Your Personal Running Coach: Run Free Pro Bio by SOUL
SOUL has come a long way from their first pair of headphones designed in concert with Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. From a bombastic brand focused on big noise and heavy bass, SOUL is now pumping out a ton of great headphones and earphones for all kinds of lifestyles. The latest, and maybe most surprising, is their Run Free Pro Bio voice coaching wireless running earphones. These earphones come with the reliable SOUL audio output, plus an audio running coach based on artificial intelligence and your very own running metrics.
SOUL uses their Beflex BiomechEngine to collect all sorts of minutia on how your body is moving while you run. It infers all these complex details from the movement of the headset, and can track things like head angle, shock, stride length, stance time, and vertical oscillation, among others. The SOUL Fit app one your smartphone then analyzes this data in real time to make sure you are maintaining a proper form and reducing the risk of injury. Is your head dropping too low while you run? Your audio voice coach will let you know during your run, and confirm when you’ve fixed the problem. Hitting your feet to hard with each stride? Again, the voice coach will notify you and let you fix it. The voice is very robotic (it doesn’t hang out with the likes of Siri or Alexa), but it is still very useful information to address in the middle of a run.
Of course, at the end of your run, you also have all these different data points presented to you for the duration of your run. You can monitor how different statistics changed over time and hone in on areas you need to address. Soul bills these headphones for advanced runners who are more likely to be concerned with maintaining peak form (and thus, peak efficiency), but they also seem very useful for novice runners who don’t even know that there is a proper running form. There’s never a bad time to start forming better habits.
The best part of this coaching experience is that it is incorporated into the headphones, something most runners usually have with them anyways. No additional gadgets or straps to put on before your run. You do need a smartphone for its GPS and to process all the data and deliver the voice coaching, but again, that's something a lot of runners are already accustomed to having on them.
The headphones themselves are of the quality expected from SOUL, which is to say, very nice. The plastic and rubber construction keeps them lightweight and durable, while an added nano-coating ensures they are sweatproof. A reflective strip runs the length of the flat, tangle-resistant cord, which otherwise houses the standard three-button remote on the right side, and an independent battery module on the left side. As an added bonus, the bottom of the battery features an LED light for nighttime running (which can be turned off within the app). Lastly, a small clip allows the wearer to tighten the earphones and keep them close to the neck—something I want to see on every pair of wireless earphones.
As with all earphones, and particularly with sport-focused earphones, finding the perfect fit is paramount. SOUL includes a generous four pairs of silicone ear tips, two pairs of memory phone tips, and two different ‘wings’ to keep the earphones in place. With the proper selection, there should be no risk of your audio coach falling out midway through your run. Rounding out the box contents are a hard shell carrying case, a micro USB cable to charge the eleven-hour battery, and an optional shirt clip. I wish SOUL would have thrown in a phone holster for the complete package, but that is often a personal choice that depends on your phone anyway.
All in all, SOUL has impressed by incorporating some solid metrics and voice coaching into the Run Free Pro Bio wireless earphones. Keeping their consistent high-energy sound to push you through their run while adding these very run-focused features is a great feat from an unexpected source. I’m excited to see where else Soul can deliver innovation in the headphone space after their recent successes in both the truly wireless X-Shock and now the Run Free Pro Bio earphones.
For more information, visit: www.soulelectronics.com
Story by Thomas Bender