 10 years ago, I burned myself through every pair of headphones I could find. It didn’t matter how many companies claimed their headphones were impervious to sweat, somehow the foreign-level liquid seeping into my pores never made it through the “waterproofing” to damage what I was wearing.

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And I tried many different pairs. I even had one company (which shall remain nameless) challenge me on this. They sent over four pairs of their headphones and promised there was no way I could go through them.

It took an August to sweat each pair.

Yes, I am such an abundant sweater.

After going through a few more “traditional” types of headphones, I decided to go a different route with bone conduction headphones. They seemed to be the perfect solution since they didn’t fit in the ears (which seemed to be the cause of my sweaty headphones problem). Instead, bone conduction headphones sit close to the ear and transmit sound through the bones. This allows air to easily enter the device, which will help dry it out and prevent sweat from entering the internal parts of the headphones.

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I was skeptical, but I was increasing my mileage and didn’t want to get lost in my own thoughts for so long. Running is made exponentially more enjoyable with good music to motivate you through the grind.

I found a pair of bone conduction headphones through which Shokz companyand buy them from Amazon. The pair were one of the first they released, so they were a bit rough and didn’t sound all that great. In fact, those early iterations sounded almost like someone cranked up the midrange, forgot about the bass, and only slightly enjoyed the treble. Even with less-than-stellar sound, that first pair of Shokz lasted me over a year. No matter how much I sweat on them, they were restless.

After about a year with that first pair, I decided to upgrade. Shokz had released their next version, which promised to improve the sound. The new pair was a significant improvement over the previous pair, with better sound, better battery life and a sleeker design.

Review: Shokz OpenRun Pro. excellent bone conduction headphone for safe training

These days I use Shokz OpenRun Pro, which retails for around $149 and has vastly improved sound and impressive battery life. In fact, I bought the OpenRun Pro last year before I ran my first marathon. My previous pair of Shokz had a battery life of about three hours, and I was sure my marathon time would be much longer. It turns out that the OpenRun Pro was able to beat my 3:48 run time. Claimed battery life is 10 hours and I’m pretty close to that with a week of use and no charging.

Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones.

Getting used to bone conduction headphones isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

When the OpenRun Pros need charging, they use a magnetic charger that easily attaches to the side and can be fully charged much faster than you might think.

Shokz OpenRun Pro Charging Dock.

Even the OpenRun Pro’s charging “port” is sweat-proof.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Even better, the OpenRun Pro sound offers more bass than you’d expect for a bone-conduction headphone, and the fit is so minimal you’ll forget they’re on your head.

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Most importantly, however, is the fact that ambient noise is not drowned out by bone conduction headphones. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been running down the road and heard cars or bikes coming up behind me.

Thanks to the open nature of those headphones, I can avoid disaster simply because I can hear it coming (while still listening to my tunes).

At this point in my life, I can’t imagine running with traditional headphones. Not only would I sweat through them faster than I could replace them, but their ability to cancel out ambient noise makes them extremely dangerous for those of us who run (or bike) on the road and need music to keep us going. :

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If you’re in the market for new, sweat-proof headphones, I recommend checking out the Shokz line. Take it from someone who sweats profusely, you won’t regret the purchase.

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