By Adam Drake
Looking down at the torn and frayed remains of my headphone wire, I knew it was time for a change. Having rolled over this wire, along with my past five headphone wires, while on the ergometer at rowing practice, I needed to lose the wires altogether.
With my attention now focused squarely on the merits (and slight price increases) of Bluetooth headphones, I’ve found 5 headsets that are perfect for an active lifestyle.
iKross? What the hell is iKross? Is this the crap they sell at dollar stores? And that price? Are you kidding me? There’s no way they actually work and produce listenable audio, right? The fact is: this Bluetooth headset is fantastic. I recently ran a half marathon, in the rain, and these kept me entertained the entire way. Easy to pair with your device, easy to charge, and easy to use, this is the Bluetooth headset you’ve been looking for. And, truthfully, you can’t beat that price. My only negative is they don’t always stick in your ears. I blame this on my abnormally large-sized head pushing the sides of the headset outward. But those of you with normal craniums will no-doubt dig these.
The Jabra Sport Pulse earbuds won’t fall out of your ears. In fact, they’ve used guidelines set forth by the US military to ensure these bad boys will stay inside your ears no matter what kind of exercise … or combat … you throw at them. As an added bonus, they include a heart rate monitor to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout. Small and compact, but producing distinctive full spectrum sound, the Jabra Sport Pulse earbuds will fold up nicely into your pocket. If you’re looking to do some intense training or you’re running a Spartan or Tough Mudder and don’t care about spending a few extra dollars, these are the earbuds for you.
That moment when you’re in the gym and Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” comes on … again … for the third time that hour. That’s when you’ll want these. Nothing against Miss Swift, but what sets the BTS apart from the rest is the inclusion of noise cancelling hardware. So while you’re wirelessly working out, you can avoid the grunts and snorts from your fellow gym members, as the BTS sends whatever music you’ve actually selected into your ear canal. While the BTS is light and portable, the form factor makes it a bit too much for running or highly active training. But for general gym or studio use, these are great.
Every person I spoke with about this article recommended JayBird. I hadn’t heard of the company before, but apparently they’re the current king of wireless headsets. I took a pair out for an intense row, subjecting them to saltwater, sweat, thrashing, and whatever crap music was blasting through my iPod at that moment. I have to say: I was incredibly impressed. These sound awesome, and the voice prompts help you to keep track of where you are in a playlist, so you’re not constantly looking down at your device. They seemed sturdy, and I feel like I could have subjected them to much worse before they showed any sign of failure.
These are about as middle of the road as you can get. When comparing all the headsets we’ve mentioned, the Plantronics are the most discreet. Sleek and sexy, these would turn heads if they were actually large enough to see. Like most small earbuds, these suffer from a lack of real bass. You won’t get the low end thumps and bumps that larger earbuds will give you. The real surprise was how well they fit in my ears. I was expecting them to fall out easily, but the rubber adapters helped me customize them to find the perfect fit.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.