Great response, Grr, and welcome to Cake! 🎂 I'm glad Vilen was wrong on the Internet and got you here.
Vilen and I are buddies and I got the new AirPods when they came out (because Siri ) while he waited for his Powerbeats. At first he made me jealous because I could hear a big diff between his Powerbeats and my AirPods. Damn. More bass and sound isolation with Powerbeats. I'm not an audiophile but it was obvious.
Upon further review tho... Every time he calls me on the phone I have to ask if he's in a cave. I have trouble understanding him. The outbound audio quality of his Powerbeats positively sucks.
I think the genius of AirPods is the extended side thingies that serve both to keep them in your ear and create a great directional mic the powerbeats don't have. The outbound audio quality is amazing.
I agree with you, I don't like anything that fills the audio canal and keeps me from hearing cars while I bike. And anyway, when you get sweaty it feels gross.