Best Headphones for Running Reviewed
Running headphones are an essential piece of equipment for many runners. Headphones let them zone out to their favorite tunes while they sweat through a solid workout. Running headphones operate just like traditional headphones. However, they have some advanced features, such as water or sweat-resistance, that improve their performance during a serious sweat session.
They can come in wireless and wired models which allows runners to pick the version best suited to their needs. Whatever your fancy, these handy little gadgets can improve your running experience. Runners are understandably choosy when it comes to their headphones. So we took our time and put together ten solid options for our list. We focused on comfort, style, ease of use, advanced features, and value when we ranked these products.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
Audio, calls, and fitness tracking
15 hours of battery life
Portable charger included
- Jabra Elite
- Anker SoundBuds
- Bose SoundSport
- AfterShokz Trekz Air
- Plantronics BackBeat FIT
- KuaiFit Sport
- SENSO Activbuds s-250
- ROVKING Over the Ear Headphones
- Philips SHS3200BK Model
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Top Running Headphones
1. Jabra Elite
Audio, calls, and fitness tracking
15 hours of battery life
Portable charger included
Sensitive to interference
The Jabra Elite offers tangle-free wireless audio. It allows you to do everything from listening to your favorite tunes to taking calls. It offers all the bells and whistles including a secure-fitting design so that they have greater stability in your ears. They are designed with resistance to both sweat and dust. The integrated motion sensor has a massive 15 hours of battery life. This impressive lifespan is possible because of the five hours that you get from the earbuds alone and 10 additional hours offered by an included charging case that can fit right into your pocket for easy storage and portability.Read more
These are the creme de la creme of running headphones, designed with a sleek, modern look that fits comfortably and securely in your ear. They are IP56 rated and offer you a solid 2-year warranty from debris and moisture - which these will undoubtedly be exposed to. They provide clear audio for music, podcasts, or audiobooks as well as for taking calls. The headphones your fitness throughout the day with a built-in motion sensor. This system comes with a portable, pocket-sized charger that offers a 10-hour charge.
The customizable equalizer allows runners to better optimize their listening experience. These are top of the line when it comes to earbuds. So if you are looking for style, technical superiority, quality construction, and top-of-line comfort you've got it with the Jabra Elite.
2. Anker SoundBuds
Customizable ear tips and hooks
10 hours on a single charge
The Bluetooth connection could be stronger
The microphone can be weak
Anker headphones for runners offer a very light option with their SoundBuds. The earbuds weigh only 15g! You will barely be able to feel these, and that is especially nice when you are in the zone working your way through a tough session. The earbuds offer a customizable fit, which allows you to better personalize their placement. They also come with various sized accessories so you can ensure these will stay put. Anker SoundBuds are a practical, versatile, comfortable, barely-there option for your ear gear.Read more
These offer a solid amount of playtime at 10 hours. That is plenty of for a long run, a full week at the gym, or a leisurely hike. You have the ability to manage your music or phone calls hands-free, thanks to the in-line microphone and accompanying remote. The SoundBuds also come with a convenient magnet that clips them together for better storage when they're not in use.
These headphones are perfect for high-impact athletes who don't want to miss a beat. They have a 33-foot Bluetooth range that provides you with plenty of power and skip-free sound. Runners can also work up a sweat without fear because these are rated IPX7 waterproof against all liquids. This includes rain and sweat.
They come with various ear tips and hooks in a variety of sizes, fit clip, shirt clip, micro USB cable, travel pouch, an informative welcome guide, and 18-months of customer service.
