Adidas won't be the first name that comes to mind when you're thinking of buying new headphones, even if you're the sporty type. Despite that, the Adidas RPT-01 running headphones shouldn't be overlooked.
They're part of a collaboration between the sportswear company and Zound Industries, best known for working with Urbanears and Marshall to develop headphones and wireless speakers.
That's a pretty strong pedigree for these unique-looking on-ear headphones. They don't quite have the sound quality of a Marshall speaker, but for running headphones they're a pretty solid option.
We gave them a whirl while going about our activities, and were impressed by the results – don't be surprised if you find these cans in our guide to the best running headphones in 2020.
Price and availability
Currently, Amazon has them listed for the same price and we can't see a drop any time soon given the well-known name and their relatively recent release. There's only the choice of one color – a black/grey mix.
The Adidas RPT-01 don't look like other on-ear headphones. Eschewing a plasticky or metallic design that other headphone manufacturers go with, the Adidas RPT-01 running headphones are covered in a knitted mesh-like fabric. Underneath the surface, there's plastic and metal at work, but it's the nylon fabric that covers most of the headphones that will catch your eye initially.
Thanks to that, they're very light. They only weigh just over 200g making them ideal for workouts and runs. Impressively, the knitted headband and ear pad cushions can be removed and washed if they become dirty, which is a great idea, given they're sweat proof, but bound to stink eventually if you're exercising a lot.
You'll find that the Adidas RPT-01 have a snugger fit than many on-ear headphones, but that makes a lot of sense given their key purpose. You'll never have to worry about them slipping off mid-lift or run, but you might wish for them to be a little gentler around your head if you're sensitive to pressure.
Another thing that stands out about the Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones is how easily they can be tossed around. There's no need to feel like you should be holding them carefully or placing them gently in your bag. Instead, they feel like they can withstand a little roughness, which is fortunate given they don't come with a carrying case like many other headphones.
The interesting design choices continue with the buttons on the Adidas RPT-01 running headphones. The right ear cup has a multi-directional knob which dictates power, pairing, volume control, and playback. A flick to the left or right skips or rewinds tracks while a flick up or down adjusts volume. It's an unique design given the recent trend towards touch sensitive controls, and it works well once you get used to it. The knob is a little harsh on one's fingers but it means you'll never initiate the wrong action while on the move.
The left ear cup has similarly inventive controls in the form of the Action button. By default, a single press of this activates Google Assistant or Siri, but you can use the Adidas Headphones app to make this default to other actions such as picking out a specific album in Spotify. It's a useful touch, especially if you're in a rush.
Baked into the bottom of one ear cup is the USB-C port for charging. It's very subtle, and very neatly placed amongst the black and grey of the device. There's no other port here so you're solely restricted to using the Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones in wireless mode – but that's not a problem at all given the impressive battery life.
The Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones promise a battery life of about 40 hours and we found that to be accurate. Given their purpose is to be used while you're working out, don't expect to need to recharge them often (unless you live at the gym). There's no quick charging facility but it only takes a few hours to recharge them from empty, and it's not like that's going to happen very often.
Like many headphones aimed at the active market, the Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones are suitably loud and heavy on the bass. That's no bad thing; after all, if you're pounding the pavement or lifting weights, you want something that sounds powerful and immersive enough to push you through that final set.
Stick on something like Another One Bites The Dust and you get strong, powerful tones. Retreat to the gym cliche of Eye of The Tiger and you can happily feel part of your very own Rocky story, with the urge to run in time with the beat.
In exchange, you miss out on some of the subtleties that other headphones provide. The Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones are never harsh-sounding but they do lack a certain amount of depth when it comes to mids and trebles.
Fidelity in the lower frequencies are not the Adidas RPT-01's strong point by any means, meaning more gentle music like some classics from Frank Sinatra or newer versions from Michael Buble, are not going to sound as good here. Still, that's hardly the point, is it? These are made for loud sounds as you run or work out, not for sitting back and taking in the music.
While they might lack nuance, the Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones sound meaty enough that most users will still be happy with the results. They're as brash as the design.
The Adidas headphones app does go some way to helping you get the sound how you like it, however. It's a simple app that initially focuses on allowing you to customize the action button (which ties into Spotify), but there's also an equalizer section that means you can adjust various settings or choose a preset depending on your mood. It's always good to have more control at your fingertips.
Designed with sport and fitness in mind, the Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones are an appealing set of running headphones for anyone who's active and wants their music to keep up with them. Thanks to the fabric-based design, you won't have to worry about them getting damaged or need to be overly precious with their care.
The sound isn't the sharpest out there but it's certainly respectable for the price, and it matches the general theme here – brashness and power.
Throw in the exceptional battery life and the very easy to use controls, and it's tricky to fault the Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones when it comes to the sporting market. You might not use these to sit at home listening to the subtle nuances of music, but for everyday purposes, they scratch the itch well.
- The best running headphones of 2020