Just when we thought Beats Powerbeats Pro had running headphones wrapped up, Adidas has recently surprised us with not one but two wireless sports headphone offerings, one of which is great. There’s the on-ear RPT-01 and the in-ear FWD-01. The one that's actually good for running is the latter – the on-ears are more for weight lifting. Adidas FWD-01 costs £129 in the UK and $149 in the USA.
Running/workout headphones are as essential for many people as a good pair of running shoes or a high-spec running watch. You'd expect Adidas to produce something decent and they haven't let us down here. They've provided the styling and quality control, while the actual electronics are handled by Zound Industries, previously best known for making Urbanears and Marshall headphones and speakers.
- Buy the FWD-01 in-ear sport headphones direct from Adidas UK
- Buy the FWD-01 in-ear sport headphones direct from Adidas USA
In recent times, true wireless have come to the fore as the best form of buds for your workout. However Adidas, aptly, is keeping things a little retro, as the FWD-01 are 'wired' wireless headphones. That is to say that while they are not connected to the phone by a cable, the two earbuds are connected to each other by a braided cord.
The cord looks funky enough and follows the latest design aesthetics of Adidas, set out by their running shoes. like the Adidas Ultraboost 19 or the Adidas PulseBoost HD, both sharing a rough, knitted look. The plastic used for the earpieces is also quite rough looking. It's not clear if this is a result of ruggedising them, or if it's for aesthetic reasons, or a bit of both.
At a glance, the buds look a little bulky. And that's because they are. However, their fit is surprisingly comfortable. When not in use, they can be hung around your neck, with the buds containing magnets, so you can stick them together and wear like some bizarre necklace.
Why you should buy Adidas FWD-01 in-ear sport headphones
There are loads of things to like about the Adidas FWD-01. First up, they sound really good. Audio has a similarly poppy tuning to Urbanears headphones, but with way more punch and better bass. Noise isolation is good, thanks to the secure fit, and connectivity is also better than on Urbanears, although it's not perfect.
Another big selling point is the long battery life and the fast charging time. You can listen to the FWD-01 all day without having to recharge – the listening time is unusually long for this type of headphones, at up to 16 hours. Even better, it takes just 15 minutes to charge them from 0-60%, which will give you another 8 hours of playback time – enough for a couple of marathons at least.
You can literally chuck the FWD-01 on the charger when you get ready for your run and once you dressed and stretched, the headphones will be ready to roll. Pretty impressive.
Since the FWD-01 was designed for sports, Adidas claims they are IPX4 rated for water resistance, with a sweat- and splashproof construction.
The interchangeable ear tips and ear wings are the same as on most sports headphones of this type, and each bud can be customised in two steps, so they can fit pretty much anyone's ears.
As we mentioned, the Adidas FWD-01 looks good too. The grey fabric cover definitely sets the FWD-01 apart from the sterile, silicone-looking competition and the chunkiness and slightly rough finish match current footwear trends.
Pro-tip: download the Adidas Headphones app to further customise the FWD-01's sound quality and pair them with your phone more easily.