Chris Townsend likes these comfortable ear buds that allow you to hear outside sounds

Some walkers like to listen to music or podcasts while walking. Even more like to do so in camp. I never do the first, and rarely the second. I like to hear what’s going on around me. That said, I have carried earphones since I got my first smartphone and I do occasionally use them. Briefly for weather forecasts (when there’s a radio signal), sometimes for music when I’ve heard enough rain hammering on the flysheet.

I’ve never liked earphones though, for two reasons. The first is because of the trailing, tangling wires, something now overcome by wi-fi ones. The second is that they cut out other sounds. I don’t like the sensation of being trapped inside my head by whatever I’m listening to!

The OpenFit Ear Buds from Shokz solve both these problems. There are no wires, and you can still hear sounds around you. The latter really does make a huge difference to my enjoyment of using them. They’re also very comfortable as they don’t fit inside your ears but rather against them, hence the open fit name.

The OpenFit ear buds come in a neat protective charging case. This has a USB-C connection and takes two hours to fully charge. The ear buds themselves take an hour to fully charge. Once charged listening time is seven hours. The fully charged case will charge the ear buds four times before it needs charging itself, giving 28 hours listening time. You can charge the case from a power bank on trips where that isn’t long enough.

The ear buds connect easily with a smartphone with Bluetooth once the Shokz app is downloaded. The app has controls for bass, treble, track selection and more. On the ear buds you can tap tiny buttons to turn the sound on and off. I found the latter did require a little practice as the controls are so small. The sound quality is excellent.

The ear buds are very light at 17 grams. Even with the case the weight is only 76 grams so carrying it is no burden.

I think these ear buds are excellent if you want to hear sounds around you as well as music. They’re comfortable and efficient. The cost is high though.

RECOMMENDED: This product has been awarded our ‘Recommended’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it is a strong product which works well for its intended purpose.