I Took Apple’s New AirPods on a 15-Mile Run, and They’re Unquestionably the Best Yet

Photo: Apple
We've arrived at the point of marathon training when I swear I'll never do this again. Aside from the four-hour holes that 20-mile runs leave in my Saturday afternoons, one thing I dread most when I'm logging long distances is the moment when my wireless earphones will inevitably die and I'll be left to sweat it out in silence. Blerg. But the new Apple third-generation AirPods, with their six-hour battery life, are perhaps more ready for 26.2 than I am, and when I took them out for a run I was seriously impressed. Here's why.

What's new about the third-generation AirPods?

1. The contoured fit is made for movement

The newest AirPods function more like the AirPods Pro than any other generation of the brand's earphones, but there's a key difference. While the AirPods Pros have a fitted-tip design, which allows for noise cancellation and a don't-budge fit, the newest AirPods have an open design, and sit comfortably in the ear but doesn't close it all the way off. (Because I run on busy city streets, I prefer this fit because it allows me to hear ambient noise and still have a sense of what's around me.)

Couple that with the new ergonomic design which mimics the natural curvature of the ear, and a shortening of the stem, and you're basically set up for success while exercising.

2. They're sweat-resistant

Like the AirPods Pro, the newest generation of AirPods—and its case—is sweat and water-resistant, which means that you can really go full Professor Pump Iron and not have to worry about whether or not your AirPods will make it through. I've never had a problem wearing the second or first-generation while exercising, but what I've found to be clutch is that if your AirPods happen to find their way into the washing machine, they'll probably come out okay on the other side—or at least, mine have.

3. The battery life keeps you going

Within the AirPods family, the latest generation has the longest battery life available, so if you're looking for a long-wear pair of earphones, this is the way to go. When placed back in the charging case, you can get a full 30 hours of listening time, and when you need to charge them, these puppies can go back on MagSafe charger or be plugged in.

4. You can take calls more naturally

As if the brains of Apple were also taking calls from the Texas Panhandle where the wind goes sweeping down the plains (just me?), the newest AirPods have the microphone covered by an "acoustic mesh" that helps to dampen those staticky sounds while on the go. I tested these out on the move and my mom—the only person I still talk to on the phone—had no problems with wind feedback.

5. There's a skin sensor, so you won't serenade your pocket

Raise your hand if you've ever played two full hours of Rihanna to your jacket pocket. The newest skin-sensor-detecting AirPods are meant to do away with that unnecessary air time. It can tell the difference between your skin and pocket in a way that other generations that use touch sensors haven't been able to.

Are they worth it?

Resoundingly, yes. The Apple third generation AirPods are available for $179, which places them smack-dab in the middle of the brand's offerings price-wise. The second-generation version will run you $129, but with these, you'll get sweeping new features that make the extra $50 really mean something. Unless you're looking for noise-cancellation, which these don't offer (you'll have to shell out for the $249 AirPods Pro if that's what you're after), the newest AirPods give you all the features without requiring you to spend more.

Plus if you're looking for an activity headphone that allows you to be aware of your surroundings, you can't do better than these. I've worn them on three runs to date, and they've stayed put the whole time. Come November 7 (marathon day), it's a no-brainer which AirPods will help me get through the race. Now if I could borrow that battery life...

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