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Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Feb 21, 2022 at 09:33 am
Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction Picture
5.3
Neutral Sound
5.5
Commute/Travel
7.3
Sports/Fitness
5.7
Office
4.9
Wireless Gaming
4.7
Wired Gaming
5.9
Phone Calls
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Type Bone Conduction
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Bone Conduction
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes

The Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction are the next generation of the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. Unlike most traditional sports-oriented headphones, they produce sound by sending vibrations from your cheekbones to your inner ear instead of directly playing audio from speakers. As a result, they don't enter your ear at all, allowing you to stay aware of your surroundings, which is handy if you're running outdoors. However, this design also means that they struggle to reproduce bass, so mixes sound flat, especially in more thumpy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Vocals and lead instruments are clearly and accurately reproduced, though, which is great for genres like podcasts. While they have the same look and feel as their predecessor, they now have a quick charge feature. They also supply a similar 13 hours of continuous playback time, so you don't need to worry about their battery dying during an intense workout.

Our Verdict

5.3 Neutral Sound

The Shokz OpenRun are disappointing for neutral sound. As they use vibrations to reproduce audio, our testing rig can't adequately measure their performance. In real-life use, they struggle to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, which results in a somewhat flat sound. That said, they have very smooth and accurate mids, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear, present, and detailed. Sibilants like cymbals are also bright but not piercing. However, their bass and treble delivery vary, so it's important to take the time to adjust their fit and positioning to ensure a more consistent sound.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
Cons
  • Really lack bass.
  • Audio delivery depends on the headphones' fit and positioning.
5.5 Commute/Travel

The Shokz OpenRun are sub-par for commute and travel. By design, they don't enter or cover your ears at all, so you hear all the noise from bus engines and commuter chit-chat. They also leak audio at high volumes. However, if you don't mind this, they have a comfortable fit and are well-built. They also have 13 hours of continuous battery life, which should last through long days on the go. Their low latency on iOS and Android devices make them a suitable choice if you like to stream videos during your trip.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • 13-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Don't block out any background noise.
  • Leak a lot of audio at high volumes.
  • Audio delivery depends on the headphones' fit and positioning.
7.3 Sports/Fitness

The Shokz OpenRun are decent for sports and fitness. Since they don't cover your ears at all, you can listen to your favorite audio while still hearing sounds around you, which is ideal if you're running outdoors. They have a comfortable and stable fit, are well-built, and are rated IP67 for dust and water resistance. That said, their neckband won't fit into your pockets, but you can wear them on your head or around your neck when you're not using them.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Well-built and rated IP67 for dust and water resistance.
  • 13-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Audio delivery depends on the headphones' fit and positioning.
5.7 Office

The Shokz OpenRun can be a suitable choice at the office if you want to listen to audio while still monitoring what's going on around you. Due to their bone conduction design, their transducers sit on your cheekbones rather than in your ears. As a result, they won't block out any sounds around you. They also leak a lot of audio at high volumes. That said, they have a comfortable design, roughly 13 hours of continuous playback time, and are well-built. They also support multi-device pairing, meaning you can stay connected to your laptop and smartphone at the same time.

Pros
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • 13-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Don't block out any background noise.
  • Leak a lot of audio at high volumes.
4.9 Wireless Gaming

The Shokz Open Run are Bluetooth-only headphones. They're compatible with Bluetooth-enabled PCs, but their latency is too high for gaming.

4.7 Wired Gaming

The Shokz Open Run are Bluetooth-only headphones, and you can't use them wired.

5.9 Phone Calls

The Shokz Open Run are sub-par for phone calls. They have an integrated mic, which does a decent job recording your voice, ensuring that it sounds clear and natural. However, the mic has some trouble separating your voice from moderate ambient noise, so if you're taking a call from a busy street, your voice can be drowned out. Since these headphones don't go into or sit around the ear, they don't block out ambient sound, either. If you're taking a call from a noisy office, you can have a hard time hearing your call well.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Decent recording quality.
Cons
  • Don't block out any background noise.
  • 5.3 Neutral Sound
  • 5.5 Commute/Travel
  • 7.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.7 Office
  • 4.9 Wireless Gaming
  • 4.7 Wired Gaming
  • 5.9 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Feb 21, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Feb 14, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Shokz OpenRun come in four color variants: 'Black', 'Blue', 'Grey', and 'Red'. We tested the 'Grey' variant, and you can see our model's label here. That said, the manufacturer is in the process of rebranding from 'AfterShokz' to 'Shokz'. If you purchase a pair, you may receive a model that still has the original 'AfterShokz' name and logo.