3. Bose SoundSport
4 stylish color options
Bose active EQ. Connectivity Technology
Bluetooth and NFC pairing
Sweat and weather resistance
Up to 6 hours of battery life
The pice on the outside of the ear is large
Bose is known for quality sound systems that bring the beats. Their wireless running earphones carry on this tradition and then some. They have additional security features that help them fit more snugly in a runner's ears. A combination of Bluetooth and NFC allows runners to easily access their music. They can use the inline mic or the paired remote, which controls volume, allows runners to skip tracks, and enables hands-free phone use for important calls.Read more
These headphones for running pair with the Bose Connect App, which lets users switch between multiple devices like it's nothing. Sweat and weather resistance make these earbuds great for athletes and runners of all stripes. And there's no need to worry about losing power in the middle of a workout, thanks to a lithium-ion battery that provides a healthy 6-hour battery
And Bose includes several great auxiliary equipment for their headphones. Stay Hear+ tips keep these in nice and tight. A USB charging cable makes them easy to power up and a carrying case adds an extra level of protection when they're not in use. They only take about two hours to fully charge which makes them great for runners who live in the fast lane. They are lightweight, comfortable, and ready to go.
4. AfterShokz Trekz Air
Bone conduction technology
Open Fit design
Light and flexible
Bluetooth v4. 2 connectivity
Up to 6 hours of playtime
Excellent customer service
Not nearly as loud as traditional options
AfterShokz designed their Trekz Air running headphones to be extra light. This wireless stereo earpiece uses a safe bone conduction technology and open-air construction to deliver crystal clear sound. Made for athletes, these are sweatproof, fairly stable, and have safety features that allow you to still hear your surroundings.Read more
Bone conduction technology may not be common but it is an effective and safe method that delivers top of the line sound. And although the delivery method is unique, the product's design is familiar and easy to use. This technology helps deliver crystal clear sound while still allowing the wearer to hear ambient noises so they aren't completely cut off from their surroundings. And whether you're working out in a gym or in the open air, this provides an extra layer of safety.
AfterShokz went in a new direction with this product and it shows in the design. It is made to be 20% lighter. And when it comes to exercise gear, the lighter the better since they are less likely to slip or become a distraction. The light design is also flexible which helps improve their fit as well as their comfort.
Trekz Air running headphones come with Bluetooth v4. 2 connectivity and convenient multipoint pairing that makes this versatile electronic device compatible with both iOS and Android smart devices. They deliver multi-layer, deep ranging, and dynamic sound with rich bass levels. The battery lasts for up to 6 hours of continuous use and charges in only two hours. This turnaround time is just one more feature that makes these a convenient, comfortable, and practical option.
5. Plantronics BackBeat FIT
Up to 8 hours of battery life
Frequency response is 50-20,000 Hz
No carrying case included
Neckband can be short for thicker necks
Plantronics BackBeat FIT is a set of wireless headphones for running that was constructed to fit perfectly into an active lifestyle. It is a sweatproof stereo option that has a safety-oriented design which allows you to clearly hear both your music and your surroundings. Its reflective surface also makes you a little more visible at night or in dreary conditions, amping up the safety when you're running outside.Read more
If safety is your thing these are a great option. Whether you run in high-traffic areas or rural locations, awareness of your surroundings is important. The BackBeat FIT heaphones for runners lets you have music and security all at the same time. They are also designed with a comfortable flexible fit and waterproof coating that meets IP57 requirements. This means you can wear these in the rain and they will still work like a charm.
Controlling the BackBeat FIT is easy and convenient with the on-ear control panel. It helps you sort your music and easily take those phone calls you can't miss. Up to eight hours of battery life means that you can go on a long run or make it through the week on one charge. You can preserve the charge even longer by using the standby time or the hibernation mode when you aren't actively using your earpieces. And when you need status updates, you will get seamless light notifications.
This product also has its own free app that wirelessly updates the firmware. Plantronics is known for its intuitively designed products and their BackBeat FIT is just another step in their innovative line.
Up to 12 hours of battery life
Secure-fit ear hooks
Siri with RemoteTalk
A 5-minute charge offers 1 hour of playback
Sweat and water resistance
Eartips with four size options
Includes a carrying case
Battery life can be faulty
The charger isn't great
The Powerbeats3 headphones for running has some very nice features of note. These include impressively clear sound quality and three attractive color options in unique hues. They are comfortable and easy to wear. And, according to customers, easily pair with most devices.Read more
With up to 12 hours of battery life, you can get a good amount of use on one charge. That's a marathon or a week of gym routines. These headphones have ear hooks to secure your fit and allow for a more intense and higher impact workout. If you aren't ready to call it a day and the battery power has run down, the headphones have a fast-charge option. It takes five minutes and provides up to an hour of battery life.
