Running with ears open

New gear alert for 2019! I hesitated to review my Christmas running gifts too early in the year, but they are so good I just can’t help myself.

First we have the new Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19’s in a wide fit. Received these from my Mum (thank you Mumsie), I was a little worried about asking for these without actually trying them on! No need to worry at all as straight out of the box they have been so comfortable to run in. I’ve been running in Brooks GTS’s since the 16 model was recommended to me by Runners Need. The fact that there is a wide fit version was key for me as in the past narrow shoes had set off metatarsalgia in my right foot.

Both 2016 and 2017 versions have been great shoes for me, used well into 600/700km range – which is impressive considering the weight that pounds them. The 2018 however was nowhere near as good, almost to the point I was going to return them. They are either too hard or not cushioned enough (it’s hard to tell). Also as a support shoe they felt rather unbalanced to run in, almost like they were making my supination worse. I’m not sure if I’ve broken them in or whether I just got used to running in them as they now have about 250km on the clock – even so I’m still not that confident of them.

With that in mind I did still put the 2019 GTS’s on my list to Santa. I need not have worried, these shoes are the best Brooks I have ran in so far. I wanted to break them in slowly while still using the 18’s, but the difference in the two shoes is substantial and I’m using 19’s all the time. Where the 18’s felt hard the 19’s are so comfortable underfoot, and the issue of balance on the 18’s is a forgotten memory in the 19’s. These shoes are a dream to run in, I don’t feel like I’m wearing them, I just glide along. They are so good that I’m at the point of retiring the 18’s completely and buying another pair of 19’s, such is the comfort of the ride. This is a well cushioned, well balanced, super comfortable road shoe. I cannot tell you how happy I am with these shoes.

Please Brooks give me an off road version of GTS 19 in a wide fit!!!

The other running gift I received was from my lovely wife (thank you Claire), she got me a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones. Now I expect I’m not the only person to have had these problems, but the frustration of lost Bluetooth signals while running trails drove me nuts – to the point that I went back to wired earbuds. Of course wired earbuds have their own drawbacks, getting tangled up and popping out of your phone as you run. And the problem both types had was coming loose from your ears while running. Is there really any way to stop that happening as you pound the pavement? I doubt it without shoving them so hard into your ears that it hurts! Once you’ve done that you then face the relative danger aspect of crossing roads with all sound blocked out.


My new Aftershokz have solved all these problems. Strangely I first came across these at a motorway services on the M11. In the back of one of those dingy places was a mobile phone kiosk where I was buying a new phone charging cable. While I was in there I couldn’t help but try these bone conducting earphones, I was shocked by the sound quality considering my ears were open – the phones sit on the side of your head not in your ear. I wondered how they worked – so time for some biology. Apparently these earphones work by bypassing your eardrum and vibrate the sound straight into your cochlea, I guess that’s the reason the sound is so good. I now run with open ears to the elements but at the same time have perfect sound from my earphones – the best of both worlds.


I was concerned that they may bounce around a bit. No such problems as they have stayed in place perfectly, and as there are no intrusive earbuds rammed into your ear it’s a lot more comfortable when running – before you ask no I don’t feel them vibrating against the side of my head. The bluetooth connection so far has also been excellent. No drops at all when I’m out running on fields where other bluetooth earphones had failed. Also they are very easy to control with only 2 buttons on the ear piece. These Aftershokz are highly recommended for me, switch them on, connect the to your phone and then forget your wearing them – perfect!

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