I love listening to music, audiobooks or podcasts (like Spawned of course!) when I’m outside. But there are so many times it’s not really safe for us to completely tune out our surroundings, like when I’m running alone at 6 AM, or should I be pushing a stroller down a busy sidewalk, I’ve been looking for a pair of open ear headphones like Shokz new OpenRun Pro, and it turns out they’re great for those of us who need to be clued in to what’s happening around us.

Because they don’t block out your surroundings, we can hear cars coming down the road, a person walking up quickly behind us…or our kids shouting “mom, mom, MOM!” from the top of the jungle gym.

After trying out a pair, here’s what I can tell you about them.

Related: In defense of teens with headphones

All of Shokz headphones are different from my son’s over-the-ear gaming headsets or my own in-ear Airpods in that they don’t cover your ears at all. Instead, the wireless headphones loop over the top of the ear and rest lightly against the cheekbone.

There’s no little speaker projecting sound directly into your ear; rather Shokz uses bone conduction technology, which sends sound vibrations to your inner ear, so your brain deciphers the waves as sound.

Cool, isn’t it?

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Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones now come in black and blue

This same bone conduction technology is basically how Beethoven was able to “hear” his piano to compose symphonies, and is now even being used to allow people with hearing impairments the chance to listen to music — or movies or podcasts or books —  for the first times in their lives.

I mean, that’s just so amazing.

For the rest of us though, it allows us to hear our own music or audio, right along with those ambient noises around us as we walk, run, or even cycle.

Related: Getting in shape in 2021? Our review of the Supernatural VR exercise app on Oculus

All of Shokz headphones utilize this bone-conduction technology, though their new OpenRun Pro headphones are their most advanced model, with clear, high-quality sound and an ultra lightweight design.

I also appreciate that their fast-charge cable gives the headphones about 90 minutes of playtime with just five minutes of charging time —  perfect when I’m trying to dash out the door for a run, bike ride, or stroll.

While the ability to hear my surroundings is the key benefit for me, the OpenRun Pro headphones have a built-in microphone that’s proving to be clutch for those times my kids call me 20 minutes into my run and I don’t want to break my stride. A simple touch of a button, and I can answer all their burning questions, like “do we have more bread?”  And they can be sure my exasperated reply comes through loud and clear.

Thank you to Shokz for sending us a pair of OpenRun Pro headphones for editorial consideration. You can see the entire line of All of Shokz headphones on Amazon. And with the warmer weather coming, be sure to check out the fully waterproof OpenSwim headphones, on their website.