For City Slickers, Slick Headphones That Can Take A Beating

KiBiSi introduces Capital, a folding set of high-performance headphones designed to withstand being stuffed into bags and banged around.

For most city dwellers, headphones are an indispensable accessory, allowing us tune out the ambient noise and retreat into our own manufactured soundscape. But there are few options for those who eschew earbuds but don’t want to look like a traveling DJ. The formidable Danish design trio KiBiSi has a solution: a foldable set of headphones made expressly for the "on-the-go urbanite" out of supremely tough but lightweight materials.

Called Capital, the headphones borrow features from various modes of transit: The headband is made of a lightweight rubber predominantly used on bike handles, its sliding mechanism was inspired by the straps found on cycling shoes, and the ear cushions are made from stretchable foam used in car seats. "In other words," Kibisi’s Bjarke Vind tells Co.Design, "we’ve selected and implemented a diverse mix of tried and tested materials to ensure that Capital delivers on all fronts." The look of the headphones is refreshingly utilitarian, but best of all, they fold up into a compact bundle.

Kibisi stresses that Capital is built to withstand the wear and tear of the urban environment: The fiberglass-reinforced nylon exterior will hold up against rain, snow, and hail, while delivering clear sound from the protected 40-millimeter titanium driver. Says Kibisi’s head of design, Lars Holme Larsen: "They are made to survive."

Capital is available through Aiaiai for $125.

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  • EtotheZ

    Just got mine in the mail today - they sound great, they're super comfortable, and the build quality is the best I've ever seen in a pair of headphones. 

  • Matt Williams

    The video focuses heavily on design, materials, durability, but seems to gloss over they way they sound.  They look like a closed-back design, so to what extent do they block out sound?  Will they make my ears sweat, meaning I can't keep them on too long? I can see that really pushing the idea of durability is interesting, but personally I wish my Sennheiser HD650s were *less* durable so I'd find it easier to justify replacing them, as their sound fails to excite me, incisive though it is.


    only posers wear headphones while skateboarding.. especially of this magnitude...not sure if the rest of the world knew this, but balance is highly dependent on having your ears unobstructed... anyways, looks cool! yay!

  • Daphne Cheung

    These look promising. One of the biggest issues I have with a lot of headphones, the plug gets bent out of shape and starts to come out of one ear only. The plug definitely looks more durable, I'll have to check them out.

  • Jonathan McKinnell

    I've been buying cheep headphones for years because they're bound to break at some point. Only problem is that sound quality usually takes a hit when the price is low. I'll pick up a pair of these. Lets hope they last at least a decade :)