Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Traveling Adventures

Travel Tuesdays – Backpack edition

Disclaimer: I received an Eagle Creek 60 L duffel bag as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

As someone who’s been traveling a bit more for races lately, I figured I’d need a travel backpack or in this case, a duffel bag. Enter the Eagle Creek 60 L duffel bag.

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The packed version of the bag

This bag is crazy big when it’s expanded. It’s considered their medium size so I can’t even imagine what their large 90 L bag looks like. Despite being a bag that can hold 60 L, the bag is surprisingly lightweight. It only weighs a lb and 12 oz. A few of its features include:

  • A water-repellent coated Bi-Tech™ Armor Lite fabric: a fusion of technology that merges max abrasion-resistance with ultra-light carry
  • Carry by its removable backpack straps, padded top haul handles, or side grab handle
  • Two sizeable easy-access zippered end pockets for gear organization
  • Six heavy-duty lash points for attaching this bag to a roof rack
  • #10 lockable zippers with storm flap shield zipper from rain
  • Bottom is foam padded to help protect contents against impact

I used the duffel bag on three separate occasions – on my trip to Chicago, Los Angeles, and most recently Las Vegas.

I flew with it to Chicago while flying Spirit Airlines and was extremely nervous the attendants would make me check the bag. Being the anxious person that I am, I only ended up packing half of the duffel bag and lucky me, I was able to squeeze the bag into my front seat. I was still able to bring all of my running gear and even had extra room to bring back other items from the marathon. 🙂

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The unpacked version – the bag is packed into one of the side pockets in the packed version

Note that with Spirit, you can only bring on a personal item for free. Anything else (even a carry on) costs moolah. Their personal item size limit was 18 x 14 8 8 inches and my bag somehow made that cut off. That’s the bonus of not carrying a suitcase. I’ve always hated suitcases. They are so difficult to maneuver around airports and they’re just too rigid for me. I’m a carry-on kind of girl and if I can’t take it with me straight onto the plane, I leave it at home.

The duffel bag has backpack straps so as long as you don’t have a bad back, you’d be able to carry this bad boy on and off the plane no problem. The straps are pretty comfy and don’t chafe while you walk around. I also really liked the two side compartments because I was able to compartmentalize all of my things. One pocket held all my small little misc items and the other held my running shoes/OOFOS sandals.

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On my way to Chicago

For my road trips to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, I didn’t really need that big of a duffel bag, but again, I really liked using the side pockets for my shoes so I brought the bag along with me. It’s also just really nice to have everything in one bag as opposed to three separate ones.

In addition to using this bag for racecations, this bag would probably be ideal for backpacking and camping. I personally am not a big nature person so maybe using this for the SoCal Ragnar Relay will be the closest I get to being out in nature. 😛

For those of you who travel, what do you travel with? A suitcase? A duffel bag? Do you carry-on or check a bag? 

For more information, check out what other BibRave Pros had to say about this product or you could ask me! 🙂

Lindsay – Ryan – Chris – LauraVanessa – Mark – EmilyMeridith – Brenda – Matt – Haley – Jenna – Heather – Gina – Amanda – Joshua – Jennifer – Fallon

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Hello 5kcrate! What presents have you brought me?

 Disclaimer: I received a 5kcrate subscription box to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

I have always been intrigued by subscription boxes. I’ve tried Trytheworld for food and StitchFix for clothes and this month, I got to try 5kcrate for running related items.

5kcrate is a subscription box that ships quarterly (Winter – January, Spring – April, Summer – July, and Fall – October) and is tailored towards whether you’re a woman or a man. The box consists of 5 to 7 items that range from running apparel to accessories and these items come from both more well known brands and upcoming emerging brands. Each box costs $59.99 (includes shipping), but its contents are guaranteed to cost over $100 in retail value.

Without further ado, the contents of my box:

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All of the 5kcrate contents for Fall

Mission Athlete Cooling Towel (Retail value: $19.99) – This towel is meant to provide a cooling effect for up to 2 hours. After you wet, wring, and snap it, the towel activates and cools down to 30 degrees below the average body temperature. I have not used this one yet, but anything to cool me down after a run sounds awesome.

Mission Athlete VaporActive Alpha Running shirt (Retail value: $35.95) – The shirt attracts and evaporates sweat much quicker than other shirts so if you sweat a lot, this shirt is perfect for you.

