In honor of the music-friendly Portland Marathon this weekend, I thought I’d post a review of my favorite headphones. I have some pretty strong opinions on the whole headphones/no headphones while running thing, but in short my opinion is this: I like music, and I like listening to it while I run. I keep the volume very low (one of my biggest pet peeves is people on the subway who listen to music with headphones and I can still hear it). I make sure I can hear my footsteps, and that way I know I can hear other people coming up behind me (plus any other sounds). If you are going to wear headphones in a race, I have no problem with it, but you should be just as responsible as I try to be. If you can’t hear me when I manage to gasp out a “nice job” to you, your music is too loud, and you shouldn’t be wearing headphones because you’re not responsible enough to be safe about it.
Anyway! A few months ago, I read Jeanne’s review of her new AirDrives headphones. I think they sound so cool! I love that they don’t block out ambient noise, though I can see how some people wouldn’t like that (it’s certainly not ideal for planes or other places when you don’t want to hear anything but your music/movie/etc). In (very delayed) response, I thought I’d write a review of my headphones as well.
I’ve worn the same style of headphones for over two years now, ever since I dated a guy who had them and I thought they were really nice. At the time, I was all status-conscious about my iPod, so even though the generic iPod in-ear headphones sucked, I still wanted a pair that was white like them. James had this nice pair from Brookstone that goes in your ears but also has a loop that goes over your ear, so I figured that would be the perfect balance of being in-ear (which I love) but not falling out. The earpiece is made out of a really comfortable rubber that’s soft and flexible – perfect.
Unfortunately, they’re not quite perfect – the earpieces tend to get kind of stretched out by my ears. When I first get them from the store, they fit perfectly and snugly. However, the more I wear them, the looser and looser they get. They never get to the point where they’re falling off or anything, but I do find that in my runs, once they’re a few months old, I’m constantly pushing them into my ears as I run to continue to get that snug fit.
The sound quality is good, though I’m no audiophile so I can’t really tell you much about that. However, durability is a bit of a problem. I don’t store them in the little pouch they came in – I typically just wrap them around my iPod. I always leave a finger or two of space before the first time around, because I don’t want to stretch the cord. However, inevitably the cord seems to get stretched out anyway, and one or both ears will stop working. This recently occurred at mile 10 of the Akron Marathon, and I had to run the last 16 miles without any music at all.
The nice thing about the Buds Surround Sound Earbuds? When that happens, I simply bring them and the receipt (I’ve learned to save it) back to the store, and they swap it out for a new one without even asking any questions. The warranty is good for two years (from purchase, not from the last time you exchanged – I’ve learned that). But this means at $40 total for the set, I’m paying $20/year for guaranteed great headphones, which is a pretty good price. I’d definitely recommend them, though if you have small ears, the fit may not be as snug as you’d like.
Anyone else have recommendations? I need to buy a new pair before Sunday’s race, so if there’s a pair that you really love, I’d consider those instead of picking up another set of the Buds (my two year warranty is up).