Training with music has its benefits. It can be that extra motivation you need to get into a tempo run, or it can provide you with the right inspiration for a hard bike session. The problem is that traditional earbuds block out the noises around you. Plus, their wires are annoying when on the run. However, the AfterShokz Trekz Air offers an alternative that keeps your ears open.

How does it work?

The AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones use vibrating pads to transmit sound through your inner ear – keeping your outer ear open to the sounds around you. According to AfterShokz, “Transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them.” If you do want to block out any ambient noises when on the trainer or treadmill, AfterShokz’s provides earplugs to allow you to enjoy your tunes.

Design

Because of AfterShokz Trekz Air’s lightweight titanium body, I found the headphones to fit around my head naturally. A few times, I even walked out of the gym with them still on.

When training, I sweat a lot. This is great for cooling, but it isn’t great for my earphones. Unlike a traditional headset, AfterShokz Trekz Air is coated with nanotechnology and watertight rubber gaskets to repel water. Even after sessions when I’ve formed a swimming pool under my bike, the Trekz Air has prevailed.

Typically, I never run with earphones. It’s mostly because they either fall out or the cords drive me crazy. Plus, it just isn’t safe to run with earphones in the city. But the Trekz Air surprised me. Not only could I hear the vehicles around me, but the headphones also didn’t move around when I was running.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to test them while riding in the city, but our tester at the Canadian Cycling Magazine did:

With a helmet on, the back strap had to be tilted downwards a bit not to interfere with the dial but otherwise, they were comfortable to wear. They are a fairly stylish piece of equipment and the lack of wires makes them practical for using while in the saddle.

Sound Quality

When I first put on the AfterShokz Trekz Air, I was shocked by the experience. It’s a weird feeling – listening to music with nothing in your ears, all while being able to hear your surroundings.

Though the ambient sounds will interfere with your music, I never felt I was missing anything. But don’t expect the noise cancelling quality you’re used to with other earphones or headsets – the AfterShokz Trekz Air isn’t made for this. At higher volumes, you will experience a more powerful beat. So, depending on the tunes your listening to, you may get some surprising vibrations. At first, this was an unusual experience, but you adapt to the stimulus.

The earphones are pretty easy to use. With Bluetooth connection, the headphones pair up to your smartphone in no time. Though the buttons are small, I usually had my phone within arm’s reach to jump through songs or turn up the volume.

Battery life and cost

The battery life on the Trekz Air is a respectable six hours, giving you loads of bike rides and runs before you need to plug in. The headphones are rechargeable through a micro USB.

The AfterShokx Trekz Air is definitely an option for triathletes that enjoy a steady beat when training and commuting. These headphones retail for $190.

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