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Sweating in my Mission Athlete Vaporactive running shirt

SpiGen Wireless Headphones (Retail value – $49.99) – Headphones that are wireless and allow you to listen to music while running and make calls. I didn’t particularly have very good luck keeping them in my ears while on my runs, but if I was walking, these headphones were easy to use.

LA fresh travel lite Sunscreen wipes (For a pack of 50 wipes, retail value – $24.99; I received 3 wipes) – It’s sunscreen in the form of wipes, which makes it really easy for travel and application. Seriously. I hate having to squeeze sunscreen into those 3 oz bottles for traveling. These wipes were super easy to apply onto my face and skin and I was done in a minute.

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Using LAfresh’s sunscreen wipe

Zensah no show compression socks (Retail value – $19.99) – Compression socks are a must in the world of running and I just loved the feel of these socks.

Epic Wipes (Retail value – $2.50; I received 2) – These wipes are aptly named. They’re 16x larger than your average wet wipe and so after a crazy trek up a mountain or running say a Ragnar, these would be perfect to use. I’m already planning on buying more of these for my first Ragnar relay in April. Check out my instagram for a video of me using one. Seriously. They’re huge.

Verdict? With any subscription box, you take a risk because you just don’t know what will be included in your box. You will most likely not love everything, but there might also be things you’ll never want to part with. For instance, I wasn’t a HUGE fan of using the Spigen headphones for running, but everything else proved to be quite useful to me.

I’m amazed at how many things are items are designed for runners and by trying out this subscription box, I was able to try out some of these things. Note that 5kcrate doesn’t include nutritional items, which I think differentiates itself from the other running subscription boxes. Finding some fuel that agrees with everyone would be quite tough. It instead prides itself on providing running items that can be used again and again and aside from the wipes, that’s very true. Unless you’re very particular about the items you use on your runs, I think this box would be great to try out. In conclusion, this box gets two thumbs up! 🙂

For more reviews on the 5kcrate box, check out my fellow BRPs reviews’

Jenna – Sara – Angie – TedrickVanessa – Paula – Heather

Question for you: Have you tried a subscription box before? Did you like its contents or was it not for you?

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Shine Bright – Knuckle lights Product Review (Discount code included)

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knuckle Lights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

With the summer days being so hot and humid lately, I’ve had to resort to night running more and more often. Getting up in the morning is a possibility, but honestly, I’m a terrible morning person. LOL.

With night running, there are two main concerns –

  1. Being aware of your surroundings
  2. Being seen

I love running with music so to address the first concern, I wear my Trekz Titanium Aftershokz headphones. They have an open ear design, which allows me to hear my surroundings. I reviewed them here.

To address the second concern of being seen, I wear reflective tape and I now also use these Knuckle Lights. They are extremely useful and without further ado, my review.

Weight – I don’t like carrying anything with my hands. That’s why I use a hydration vest instead of carrying a handheld water bottle. Something about the extra weight bothers me. I’ve used these lights on several long runs already (10+) and I’ve had no problems with their weight. If anything, they help me remember to pump my arms when I run.

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Presenting my knuckle lights

Brightness – This is probably the biggest factor of why you’d get lights for your night run. The Knuckle Lights come with 2 lights per set and you get 120 total lumens given off. I did a comparison of my street with very little light at night versus with my street with the lights on. There’s a very big difference. Hopefully my pictures will give you a better idea as to the brightness. 🙂

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Without and with the Knuckle lights
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Using my lights on my soon to be night run
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My lights in my unlit room

Grip – If I’m going to run with something in my hand for a very long time, I need it to be secure. I’ve been known to fling things out of my hand because my grip isn’t that great. LOL. The Knuckle lights have soft silicone straps on it that can be adjusted to the size of your hand and it fits quite well. It also doesn’t chafe my hands, which is good.

Wear and tear – Only having used these for about a month, I can’t comment too much on the wear and tear portion, but I can say that these units are waterproof and can be run in the rain. Since it’s summer and it hasn’t rained, I sprinkled some water onto the lights (LOL) and have had no issues. Hooray. Also, these particular lights are powered by AA batteries. They also have a pair of rechargeable ones if those are more your style.

Price and variety – This pair will cost you $39.99, but if you order before 9/1/17, you can use the code “BRKL2017” to get 15% off your order. Plus, standard shipping is free for all U.S. orders. Yay. That code can be applied to any product. The non-rechargeable ones come in pink, black, and blue. The rechargeable ones come in black.

So there you have it, my review of my knuckle lights. If you have any questions pertaining to the product, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also read what my fellow BibRavePros thought below.