These headphones also come in a mini size, which has a neckband that's about one inch smaller than the original standard model. However, the mini variant is only available in 'Black'. If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review. 

Compared To Other Headphones

The Shokz OpenRun are bone conduction headphones replacing the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. Unlike traditional sports earbuds like the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless, their design doesn't block out any background noise, allowing you to hear ambient sounds around you, whether you're running outdoors or you work in a collaborative office. They're sports-oriented, meaning they're comfortable, well-built, and are rated IP67 for dust and water resistance. However, like the Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction, their sound lacks a lot of bass. Vocals and lead instruments sound very clear, accurate, and detailed, which is great for genres like podcasts and audiobooks.

Check out our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for running and working out, the best headphones for running, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are the upgraded variant of the Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction. While both headphones are comfortable, the Pro come with a better hard case to protect the headphones when you're not using them. They can also reproduce a bit more bass, though it's still likely not enough if you're like thumpy genres like EDM and hip-hop. That said, their companion app offers a couple of EQ presets to help you adjust their sound. The OpenRun have a higher IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.

AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction

The Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction are the next generation of the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. While both are otherwise the same in terms of build quality, comfort, and sound quality, the OpenRun have a quick charge feature, and they support Bluetooth 5.1. The Aeropex come with two charging cables instead of one, and their soft case is better than the OpenRun's drawstring pouch.

AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction

The Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction are slightly better headphones than the AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction. While both headphones are bone conduction headphones with an ear hook design, the OpenRun have longer-lasting continuous battery life, and their mic has a better recording quality. They also support Bluetooth 5.1.

Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless

The Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction and the Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless have different strengths. Both headphones are designed to let you hear ambient sound, but the Shokz have a much more comfortable, stable fit. Their continuous battery life is also significantly longer. On the other hand, if you can get a good fit with the Sony headphones, you may prefer their smaller design. Their companion app also offers more features, like an EQ for sound customization and virtual surround sound.

Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless

Depending on your preferences, you may prefer either the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless or the Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction. The Shokz are bone conduction headphones, and they produce sound via vibrations. They don't cover your ears at all, allowing you to listen to audio while still allowing you to monitor your surroundings if you're running outdoors. They lack thumpy bass but can reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly. However, if you're looking to block out background sounds, the Jaybird are in-ears with active noise cancelling. Although they still struggle to block out background noise, they can cut down ambient chatter. They also feel better built and have a more stable fit. Their companion app allows you to customize their well-balanced sound to your liking.

TOZO T6 Truly Wireless

The TOZO T6 Truly Wireless and the Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction have different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other. The TOZO are budget-friendly in-ears with a more bass-heavy sound profile suitable for genres like EDM and hip-hop, and they're able to block out a good amount of ambient noise passively. However, the Shokz are bone conduction headphones that allow you to monitor your surroundings while listening to audio. They support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them with two devices at the same time, they have a longer continuous battery life, and they're more comfortable.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Bone Conduction
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Bone Conduction

The Shokz OpenRun look identical to the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. They have a band that goes around the back of your head, and the ear hooks help the headphones rest on your cheekbones. They come in four different colors: 'Black', 'Grey', 'Red', and 'Blue'. They also come in a mini version which has a shorter band. However, this variant only comes in 'Black'.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.06 lbs
Clamping Force
0.3 lbs

The Shokz OpenRun are comfortable headphones. Like the Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction, they don't weigh very much, and since they're bone conduction headphones, they don't enter your ear. However, they put a small amount of pressure on the top of your ears, which feels similar to wearing glasses. If you're wearing glasses and these headphones at the same time, it can be uncomfortable.

6.8
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Presets + Voice Assistant

The Shokz Open Run have fair controls. The three buttons are easy to use and are very clicky. On the left side is a multi-function that controls most audio-related playback. The right side has a power plus volume up ('+') button and a volume down button ('-'). There are lots of voice prompts to let you know when you've registered a command. That said, it can be a little tricky to remember the commands for some controls. When not connected to a device, you can press the '+' button to hear the battery life. You can switch EQ modes by holding the '+' and '-' button at the same time while music is playing. You can turn on multi-device pairing by holding the multi-function button and the '+' when in pairing mode until you hear a voice prompt.

