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Oladance Open Ear Headphones



The best headphones I've used on the bike – comfortable, fantastic sound quality and with a good battery life
Amazing sound quality
Superb comfort
Low weight
Still being able to hear your surroundings
Rain can activate touch control
Lots of wind can make it hard to hear

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Oladance Open Ear Headphones are an excellent way to listen to music while you're riding, delivering incredibly clear sound while you barely notice you're wearing them. Throw in an impressive battery life, and Oladance seems to have come close to creating the perfect product for those of us who like to combine listening to music and riding.​

> Buy now: Oladance Open Ear Headphones for £199.99 at Amazon

'What on earth is an open-ear headphone?' you might be wondering. Well, the problem with wearing earphones when you're riding is that you're isolated from your surroundings, which is of course potentially dangerous on the open road. Most brands that produce headphones for riding go down the bone-conduction route – headphones that transmit sounds through vibrations of bones in your head and jaw.

Oladance has approached the situation differently and created something similar to an open-back headphone. This is effectively a small speaker that sits just in front your ear, playing your music, podcast – or even Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus if that's your thing (other playwrights are available) – directly into your ears. Crucially, though, this is achieved without your ears being blocked from the outside world.

2022 Oladance Open Ear Headphones - case.jpg

How do these work in the real world? In one word – excellently. The second I put these on, I knew they were very different to bone conduction headphones, with the clarity of music I was listening to immediately impressive. The main problem with bone conduction as a technology, is that the sound is very muddy, with a distinct lack of bass. The way Oladance has gone about making its headphones means that this just isn't the case.

On the bike, this 'open-ear' design means you can wear two headphones, listen to the latest Taylor Swift album (other musicians are available), and still have a conversation with your mate about who has the lower CDA. For me this is the best of both worlds, as I enjoy riding with my brother – but if I had to listen to him waffle on, without the option of enjoying some One Direction, I think I'd go crazy.

Out of the box, the user experience is very good straightaway, thanks to some impressive tech and Bluetooth 5.2. Just opening the case was enough for my Android 12 phone to notice the headphones and offer to pair to them. This made them the quickest headphones I've had when it came to actually having them play some tunes. The range is very good too, and I could happily go over 10m from my phone without any dropouts.

2022 Oladance Open Ear Headphones - charging port.jpg

The headphone controls were interesting. The Oladance headphones have capacitive touch controls on the part that sits in front of your ear. The controls were straightforward to get used to: a single tap is play/pause; a double tap is skip or rewind depending on whether you tap your left or right ear; a triple tap activates your voice assistant, while sliding up or down lowers or raises the volume.

There's a good reason to download the Oladance phone app, which is that it lets you change what the controls do. For example, if you wish you could use a single tap to turn the volume up or down. You could even ensure that none of the controls do anything at all.

I did have one issue with the controls. Because the capacitive controls are touch sensitive, when I was riding in the rain, it would randomly pause, or the volume would increase. The capacitive controls are excellent overall, though, and do work well – at least until moisture gets introduced, which is a bit of a shame.

Thankfully, as the phones are both waterproof and sweatproof, this was the only issue the rain caused. I wore these in some truly horrible conditions without problems, so can confirm these claims.

The battery life is also very good. Oladance claims a life of up to 16 hours, and in the real world I achieved between 12-15 hours. A full charge takes two hours, only requiring you to plug the USB-C cable into the charging case.

2022 Oladance Open Ear Headphones - case charging connector.jpg

One disappointment, especially given the hefty £200 price tag, is that Oladance doesn't include a battery in the charging case. Oladance says this is because the headphones have a good enough battery on their own. You can buy a battery case for £50, but I really feel the case should include a battery as standard.

I did run into one slight charging issue, when the right headphone didn't seem to connect properly to the charging pins, which left the right headphone with just a 50% charge. After this I ensured the pins were seated properly and had no issues since.

The Oladance headphones sit differently on your head than other headphones I've used. They effectively hug each ear, which I hadn't expected to be secure, but the only issue I suffered was when I caught my helmet strap under one of the headphones when I was taking it off.