Allison – Amy – Lindsey – Tedrick

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Discount Codes, Running

Staying hydrated – Orange Mud P.F.V product review & a discount code

Disclaimer: I received an OrangeMud Phone.Flask.Vest..to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

I am in full swing of marathon training and with the summer heat, a hydration pack was something I desperately needed. I had been scouring the sites in hopes of finding one that wasn’t too heavy and wouldn’t chafe in the humid temperatures. Luckily, BibRave gave us the opportunity to try Orange Mud’s Phone. Flask.Vest (P.F.V.) and I jumped at the chance.

The basics of the P.F.V.

Like the name implies, it’s a vest that can hold both your phone and a hydration flask. On the front of the vest, there are two main pockets – one for your flask and one for your phone. The flask is a soft flask that can hold up to 450 (15 oz) or 600 mL (20 oz) of fluids (it comes witht he 450 mL one) and deflates the more you drink from it. On one side of the vest, there is a shoulder pocket that you can store gels/chews/whatever nutrition you may need. There’s also a key clip that you can use to store your key while running. On the other side of the vest is a dust cover for the bite valve in case you don’t want it to get dirty while running. No one likes biting onto a valve that’s covered with dirt. Gross. On the back of the vest, there’s another pocket for a light jacket. The vest also has adjustable straps to tighten or loosen to your liking. Its cost? $99.95.

My experience

Weight – This vest is extremely lightweight. It may look like a lot to wear, but it’s actually not. Even after runs, I would just keep it on when I ran my errands.

Bounce – When I first tried this vest on, I found that it bounced a bit. After playing with it a bit, I found that if I tightened the straps enough, the bounce was very minimal and I had no problem with it. I ran a half marathon with it on and the vest didn’t bother me at all. I will note that other people that I’ve talked to have experienced more of a bounce. I am a bit more flat chested (I’m a B cup), which might be beneficial to me in this situation.

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Wearing the PFV during the Craft Classic Half marathon

Breathability – Even with the addition of the vest, my body didn’t seem to heat up. The material (mesh) that the vest is made out of makes it very breathable.

Chafe – This was such a big concern for me. With summer comes heat, humidity, and the high probability of chafing. I am super happy to report that I didn’t experience any chafing even after running a half marathon. I will note that I put bodyglide on my neck during that race because it was my first time running 13.1 miles with that vest on and I didn’t want to take any chances. I have run 6 miles in a sports bra with no bodyglide and the vest didn’t rub on me at all. Hooray! I will mention that I did wear a necklace once on a run and the vest rubbed the necklace against my collar bone. So just don’t wear necklaces while running and you’ll be good to go.

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On SportsBraSquad day!

Hydration and fuel – I do wish that the flask was a little larger so I could take it with me on longer runs. I usually finish up the water by mile 6 or 7. However, I can easily solve this issue by running by places that have water fountains. I can just refill the flask and continue on my run. On my half marathon, I stopped by 3 aid stations in addition to sipping water from my vest and that was just the perfect amount of water for me. I love using the pockets to hide my gels. This will definitely come in handy when I start running longer distances. 🙂

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Stay hydrated everyone!

Other – There was one thing I didn’t like about the vest, which was the fact that my flask initially leaks when I first use it. Although I don’t really feel the leak, it does soak part of the pocket, making it difficult to put my phone in the front pocket. (I have never put my phone in the front pocket since I have a flipbelt and use that instead; I also don’t want to overload the front of the vest). It doesn’t seem to leak at all after the initial leak and it might have to do with me adding too much water to the flask.

So there you have it, my review on the newest Orange Mud product, the Phone. Flask. Vest. You can bet that I’ll be wearing it a lot more often as the heat increases. If you are interested in any of their products, you can use the code “BRPPFV” for 10% off all their stuff. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me about it or check out any of the other BRPs’ reviews below. You can also join us on Tuesday, July 25th for our #bibchat on Twitter for a chance to win 1 of 2 P.F.V.s!

Fallon – Casey – Bradley – Heather – Angie

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Footcare – 2Toms Footshield review

Disclaimer: I received 2Toms‘ FootShield to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Ever have a blister on your feet? Maybe from when you’re trying to break in those cute ballet flats or sandals? Or from when you’re running a half marathon in humid weather? Oh I definitely have and let me tell you, it’s not a pleasant feeling.

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2Toms FootShield and compression socks to keep the blisters away

“2Toms mission has always been to provide the best comfort and care to athletes by offering the most technologically advanced products available anywhere.”

