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The Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones use bone conduction to leave your ears entirely unblocked, making them ideal for cycling – you can still hear your surroundings. The downside is that windnoise can overwhelm their output, but otherwise they're light, comfortable and sound great.
These are simple and work really well, and that's very appealing. Once your phone (or other device) knows the Bluetooth connection they pair up almost instantly when you switch the headphones on, and with only three buttons they're easy to control.
They're extremely unobtrusive as you ride, stay put thanks to the grippy, rubbery covering and last a good long time – over nine hours easily. They also charge quickly without you even having to open a waterproof port. It's more faff to decide what to listen to than to actually listen to it, basically.
The two volume buttons are behind your right ear, while the big 'multifunction' button sits on the left. I found them all easy to locate and use even with gloves.
The multifunction button will play, pause or skip backwards and forwards through tracks with various presses, but to make it difficult for these headphones I mostly listened to podcasts that mixed speech and music – so it was the volume controls I needed most.
Oh, you can also answer and end calls with the multifunction button, if you're the type who enjoys shouting 'I'm on the bike!' as you pedal, as they have (noise-cancelling) mics too. So long as you're not descending or thrashing along into a bitter headwind it works fine.
The steps between each volume are well judged – usually just one or two increments are enough to boost voices or allow for increased speeds, so you're not constantly hammering at them – and each time you get a beep that lets you know you've hit the button. Eventually you get a different tone that lets you know you've topped out on volume, which again saves you tapping at it in vain.
I found maximum volume good up to around 20mph, though you can still hear music above that, just not very clearly. Given that the reason for that is your completely unobstructed ears being able to hear that wind just fine, and the whole point of this design being to leave your ears unobstructed, it's hard to criticise them for it.
It's just a fact that they're not as good at higher speeds or on very windy sections as 'regular' headphones or earbuds, because they don't physically block your ears. I found them at their best on steep and twisty back lanes where speeds are rarely that high for long, and off road for the same reason.
At 28g they're very light and the low-slung shaping works well with helmet straps and glasses – I had no issues while wearing both, and never had the titanium neck band interfere with collars either. The springiness of that band keeps the 'ear' pieces pressed very securely (but comfortably) against your cheekbones, and it feels more secure than the AfterShokz OpenMoves (which I tested in 2020). Note this is the same company, and it's now just called Shokz as the After was from before. Tragically my suggestion that its new name should be AfterAfterShokz fell on deaf ears...
Perhaps related (to the headband, not the name), the OpenRun Pros seem unaffected by yawning or other jaw movements, whereas the OpenMoves' sound would change dramatically.
Charging involves a proprietary cable as it connects magnetically to a waterproof socket, and beyond the requirement to never forget or lose it, as you're unlikely to find someone with else with one, it's as easy to use as the rest.
There's a 'quick charge' ability that means 20 minutes will get you to 60 per cent battery from flat, and 30 minutes gets you to 90 per cent. Completely full takes longer though – one hour. Certainly the overall time is accurate. Mostly these figures are hard to test, though, as there are only four battery states it'll admit to, and these are spoken by Audrey; there are no LEDs here, which is fair as you wouldn't be able to see them anyway.
Audrey is the ghostly voice that lives inside these, and though 'Audrey' might seem very British she is in fact very American. With no music playing, a click of a volume button will have her report on 'baddery' status: high, medium or low. After that she just says, 'Charge me.'
Audrey also greets you on powering up the Shokz ("Wuckum to Sharks; baddery medium") and announces either a Bluetooth connection or a power shutdown so you know you've been successful. It's all very easy.
I found the Bluetooth connections absolutely stable, too – it never dropped – and it works over a surprising distance. One time, having spent five minutes faffing with my phone wondering why the volume wasn't working, I realised I might have left these on. Indeed I had, and even though they were upstairs and the phone was downstairs, they were still quietly channelling my sound. That Audrey. She's a one.
Shokz isn't alone on the bone phone throne. The Mojawa Mojo1 Wireless Bone Conduction headphones also offer impressive sound and a (slightly higher) waterproof rating, and they're cheaper at £119 (the OpenRun Pros are £159.95).
The Naenka Bone Conduction Runner Pro Wireless Headphones are also cheaper at £111, but George found them too quiet and the sound quality too low for cycling.
To be fair, the OpenRun Pro is Shokz' new premium model, and the price reflects that: the older OpenRun Wireless Bone Conduction Sports are still available for £129.95, and Anna thought they were very good too. They even have the same higher (IP67) waterproof rating as the Mojawas, though their bone conduction tech is an older version.
It's possible true audio enthusiasts will find something to complain about (they always seem to, it's their favourite sound...), but for me these have excellent fidelity across the range and a lovely clear, crisp delivery. They're comfortable, physically secure, very easy to use, last for ages and charge quickly. I like them a lot.
Light, comfortable and give great sound – wind noise interferes at higher speeds, but only because you can still hear!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Shokz OpenRun Pro
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?
Shokz says: "Introducing OpenRun Pro, our most premium headphones ever. They pack an enhanced bass, a 10-hour battery life, and quick-charge feature. The newest 9th generation of bone conduction technology (called Shokz TurboPitch technology) and a refined design. All with our signature situational awareness and comfortable fit you know and love. Music is meant to make you move, OpenRun Pro make that happen."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Shokz has loads of in-depth info on its site, but lists:
Premium Sound Quality with Enhanced Bass
IP55 Sweatproof (Against Splashing Water)
Neat and impressive.
Pretty much undetectable.
Excellent, even with glasses and helmet straps.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well – they're comfortable, secure, easy to use while riding and sound great. Wind noise will defeat them at speed, but as they're an open-ear design, that's a given.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They're very easy to use and effective.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not as waterproof as the previous version (though as they're probably still waterproof enough for cycling, 'dislike' is too strong).
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's higher than many, but this is positioned as a premium model (the non-Pro version is much closer in price to the competition).
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are a pleasure to use, and easy too – the only way they could be seriously improved is by making them louder to combat wind noise, but then some may find that uncomfortable. They're already quite loud at full blast. There are cheaper rivals, but these are sold as a premium model so it's hard to criticise that. Overall they're very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,