So, you’ve got your playlist sorted, you’ve charged up, and you’re ready for your headphones moment. It normally starts well, gearing up to hit your first K, spirits and beats riding high, then disaster strikes- your headphones are hanging around your ankles, and you’re heading down- pride to the curb, ouch.
Being a runner and a writer, things have to be practical and need to work. I don’t really wear heels. I walk or run everywhere. My feet swell, and I just really like sneakers. I like to run for the bus, I run home from nights out, this just works for me. With all this in mind, and a heavy addiction to music, I need my headphones to work against the odds. Rain, wind, sweat, and obviously a little cartwheel test- never know when you might need to do one of those when you spot an ex at the lights. I basically want an unprecedented experience in ergonomics and functionality.
I decided to test drive 6 pairs of headphones. I am lucky enough to be part of London’s Run Dem Crew. I’m surrounded by running and music junkies, from the 200 runners I managed to get a sturdy selection of 6 pairs that the crew rates. I power enough energy into my runs, I just want to effortlessly soundtrack my steps. I want to take these headphones above and beyond the ordinary and help you guys push through that pain barrier. Here’s the test….
I will wear each pair of headphones during a 1k along the same stretch of path along the London’s Thames River, just a moderate pace, each with a little sweaty sprint to the beat of Beyonce.
I will rate Audio Quality on a scale of one to five, one being “nah”, three being mediocre and five being totally amazing. Persistence also gets a one to five score, with one being “handle v. gently” and five being “throw them in your gym bag. Hey, toss them in a tornado.” The Cartwheel test gets a one to five too. We need these babies to stay in when we’re slick and sweaty, upside down, inside out- you get the gist. So again, one is “this sucks” and five being, “pow-pow”.
In running order;
1. Marshall- Minor.
Top of the list. Marshall are pretty much the don’s in amping it up. British design, and British made, it’s hard not to be a little patriotic when you read the pamphlet. The Minor is an advanced in ‘ear -click’ model. It’s the sexiest of the bunch with a white fabric cord and gold plated fixtures. Very easy to put in and stays in perfectly due to the ‘ear-click’ system. There’s also a clip about halfway down the cord that allows you to fasten extra length to your clothes and prevent bouncing. Quality is incredible with both bass and treble good, I couldn’t even hear my panting. I loved this and it definitely lives up to it’s claim, “in it for the long haul”.
Audio quality: 5 // Persistence: 4 // Cartwheel- Loop the loop: 5+
2. Urban Ears- Medis.
For anyone who goes a bit gooey for colour and texture, this bad boy brand will float your boat. With 10 colour ways, a seasonal palette, changeable sized ear-clicks, and a neat sweat and tangle-resistant cable. Medis is a respectable cSimilar to the marshal, the ‘ear-click’ system fits any ear shape with minimal movement. Quality is very high, however the bass isn’t as apparent as others.
Scores: Audio quality: 4 // Persistence: 4 // Cartwheel- Loop the loop: 5
3. Bose- SIE2i
Good feel. Stays in ears with no movement. Fiddly to get into ear at first, but easy once you get the hang of it. Bass isn’t as apparent as others, vocals are a little crackly but they do play loud at full volume. A little tinny at times but all in all a fair sound and props for them not budging an inch on the upside-down sprint. The only downside of this ported design is that at higher volumes your music can be heard by those around you, which isn’t a problem in the gym or out running, but not ideal on a quiet bus.
Scores: Audio quality: 3 // Persistence: 3 // Cartwheel- Loop the loop: 5
4. Sennheiser Adidas- PMX 685i
I didn’t think I’d like these, the headband slips down whilst your running but I did quite like the sound. They have foamy big ear buds, but they do work. The design is dated and any oncoming traffic can hear your latest They are pretty bulky and I was worried I might snap them so placed them carefully at the top of my bag.
Scores: Audio quality: 3 // Persistence: 2 // Cartwheel- Loop the loop: 2
5. Apple- iphone 5.
A bunch of us have these headphones, they came free with the phone and I like many others have just used them for running and thought that along with all of my other faultless shiny apple gadgets, thought that these would work well. Uh- uh, wrong. They do fit snuggly in your ear pockets but they have absolutely no grip against the sweat and pounding pavements. The sound is great and they are certainly ok for a more stationary grind.
Scores: Audio quality: 4 // Persistence: 2 // Cartwheel- Loop the loop: 1
6. Coloud- The Pop.
I really wanted to like these headphones, with it’s environmental consideration and dreamy name, but I just couldn’t. Within my first two steps the earphones were out. I did a double-take and pushed the buds far inside (not recommended), and they fell out. The packaging calls these sweat- and weather-resistant, so you won’t want to submerge them in water but you can certainly can’t. Absolute fail in all directions.
Scores: Audio quality: 3 // Persistence: 1 // Cartwheel- Loop the loop: 0
It’s refreshing to find something that doesn’t crack under pressure- so thanks Marshall. Whether you are already a seasoned runner, taking on a marathon, or you are thinking of pulling on the running shoes for the first time, this shortlist is sure to get you twerkin’ towards that trophy.