2Toms’ most popular products include the BlisterShield and Sportshield, a blister prevention and chafing prevention product respectively. Most recently, they came out with FootShield, a perspiration barrier for your feet. I was fortunate enough to try it out and here’s my review of the product. Enjoy!

How it works: FootShield comes in the form of a roll-on applicator. You roll the solution onto the bottom, top, and sides of your feet, wait a few minutes for your feet to dry, and voila, you’re on your way to a blister free day. As mentioned previously, Footshield creates a perspiration barrier. That barrier prevents your feet from getting sweaty, which also means it reduces your chances of getting blisters. As a runner, I cannot love this aspect of the product more. Blisters suck and if I can prevent them, I will.

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Brought Footshield with me to Texas, where is was HUMID as hell

The formula 2Toms uses also contains natural anti-fungal ingredients that fight bacteria, which minimizes odor and your chances of getting Athlete’s foot. That’s a nice perk, don’t you think? 🙂 The roll-on also smells of spearmint, which I can totally get on board with.

My experience: I’ve applied FootShield several times before going out on long runs (even a half marathon on a super humid day) and never have I come back with blisters. I have also applied FootShield and gone out in sandals and ballet flats and have not experienced any irritation. I should mention that I’m not as prone to getting blisters nowadays, but I will say that my feet are not as sweaty after application, which I’m extremely grateful for. This will definitely help me during the humid summer.  It allows me to wear socks for multiple days without having to do laundry. Hooray!

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Happy feet. Happy life.

I will continue to use it all summer long (races and marathon training included) and hope that I never have to repeat my AFC experience. Ouch.

Join us for #bibchat on Twitter at 6 pm PT on Tuesday, June 27th. We’ll be giving away a bottle of Footshield to two participants. Also, if you would like to buy a bottle, they are $15 and you can use the code “2TOMS20” for 20% off your entire online order. 🙂

Check out other BibRave Pros’ review of the product below.

Merideth – Kim – Connie – Amy

Are you prone to chafing? Blistering? Have you tried their products? What was your experience? 

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

UltraBoostX – Running shoe review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost X to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!


If you told me when I was 10 that I’d have a closet full of shoes almost 20 years later, I’d laugh at you. I’ve never been interested in shoes. Heels were too difficult for me to walk in and sandals didn’t really give me the support I needed. To me, shoes were just shoes…or so I thought. As a more serious runner now, I’ve found that a good pair of running shoes can make or break your training.

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Those aren’t even all of my shoes. LOL

Here’s a short history of my running shoes: I started out with Brooks’ Ghost – a neutral shoe with cushioning (12 mm midsole drop) I ran through almost four pairs before giving another brand a try, not because they no longer worked for me, but because I had won a pair of New Balance shoes from a Strava challenge. I chose to try out the New Balance Vazee2090 – a neutral shoe with cushioning (6 mm midsole drop) and in all honesty, this shoe blew my mind. The Vazee2090s were more responsive and I got faster.

A responsive shoe means that the shoe is responding to the ground. It’ll allow you to spring faster after the initial contact with the ground. 


So when BibRave gave us the opportunity to try out the new Adidas’ UltraBoostXs – another neutral shoe (10 mm midsole drop) that praised to have the most responsive cushioning ever, I was 100% hands down to try them. Here’s a little bit more information about them.

UltraBoostX

The first look and feel: I’ve never had more people compliment me on my running shoes before. LOL. The UltraBoostXs are a hug for your feet. Seriously. Their Primeknit material wraps around your foot and leaves it feeling pretty breatheable. The only thing I don’t like about the material is that I do have to put more effort into putting on the shoe. I can’t just push my foot into the shoe and wiggle it into a good fit. With these, I have to hold the collar open and insert my foot in. The sole is made from Continental tire rubber. Yes, you read correctly. Tire rubber. They’re meant to last. I obviously can’t say how true this is because I’ve only run 30-40 miles on these, but it’s comforting to know they are made out of tire rubber. These shoes also have a free floating arch that adapts to your running style. This arch felt VERY different from previous running shoes and definitely took a lot of getting used to.

