For many runners, music is an indispensable companion during their exercises. However, most of the audio solution for running comes with different kinds of imperfections. In this article, we will explore headband headphones for running - a new kind of audio solution that may solve every pain point during your running, no matter it is a daily casual jogging in a park, or a professional road running.
What are headband headphones
As the name suggested, headband headphones are headphones in a headband design. Traditionally, full size headphones comes will two earcups containing two speaker units, and a band connecting the two earcups while fixing the whole headphones on your head. Headband headphones, on the other hand, turns the whole headphones into a headband, the kind of accessory that people wear on head, and then it attaches the speaker units to the left and right sides of the headband. There are both pros and cons for this kind of design, but before we go into details, let’s look at the problems we may encounter during running when using headphones
Problems with headphones during running
One of the most common problem for running with headphones or earphones is that they will fall off your ears as you run. Nowadays most earphones are in wireless design, which means they don’t attach to your phone with cable, and only attach to your head or ears with different kinds of ergonomic design. Depend on the way the earphones designed, some earphones are not easy to fall than others, but since they are not closely fixed to user’s ears or head, there still might be a chance for them to fall, no matter how big or small the chance is.
When running outdoors, you are not the only road user - there are other people or animal, bikers, skateboarders, or car drivers. Most of the time, they will avoid you when you are running in the front, and you can hear them and react accordingly when you don’t wearing earphones. But with earphones on, most of the sound from outside, including shouting, footsteps, or horn sound from other road users that can be used to warn yourself will be blocked, which increase the chance of encountering danger.
When you run for a period of time, you’ll sweat, and for earphones that are not waterproof, your sweat may damage the earphones over time. Fortunately, nowadays many earphones come with waterproof features, so your earphones should be working fine if they have waterproof feature. But the waterproof feature only protect the earphones themselves, and if your earphones do not have a good way to attach to your ears, your sweat will increase the chance of them to fall.
The earphones added extra weight to your head or your ears, so depend on the way it design and the weight of the earphones, the user will receive different levels of discomfort. And for users with smaller ears, inserting earbuds into ears is painful, especially during running.
For some runners, wearing headphones can be uncomfortable and distracting. The feeling of having something inserted into or covering their ears can be bothersome and may cause discomfort or pain. This can be especially true for runners who have sensitive ears or who are not used to wearing headphones. Additionally, the presence of headphones can be distracting, as the runner may become overly focused on adjusting or repositioning the headphones during their run. This can take their attention away from their form or surroundings, increasing the risk of accidents or injury.
Benefits of headband headphones
When it comes to stability, headband is one of the most stable accessory you wear. They are firmly attached to your head, and are worn in many intensive sports, including soccer, basketball, volleyball etc. And like standard headband, headband headphones will be stably fixed on your head, no matter how intensive your running is. This is especially important if you’re running on uneven terrain or doing other activities that require a lot of movement.
Safe for running
Headband headphones that come with open-ear design solve the problem that runners can hardly hear ambient sound when wearing headphones. Open-ear design means you don’t have to cover your ears like traditional headphones, so that you can still hear what’s going on around you, and help you avoid dangers.
Headband headphones are designed to be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, so you can wear them throughout your entire run without experiencing discomfort. Some headband headphones are adjustable, so you can find the perfect fit for your head.
Many headband headphones are designed to be sweat-resistant, which means they won’t get damaged by your sweat during your workout. This is especially important if you’re someone who sweats a lot during exercise. In addition, one of the advantages of using headband headphones for running is that by nature the headband design will block sweat from falling into your eyes and blur your vision, so if you have sweat problem, you may want headband headphones that can block sweat from falling.
Types of Headband Headphones
Headband headphones for sleeping
This is a very common type of headband headphones. As the name suggested, this type of headband headphones are for sleeping purpose, and the headband will cover both ears to block external noise during sleeping. Some people like the stability of the headband design, and will use these headphones for running too. But while this kind of design is good for sleeping, it also block environmental sound, so the users will still suffer from most of the problem we mentioned above.
Bone conduction headphones
Unlike traditional headphones that transmit sound via air, some brands use bone conduction technology to transmit sound via user’s bone. This type of headphones are usually in a half closed headband style, and since they transmit sound via bone, they will not cover users’ ears, which means they are in open-ear design. The main problems of bone conduction headphones include the sound distortion due to the fact that it is transmitted via a different type of medium than air, heavy sound leakage, and the discomfort caused by the vibration.
Directional Sound Headband Headphones
This is a new type of open-ear headband headphones developed by HAKII, which makes use of the latest directional sound technology. Like traditional headphones, the directional sound headband headphones transmit sound via air, however, the sound transmitted from this kind of headphones will be sent to user’s ears directly, instead of broadcasting to surrounding, so that the sound leakage will be minimized. And since the sound are transmitted via air like other normal sound sources, the directional sound headband headphones will not create any sound distortion.
Factors to Consider
Transparent hearing / Open-ear
To hear from external sound sources during running, choose a headband headphones that provide transparent hearing, or open-ear features, which do not cover your ears. Headband headphones that cover your ears will block most of the sound, thus less safe than transparent hearing or open-ear headphones during running.
While headband headphones provide many benefits, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the sound leakage. Almost every headphones nowadays has different degree of sound leakage, but for open-ear headphones that don’t cover ears, the sound leakage may be more noticeable. Fortunately, some brand like HAKII managed to minimize the sound leakage to an acceptable level using directional sound technology, so that others must be very close to the user to hear the sound from the headphones.
When it comes to headphones, sound quality should be one of the most important factors to consider. You'll want headphones that can deliver clear and balanced sound, with good bass and treble response. This will help you stay motivated and focused during your runs. Generally speaking, bone conduction headphones that come with sound distortion do not perform as good as air conduction headphones like directional sound headband headphones, but there are other factors that affect audio performance, including fine-tuning, algorithm, size and quality of speaker units, personal preference etc. You may want to choose from brands that allow try on, or offer risk free trial program to try the headphones with your own ears.
Last but not least, you'll want headphones that feel comfortable and secure on your head and ears, without causing any discomfort or pain over time. Look for headphones that have adjustable headbands, as well as soft and lightweight materials that won't weigh you down or cause irritation. Also, consider headphones that have intuitive controls and easy pairing options, as these can help you focus on your running and avoid distractions.
Tips for Using Headband Headphones
Choose the right size
Make sure to select headphones that fit securely on your head without being too tight or too loose. This will help prevent them from slipping or falling off during your runs. Some headband headphones come with adjustable headbands and earpieces, so take the time to customize the fit to your liking. This will help you find the most comfortable and secure position for your headphones.
Wear them properly
Make sure to wear the headphones in the correct way. This will help ensure optimal sound quality and comfort. Different headphones have different ways to wear, so please refer to the product manual to find the best way to wear.
Keep them clean and dry
After each use, wipe the headphones with a soft cloth or towel to remove any sweat or dirt, and let them air dry completely before storing them. This will help prolong their lifespan and hygiene, as well as prevent any damage or malfunction caused by moisture.
Be aware of your surroundings
While headphones can enhance your running experience, they can also pose a safety hazard if you're not aware of your surroundings. Be sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level, and consider using headphones that have transparency features that allow you to hear ambient sounds.
Running with headphones may cause some problem, but the secure way of wearing, transparent hearing, sweat blockage, and the comfortable wearing experience make using headband headphones for running an ideal solution for those who like to run while enjoying music. However, not all headband headphones are suitable for running, to enjoy the benefits of headband headphones, make sure to choose one that is designed for running.