For runners, joggers, and even the humble power walker, the portable, secure form factor provided by earbuds is vastly superior to the relative bulk of an over-ear model. They allow you to interact with calls and music handsfree, they’re lightweight and stay out of the way, and just owning a pair makes you feel like more of an athlete than you might actually be. And that’s something money can’t buy.
Whether you’re looking for general use headphones with some element of sports specialization or a full-on, dedicated pair that do everything except jogging on your behalf, there exists a wide range of products on offer for you to choose from. So let’s dive in.
The Benefits of Earbuds for Runners
This is fairly self-explanatory. Earbuds are the clear choice for wearable audio in any sporting environment (with the possible exception of eSports, but let’s not be pedantic) because they’re designed to stay out of the way while you get on with whatever personal best you have to beat.
There’s a lot of scope for customizing this experience to your own requirements. If you need wireless, go for it. If you’re looking for a high-end earbuds experience that can also double as sportswear, there are lots of them too.
The market for sports-based earbuds is large, and you’ll certainly be able to find something that suits you down to a tee.
Considerations for Headphones for Running
If you’re in the market for running earbuds, the likelihood is that you already know the kinds of trade-offs you’re likely to encounter. The main one is the audio quality. Given the emphasis placed on creating a design that looks the part, is sweat- and water-resistant, and is sufficiently lightweight to do the job without disrupting your performance, the listening experience is rarely going to be excellent.
This doesn’t mean it’s outright bad by any means, but expect lots of brands to emphasize features like an artificially enhanced bass response to keep things pumping above the true clarity of a well-balanced listening experience.
What to Look For When Buying Choosing The Best Earbuds for Runners
Over The Ear Or Inside The Ear Retention?
This is a question that only you can answer as it comes down to personal preference for the most part. Obvious aesthetic differences aside, both platforms offer good retention. Over the ear headphones are going to be every bit as comfortable as inside the ear. However, the former tends to be cheaper in most cases. One thing to consider is the selection of inside the ear hooks you get with the earbuds.
The more standard over the ear variety isn’t too hard to get wrong. Chances of you running into a pair that is too big or too small for your ears is very small. However, with inside the ear hooks, that is very much a possibility. Because of that, it is important that your earbuds come with a good selection of hooks so that you can find a good match. After all, comfort is extremely important when you are pushing your body hard every day for hours at a time.
Sweat and Water Resistance
There’s no doubt that a regular pair of wireless earbuds won’t necessarily improve or impede your running, but the best earbuds for runners tend to be sweat and water resistant. This is mainly because headphones for runners are designed to withstand heavy rain or a lot of sweat during exercise.
If you choose headphones without these features, you can’t run outside when it’s raining, or it could permanently damage them.
A Secure and Stable Fit
Headphones that fall out of your ears or off your head whenever you move are irritating. When searching for the best earbuds for runners, you want to own a type that is comfortable to wear for a long time and don’t fall out every few seconds. Of course, this is down to security and comfort.
If you plan on exercising for long periods of time, you don’t want to spend half of that time adjusting the headphones in your ear. Another way to ensure the earbuds fit you correctly is by having a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from. Not everyone has the same size ear canal, so why would we all wear the same size earbuds?
Not Completely Noise-Canceling
You might be wondering why we’ve chosen to make this feature a necessity when choosing the best earbuds for runners. However, aside from the sound quality and a stable fit, it’s important that you’re still aware of your surroundings. To remain safe when running outdoors, you need to have all of your senses alert, which means not completely zoning out of what’s happening around you.
If you purchase noise-canceling headphones, you’re more likely not to hear someone shouting you, sirens from emergency services, or be aware of muggers. Remain safe by avoiding noise-canceling headphones.
Excellent Sound Quality
Of course, this is one of the most important features of headphones for running. Why else do you listen to music when exercising other than motivation or happiness? If your headphones don’t produce a high-quality sound, this will vastly take out the enjoyment of listening to music. One of the most considerations to look into is the frequency range.
Most headphones offer a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz, although if you’re looking for excellent sound quality, you’ll need a wider range so you can hear low notes such as drums, bass guitars, and other instruments. After all, aren’t the instruments a massive part of what gives a song a beat and therefore your motivation to move?
Something to Avoid
Obviously, there are some things you would want to avoid. Wired earbuds used to be the only option back in the day, but they no longer are. Not only that but wireless just works so much better with running and other physical activities. Our first recommendation is to stay away from wired earbuds unless you are severely limited by your budget.
When it comes to a wireless variety of earbuds, we strongly suggest that you stick to those who are fully independent or those who have a soft link between the two earbuds. The last thing you want is to get a set of wireless earbuds which have one of those rigid necklaces. Not only is it uncomfortable to have what is essentially a plastic horseshoe rocking around your neck as you run, but you might be risking injury if you fall.
