Much like the cases that come with most other noise canceling headphones, the Shield case folds around the AirPod Max and closes, providing full protection. You can store the headphones on their own or with the Apple case, if you like that for some reason. Inside you will find a plush lining to prevent scratches; This is the same extremely soft liner that Waterfield uses in the laptop sleeves of bags like their Leather Messenger. (I own this bag and can confirm that the plush liner is absurdly soft.) There is also an internal mesh pocket that can hold a 20W power brick and charging cables.
There is also a smart function specific to AirPods Max inside: a magnetic “butterfly” separates the two ear cups and triggers the low power mode of the headset. As the AirPods Max finally go into low power mode, it’s nice that Waterfield’s Shield case duplicates the only useful feature Apple built into its own case.
On the outside, two zippers close the Shield Case, meaning you can leave it open slightly and plug in the AirPod Max to charge it. There is also a handle on the top, which should make it easier to remove the case from a backpack. The holster also features two other pockets on the outside: a back mesh pocket for quick access and a zippered front pocket for items you want to secure. This front exterior is brown leather with waxed canvas trim, or red, blue, or black leather with black ballistic nylon trim.
I have used Waterfield products for years, so I admit I might be biased – but I also have the experience of knowing that they usually make very smart decisions in their designs whether it is a laptop bag general purpose or holster designed for a specific gadget like this one. It’s not cheap at $ 99, but the company makes everything by hand in small batches and the quality has always been consistent and great. There aren’t many other third-party cases on the market yet, but that should change soon if you want something a little cheaper. But the Waterfield Shield Case looks like a cleverly designed product for headphones that absolutely need more protection than what Apple offers.