These running headphones are wireless and can take calls. The headphones work with Siri and RemoteTalk, which are nice additions that make functional use of these earpieces seamless and hands-free. They are sweat and water resistant and come with four size options for the ear tips. A carrying case keeps the headphones secure and a USB charging cord makes powering them up a snap. The company also includes an easy-to-understand quick start guide. And the included warranty card takes care of any issues that may come up.
7. KuaiFit Sport
Heart Rate Monitor
8 GB capacity
7 hours of battery life
Preloaded Training Plans
Can be clunky and bulky
Software needs improvement
KuaiFit Sport running headphones cover all the bases. It is a multifunctional device that offers everything you'd want when active. From heart rate feedback to measuring your movement speed, assessing your distance, and calculating calorie consumption all while listening to your favorite audio. KuaiFit Sport comes already pre-loaded with active workout plans including running, cycling, and a tutorial training plan as well as the ability to download many more so you can stay engaged and keep your workouts fresh.Read more
The KuaiFit Sport is a different option from others on this list because it comes from a startup company developed by triathletes looking to find the best, most functional training aides. Efficiency is the name of the game here because this multi-use device allows you to minimize the gear you carry when exercising by tracking a multitude of data in this one device. All the information is tracked in one easy-to-use app. It cuts down on clutter and bulk to make every run a little bit smoother.
These headphones also allow you to workout much more efficiently. They allow you to download a wide variety of music directly to your device as well as training plans designed on 4-week intervals. And, as mentioned above, they track your fitness stats. This device was designed for athletes and runners in training. It can work with anyone at any fitness level to achieve their goals with customized stats and plans.
When you train, that is your time to focus on you and your fitness goals. These headphones allow you to stay in the zone and perform at optimal capacity. Give yourself a leg up with the practicality of this device. It offers all the fitness tracking a person could want without extra connectivity to the chaos of everyday life.
8. SENSO Activbuds s-250
IPX-7 waterproof rating
Flex silicone earbuds
Up to 8 hours of battery life
240 hours standby
A quick charge of 1. 5 hours
Bluetooth V4. 1
CVC 6. 0 noise suppression technology
1-year Manufacturer's warranty
The cord is inconvenient
May experience some slight static noise
SENSO is the brand to turn to if you have been disappointed by the sound quality of other running headphones. They offer great sound with impressive bass and excellent volume control. You will not miss the treble with these headphones for running. They use Bluetooth and are wireless with IPX7 waterproof materials.Read more
These headphones have an excellent battery life works like a charm right out of the box. You can literally take them out, put them on and head out for a run as they arrive at your door. There's no need to impatiently wait as the batteries charge up. You can jump right into your workout, favorite tunes blasting.
Pairing is simple, too. You aren't going to waste too much time fiddling with that process. Between the battery charge and pairing process, you are all set pretty much from the start. And you won't have trouble finding the right fit because there are multiple sizes of accessories and ear tips to help you find the best fit.
The ease of use is spot-on as the controls are located right on the headphones themselves. You can easily use Google Assistant while your phone is asleep which is a really convenient feature if you just need to do a quick search.
These headphones for runners are a functional and well-rounded option with decent call clarity. They are well-suited for workouts, passenger commutes, or just general housework. They are slim and low-weight which makes them a slim, portable option that can be stowed in a pocket when not in use.
