Do you like to listen to music or podcasts while taking part in your favorite outdoor activities? Do you find that your earbuds aren’t especially well-suited for those outings? If you said yes to that last question, it turns out you’re not alone. A recent survey of more than 400 “weekend warriors” who enjoy action sports like mountain biking, trail running, and skiing shows that most of us aren’t very happy with our options when it comes to earbuds built for use outdoors.
The survey was conducted by a company called Earshot and reveals some interesting insights into how action sports athletes view their headphones. For instance, 72 percent of those surveyed indicated that they prefer to listen to music while participating in their sport of choice, although nearly 20 percent who chose not to listen to music said it was because earbuds aren’t built for use in their favorite activity. Another 16 percent claimed that their existing headphones aren’t very good or are just downright awful. And while 40 percent indicated that they had spent $100 or more on a set of earbuds, nearly half (49 percent) said the would spend even more if they could find a set better suited for their needs.
The biggest complaints that outdoor athletes had with their existing headphones were that the cords often get in the way (33 percent), they are uncomfortable to wear (23 percent), and they don’t fit properly (17 percent). The athletes involved in the survey also indicated that fit and functionality are the most important aspect they look for in their earbuds, with comfort and sound quality coming in second and third. Twenty-five percent said that they felt that most earphone manufacturers simply didn’t understand their specific needs.
In a press release revealing the results of the survey, James Bell-Booth, Earshot co-founder, said: “To me, the most important finding from our research is that 35 percent of action sport athletes said they’re at least somewhat likely to abandon their activity if their headphones don’t work properly. As a community, we need to take more seriously the headphone requirements of action sport athletes, and get to work making products that meet their needs better.”
Of course, Earshot had ulterior motives in conducting this survey. The company has designed a line of earbuds that it expects to launch on Kickstarter later this month. With a magnetic locking system to hold them in place, long battery life, and completely wireless operation, they apparently have been designed with action sports in mind. They are also waterproof and rugged enough for use in demanding environments like those favored by outdoor athletes.
The new earbuds are expected to sell for $136 when they become available, although anyone interested in grabbing a pair can register now for a 40 percent discount.