If you have tried to do the slightest amount of physical activity while wearing earbuds you have probably endured the endless fight to keep them in place. The nature of traditional earbuds make it hard to achieve a secure fit, especially when wires are free to snag on loose clothing as you move. The most common solution are “sport” designs with plastic loops to wrap around your ears and sometimes even the neck. This is the easy fix solution, but it doesn’t help to solve the actual problem. The bulkier design of behind the ear designs are typically less comfortable and more obtrusive than earbuds are intended to be.
Soul Electronics set out to solve this with their Run Free Pro wireless earbuds. To pull it off Soul ditched the ear wrap design and provides you instead with multiple means of customization. These choices tackle the biggest hurdle most earbuds face, a proper fit. Your ears are different than mine, your co-workers, or your child’s, so naturally you wouldn’t expect the perfect fit for all to be equal.
The first choice you will make when you open the Run Free Pro box is which size ear tip best suits your particular ear. These come, not surprisingly, in small, medium, or large. It would be a mistake to assume your ear tip size based on your body size. Whether you are short, average, or tall in stature, these measures don’t correlate with ear size. Be sure to try out each at the start to find your perfect fit.
Interchangeable ear tips are hardly groundbreaking in the earbud world, but when combined with the Run Free Pro’s interchangeable ear locks it makes for a killer combination. The ear locks are a proprietary design by Soul that hook to the side of the earbud and protrude outward against your outer ear. The combination of inner and outer ear customization leaves you feeling like these earbuds were tailored specifically for you.
I found the large ear tip and small ear lock the most comfortable and secure combination. Running is my primary exercise, and the earbuds held up without a hitch. However, “Run Free” is in the name, so the real test would was to see how they held up under more intensive conditions. I chose the “Tennis Test”. The sudden start and stop sprints, swift directional movements, and swinging arms were sure to test these earbuds to their limits. After a few minutes it became clear they were going to pass the test. The ear tips stayed firmly in place and never showed signs of coming loose. Loosening ear tips are the most annoying nuisance I’ve found with “active” earbuds, once the seal is broken it becomes audibly apparent and you must stop and readjust.
It would be naive to design sport headphones without expecting contact with sweat, but rest assured that sweat won’t damage these! Soul will replace any Run Free Pro’s free of charge with a promised “sweat-proof guarantee”. In fact they are so water resistant you can clean them with a light rinse in the sink.
If you have owned a pair of bluetooth headphones in the past you may have fallen victim to weak internal bluetooth transmitters. Manufacturers occasionally cheapen out on the bluetooth hardware, even in expensive pairs. The result is inconsistent connections that can become difficult to sync. Thankfully Soul Electronics are not one of these companies. The Run Free Pro headphones feature Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity which bring a higher data transfer rate and vastly superior energy consumption improvements compared to Bluetooth 3.0. The improved energy consumption complements the Run Free Pro’s rechargeable internal battery to provide a whopping 8 hour battery life.
For all the customization featured in the Run Free Pros I am surprised by the lack of color choices. Storm Black and Electric Blue are the only two. Worthy colors if there has to be just two, but with the interchangeable outer ear pieces already in play there is lost potential for even more customizability.
The Soul Electronics Run Free Pro wireless bluetooth earphones are a great choice if you like to listen to music in more adventurous environments than the coach. The sound quality is indistinguishable compared to wired rivals and the fit is comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time. At $129 the price is enough to let you know there is quality is behind the product, but not so much that it breaks the bank. If you are looking for the best earphones for the gym the Run Free Pros should be on your radar.
Check out this Run Free Pro video for more: