When you think of Bluetooth headphones, there are certain companies that come to mind. Whether it be the likes of Bose, Sony, or Sennheiser, these are brands that have established themselves as leaders in this market.
Adidas, the company that's been making shoes and other sports clothing since 1949, is likely one of the last brands you'd associate in this regard. However, that's something it wants to change.
The Adidas RPT-01 are sports headphones that are designed to be worn at the gym, on a brisk run, or a long bike ride. Crafting headphones that are comfortable and functional for these use cases is no easy task, but it's one that Adidas has somehow done with flying colors.
After using and abusing the Adidas RPT-01 for the last few days, here's why they're becoming a permanent staple in my headphone collection.
Bottom line: Adidas isn't the first company that comes to mind when I think of Bluetooth headphones, but after trying out the RPT-01, that's changed. The Adidas RPT-01 are some of the best sports-centric headphones I've ever used, offering a winning combination of comfortable yet functional design, great sound, and long battery life. You get all of this at a very reasonable price, making the RPT-01 a no-brainer in my book.
- Distinct fabric design
- IPX4 water resistance
- Excellent playback controls
- Great audio with deep bass
- Long-lasting battery life
- USB-C charging
- The on-ear design gets uncomfortable after prolonged use
- Removable ear cushions can be tricky
Adidas RPT-01 What I love
I'm all for unique designs when it comes to my headphones, and that's something Adidas nailed with the RPT-01. The headband and earcups are covered with a knitted fabric material, along with a strip of rubber on the underside of the headband to keep everything comfy and secure while you're working out. Plastic and metal are used underneath all of this to ensure the whole package is sturdy, but they're used as minimally as possible to keep the headphones lightweight. This was a very effective decision, as the RPT-01 weigh in at just 209 grams — a lot lighter than my Bose QC 35 II, which weigh a little over 235 grams.
The RPT-01 look outstanding.
The headphones don't fold up or collapse for easier portability, and they also don't come with an included carrying case of any kind. While that is a downside, it doesn't matter too much, given just how durable the RPT-01 are.
Although I wouldn't recommend doing it regularly, you can bend and twist the headphones as much as you want without any sort of creaking or noticeable damage. Add that together with an IPX4 rating for water/sweat resistance, and these become headphones you can throw in a gym bag or drawer without having to worry about their wellbeing.
Further contributing to that notion is the fact that you can actually remove the rubber headband and ear cushions and wash them when needed. The headband snaps on and off with ease, with the ear cushions requiring a bit more work. Even if the whole process isn't the most seamless thing in the world, having the ability to clean the parts of the headphones that see the most sweat/use is a huge perk.
Continuing with the subject of design, the RPT-01's playback controls are — in a word — excellent. Just like the Marshall Monitor II, all of your music playback is handled through a single knob. It works as follows:
- Press to play/pause
- Move up/down to adjust the volume
- Move left/right to switch tracks
Asking a single button to do so much sounds awful on paper, but this design continues to be my absolute favorite for any over or on-ear headphones. All of the actions feel incredibly natural, and you don't have to worry about hunting around for various buttons just to adjust your music or podcast.
The only other button on the RPT-01 is its Action Button, which can be single, double, and triple-pressed to perform three distinct actions. You can have it trigger your phone's assistant (aka Google Assistant or Alexa) and connect it to Spotify to play a specific artist, album, or song. Both the assistant and Spotify commands work just as expected, and you can customize how the button works at any time in the free companion app.
I'll move off the design subject in just a second, but I want to thank Adidas for using USB-C for charging the RPT-01. This still isn't a given in 2020, especially with lower-cost and mid-range headphones, so I'm thrilled to see it here.
Next, let's talk about one of the most subjective things for any headphone review — audio quality.
The Adidas RPT-01 aren't the absolute best-sounding headphones I've ever heard, but given the price and demographic they're marketed towards, I couldn't be happier. They get plenty loud, there isn't any distracting distortion at the higher levels, and bass output is powerful. Listening to songs like Wow and the Unlimited Gravity remix of Sail, it's seriously impressive how much oomph the RPT-01 kick out.
If you aren't the biggest bass fan, you can head back into the companion app and choose between one of seven equalizer presets. One of these is dedicated as Custom, but you can edit the actual EQ settings for all of them (with adjustable levels between 6.25Khz and 160Hz).
The soundstage isn't quite as balanced as more expensive headphones like the Bose QC35 II or Sony WH-1000XM3, and you also won't find any active noise canceling. However, these things are expected, given you can buy two pairs of the Adidas RPT-01 for less than the price of Sony's flagship cans.
Tying all of this together is the RPT-01's battery life. Adidas rates the headphones for up to 40 hours of use per charge, and during my week or so of testing them, I wasn't able to fully drain the battery to zero. If you're using the headphones in one-two hour spurts of working out, they should easily last you weeks before needing to be plugged in.
Adidas RPT-01 What can be improved
You should be able to tell by now that I'm rather fond of the Adidas RPT-01, but as with any pair of headphones, they aren't perfect.
I have only two gripes worth mentioning, the first of which is a challenge all on-ear headphones struggle with — comfort. Unlike the more common over-ear headphones where the speaker envelopes your entire ear, on-ear headphones like the RPT-01 sit directly on your ear (hence the names).
The on-ear design of the headphones is a double-edged sword.
In my experience, this naturally causes more discomfort and makes it difficult to wear the RPT-01 for prolonged periods of time. I can wear them comfortably for about an hour before needing to take a break, making the headphones far from ideal if you're planning on wearing them all day long as you work from home.
I'd obviously love it if the RPT-01 were kinder to my ears, but I'm willing to give them a slight pass seeing as how they aren't meant to be worn for hours on end. These are workout headphones designed to be worn while you're running, hiking, at the gym, or doing any other kind of physical activity, and then be taken off afterward. I can really start to feel the RPT-01 wearing on my ears after using them for two meetings back-to-back, but when worn on a 30-minute run around my neighborhood, I don't have any issues.
That on-ear design is part of the reason why the RPT-01 are so small and lightweight, which directly contributes to why they're such a great workout companion.
On the note of things that are easier to fix for a v2 of the headphones, Adidas can definitely improve the removable ear cushions. There aren't any included instructions telling you how to take them off, so I had to resort to an Amazon review to figure out what I was supposed to do (turns out, you just turn the ear cushion and then pop it off).
Getting them off is easy enough once you know what to do, but getting them back on is somewhat tricky. You first need to stretch the fabric over the exposed plastic (kind of like a sock), and once that's done, turn the cushion until it locks into place. It sounds easy enough on paper, but actually doing this requires some trial and error. And, again, none of this is explained in the quick start guide that's in the box.
Adidas RPT-01 Should you buy them?
A good workout is only complete if you have the right gear to break a sweat with, and as far as audio equipment goes, the Adidas RPT-01 are some of the most well-rounded in this niche.
Adidas knocked it out of the park with the design, with the RPT-01 striking a balance of being stylish, lightweight, and durable in one seamless package. The two physical controls are also excellent, adding a ton of versatility to what you can do with the headphones without having to memorize a maze of endless buttons.
Factor all of that with great sound, long battery life, and USB-C charging, and these are damn near perfect headphones for a little over $100.
There's an argument to be made that Adidas should have gone with an over-ear design to make the RPT-01 more comfortable to wear. Still, as stated above, that'd take away from the ultimate goal — being a pair of ultra-lightweight headphones that you can run, jog, or lift weights without bogging you down.
For what they were designed to be used for, Adidas got just about everything right with the RPT-01. I'm excited to keep using them for all of my future workouts, and I cannot wait to see what the company does next in this sector.
Not what I was expecting, but in the best way possible
Adidas isn't the first company that comes to mind when I think of Bluetooth headphones, but after trying out the RPT-01, that's changed. The Adidas RPT-01 are some of the best sports-centric headphones I've ever used, offering a winning combination of comfortable yet functional design, great sound, and long battery life. You get all of this at a very reasonable price, making the RPT-01 a no-brainer in my book.
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