On the hunt for a set of workout-ready earphones, I came across anunlikely candidate. The Wicked Little Buds, made by Empire Brands Inc.of Lindon, Utah, are touted as "noise-isolating earbuds that providean edgy look and great sound."
With blue metal earpieces, a fiber-like cord, and rubbery tips, theWicked Little Buds have a sleek but stand-out design. They cost about$30 and fit tight and comfortable in each ear, almost unnoticeableonce in place.
I have been wearing the Wicked Little Buds (www.empirebrandsinc.com)for running and listening to tunes. Though they are not intended as sports-specific earphones, the buds have worked well for me.
The cord, which is almost four feet long, has a rough cloth- orfiber-like coating. This texture on the cord prevents tangling. Theextra length is nice when my iPod is stashed in a backpack.
Audio quality is good enough for an exercise scenario. The audio rangeand general sound was above average for tiny, bud-style earphones.
One caveat: The noise-canceling feature does indeed block off ambientsound. Be careful at road crossings or on bike trails where shouts,horns, or other important audio cues might not be heard.
--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.