If you have been on a “holy grail” like quest for the perfect pair of Bluetooth workout headphones like I have, then your quest may be over.
Wearing headphones while working out is a bit of a blessing and a curse all rolled into one. On one hand, it is nice to have some music pumping to give you that extra incentive to push just a little bit harder during your workout. It is also helps you get in the zone and block out other outside noises so you can focus. But you are moving around and sweating, and if you run outside you don’t want to block out the entire world because you want to hear that dump truck driving up behind you. And then there is the comfort factor.
I attended CES last month in Las Vegas, and MIIEGO sent me home with their latest set of wireless headphones that are designed to be used while working out, the AL3+ Freedom. So I took them home with me, along with the flu bug. Finally, after 2 weeks, I recovered enough to start working out again and here are my thoughts.
So what makes the AL3+ Freedom headphones good for workouts from a design standpoint?
First off, they are what you call “on-ear” headphones. This mean the headphone pads rest on the outside surface of your ear (they are not inserted into your ear like ear buds or “in-ear” headphones) and they aren’t big enough to cover your entire ear like “over-ear” headphones. This works well for wearing during workouts for several reasons:
- In-ear headphones will pick up the movement and footsteps of your body while working out, which bleed into the sound of the music
- Over-ear headphones are just too big and clunky to wear while working out and tend to be hot. (You are sweating enough already, right?)
- On-ear is a good mix because they don’t pick up the bass from your footsteps, let in just enough ambient noise so they are safe while running outside, but have enough kick that the music still sounds great
The other killer feature of these headphone is the way they stay firmly in place on your head while working out. MIIEGO calls this neckband “M-fit” and it is essentially a flexible but soft wire that connect the two ear pads, is routed up over the top of your ears, and then behind your ears and wraps around the back of your head.
So I put this M-fit technology to the test, just to make sure the headphone really did stay in place in all sorts of exercise. So I used them while:
- Cycling on an indoor trainer (lots and lots of sweat was involved here, but I’ll spare you the gory details)
- Weightlifting at a noisy gym
- Yoga (complete with upside-down poses… the things I do for reviews)
- Walking treadmill desk
- Talking on the phone (the sounded great on both ends of the phone)
The AL3+ performed well in all of these cases. They are a joy to run with, comfortable with solid sound quality, but they still let in just enough ambient noise that I was always aware of what was going on around me. And they were comfortable. No re-adjusting them part way into my workout because my sweaty ears were no longer able to hold them in place. No, these things were rock solid. Even when turning my head to look for traffic while running in the neighborhood, they didn’t budge. They were even still comfortable after a 2-hour workout, and I all the other sport headphones I have tried just flat hurt after that amount of time. I did have to move my Apple Watch over to my right wrist to avoid having the music cut out while I ran (apparently the AL3+ Bluetooth antenna is in the right earpiece), but I have similar issues with all headphones I use with my Apple Watch (so I don’t blame the headphones). The only drawback to using them in a public gym is that they don’t block out other noises, but the sound quality is good enough that I was still able to stay in the zone even though I could hear others around me in the gym (which probably isn’t a bad thing anyway…”hey, a little help over here”).
Bottom line, these headphones are my new workout partner. They sound really great, are very comfortable, don’t move at all while working out, have an 11-hour battery life, and are sweat and rain proof (and I thoroughly tested that out, but remember I promised no gory details). They also fold up into a super small footprint and come with a compact carrying case.
The only thing I can’t use these headphones for is when I go outside and cycle on my road bike. I like to have a little music, but I need to keep my left ear totally uncovered so I can hear everything around me. The design of these headphones just don’t lend themselves to be worn as a single earpiece. But I wasn’t expecting to use these for outdoor cycling. Hey, no headphone are perfect, but these are pretty darn close.
MIIEGO does not currently have a U.S. reseller for their headphones as of yet, so for now you must end your quest for the perfect pair of Bluetooth workout headphones by going to the MIIEGO website and ordering a pair directly from them.
MIIEGO provided me a pair of AL3+ Freedom headphones for the purpose of this review.