9. ROVKING Over the Ear Headphones
Cool, robust color options
Fit well for small ears
Excellent customer service
Durability could be improved
ROVKING running headphones have a secure design with a loop that is put around the ear so that these headphones will stay in place. A strong bass stereo helps you bop to your beats and gives you the motivation and energy to pump your way through your workout. The music is clear even in the loudest environments which will help you stay focused on your form and fitness.Read more
Four vibrant color options make up this line of earpieces. They hook over your ears so that even smaller sized ears can have a secure fit. There are four different ear piece sizes that you can pick from so comfort is not a problem. Once you find your fit, the ability to clearly hear your audio with a solid bass line provides depth to your music while the isolating noise helps you hone in on your workout and nothing else.
These are perfect headphones for runners because they were designed to include hands-free operation to take calls or control the tracks you want to listen to while active. There is no need to fiddle with your phone when you want to make adjustments. All of it can be done on the headphones. They also pair easily with most devices, including Apple products, Android products, mobile devices, music players, and desktops.
If you find yourself unhappy with the product, the company has you covered! They offer a warranty and a money back guarantee. The company really backs up their quality, safety, hygiene with hands-on customer service.
10. Philips SHS3200BK Model
Sweat and rain resistant
Carrying case included
5 color options
Poor sound clarity
Philips rounds out this list with a high durability headphone that will last throughout consistent use. Their products are very affordable and these headphones are designed with minimalism in mind. These running headphones are a stable, lightweight, and functional option that offers an impressive lifespan.Read more
This simple design has all the basics and features that you'd want in an active option including sweat resistance and rain proofing. There are 3 size choices to help you get the best fit. They are light and fit well in your ear using soft silicon caps.
Keep these easily tucked away and protected from damage with the included carrying case. There are also built-in safety features such as a reflective stopper in the cable.
If you are looking for simplicity and ease of use, these are an affordable pair that offer you exactly what you need.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are some special and very practical features that make these headphones stand apart from traditional options. The features make them more comfortable to wear while in motion and make them much more functional to wear outside and while you sweat.
That brings us to sweat resistance. You are going to be wearing these running, training, or walking and the likelihood you will produce some natural moisture is inevitable. The ability to work through the moisture is an absolute necessity. If you like to workout outdoors, you may experience the elements including rain or snow, you may even accidentally get hit by a random sprinkler. For these reasons, waterproofing is a must.
Options that are comfortable to wear, that won't make you feel weighted down will help you go the distance. A lighter design will help improve that comfort. Many options that are made for the activity will have a more minimalist style. This will reduce stress while you are exerting yourself and working towards your full potential during a run or in your session. They shouldn't be too bulky, or cumbersome to wear.
When exercising outside, while it is nice to hear your favorite tunes, you still need to be cognizant of your surroundings. Safety is important and so features that incorporate safety will be something you should definitely consider. Many designs will be open which allows for some amount of noise to be able to be heard even with the audio you have on. This helps you hear potential outdoor hazards like cars whizzing by or even an individual yelling for your attention.
There are a couple of different headphone types and the style you choose is really up to your personal preference. While most running headphones will use an earbud style that is more minimal, small, and light, some have additional style options such as attachment features for your ears.
In-ear options are actually pushed into your ear. It is fiction which is how these stay put in your ear. They will generally use rubber tips that have various sizes to fit better into the openings of your ear. These may sound a bit awkward, but they tend to be very comfortable, and when they fit properly, you may forget you are even wearing them. The only downside is that depending on the fit, some have issues with these not staying put, and the constant falling out of the ear could be problematic.
Clip-ons also fit inside the ear but instead of just relying on friction for staying power they have a clip that secures them in place. The rubber tips also come in various sizes to help you achieve the right fit. Due to the clip, if you have had issues with the in-ear options falling out, there may be a great alternative that stays in much more securely which is particularly nice when you are hitting a very strenuous or intense run.
Ear hook options fit inside the ear and have an external feature of arm-like structures or hooks that aim to form around your ears and form a secure placement. These won't easily fall off, so if you need the extra support, these are a great option. However, they do lack some of the comforts that you'd ideally want in a running headphone especially if you are engaging in longer runs. For those that need glasses, these could also pose potential issues for those that wear glasses.
