Shokz OpenFit Air review: budget-friendly open ear workout headphones

The Shokz OpenFit Air offer an open design with good sound quality

Shokz OpenFit Air in the charging case
(Image: © Nick Harris-fry / Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Shokz OpenFit Air headphones offer an attractive combination of awareness and good sound quality, and have a comfortable fit for all kinds of workouts as well as general use. They are also much cheaper than other open headphones, including the Shokz OpenFit.


  • +

    Secure and comfortable fit

  • +

    Good sound quality

  • +

    Much cheaper than Shokz OpenFit


  • -

    Sound quality not as good as in-ear buds

  • -

    Not loud enough when traveling

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Shokz OpenFit Air: Specs

Price: $119 / £119
Colors: Black, white, pink
Battery life (rated): 6 hours; 28 hours (charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
Water resistance: IP54
Weight: 0.96 ounces

The Shokz OpenFit Air are the second set of open headphones Shokz has launched, following on from the launch of the Shokz OpenFit last year.

They offer better value than the OpenFit, and are among the best running headphones thanks to their open design, which allows for extra awareness without compromising as much on sound quality as you do with bone conduction headphones.

Shokz OpenFit Air: price and availability

The Shokz OpenFit Air launched in June 2024 and cost $119/£119 at Shokz's store, considerably cheaper than the Shokz OpenFit, which are $179 / £179. The OpenFit Air are also more affordable than other top open headphones like the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds and Cleer Arc II.

Shokz OpenFit Air review: design and comfort

Shokz OpenFit Air next to the charging case

(Image credit: Nick Harris-fry / Tom's Guide)

The Shokz OpenFit Air are independent headphones with ear hooks that have a speaker which rests near the ear canal without blocking it. This means you are still aware of your surroundings while listening to audio, and the fit is very comfortable without any pressure points.

Compared with the OpenFit, the OpenFit Air are a little larger and have a different earhook, which has a cavity in it to reduce pressure on the back of the ear. The headphones have a silicone finish and the ear hook is flexible with a 0.75mm flexible nickel-titanium alloy wire running through it.

Shokz OpenFit Air and OpenFit on a hard surface

(Image credit: Nick Harris-fry / Tom's Guide)

Weighing just 0.3oz, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing the headphones at times. I have done a variety of workouts using the Shokz OpenFit Air, including a lot of runs plus cycling, yoga and strength sessions, and they have stayed in place reliably throughout.

The fit is also comfortable when using the headphones for hours at a time, more so than some earhook headphones like the Cleer Arc II that clamp the ear more tightly. The headphones have an IP54 rating, which means they are sweat and water resistant and fine for workouts, but not fully waterproof.

They connected easily to my phone and laptop using Bluetooth 5.4, and offer multipoint pairing for two devices. There are three colors available at launch — white, black and pink, all of which have metallic silver elements.

The headphones charge in their case, which itself is charged via a USB-C port, so you can use other charging cables with it.


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Shokz OpenFit Air review: controls

Shokz OpenFit Air on a hard surface

(Image credit: Nick Harris-fry / Tom's Guide)

Each of the OpenFit Air headphones has a touch sensitive panel on the outside which you can use to control playback via two gestures — a double tap and a press-and-hold.

You can customize the controls to include options like bringing up your phone’s voice assistant and raising/lowering the volume, as well as play/pause and skip. I didn’t find the controls were particularly reliable for me, especially during workouts when it was hard to get my taps to register.

I could always eventually get the controls to work, but especially when running I often found my first couple of attempts went ignored by the buds. The touch panel didn’t seem to be as sensitive as the one on the Shokz OpenFit to me, and I’d prefer to have physical buttons on the headphones for more reliable controls during workouts.

Shokz OpenFit Air review: sound quality

Man wearing the Shokz OpenFit Air

(Image credit: Nick Harris-fry / Tom's Guide)

In comparison to the bone conduction headphones Shokz is best known for, the OpenFit Air are an upgrade in audio quality, offering fuller, more powerful sound and a much more immersive experience.

The open design means that they don’t offer any passive noise cancellation, and the sound is still thinner than you get from in-ear and on-ear headphones, but I enjoyed listening to music during and outside of workouts with the OpenFit Air, even if the audio can get drowned out if you use then when traveling.

When listening to pop music like Dua Lipa’s “Illusion” and Billie Eilish’s “CHIHIRO” the full range of instruments and vocals cam through clearly, and when I threw on my running playlist to power me through to the end of hard runs tracks like Grimes’ “Kill v. Maim” hit with all the motivational gusto I needed.

You can also choose between four EQ presets in the partner app — standard, vocal, bass boost and treble boost. I prefer to use in-ear headphones when sound quality is my main concern, and the lack of active or passive noise cancellation means the OpenFit Air are less suitable for noisy environments. 

But, for the most part, they impressed on sound and matched what I experienced with the more expensive Shokz OpenFit. The only open headphones I’ve tested that do sound considerably better are the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds, which are far more expensive.

Shokz OpenFit Air review: battery life

Shokz OpenFit Air next to the charging case on a soft surface

(Image credit: Nick Harris-fry / Tom's Guide)

The Shokz OpenFit Air headphones are listed as lasting six hours on a charge, with a further 22 hours of battery in the case. A quick charge feature nets you two hours of playback from 10 minutes of charging the headphones in the case. This is the same overall battery life of 28 hours as the OpenFit, but the more expensive headphones last seven hours on a charge.

During my testing when mostly listening to podcasts the OpenFit Air would hit the battery life numbers suggested by Shokz, but if listening to music at a high volume using the bass boost EQ, the battery drained at a rate that would suggest five hours of playback rather than six. 

The case is not particularly small, but you can put it into a running belt or backpack, or the pocket of a cycling jersey if you’re heading out for very long activities and want to be able to charge the headphones along the way.

Should you buy the Shokz OpenFit Air?

The Shokz OpenFit Air are excellent open headphones and offer better value than most alternatives in their category, including the Shokz OpenFit, which I would not say are a worthwhile upgrade on the OpenFit given how similar the two sets of headphones are.

One possible upgrade worth making is to the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds, which offer better sound quality and an impressively comfortable design, but the Bose buds are a lot more expensive.

Those seeking even better value might find it with the 1MORE Fit SE S30 open headphones, which are just $70 and have a comfortable and secure fit for sports, though I preferred the fit and sound quality of the OpenFit Air in my testing.

Nick Harris-fry
Senior Writer

Nick Harris-fry is an experienced health and fitness journalist, writing professionally since 2012. He spent nine years working on the Coach magazine and website before moving to the fitness team at Tom’s Guide in 2024. Nick is a keen runner and also the founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers, which specialises in reviewing running shoes, watches, headphones and other gear.

Nick ran his first marathon in 2016 after six weeks of training for a magazine feature and subsequently became obsessed with the sport. He now has PBs of 2hr 27min for the marathon and 15min 30sec for 5K, and has run 13 marathons in total, as well as a 50-mile ultramarathon.

He runs 50-80 miles a week and races regularly with his club, which gives him a lot of opportunity to test out running gear: he has tested and reviewed hundreds of pairs of running shoes, as well as fitness trackers, running watches, sports headphones, treadmills, and all manner of other kit. Nick is also a qualified Run Leader in the UK.