The Best Earbuds for Runners
The third iteration of the Jaybird X series of earbuds is arguably the best so far. Not only has Jaybird built so much upon an already established platform, but they have done it in a way that really adds tangible improvement across the board. If you are a fan of Jaybird as a brand, these earbuds are something you can’t allow yourself to skip.The performance boost is there as well, although the improvement isn’t quite as revolutionary as some would have hoped. Generally speaking, everything about these earbuds has been enhanced and improved, making the X3 the best choice for those who refuse to compromise when it comes to their tech.
You can pair these headphones to two devices at the same time, and switch at any time that suits you. If your running partner has a pair of X3 earphones too, you can sync the same music simultaneously, so you’re both moving to the same track.
Compared to the previous model, you are looking at a more functional and comfortable solution. These are the best wireless headphones on our list in terms of design. Jaybird X series headphones are lightweight and sweat-proof, so there are no issues with comfort while you’re running for miles. The design is compact and rigid, too, so they can withstand the impact of heavy exercising. Plus, when the headphones are running low on battery, a voice will notify you of that percentage remaining, so you’re always aware of the amount you have left.
Finally, these headphones can sometimes lose connection. The best way to avoid this happening is by having a sports armband attached to your wrist so that Bluetooth receiver doesn’t lose any signal.
The overall sound quality is excellent, especially considering this price range. Specifically, the headphones are equipped with a punchy bass to exude plenty of energy to motivate your workouts. To block out plenty of background noise, switch to the comply tips as these are more narrow and will direct the music straight into your ears.
Although these earbuds are designed to resist water, they’re not suitable for watersports. A light drizzle of water is fine, but don’t expect them to still work after floods of rain. If you tend to head outdoors no matter the weather, the Jaybird’s Waterproof earphones might be a more suitable option.
Bose earbuds deliver around six hours of music before needing a charge, but if you like your music loud, this will knock off some minutes. Just two hours’ charge will completely revive the battery from 0 percent to 100. Finally, we love the Tile’s tracking technology should you lose your headphones. Sync the app on your phone to the earbuds, and it’ll play a chime sound when they’re within 30 feet of you.
If you’re a fan of heavy metal and rock music, you’ll find that these aren’t the best wireless headphones for this music genre. However, if you embark on high-energy physical activity, you’ll likely hear your breathing over the music anyway.
We love that these wireless earbuds allow you to receive calls from your smartphone while you’re listening to music, and you can conveniently pause a track to take a call. The Bose Connect app enables you to switch between different audio devices smoothly. Plus, the Bluetooth connection stays strong up to 30 feet away, so you won’t experience too many hiccups. Bose made a specific intention of allowing some ambient noise through the earphones, so you’re always aware of your surroundings. As a result, you’ll probably increase the volume more than you usually would.
When it comes to things that matter the most in earbuds, Bose has pretty much done their homework thoroughly. Comfort and retention are impressive, while performance comes across as something you could easily connect to Bose as a brand.
The only place where Bose might have cut a corner is battery life although they have compensated for that shortcoming in more than one way. Specifically, the headphones will last two days’ exercising, and you’ll need to charge them around twice a week – that’s not even if you use them every day. With a built-in USB port, they’re convenient enough to charge whenever you’re ready. Bose headphones aren’t a tight squeeze in your ear canal, which means they’ll welcome some background noise but also offer incredible comfort.
While Alpatronix really did a good job covering all of their bases, they have also incorporated some pretty unique solutions. These come with built-in memory. With a built-in SSD memory of 8GB, you can listen to your favorite songs at all times.
On top of that, HX250 features a pretty robust IPX7 rating, making them sweatproof and waterproof. You can fully immerse these headphones under water for 30 minutes, and they’ll still work perfectly afterwards. With a built-in microphone, you can respond to calls while you’re on the go. Another reason these are one of the best earbuds for runners is thanks to the Bluetooth 4.2 technology that delivers a high-performance bass without losing any connection.
Its inherent design allows you to really focus on your exercise and forget about what is on your head. However, there is so much more than that to these earbuds. The headphone’s design is user-friendly, and the audio controls are positioned within easy reach. As a result, you can adjust the volume, pause, play, skip tracks, and even answer calls easily.
Equipped with a noise-cancellation feature, these headphones block out almost any background noise, which means you can use them for more than just running. Use them on a plane to drown out people talking, or nod off at night to someone snoring. The audio is clear, and the bass makes these the best headphones we’ve reviewed so far.
These offer a great combination of comfort, retention, performance, and battery life. Specifically, they’ll last from 5 to 6 hours, even with continuous use. Connect your device to your headphones via Bluetooth, and these earbuds will successfully travel up to 33 feet, making them ideal for walking around your home. Connecting these headphones to your chosen device is a quick and easy process, too. In less than five seconds, you’re fully connected and ready to begin your vigorous exercise regime.
