Shokz’ OpenFit Air earbuds are my favorite sports-focused open-ear buds yet

Shokz’ OpenFit Air earbuds are my favorite sports-focused open-ear buds yet

Yogis, runners, swimmers, assemble! Shokz has just launched two new sets of headphones and you need to know about them. Why? Well, I attended the launch event and the Shokz OpenFit Air are my favorite open-ear earbuds yet. 

So let’s kick off with those – although if you want to learn about the new OpenSwim Pro bone conduction headphones (which now support Bluetooth 5.4 and MP3 capability) scroll on down. 

The OpenFit Air are true wireless open-ear earbuds that, as you might expect, build on the Shokz OpenFit launched in August 2023. However, the fit is now greatly improved – Shokz has worked hard on finessing and shaving any excess bulk from its ergonomic ear hook, cavity design and teardrop-shaped cross-section – and for me, it’s time remarkably well spent. 

The underside (the bit that touches your ear) of the earbud is now covered in silky-soft silicone finish. When worn correctly, you may actually think you’re wearing them incorrectly, since the 18 x 11mm composite dynamic driver doesn’t feel particularly close to your ear at all – and that’s the whole point. 

At the London UK launch event, I plucked them from their tactile, pocketable case, slipped them over my shell-likes and nothing tugged; nothing irritated or felt in any way out of place. In fact, I was barely aware of their presence at all. 

This is much more comfortable than any open ear design I’ve tried before  (Image credit: Future)

You might expect the downside of all of this lightness, including a 0.75mm flexible Nickel-Titanium memory alloy construction, would be security. Perhaps they’d be flimsy or easy to dislodge as soon as I started moving around? Not at all – and I know this because I attended a private yoga class wearing them. Now, even if I do say so myself, I’m a bit bendy. 

The instructor put me through my paces for 30 minutes. All the while, I could hear both her instruction and the New Order album I’d chosen to stream, and I never had to touch my ear to readjust the OpenFit Air once. 

The new millennial pink colorway (in addition to the more traditional black and white finishes) is also a hit, since on me it makes it harder to detect I’m even wearing headphones in class – something that can make instructors wary, and we should be mindful of this (we need to hear their instruction, after all).

Shokz OpenFit Air three screengrabs from the Shokz app

The Shokz app is intuitive and clean (Image credit: Shokz)

The OpenFit Air earbuds don’t deliver sound via bone conduction, as the Shokz OpenRun Pro do; Shokz uses its proprietary DirectPitch technology with OpenBass low-frequency enhancement algorithm here and for me, it’s some of the best audio I’ve heard from such a design. The anticipated compromise, when it comes to designs that neither fully cover nor invade your ear canal, tends to be in bass weight and impact. 

This isn’t a full review of the Shokz OpenFit Air, you understand, but I felt the sonic presentation was remarkably immersive during my few hours wearing them – especially since voices around me were still clear. 

TechRadar's Becky Scarrott wearing Shokz OpenFit Air

I barely noticed I was wearing them after a few minutes (Image credit: Future)

Battery life is a claimed six hours (or a total of 28 hours with the case), and an IP54 rating means they’ll survive even the sweatiest of spin classes. Four mics means call-handling should be a breeze. In addition, you get four EQ presets in the useful app (Standard, Vocal, Bass boost or Treble Boost), multipoint pairing and the option to tweak what the on-ear controls do. For me, double tapping the left bud to pause music, the right to skip tracks and a long press of either to handle volume works a treat throughout my day. 

Pricing? of course. The Shokz OpenFit Air are available from today (June 5) in black, white, and my pink set, priced £119 (which is around $150 or AU$229). 

OpenSwim Pro – now with Bluetooth 5.4

Shokz OpenSwim Pro worn by a simmer, underwater

(Image credit: Shokz)

Shokz’ second set of just-released sports-focused headphones are called the OpenSwim Pro (thus superseding the 2022 Shokz OpenSwim), and this is more traditional territory for Shokz – if headphones that dish up sound not via your eardrums but as vibrations picked up by your cheekbones can be considered ‘traditional’. These are IP68 waterproof bone conduction headphones that sit comfortably around the back of your head. To clarify, that IP68 rating means they can be submerged in up to two meters of water for up to two hours – which would be a serious swim for anyone. 

Again, there’s a Nickel-Titanium alloy frame covered in a soft silicone material, but this time you get Shokz’ PremiumPitch 2.0+ tech handling the audio chops and – a first for Shokz – they support Bluetooth 5.4 streaming and MP3 storage and playback (32GB, which is around 8,000 songs). Switching from MP3 playback to Bluetooth streaming can be done with the press of a button, either on the headphones or in the Shokz app.

The OpenSwim Pro have two EQ profiles (Standard or Vocal) plus four built-in mics with echo cancellation, multipoint to two devices simultaneously and a claimed nine hours of stamina. 

The Shokz OpenSwim Pro are available now, priced £169 (so around $215 or AU$325.

How do they sound? That is coming, because I could only wear one set at once – but watch this space. Are they set to become some of the best bone conduction headphones (or indeed some of the best waterproof headphones) we’ve had the pleasure of taking a dip with? Time will tell. 

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