I have to admit I am not a big fan of ‘in ear’ headphones. More often than not they fall out without any prompting meaning I spend most of my time either forcing them in or holding them in place which rather defeats the object.
So I am a confirmed ‘over ear’ man. I like looking like a DJ when my iPod starts serving up feasts and I KNOW they won’t fall out/off.
So when I was asked to test Kitsound’s Outrun Evolution Bluetooth Headphones I cannot say I was hopeful of finding anything sincere to say on the positive side.
But I decided to put them through a couple of 10km runs to see if they passed the ‘Lawford ears’ test. One an ‘outrun’ at sedate pace and one on a treadmill where I can adjust the speed.
Now for the second admission: I have not worn headphones for running since 1997 when training for a marathon. I was running 20 miles on Sundays and wanted some accompaniment and bought a discman.
Two miles into the run with the CD skipping and jumping like a month-old lamb I realised I had made the wrong choice and ended up carrying the detestable object.
Since then silent running has been the order of the day…
I was immediately hopeful that the Outrun Evolution phones would solve the ‘popping out’ problem when I saw them: A ‘hook’ that helps hold the buds in place. This was a good start . That and the fact they looked good too and came with a rather nice case, on-arm waterproof sleeve for iPod/phone and a selection of earbud sizes.
Once they were charged I was ready to hit the road, pounding the streets of Crawley with only Pink Floyd to keep me company. ‘Atom Heart Mother’ to be precise because it lasts 52 minutes which I estimated would be how long it would take me to run that distance.
I tried the various earpieces to see if they made a difference and one should not be too shocked to discover they did.
So, armed with only 2017 headphones and a 1970 rock masterpiece I set out to test the Outruns good and proper. Would they deliver all the little nuances messrs Gilmour and Waters wanted me to experience 47 years ago?
One for the road
One thing I forgot to check before I started was whether they were waterproof. Just 10 minutes in, the rain started, and me without a hood.
Never mind. Turns out they are both water and sweat resistant which is just as well because it became a downpour by the time I was halfway.
They are wonderfully light at just 16g and easy to wear. Apart from a sharp head jerk when I heard a lorry approaching behind me going up the A23 hill just as the footpath ended (another reason I prefer not listening to music when I run) the phones remained comfortable and in place.
But what about the sound? I can happily report that the deluge did not have an adverse effect. Easily adjustable while running I was able to increase the volume once on the move and I am convinced even the musicians themselves would have been happy with the quality of music on offer even if they have since written off the album as poor by their standards.
The only thing I noticed was the occasional nanosecond cutout when turning my head scanning for traffic.
Not run of the mill
The following day I decided to put the Outruns through the treadmill test. Having managed to outlast Pink Floyd by around a minute on the road it was time to up the ante and get 10km done a bit quicker.
The only thing I have in common with Mo Farah is that I sweat off his weight when running at pace. So in the packed, humid gym with the sun streaming through the huge windows, I knew I would test the moisture resistance feature to its fullest capacity.
So it proved. Running much quicker than the previous day, I gave the headphones a run for their money. They did not slip or pop out and despite an invisible broken pipe sending a torrent of water pouring down my head, the Outruns stayed ahead at all times.
I might not be ready to wear earphones when running on roads because I like to listen out for hazards but on the conveyor belt they proved to be a huge advantage.
In fact, I was finished with Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast long before he was as I got into the ‘groove’.
If you want to combine revolution with evolution then Kitsound’s Outrun earphones are perfect.
You barely know you are wearing them, they stay in the ear because of the fastener and unlike other wireless phones I have tried in the past (not for running) the sound quality is excellent. No tinniness here just over ear sound at its best.
And if, like me, you are going to spend time on a treadmill trying to keep fit, it’s far better to do so with music in the background rather than the whirr of all the other running machines, the panting of fellow runners and the loud clanking of dumbells and barbells as the weights crowd measure themselves against kilograms not kilometres.
Did I mention you can also make and take phone calls with them? More details of that on the blurb below…