The headphones are equipped with a built-in headphone so you can answer calls without using your phone separately. Thanks to the audio notification, this feature reads out the number that’s calling you while silencing the music. This is a great way to always keep your eyes ahead. After the call’s finished, the music resumes.
Compared to most other models on the market, Phaiser BHS-530 come across as purpose-built for running. You are getting a very streamlined design that is functionally great but also pretty attractive. As a matter of fact, Phaiser offers their BHS-530 in a variety of colors which should definitely satisfy just about anyone’s taste.
It’s important that earbuds are comfortable to wear for a long time, especially when you’re exercising. Thankfully, Phaiser headphones are comfortable on your ears and around your neck. The foam detailing makes them soft in your ear canal with no irritation. These headphones feature high-end Bluetooth controls so you can adjust the volume, play or pause a track, or skip a song whenever it suits you.
If you like your music loud, these Phaiser headphones are ideal for you. No matter how loud you have the volume, this won’t affect the sound quality and will feature no distortion. The bass isn’t overwhelming but is ideal for mid-range songs to provide you with ample motivation for your workouts. These headphones also have an intense treble setting to provide some brightness to your music. To improve your music-listening experience, these headphones offer a wide range of frequency, so you play a variety of music genres, with vocals sounding clear and heavier music styles having more impact and punch.
The performance aspect of XR100 is pretty impressive as well. We have a great set of drivers which are fairly standard in nature but high quality in every aspect that matters. On top of that, these offer a superior battery life to almost everything that makes up their direct competition. The chances are that you won’t find a more functional wireless set at this price.
It takes around two hours to fully charge these earbuds, after which, they’ll last up to nine hours. This duration is applicable even on a high volume and answering hands-free calls. These headphones are designed to last and therefore, aren’t built from low-quality materials. They’re sweatproof and waterproof, making them ideal for outdoor runs when it’s raining or reading a book outside when it’s summer.
These earbuds utilize one of the older designs but one that is rock solid. The whole over the ear layout makes them great in terms of retention as well as comfort. The soft rubber material provides a comfortable feel in the ear, and the silicone earbuds remain securely in place for hours. Equipped with built-in hooks, these headphones are extremely comfortable and won’t move an each – even during vigorous motions.
These headphones come with foam ear tips to isolate your music from background noise. If you like your music loud, bear in mind that these headphones produce some sound leakage, so others close by might be able to hear what you’re listening to. These are the best earbuds for runners who like bass, as they produce a warm and thick sound, but not too much treble. The mid and high frequencies are crisp and clear, and the earbuds provide a great balance between warm and fresh tones. They typically work best with rap and hip-hop music genres.
The key features you might be interested in are pretty great drivers hidden behind the aircraft grade aluminum driver shells. This pretty much makes them resistant to drops although we definitely don’t recommend that you go test that out. Battery life is decent, considering that this design utilizes a charging dock. We love that these earbuds are compatible with an array of devices, including iPhone, Samsung, iPad, Blackberry, and more. When the battery’s running low, you can charge them on the go, thanks to the rechargeable case. That means you’ll never be stranded with low-battery headphones ever again.
The chassis and overall design are classy enough for business use but also comfortable and reliable enough for running. To offer a comfortable fit, these earbuds come with ear caps in three sizes (small, medium, and large). Unlike other earphones that slot into your ear canal, you insert these earbuds and twist them until you achieve a comfortable fit. They’re also lightweight in your ear to limit any irritation and ensure they’re suitable for lots of movement during running.
Designed with noise-canceling technology, these earphones reduce any ambient noise and echoes to leave you alone with your music while you’re running. The sound fills your ears with a high-definition bass to enhance your favorite tracks. You can explore other options besides running and use these headphones for watching movies or playing games. The built-in technology can sense when sounds are far away or up to and adjusts the sound levels accordingly. As a result, this makes these the best earbuds for runners who love a variety of music styles.
Sumpan created these earbuds so you can have them around your neck while you’re running. Consequently, they’re a convenient and fun way to enjoy your activities without a wire dangling in front of you, but they’re also less likely to fall out of your ears as each earbud is connected. The brand created these earbuds with more than audio performance in mind, but usability, too. For example, they don’t tangle up like some of the best earbuds for runners can, which means you can get them set up in no time. These earbuds might be minimal-looking, but as they’re lightweight feature means you don’t have to run with any additional weight. Plus, they’re flexible so as you move, they curve in your ears with each stride.
The earbuds design is what helps to make the audio the best it possibly can be. Removable ear tips cover the flat grilles and small nozzles help to create a funnel for the sound to travel from the headphones to your ear canal. We love that these earbuds are shaped like a hook so that they can fasten to one another when you’re not using them.
