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Gear Closet: Yurbuds Ironman Focus Sport Earphones

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but slowly over th years I've become a runner. Sure, I ride both my road and mountain bike regularly, but more often than not I'm lacing up a pair of running shoes and hitting the road or trail. Multiple times a week I'm running anywhere from 8 to 10 miles and occasionally even more. Some days the only way I can get through those miles is to don my iPod, put in the headphones and just grind it out. Thankfully I have a solid library of great music and numerous podcasts to keep me entertained for hours on end.

While I generally put a lot of thought into which shoes I put on my feet, what kind of clothes I wear and even the socks that are best for long distance runs, one of the things that I have seldom thought about is the headphones I use while running. Generally I look for something inexpensive, comfortable for extended use and resistant to the sweat that inevitably comes along with a long run in Texas. Recently, after burning through yet another pair of cheap earbuds, I thought I'd try something different, so I splurged a little – not a lot – to try a pair of Yurbuds, which have reportedly been designed by athletes, for athletes.

Because I go through a set of earbuds about every 6 - 12 months, I've often been reluctant to spend much money on a more expensive pair. Fortunately, Yurbuds produces the Focus Ironman series and sells them for just $29.95, which is not a lot more than I was paying for the previous models I was using from a competitor. With that in mind, I set my expectations accordingly and went home to give them a try.

To say that the Yurbuds are a revelation would be a massive understatement. Not only was I immediately blown away by how much louder and clearer they were than the other earbuds I had been using, but they also produce far better sound across the entire spectrum. I was amazed at how much better my iPod sounded and I didn't even have to crank up the volume to hear my music or podcasts over passing traffic.

Despite that much higher volume and clearer sound, the Focus earbuds still keep me safe while out on a run thanks to their ability to pass ambient, outside sound through. This makes it easy to not only hear things around you but also hear voices. I appreciated that they perform so well yet don't dangerously isolate me from the outside world when working out.

On top of providing great audio performance, the Focus earbuds are also quite comfortable. They utilize Yurbud's Twistlock technology that allows you to slide them into your ear and give them a slight twist to hold them in place. Once they are there, they don't move at all and you can pretty much don't have to worry about them for the length of your run. The moldable and padded earloops are soft enough that you can actually forget you have them in, which hasn't always been the case with other models that I've used. While using some lesser models from competitors I sometimes couldn't wait to get them off my ears when I finished my run. The Yurbuds are so good however, that they are the first "sports" earbuds that I've used that I would actually consider wearing when I'm not working out.

I've only been using the Focus earbuds for a couple of weeks now, so it is too early for me to weigh in on their longterm durability. My hope is that they will last much longer than the six months or so that I got out of the previous earphones I used while running. I can say that the certainly feel light years better than the models I've used in the past. They feel like they can hold-up to a lot of punishment and they are certainly well shielded against sweat and rain.

Yurbuds seems to have thought of everything with these headphones and considering how well the $30 pair performs, it makes me wonder just how good their higher end models are. They must be exceptional indeed, because the Focus models offer exceptional performance in a small, lightweight and comfortable package. They even come with an high quality cloth carrying case that comes in handy when you want to toss them into a gym bag or gear case for race day.

If you're like me and enjoy listening to your tunes while running, you owe it to yourself to try a pair of Yurbuds the next time you need to replace your earphones. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how great they really are and how much they can make your workouts an even more pleasant experience.

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