On-ear/over-ear is a traditional style which covers the entirety of your ear. They can be used for exercising but they tend to be much bulkier which can dilute their overall comfort and practicality. even though these cover your ear they have a tendency to fall off more easily especially if you are engaged in a vigorous session or cha-cha-ng down the dance floor. These can have water-proofing materials but the large size could cause you to sweat more and they don't tend to have noise filtration features which make it much harder to hear any external noises outside of your audio when you are outside.
Ease of Use
When it comes to running headphones there are two basic options to choose from which are wired and wireless.
Wired options have cords, obviously. Therefore you have to pay close attention to the style of the cord and make sure that the cord won't interfere with your workouts or cause you irritation, it needs to still allow your earbuds to be as practical as possible. A thick, durable cord that is tangle-resistant will tend to work well. These cords can often be flat which helps reduce the possibility of curling in on itself and causing knots.
The length of the cord can also play a part in practicality. Very long cords could snag, tangle easier, and just be plain annoying when you are in motion. A good size is about 40 inches long to give you just enough slack for keeping your devices secured in your pocket. Should you prefer an armband, you'd ideally want the cord to be much shorter.
Wireless options are going to be much easier to use and they cut the cord out of the equation and out of your way altogether. The way this work is through the use of Bluetooth versus having to be physically connected to a device in order to get your desired audio. The downside to these is they won't have as strong of a connection to get the best sound quality as you'd have with a hard-wired option but what you give up in crisp sound, you get back in uncomplicated freedom to move. When it comes to maximizing your performance, movement may trump sound quality.
Additionally, charging time can add how easy it is to use your headphones. Wireless options use an internal battery so they can keep that connection with the Bluetooth. What that means is that you have to charge them regularly. The best options are going to be those that have a short charging time and that can hold a charge for a decent amount, especially if you want to go out on a longer run.
Other factors to consider when it comes to charging are the functions that contribute to the overall charge time a device can hold. Higher volumes can actually reduce your charge faster, for instance. If you can find an option that offers at least six hours of playing time on a single charge, you are in a good position.
Most of these products have controls to customize things like the volume so that you can better adjust the audio to your preference. These could be on the cord, for those that have them, or they could be on the actual earpiece themselves. Some models have buttons which can help you switch your tracks to get to the exact song or clip you are most interested in hearing when you want to hear it.
Some can have fancy features like the ability for hands-free calling and these would be built with microphones. Brands that have this function make it really easy to go out access your phone without having to actually take the time and energy to pull it out of your pocket. This could help you keep your stride without missing a beat and still take ain important call all at the same time.
Protective cases provide strong storage that you can toss your gear into and it can sit in your purse or gym bag safely. These allow you to keep your gear much more mobile without having to worry about any damage being done.
When you are exercising and you want to gauge your zones or if you have a medical condition, heart-rate monitors can be extremely useful. Some models have these monitors built-in with a sensor that is located in the earbuds. These will monitor your heart rate while you are active.
The price you pay for your chosen model will have a wide range and the final tally will come down to the extras that you want. The style, wireless or not, as well as other fancy features, can all contribute to the overall cost. The value really comes down to your preference. One product that has a lot of fun and useful features may be a bit pricier but for some, these features are necessary while for others, basic models at a lower price range are going to be better used. In general, you are going to be looking at a range of about $5 on the lowest end to upwards of $100.
The other thing to look at is durability. Check reviews and see which options have the ability to hold up to use, there are some that are more affordable that can last a lifetime. they may not have all the neat features but they will be reliable, whereas some of the higher-tech models that are more pricey may have a lot of fun features but can have a tendency to have issues with at least one of their components sooner than that of a simpler model. The material a headphone is made out of can also add to durability, for instance, if you don't have materials that can hood up to the outdoor elements or moisture, you may wear them out very fast between sweat as well as any other moisture they can come into contact with. Very bulky headphones could be more liable to break when packed as it can be harder to provide protection for them especially when put into purses or bags, or when traveling due to their larger size.
