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Headphones are a divisive topic on the trails. We all know how it feels to have to creep up on someone so engrossed in a podcast or song or that by the time they hear us saying, “on your left,” we’re practically whispering it like a sweet nothing into their ear. That being said, I also can’t tell you the number of times that the epic drums of Toto’s Africa have brought me back to some degree of lucidity on long runs. There are also a number of new running-synchronized apps and programs, like in-ear coaching, that some may find helpful while on the trail.
The JBL Endurance RUN Headphones strike a prime balance. They have a magnetic backing on the actual speakers so you can easily clip them around your neck and forget about them at the beginning of the trail while hurdling the crowds. They’re equally easy to put on when you get deeper into the woods and people become more of a novelty than an irritation.
The cord can hang normally, down the front of the torso or can be used as a fliphook over the top of the ear if your phone is in your rear pocket. The changeable earbuds come in three sizes to ensure a snug fit. And for those that find themselves drenched at the end of a run, the JBL Endurance RUN headphones are sweat-proof.
One bummer is the mid-chord button that, on most headphones, controls the volume, only serves to pause and play. However, there is a built-in microphone and the button can answer calls.
The arched headphone jack adds durability to this delicate part of the headphones as it allows you to fit your phone or device into pockets more easily without worrying about stressing the cord over time.
For a low-price set of headphones, the sound quality is surprisingly robust—keep that in mind as they tend to drown out any external sounds. With the new release of Africa, by Weezer, it’s a great time to put these in.
—Tim Nooney runs 60 miles per week, typically with a new piece of gear that Trail Runner makes him take along and review.