2022 Oladance with no glasses.JPG

Other than that, nothing I did caused any problems. I even wore them when I went mountain biking on some super-rough sections and had no worries that they might come off.

The headphones are extremely comfortable, and with a weight of just 12.5g per phone, you almost forget you're wearing them. I was also impressed with how easily they sat around my helmets and glasses, and they paired with every helmet and glasses combo I tried.

2022 Oladance with glasses on.JPG

As these are two individual headphones, I was able to lend one to a friend while riding, so we could share in the emotional experience of listening to Adele (other chanteuses are available). I find this a much nicer, quieter way of sharing music than using a big speaker.

As with all headphones that don't block your ears, wind noise can interfere with your listening experience. When I was riding over 45km/h with a headwind, then the sound could become quite a challenge to hear. However, that is a quite specific set of conditions and unlike with the Haylou PurFree BC01 headphones that I reviewed, this wasn't a crippling issue, and I was happy to deal with that as a payoff for the Oladance's superior sound quality.

You can turn up Oladance's headphones impressively loud, especially when compared to bone conduction headphones, so I only had to have them at about 75% volume most of the time, only going up to 100%, which was great, when doing intervals and I wanted to try and drown out the pain of my legs.

Value and rivals

The main drawback of these headphones is undoubtedly the cost. At £199.99 they're £40 dearer than the Shokz OpenRun Pro phones that Steve liked, and a whopping £80 more expensive than the Mojawa Mojo 1s that Anna reviewed.  

This clearly marks out the Oladances as a premium product and, given the quality they deliver, I think they live up to that description. With the combination of excellent sound quality, great battery life and a great user experience, I feel Oladance can justify the premium price.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed using the Oladance Open Ear Headphones – and they've rapidly become my first-choice phones for riding. The lovely sound quality, excellent comfort and the fact you can still hear what's going on around you mean I'd happily recommend them if you want a pair of quality headphones without being cut off from the rest of the world.


The best headphones I've used on the bike – comfortable, fantastic sound quality and with a good battery life test report

Make and model: Oladance Open Ear Headphones

Size tested: One size

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Feel the music, not your earbuds

This is the promise of the Oladance Wearable Stereos, the comfort-focused earbuds that deliver high-quality sound without ever going inside your ear.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

16.5mm drivers

Bluetooth 5.2

USB-C charging

Up to 16 hours battery

1.5-2 hour charging time

Touch controls

Colours: Interstellar Blue, Space Silver, Martian Orange,Cloud White

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Premium-feeling product; well made.

Rate the product for performance:

Excellent sound quality, with wind interference only occurring when I was riding at around 45km/h into a headwind.

Rate the product for durability:

No issues so far, though you need to keep the charging pins clean.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)

At only 12.7g per ear these are extremely light.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)

These are so comfortable that I found it easy to forget I was actually wearing them.

Rate the product for value:

At £199.99 these are undeniably expensive – thankfully their performance lives up to that price tag.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Excellently, they did exactly what was claimed of them, with amazing sound quality.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I loved not only the sound that these produced, but also how I could hear what was going on around me at the same time.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I wish they were less expensive, and I wish the rain couldn't activate the controls.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

These are the most expensive headphones that we have ever tested.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? If I could find them discounted.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

These are the best experience I have had of listening to music on the road, while still being able to hear what is going on around me. They are great for entertainment without compromising your road safety.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 174  Weight: 72

I usually ride: Canyon Aeroad   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Semi pro

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Add new comment


rileyrg | 7 months ago

Rain causing random UI triggers is hardly minor. 

andystow | 11 months ago

I've had these since mid February now, so three months, and used them a lot. I went through three sets of Trekz/Shokz/Aftershokz, all of which broke in some way. The case makes it a lot less likely to happen to these.

Compared to the Shokz, I find the sound of the Oladance to be superior, but my ears are not the best and I'm no audiophile. The bass seems more realistic to me.

The battery life is also significantly better than the Shokz. I've really only had to charge these sort of weekly when convenient, unlike the Shokz which would last me maybe four days of work commutes (6 hours or so) and after the "charge me" warning would only give me less than ten minutes. I've never had the Oladance run all the way down.

