Jogging is toil. Jogging is pain. Jogging is, ultimately, failure. You’re either outdoors in the rain dodging prams and traffic, or in the gym looking at your starkly-lit face in the mirror as you run in place. Time passes. Sweat falls. You go nowhere. Enjoy that runner’s high, because tomorrow it’s back to the cubicle, to the grind, where your juiced calves will remain hidden under formica desks and H&M trousers.
The singular joy anyone can glean from exercise, besides you self-flagellators out there, is the chance to bask in some saccharine pop hits before a night of hateful kelp smoothies and caffeine-induced nightmares. To run without music is to deny yourself an escape from lactic defeat. With the right tunes you can transport that gaunt, bouncing face in the wall-high mirror into a fantasy of 120 BPM club hits. One minute its slamming synth and gabba slabs for your high-kicking warm-up, the next you’re chomping down some shred and thrash for the disgusting copper-breathed hill climb home.
With a bit of imagination, music can turn the suffering of exercise into something semi-tolerable.
Earphones are important, then. I was recently sent a pair of swish Sol Republic Relays Sport earphones to review. They’re wireless, they’re comfy and the bass balance is sweet. They’re bright green (though they also come in blue and black varieties) and dangle from my ears like bob-along Pat Butchers, but they excel at getting the job done.
Feature priorities change a little when you start looking for a decent pair of exercise headphones. First of all, you don’t want to be worrying about the earphones staying in while you’re going for that deep squat record. You want to be busting glutes, not buds. On this front the Relays are a comfortable fit. They come with a wide selection of earbud sizes for the diminutive and gaping of earhole, and in my entire time running in them they didn’t budge. The running feel is a little strange at first, however. The volume control dangles from the earphone wire an inch or so below the bud and swings pendulously, though not enough to get in the way. A few minutes into the first use is enough to get used to the reassuring weight of them, and the neckband design, which threads behind your head, reduces any wire-related ag.
The build quality is good, though the volume control can be fiddly to use on the go. I found it best to set the headset at max before setting off and then control from my phone. Connecting via Bluetooth is also a breeze, and I haven’t had any trouble with dropped signal. People who are 17 feet tall may struggle. The Relay’s battery life will do the trick for all but the most dedicated – 8 hours on a full charge. Those planning a marathon gym session may want to bring the charger with them (they’ll take your standard micro USB, Android users rejoice!). A polite male voice also reminded me when I was 25 minutes or so from a dead battery, which was handy, though may not be enough warning for those who like to run further afield. I also didn’t notice any great battery drain on my phone for having Bluetooth enabled.
As for sound, the Relays Sports’ excelled in bass and mid richness. These are mid-range to premium headphones, and all but the most discerning listener will be satisfied with the full tones. The noise isolation is excellent, which helps if you’re looking to get into ‘the zone’.
The Sol Repulic Relays Sport earphones are an excellent mid-range set of exercise headphones. While the styling may make them a slightly brave choice for daily wear, their performance during an exercise session is great, from battery life, comfort and audio quality.