Cool Gear: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium

Rock on without tuning out

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium, $130

You won’t miss a thing when running to the beat

Plugged-out running—when you have ear buds in your ears that limit your hearing—can be dangerous. And, yet, there are many who need or just want music to keep the beat, to set the cadence, to ease the effort. If you are one of those runners who feel tunes are a must, AfterShokz has the answer with its bone-conducting head—not ear—phones.

This unique tool uses the cheekbones, just in front of your ears, and leave your ear canals open, bypassing the eardrums, to transmit the audio melodies, meaning you can still be aware of ambient sounds. While you won’t be able to plug out to high-fidelity beats, you will be able to feel the groove and, because AfterShokz have wireless Bluetooth connectivity with your smartphone, you can even make and receive calls. The sound quality is not as crisp as traditional in-ear phones I’ve tried, but it’s a reasonable trade-off for being able to hear what is going on around you. And the sound is enough that it is surprising that people nearby are unable to detect when you have them on high, given the beats are conducted through vibration and not sound. It is eerie and magical at the same time.

Adam W. Chase
Adam Chase is president of the American Trail Running Association and works as a lawyer in Boulder, Colo.