I do wish they had a physical button or buttons. I find the volume control gesture difficult to use. I have to slide across the entire face of them, or they interpret it as a single press.Today's morning commute was rainy, and the hood of my Cleverhood rain cape kept brushing against them and pausing my music, or, more annoyingly, skipping to the next or previous track. I spent a lot of my ride trying to keep my head still to keep my music going. I also often accidentally play/pause when pushing my hair back (I have a lot of hair.) Fortunately you can reprogram the gestures in the phone app. I just changed mine so that single tap does nothing, double tap to play/pause. Hopefully that helps on my next rainy ride.

Speaking of the phone app, when I opened it yesterday I couldn't do anything without giving an email address or phone number, then confirming with a code they sent. I'm not a fan of this sort of data collection, and am worried they're now trying to monetize their customers.

Steve K | 1 year ago

I've now got a pair.  Still a bit unsure compared with the Shokz.

Pluses for these - 

- hardly aware you're wearing them

- can wear a skull cap over them without any issues

- better sound quality

- no vibrations as can happen with the Shokz.


- whilst I've not had any issues, they don't feel as secure (that may just be the flip side of how light and unobtrusive they are)

- the controls are fiddly, especially with gloves

- the controls can also be too sensitive; so I've found mine pausing themselves (not sure what is causing this; possibly the helmet strap touching them.


BikeJon | 1 year ago

Is the microphone any good?

Steve K replied to BikeJon | 1 year ago

Seems fine for phone calls, at least.

Boopop | 1 year ago

£130 on Amazon at the moment if you apply the voucher. My Aftershokz are starting to fall apart a bit and I've got a 3 week bikepacking trip coming up where I don't think the battery on the Shokz will cut it. Ordered on Amazon and should have by the end of the day! The case looks good too, I'm afraid of losing my aftershokz when away from home.

Boopop replied to Boopop | 1 year ago

Got 'em. The controls aren't as straight forward as my aeropex headphones, but they do have more bass, if not as much as proper earbuds, but that's not a surprise. The increase in sound quality is good but I think the added battery life over Shokz' offerings will really help on 100 mile plus rides. I'll keep them  1

Steve K | 1 year ago

They're currently £160 on Amazon.

Boopop replied to Steve K | 1 year ago
1 like

When I looked there was a £30 off voucher too.

andystow | 1 year ago

I may try these as my third set of Trekz/Shokz has just died. I'll have a go at fixing them tonight, first.

andystow replied to andystow | 1 year ago

Ordered (but direct from Oladance, I'm starting to feel less comfortable giving Amazon all my money.) I'll report back.

Boopop replied to andystow | 1 year ago

I didn't realise that was an option, d'oh! All the prices are in dollars.

andystow replied to Boopop | 11 months ago

It didn't matter anyhow, my direct order from Oladance was fulfilled by Amazon.

They always get their cut.

Welsh boy | 1 year ago

Please explain to me why wearing earphones is "potentially dangerous on the open road." I have never understood this claim, when I am riding without headphones I can hear cars coming behind me. What do I do differently when I hear a car coming? Nothing. If I hear a car coming I don't suddenly start riding slower, nearer the kerb, slower, faster or anything else different so what difference does it make if I hear a car coming or not? That information doesn't affect how I ride so it is information I don't really need. When I drive my car I usually have a radio on and can't hear other traffic and that doesn't worry me so why should it bother me when using a different vehicle on the road?

Secret_squirrel replied to Welsh boy | 1 year ago
Welsh boy wrote:

Nothing. If I hear a car coming I don't suddenly start riding slower, nearer the kerb, slower, faster or anything else different so what difference does it make if I hear a car coming or not? 

Really?  You dont rely on audio cues at all?  Not even to do a shoulder/mirror check?  I find that hard to believe.  I think you're creating a straw man to make a point about headphones.  

