Most earbuds and headphones on the market do their darndest to isolate the sound to the ear as best they could whether by software and hardware ANC or by creating a seal with the ear canal.  The OpenFit from Shokz does the opposite.

The whole premise of the OpenFit earbuds is to allow external noise into the ears while also allowing your music/media access.  This allows for improved safety for those who are out and about whether it be cycling, running, jogging and other outdoor activities (they are IP54 rated).

The OpenFit headphones (earbuds???) use Shokz’ DirectPitch Technology which “transmits sound to the ear by precisely directing sound waves and creating an optimised sound field with varying pressure distribution.”

It does this while the earbud portion sits outside and above the ear canal, with nothing covering the ear canal allowing for environmental noises to enter your ear canal unobstructed.

Design and comfort

Because there is nothing entering the ear canal, rather the earbud sitting in the auricle of the ear, the OpenFit are extremely comfortable.  The first few times wearing them getting the fit right is extremely difficult – make sure you read through the instructions carefully – they still don’t seem to fit into the auricle of my ear like they do in the video on the website.

In saying that they are still relatively secure thanks to the wrapping around the ear of the earbud/headphone.  I did as much running as I could and they did not move at all though I did adjust them a few times thinking I could get a better fit and thus sound but guess what?  That’s not going to happen.

They sit outside the ear so do not expect to get the high-quality sound of earbuds which exclusively use noise isolation for removing surrounding noises.  Using them at the gym was comfortable and while running the same.  Those who like long runs or long rides will not have any issues with these.  

I tried them on with my bike helmet and they actually work better than normal earbuds as there is no interference between them and the helmet straps.  Add in the unobstructed ear canal for environmental noises and you have a great earbud for cyclists who wish to listen while riding.

The earbuds have a touch sensitive surface with very basic touch controls – double touch for one function and press and hold for another – that’s it.  Nothing fancy but enough for play/pause media and to answer and end calls. The touch surface did work very well on them with it being a capacitive touch rather than a hard press.

Sound quality

Sitting in my quiet study here at 8am on a Saturday morning the headphones sound pretty good.  Like most earbuds they tend to lack a bit on the low-end but you can play around with the EQ in the Shokz app to get the best sound you prefer.  

As with many earbuds some users will find the upper registry of the earbuds a bit overpowering but playing around with the EQ can alleviate this for most – I was able to find a custom EQ that sounded better for me without overpowering the upper registry.

The bass can be a bit muffled if you turn it up too much.  Tested side by side with my Jabra Elite 10 the sound quality was much better on the Jabra with a greater range of frequencies, but the Shokz OpenFit are not built exclusively for sound quality but instead for decent sound quality only while maintaining full awareness of your surroundings.

If you want pure sound quality these are not the headphones for you but if you NEED to be aware of your surroundings such as an athlete out for a run, on a bike or scooter or if you work in an office where you need to be aware and interact with others around you then you should consider these.  They allow for all that while delivering decent sound quality.

Battery life

Shokz states that the OpenFit earbuds offer “up to seven hours of listening on a single charge” which was pretty spot on for me.  For me it was something around the six hours, 45 minutes but close enough.  

There is also another 21 hours of battery life in the case.    There is also fast charge functionality where five minutes of charging the earbuds in the case gives you an hour of battery life.  This is all fairly standard for true wireless earbuds in 2024.

One thing I do need to note though is that if you do buy these be careful opening the case as it isn’t the easiest of cases to open and there were a few times where it flew out of my hands while trying to get it open.

Who buys these?

The Shokz OpenFit earbuds are not for everyone. If you are going to be using them in a noisy environment and don’t want to hear everything around you then they are near to useless and there are much better options available for you.

On the other hand, if you are in a relatively quiet environment and still want to be able to hear your surrounds such as walking around the block, going for a run or even in an office where you need to be able to hear folks nearby then these are designed for you.

The sound quality is good while not being excellent but that should be expected given that they sit outside your ear canal and are thus allowing more noise pollution on the sound you hear.

The earbuds are fairly comfortable and secure thanks to the wrapping around the auricle of the ear. If you need to be able to hear your environment then something like these are a must. There are others where the environment sounds are even more clear (Shokz OpenRun Pro coming later this week) but their sound quality is greatly diminished due to this.

I can recommend the Shokz OpenFit if you want to hear your music while at the same time stay in touch with your surrounding noise and sounds. Shokz OpenFit can be purchased from or from various retailers now for RRP$289 in black and beige colours.