Multi-function button:

  • Single press: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers calls.
  • Double press: Skips to the next track when you're listening to audio. If you're pairing the headphones, this switches the language of the voice prompts.
  • Triple press: Skips to the previous track when you're listening to audio.
  • Press and hold: Activates voice assistant when the headphones are on standby mode.

7.0
Design
Portability
L 5.2" (13.1 cm)
W 3.9" (9.8 cm)
H 1.7" (4.3 cm)
Volume 33.69 in³ (552.00 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

The Shokz OpenRun are decently portable. Like the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction, their rigid headband can't fold into a more compact form, which makes it difficult if you want to store them in your pants or jacket pocket. On the upside, they come with a small soft pouch to help protect them when you're on the go.

5.5
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The Shokz OpenRun come with a sub-par pouch. It's a nylon-like material, but it doesn't feel like it can protect the headphones from accidental drops or water damage. Even though it has drawstrings, the pouch doesn't fully close.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Shokz OpenRun have a good build quality. They're mostly a silicone material, making them feel sturdy and solid. Thanks to their IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, they're a solid choice for hard workouts or runs in the park as they're dust-tight and can handle immersion in water. However, the neckband is a bit thin and feels like a weak point.

7.5
Design
Stability

The Shokz Open Run have good stability. Since the headphones hook over your ears, they don't move around much, even during more intense physical movement. There's some space between your head and the neckband, resulting in the band can get caught on clothing like a hood.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Shokz Open Run headphones
  • Soft carrying pouch
  • Proprietary charging cable
  • Elastic band
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-28 dB
Treble Amount
2.9 dB

The Shokz OpenRun use vibration to produce sound and our testing rig can't accurately measure these results. The frequency response graph doesn't portray sound as a human ear hears it. Overall, they have a very flat and neutral sound profile. Vocals and lead instruments sound clear, present, and detailed. However, they can't reproduce thumpy low-bass and so genres like EDM and hip-hop sound flat. If you prefer a different sound, they have two EQ presets built-in: 'Standard', which is their default preset, and 'Vocal Booster', which improves vocal clarity.

Note: Headphones are normally tested at 90dB and 100dB. However, the Shokz OpenRun can't reach these volumes on the dummy head. Even when we use the headphones on our own heads and measure their volume using in-ear microphones, they can't reach 90dB. Their max sound is 85dB, so testing was conducted at 75dB and 85dB. That said, their max volume is still very loud, and it's uncomfortable to use them at this volume as they vibrate a lot, which can numb your cheekbones during long listening sessions.

5.8
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.01 dB

These headphones have sub-par frequency response consistency. They're very prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery due to their bone conduction design. As they're very sensitive to fit and positioning, it's important to take the time to achieve a good fit. These headphones also come in a mini size, which have a smaller neckband. This smaller size can help reduce deviations in audio delivery as the headphones can move around more if you have a small head.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
1.0
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
30.2 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
293.44 Hz
Low-Bass
-47.52 dB
Mid-Bass
-33.91 dB
High-Bass
-11.64 dB

The Shokz OpenRun lack a lot of bass. Since they produce sound using vibrations, they struggle to reproduce a rumbly low-bass. Electronic songs with a thumpy beat like Territory by The Blaze sound thin and lacking in body. That said, there's some high-bass present so that mixes don't totally lack fullness. It won't be enough for more bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop, but it suffices for content like classical or podcasts that don't rely so heavily on this range.

8.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.3 dB
Low-Mid
-0.73 dB
Mid-Mid
0.18 dB
High-Mid
0.04 dB

These headphones have great mid accuracy. Voices sound clear, detailed, and present, which is nice if you like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks. That said, more musical genres sound great too. If you're listening to the second verse of the song Sanctuary by Joji, his voice sounds lush and fairly transparent.

8.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.25 dB
Low-Treble
1.12 dB
Mid-Treble
2.73 dB
High-Treble
-4.32 dB

The Shokz OpenRun have excellent treble accuracy. The upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments are clear, present, and detailed. Sibilants like S and T sounds are a little bright but not sharp.