So, think about your budget and then think about what is most important to you as far as features. Check out various models and that have the features you are looking for and look through their varying pricing. Read reviews and check guides like this one, for detailed feedback on specific models to pick the best options.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Bluetooth technology uses radio waves to get around the need for inconvenient wires. It is fairly inexpensive and it is also automatic. Infrared technology can also get around wires but it requires one-to-one or line-of-site conditions to work, while Bluetooth does not which is why it is predominantly used for wireless devices.
It originates from a long ways back, the late 900s to be exact with the king of Denmark, Harald Bluetooth. While his name has little relation to the actual technology itself, the Nordic region over which he reigned has made significant impacts and influence on the communications industry of today.
Other Factors to Consider
Music is can be good and soothing for the soul. That saying isn't just a mantra with no backing, studies actually show that music alone can improve mood and help you perform better as well as have more energy when you are exercising. If taking a jog is a way for you to release some tension and have some enjoyable alone time where your mind can be free and you can decompress, the right headphones could make a big difference in the impact the audio you listen to will have on your overall mood. Not only can your cognitive state be improved or heightened but functionally the beat of your music can also help you with your pace. Tempos that have a faster rhythm may help you keep up to making the time you are looking for as you aim to keep up with those beats.
When you are enjoying yourself time flies right on by. If you can improve your workout experience and have enjoyable music or other audio to enhance your physical elevation, your workouts are not only going to be more fun but they will be something in your life that you look forward to engaging in. This can help immensely when trying to stick to a healthy workout regime.
Advanced headphones that help you not only enjoy your audio but also can help you multitask can take some of the excuses away from why you can't exercise. For instance, if you need to stay close to the phone for a service call, but your headphones allow you to speak hand-free no matter where you are or what you are doing, then you have not to excuse why you can hit the track for the day. The majority of exercisers enjoy exercise alone and headphones that make their workouts even more pleasurable don't hurt at all, not one bit. If you are having trouble getting the motivation and consistency you need, perhaps a good pair of headphones with a nice book, or some upbeat jams maybe just the added bonus you need to get you into the gym or on the track more consistently.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the lifespan of running headphones?
The quality of the headphone is going to be the best indicator of the lifespan in addition to how often and how hard these products are used. Your care for them and maintenance will also play a role. If you don't wash off sweat often, or you don't use a protective case, these factors could lead to a shorter lifespan. For the most part, though, most options are going to last you a few months to more than a year used regularly. Higher end options are going to be a bit more pricey but they should last you several years. Some brands offer warranties, so if you have had a history of going through ear gear, you may want to look into not only the quality of materials and construction but also if there are any warranties to help you back your purchase.
q: What is the most important aspect of specialized active headphones for runners?
Those products that aren't comfortable will distract from your workouts and those that don't stay in not only distract but do you no good for the purpose they are made for. Getting the right earbuds that fit properly, comfortably, and securely is key for most runners or avid exercise enthusiasts. Some options to help fit would be extra hooks, clips, or those that have specialized materials which form fit or mold to your ears. Many brands come with various size ear hooks and pieces so you can try each out to find the right fit.
q: What are good options for treadmills?
There are some features you won't necessarily need if you are primarily working out inside and on a treadmill. Because of the noise that you have from the treadmill, you'd want the sound quality to be much louder and more clear. You'd want ambient noise canceling headphones that won't allow interference from the outside. Because you don't necessarily need to be able to hear your surroundings for safety while inside, you don't need the ability to hear ambient noise or have other safety features like reflectivity. On-ear and over-ear styles add a bit more bulk, but they seal in your audio much better.
q: How big are the ears?
By the age of 6 you have approximately 85% of the full size that your ear will be and by 9 that goes up to 90%. The average size has quite a range but looking at average sizes by gender, males tend to fall within a size of 2.52 inches while females are bit smaller at 2.32 inches.
- How Bluetooth Works, Science Site ,
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