6 On Your Side, Consumer Confidence: Headphones for Safe Summer Workout

(ABC 6 NEWS) – If you listen to music while exercising, you know how hard it can be to hear cars, bikes, or other people around you.

In your 6 On Your Side Consumer Confidence Report, we take a look at how one editor at Consumer Reports solved this issue on the streets of New York City. What headphones can you buy?

New York City is often anything but peaceful, but much of the noise disappeared during the pandemic.

"The streets were empty," Laura Murphy from Consumer Reports said.

Laura Murphy is an editor at CR. She started running again during the pandemic as a way to escape her small studio apartment. But to feel safe, Laura felt she needed to be more aware of her surroundings—especially when wearing headphones. That’s when she first tried her partner’s Shokz.

"They sit outside of your ears so your ear canal is fully open and that means I could hear really anything going on around me in addition to the music that I was listening to," Murphy said.

Shokz headphones feature a unique bone-conduction technology.

"Bone conduction headphones have these blocks, they’re pods, that send the vibrations into the sides of your head," Elias Arias, Consumer Reports Headphone Expert said.

Laura recently upgraded to the Shokz OpenRun Pro.

Despite their cult following, three different models of Shokz didn’t do very well in CR’s ratings.

"Generally, bone conduction headphones in our tests have been found to have sound quality that falls towards the bottom of our portable headphone ratings," Arias said.

They do, however, rate excellent for predicted reliability and consumer satisfaction based on Consumer Reports’ member survey.

If you do want to hear your surroundings—but also care about sound quality—CR recommends…

The Sennheiser CX Plus and the more affordable 1More ColorBuds 2.

Both of these noise-canceling headphones have ambient sound monitoring—which allows you to adjust how much ambient sound you hear.

But for Laura, there’s something more important than sound quality.

"It’s not really about the quality of the music I’m listening to, it’s about getting that motivation to not stop running," Murphy said.