4.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
3.56 dB
Dips
3.23 dB

The Shokz OpenRun produce sound via vibrations on your bones, and our testing rig can't properly measure their frequency response. That said, as these headphones struggle to reproduce bass, it doesn't seem like there are many peaks and dips in this range. There's a peak in the mid-treble range, though, making sibilants like cymbals piercing.

4.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
3.86
Weighted Phase Mismatch
332.78
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.11
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.74

The Shokz OpenRun are bone conducting headphones, and our testing rig isn't designed to test them. Since they use vibrations to reproduce sound, fit has a major impact on how to perceive their imaging performance. Overall, the L/R drivers seem well-matched in frequency, although the left driver outputs a slightly higher volume than the right. It's not very noticeable with real-life content, though. That said, imaging can vary between units and can indicate a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics.

5.1
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.54 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
-2.03 dB
PRTF Distance
6.82 dB
Openness
9.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.4

Our testing rig can't accurately measure the Shokz OpenRun's passive soundstage. By design, their transducers sit outside and away from your ear. They also produce sound via vibrations that travel along your cheekbones to your inner ear. Their soundstage seems open as a result, but sound seems like it's coming from inside your head rather than from speakers placed in the room around you.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
4.3
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
2.763
WHD @ 100
1.016

These headphones have a poor weighted harmonic distortion performance. At high volumes, they vibrate a lot, which is very uncomfortable and can numb your cheekbones. However, they aren't meant for use at very high volumes as they add background audio to your normal sound environment. It's unlikely that you'll use these headphones at a high volume.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 44.1kHz
EQ
Standard
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Shokz Open Run. Our results only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
0.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-0.64 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
-0.17 dB
Mid
-0.72 dB
Treble
-1.09 dB

The Shokz OpenRun have a bad noise isolation performance. They don't block out any background noise as they don't cover or enter your ear at all. This design can be helpful if you want to stay aware of your surroundings while you're exercising outside. That said, they don't cut down any of the low rumble of bus engines, ambient chatter, or the high-pitched hum of AC units.

6.2
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
43.93 dB

The Shokz Open Run have a mediocre leakage performance. They leak a lot of audio at high volumes, which can disturb others around you, even if you're listening to audio in a moderately noisy environment.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
7.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
302.04 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.22 dB
HFE
3,225.4 Hz
Weighted THD
0.053
Gain
7.04 dB

When connected to a PC, these headphones' integrated mic has a decent recording quality. Your voice sounds clear and natural, although lacking in body. The mic's recording quality when you're connected via your phone is also quite similar in performance.

6.3
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
18.56 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
6.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
6.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The integrated mic has a mediocre noise handling performance. When connected to a PC, your voice can be drowned out by moderate background noise coming from a busy street. If you're using your phone, they do a similarly okay job of separating your voice from pink noise. While the mic does a marginally better job of separating your voice from subway noise when using your phone, it's still difficult to hear your voice clearly if surrounded by loud noise.

Active Features
7.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
13 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
13 hrs
Charge Time
1.2 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port Proprietary

The Shokz OpenRun have a decent battery performance. The manufacturer advertises them as having eight hours of playtime, and we measured roughly 13 hours. This aligns with other Shokz (Aftershokz) headphones that we've tested. Unlike the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction, they have a quick charge feature, which can help replenish their battery when you're pressed on time. They also have a standby mode that helps conserve battery life when you're not using them. That said, they use a proprietary charging cable, so if you lose or misplace it, you'll need to purchase a new one to recharge them again.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
8.4
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.1
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
263.45 ft (80.30 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
229 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
58 ms
Android Latency
118 ms

These headphones have great Bluetooth connectivity. They support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them to your smartphone and laptop at the same time. They also have low latency on iOS and Android devices, ensuring that your audio and visuals stay in sync when streaming video. That said, they have higher latency on PCs, so they're not recommended for streaming video or playing video games on this device. Some apps and devices compensate for latency, though.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

These are Bluetooth-only headphones, and you can't use them wired. They come with a proprietary charging cable.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The Shokz OpenRun can connect to Bluetooth-enabled PCs with full audio and visual compatibility. However, you can't connect them to your PC in any other way.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

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