The whole point about having a set of working ears is that its another sense to use to keep yourself safe.  Its like riding along with one eye closed.  You can probably do it - but why the hell would you?

hawkinspeter replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
Secret_squirrel wrote:

Really?  You dont rely on audio cues at all?  Not even to do a shoulder/mirror check?  I find that hard to believe.  I think you're creating a straw man to make a point about headphones.  

The whole point about having a set of working ears is that its another sense to use to keep yourself safe.  Its like riding along with one eye closed.  You can probably do it - but why the hell would you?

Whilst I find it useful to hear vehicles coming up behind me, it's not a requirement for using the roads and it's easy to compensate for wearing headphones or being deaf - just look behind you more often. Personally, I prefer to not use headphones whilst cycling, but it can be just as safe if you make a point of keeping aware of what's around you.

I find it strange that there's a general dislike (not specifically this site) of cyclists using headphones, but very little consideration is given to drivers that can't hear due to their stereos.

blamek replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago

while doing some training it's not that important, but while riding to work in huge traffic (lots of cars/pedestrians/dogs/trams/etc) it's safer to be aware whats going on arround you - sometimes it can save your butt  1

ktache replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago

And all of that soundproofing and those windows...

I used to cycle with music, until I was hit on Farnborough's clock house roundabout which squashed my Walkman, yes it was a while back. Music was expensive back then and I never replaced it. I don't believe it made the roads anymore dangerous.

I ride without. It makes the ride more in the moment, more as part of the environment. Birdsong, the rustling of trees, the rumble of the tyres and the crunch of gravel.  Crispy frost frozen leaves. Grasshoppers/crickets on warm summer evenings. Last year on the first really hot day of the summer I could hear the sound of gorse seeds popping.

And I get to hear extra little things that the drivers are doing, changing of engine revs, tyre noise on ecars. It might give me an edge, every little helps.

But, as with helmets, it really doesnt bother me what other cyclists do.

Welsh boy replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

Really? Every time you hear a car behind you you check over your shoulder? I find that hard to believe. 

cqexbesd replied to Welsh boy | 1 year ago
Welsh boy wrote:

Please explain to me why wearing earphones is "potentially dangerous on the open road." 

It depends where you live of course but around here (Germany) it could get you a fine. My understanding is that it isn't illegal unless it impairs you ability to perceive other traffic - but that decision is taken by the random police officer who stops you so its a bit of a lottery. No doubt you can appeal but I expect it costs much more than the fine and with an uncertain outcome. I have heard the tales but I don't know how often people are actually stopped for headphone use mind you. 


cqexbesd | 1 year ago
1 like

If they are open does that mean the sound leaks to everyone near by?

Secret_squirrel replied to cqexbesd | 1 year ago

This is important.  No-one wants to be *that* tinny headphone dude or dudette.

Josh Price replied to cqexbesd | 1 year ago

I found they leak a little, but not as bad as the set of Bone Conducting ones I reviewed a little while ago. They definitely leak more than in ear or over ear though. 

Steve K | 1 year ago

It would be good to see a picture of someone actually wearing them.  I'm a big fan of the Shokz headphones; my only real issue with them is wearing them with a skull cap and helmet in winter because of the band behind your head.  It sounds like these might overcome that issue.

OnYerBike replied to Steve K | 1 year ago

I agree, definitely something I felt missing from this review.

That said, there are various pictures of people wearing them on Amazon/the Oladance website (although sometimes I am skeptical of the amount of photoshop that goes into the brand's marketing photos, so would prefer to see independent photos in reviews). 

Steve K replied to OnYerBike | 1 year ago
1 like

Yes, I had a look after I'd posted that. I'm tempted, but not sure I can justify the price. I'd also like to know what the noise leakage is like.

Tass Whitby replied to Steve K | 1 year ago

Steve K wrote:

It would be good to see a picture of someone actually wearing them.  I'm a big fan of the Shokz headphones; my only real issue with them is wearing them with a skull cap and helmet in winter because of the band behind your head.  It sounds like these might overcome that issue.

You asked, we listened... (actually, we forgot to add the pics that Josh had included). Hope they help.

Steve K replied to Tass Whitby | 1 year ago


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