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The first 35 miles: For anyone trying out these shoes, I’d definitely walk around in them for a few miles before attempting any runs with them. Once you think you’re used to the floating arch, try running a few miles with them. Build up SLOWLY especially if you’re prone to injury. Like all running shoes, you should take the time to break them in properly or else you’ll risk injury. I made the mistake of taking these shoes out on an uphill 10k run and pulled a hamstring because of that. I’ve run on tracks, roads, and relatively flat trails and have found these shoes to work well on all of them. I would advise against running on any rocky trails. I found that the shoes don’t work very well on uneven surfaces. Personally, I find the shoes to not be as responsive as the Vazee2090s, but it could be that I haven’t fully broken in the shoes.img_9500

My overall experience with these have been a positive one. They’re wonderful to walk in and I’m sure these shoes will get better to run in over time. I will be putting these shoes into my rotating shoe schedule for marathon training this summer. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up running my marathon with them. 🙂img_9891

If you’re interested in purchasing these shoes, you can find them here at Dick’s Sporting Goods. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me. I’ve also included a list of reviews from my fellow BibRavePros on the shoes below. 

Adidas UltraBOOST X reviews
Jeannine – Heather – AmyJenna – LindseyAngieEmily – Heather

What are your favorite pair of running shoes? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Minis to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

It’s been a month since I last reviewed a product, but I’m back with a review for the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini headphones and it’s a good one. 🙂 I’ve been testing these out for almost a month and a half and honestly, I don’t know how I ever went on runs without them. Let’s get down to it, shall we?

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What are type of headphones are they? The Aftershokz Trekz Titaniums are a set of wireless sports headphones that have an open ear design, meaning they do not stick directly into your ears. Instead, they rest on your cheekbones and sound is delivered to your inner ear through mini vibrations. TrekzTitaniumBoneConduction

 

What advantages do these headphones have over other ones? 

  1. Wireless – There are no tangled wires that can get caught on things as you run. Ever run by a branch and have your headphones catch on them and pull your earbuds out? That will never happen with these. Wireless headphones are also huge right now ever since the new iPhone 7 came out and did away with the headphone jack.img_8636
  2. Open ear design – The headphones sit over your cheekbones and are never directly put into your ear. This allows you to hear outside noises, which is especially important if you’re a runner. You’ll want to hear if others are running by you and if cars are nearby. These headphones allow you to be alert and safe while out on your run. If you really don’t want to hear outside noise, these headphones actually come with a pair of ear plugs that you can use. It may sound counterintuitive, but all you have to do is put in your ear plugs, put on your headphones, and ta-da, you’ll only hear your music, podcast, show, etc. I did this while on a 3 hour flight and it was a total game changer for me. I went from not being able to hear my podcast because of all the outside noise to hearing my show crystal clear. I will always try to fly with a pair of ear plugs and these headphones from now on.img_9213
  3. Multipoint pairing – This is kind of a nifty function and I don’t actually use it all too much, but it is cool to note. You can pair the headphones to two different devices. The most common combination would probably be your iPad or computer and your phone. If you were watching Netflix on your iPad or computer and then got a call, your headphones will automatically switch to your phone. Once you’re done with the call, the headphones will automatically switch back.

Are there other noteworthy features? Yes, of course. 🙂 My favorite feature is that I can use these headphones to talk to people on the phone. Some headphones have mics that are inconveniently placed and I will have to move the mic closer to my mouth to talk. The mic is well positioned on these headphones and the person on the other line hears me perfectly fine.

Controls are very easy to use. If your music is playing, double click on the multifunction button to skip a song. Click once to pause or play a song. You can adjust the volume with mere clicks. If you don’t have music playing and someone is calling you, click once to answer and click again to end the call. Easy, right?

Despite the open ear design, the sound quality is surprisingly still very good. I’m not an audiophile or anything, but I’d give these an A. 🙂

The headphones are lightweight. They don’t bounce when you run and fit very well around your ears. Also, if you need to take them off, you can just have them hang around your neck without any fear of them falling off.

The battery life on these lasts anywhere from 5 – 6 hours. 🙂

Are there things you didn’t like about them? As I said before, these are my opinions and yes, I did find a few things I didn’t like about them, but I think they’re very minor issues.

If I wore them long enough, my neck would feel a little sore, but I think this might actually be due to “text neck” if anything. Also, if was very windy outside, I wouldn’t be able to hear my music very well.

If you’d like to learn more about these headphones, please feel free to ask me or check out other BRP reviews below. They have two sizes – the regular or the mini. I have a small head and tried out their mini and it fit perfectly for me.

Amy – Jenna – Jessica – Frank

You can order your own through bibrave.aftershokz.com and get a free Stainless steel water bottle with your order. 🙂 Also, join us on Twitter @BibRave for #BibChat on Tuesday, May 30th at 6 pm PST for a chance to win a pair of Aftershokz Titanium Minis. 

Have you tried these headphones? How do you like them?