Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones Review: Lightweight and long-lasting

Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones (Image: Alex Kidman)

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are a premium set of runner’s headphones with great battery life and durability at a premium price.




Pros Cons
Comfortable for running Headphones plus case is quite bulky
Exceptional battery life Custom charging cable
Open design means you’re always aware of your surroundings Comparatively expensive

Score: 3.5/5


Buy The Shokz OpenRun Pro! Buy On Amazon

The Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones are actually an older set than the OpenFit headphones I’ve already reviewed, but they’re also slightly more premium in some important ways.

So when Shockz contacted me asking if I’d want to review them, it was time (once again) to get my running shoes on.

I’ll admit, I had my reservations here, not so much around audio per se – the OpenFit showed me just how well Shokz can make a set of bone conduction headphones sound – but around comfort, because I’ve always found the classical design of fitness headphones that loop around the back of your head somewhat uncomfortable.

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are the first pair that I’ve actually found comfortable and preferable. They’re not inexpensive, and they’re going to be a little more bulky for travel purposes if that matters to you – but they are very good.

Also read:
Shokz OpenFit Headphones Review

In this review

Shokz OpenRun Pro Specifications
Shokz OpenRun Pro Design
Shokz OpenRun Pro Installation
Shokz OpenRun Pro Performance
Shokz OpenRun Pro Battery
Shokz OpenRun Pro Conclusion


Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones (Image: Alex Kidman)

Most “fitness” headphones that don’t opt for an individual bud or earpiece design tend to use a rear of head loop to connect both speakers.

This is exactly what the Shokz OpenRun Pro do, but the critical difference here is that instead of using a an easily slack cable, it’s instead a thin but (hopefully durable) titanium loop that retains most of its shape most of the time.

Why does that matter? Well, comfort is relative, but I find as a man with no hair that the slack cable approach means that whenever I run, the cable flaps against the back of my head, which is seriously irritating and distracting. The stiff cable approach of the Shokz OpenRun Pro avoids most of this problem.

The reality, as I’ve found over a number of runs, is that every once in a while, it will bounce ever so slightly against the back of my skull, but not with a weight that’s problematic or distracting, even on very hot days where my skin’s feeling sweaty and super-sensitive. It’s a big plus for a set of runner’s headphones.

The Shokz OpenFit headphones used capacitive touch controls that I absolutely hated, but there’s no sign of those on the Shokz OpenRun Pro. Instead you get a play/pause/calls button on the left earpiece, while the right frame houses combined power and volume up/down buttons. These are technically multifunction buttons as well (more on that later), but in design terms having physical buttons is genuinely a plus, I find.

The stiffer band on the Shokz OpenRun Pro necessitates a larger case, because you can’t exactly wrap up that cable the way you could with a standard pair.

In the box there’s a cheese wedge shaped case (or maybe it’s a doorstop?) that does a good job of protecting the headphones – and you’d want that at this price – but it does strike me that it’s not going to be the best or easiest case to carry around with you if you like to get sporty while travelling.


Shokz App

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are standard Bluetooth headphones, with pairing initiated on first power-up, or by a long press on the power button. This is far and away my favourite way to start pairing – and multi-pairing is supported – and it’s worked well across a number of devices I’ve tested with.

Shokz also has its own app for iOS and Android platforms, but I’m somewhat less impressed with that when it comes to the Shokz OpenRun Pro. It does allow for firmware updates down the track, which obviously has some appeal, but it’s otherwise rather bare-bones.

You can use the app to switch between vocal and music equalisation modes, but that’s something you can also do with the multifunction capability of the onboard buttons anyway.

Other that that, there’s not much to the Shokz app, besides noting that they were very slow to update the battery status of the headphones, sitting resolutely at 100% for some hours of usage, which suggests that the app isn’t tracking battery status particularly well.


Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones (Image: Of Alex Kidman, not By Alex Kidman)
To be clear, I am unhappy here with my legs, not the OpenRun Pro headphones.
Image: Not Alex Kidman, because he's in the shot.

Like the Shokz OpenFit, the Shokz OpenRun Pro use an open bone conduction microphone that sits outside of your ear, unlike any other buds-style setup you may have used for running in the past.

The benefit here is that you lose no awareness of your surrounding environment, so you can pause before crossing the road rather than being flattened by that garbage truck that might just splatter you if you were in total audio isolation.

As always with this approach, the potential downside is that this precise lack of isolation has an effect on audio output. It’s an inevitability, because sitting outside of your ears means that you don’t and can’t get quite the same audio impact that you would from a good pair of noise isolating and cancelling interior earbuds.

However, this is something that Shokz handles very well indeed, with audio that’s still very good, at least on the standard equalisation setting. I get that the vocal equalisation setting is meant for podcasts or lectures or other spoken word content, but to my ear it’s way too far on the treble side of the equation to be particularly enjoyable.

The standard setting doesn’t quite have the same full bass impact that an in-ear set would have, but I had no troubles making out my music while I pounded the pavement in test after test after test.

The open ear approach of the Shokz OpenRun Pro does mean that a little audio leakage is inevitable, though it’s on the lighter side. Even at full volume, people nearby merely commented that they could hear a little background sound, but it wasn’t even particularly clear if it was coming from me or not. I made it just fine through a 5km parkrun amongst 250+ competitors with no comments, even amongst folks who run with phones on full blast, let alone using headphones!

It does take some time to get the muscle memory down for the physical controls on the headphones. I’m not a big fan of the way that the volume controls beep for every single press, though I guess it does make it much clearer that they’re actually responding.

It’s also theoretically possible to use the left hand button and volume buttons for various multifunction settings with double tap and long tap usage, though you 100% would not want to be trying to do this while running – trust me, I tried and it’s nearly impossible.

The integrated microphones are fair for call pickup, but not exceptional. Switching to the Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones during a call, respondents noted that they could tell I was on Bluetooth, because I had that classic "standing far away" sound that you often get with this approach. It works, but it's certainly less than ideal audio.


Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones (Image: Alex Kidman)

The Shokz OpenRun Pro promise battery life of up to 10 hours, which is seriously impressive given just how light they are… and especially so because they actually do live up to that claim.

No, I didn’t go on a 10 hour run, because I would die, but a straight listening test at my desk over 10 hours saw them hit that level before finally conking out.

They support fast charging too, with a 5 minute charge able to give you over an a hour’s emergency listening if you have been lazy in keeping them charged.

That’s great, but what’s less great is the way that they do recharge. The Shokz OpenRun Pro uses a custom cable that’s USB-A on one end and magnetically clasped on the other. This is not an approach I favour, simply because if you lose or break the cable, it’s a pain to replace.

Shokz do sell replacement cables at $24 a pop, but at the time of writing the Australian store is out of stock – and further down the track if they stop making the cables, you’d be totally out of luck once the Shokz OpenRun Pro run flat.

It may have been harder to implement USB-C charging while keeping the Shokz OpenRun Pro’s IP55 rating, but I wish they’d done just that.

Shokz OpenRun Pro: Alex’s Verdict

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are a really good set of genuinely light and comfortable runner’s headphones at a premium price point. They’re still an expensive option, mind you, retailing in Australia for $269 outright.

That price point may give you pause for thought, but if you can meet it, you’ll get a top quality set of headphones that help with keeping you alert while you’re out and about getting fit.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some running to do…

Shokz OpenRun Pro: Pricing and availability

The Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones retail in Australia for $269.

Buy The Shokz OpenRun Pro! Buy On Amazon

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