The built-in cable loop helps to hold the wires in place so they don’t move around too much as you walk. For this reasonable price, you wouldn’t expect these earbuds to come with any luxuries or additional features, such as a carrying case. Thankfully though, these headphones aren’t so petite that you’ll lose them in your pocket. On the left cable is a remote control and built-in microphone that allows you to control your music, the volume and answer incoming calls.
Sumpan earbuds come with a large frequency range from 20-20KHz, meaning you can play all kinds of music and make the most of all genres. The earbud-style not only makes these earphones comfortable to listen to for long periods, but ensures that there’s no sound leakage so people passing by don’t hear what you’re listening to.
It’s evident that these earbuds are built to deliver a powerful bass and precise tones. Plus, even phone calls are clear and concise so that you don’t have to settle for poorly-made earbuds.
Playing these earbuds between 33 and 50 percent volume means they last around 11 hours, although pumping up the volume decreases this time. We appreciate that these earphones isolate any noise so you can effectively and easily hear your favorite songs without any struggles. You can also switch the ear tips from silicone to foam, depending on the audio quality you’re looking for.
If most of your exercise regimes are fairly intense, you’ll need the best wireless earbuds that still play sound reliably without any interruptions as you attempt uphill climbs. We love that these earbuds allow you to control any device that isn’t on display via the Bluetooth technology. With one single button, you can switch from listening to music to a call, skip a track, or use the universal microphone to retrieve calls.
RHA MA750 earbuds are impressive to look at. Specifically, the stainless steel exterior not only looks stunning but improves the durability. They’re also IPX4 certified, which means you don’t have to worry about sweat or droplets of water touching the surface. It’s evident that a lot of attention and thought has gone into the design, such as a copper cable that prevents the wires tangling up when they’re not in use. Although, the wires quickly transfer sound from your device to your ears so you never miss a moment’s detail.
In total, these earbuds only weigh 41g, which makes these incredibly lightweight and they also comfortably fit the contours of your neck and shoulders to a long-lasting comfort. Simply hook them over your ears when you’re ready to hit the road, and their flexible design is comfortable and convenient to wear for hours. And if you’re not satisfied, they come with a three-year warranty.
These are the best earbuds for runners if bass is what you’re looking for, and instrumentals have a place to shine with these. Admittedly, low notes aren’t as powerful and responsive as some of the other best earbuds for runners on this list, but you can adjust the bass settings on the app to emphasis middle and high ranges to your liking.
You’ll appreciate the emphasis these earbuds bring to bass and treble ends to pump some energy and drama throughout all of your music. Also, these earbuds show excellent control is shifting between different rhythms and switching from a front, back and center projection. Some users even reported that the sound extended outside of their ears – not so that other people could hear, but that the sensation when farther than the earbuds.
Optoma NuForce earbuds are water resistant, making them perfect for intense training sessions and when you’re enduring activities in the rain, mud or snow. Plus, these feature also makes them sweatproof so you can push yourself without worrying that this will damage the earbuds.
If music is your motivation, you’ll require earbuds that can last a long time. Optoma NuForce claim up to 10 hours of non-stop music, which means you’ll never have to worry about your battery running out when you’re running ever again. For those times when you forget to charge the earbuds, just 15 minutes is enough to provide two hours of listening time. Also, the built-in remote means you can control the media playback, volume, and even activate Siri or Google Assistant without touching your phone, so you can put more focus into your workouts.
For most runners, comfort is the main feature they’re looking for with earbuds. Thankfully, Optoma NuForce is designed for maximum comfort, stability and durability. With a huge emphasis on a secure fit, these earbuds come with multiple-sized ear tips and ear wings so you can choose the best size for your ears to prevent them slipping out.
These earbuds are designed with you in mind, so no matter how you prefer to wear your earphones, they’ll suit you. For example, they come with ear hooks if you’re looking for greater reassurance that they won’t fall out of your ears. However, these earbuds come with a cable tie so you can adjust the amount of slack in the wire as you move around; the last thing you want is a wire flapping in your face as you climb tough hills.
These earbuds feature a superior noise isolation that enables you to run in the outdoors while keeping your head in the zone. Unlike some of the best earbuds for runners, Optoma Nuforce designed these earphones for Apple and Android devices so they maximize your audio quality no matter which system you use. The graphene-coated drivers promise to deliver a crystal-clear sound every time you use these.
Optoma took a stepback on the treble and put more focus into bass with these earbuds. But, where they really shine is the vocals. With tremendous texture and acoustics, these wireless earphones have an excellent sound quality, especially given the price range. Also, these earbuds are coated in graphene – a material that helps to reduce any distortion when you increase the volume.
Sennheiser CX Sport earbuds fully charge in 90 minutes, making them one of the best earbuds for runners if you have little time. However, this short time means that they have a battery life of six hours. But, you can use the quick-charge function via your USB port in 10 minutes to increase your playback time by an hour.
You won’t experience any lip-sync issues with Sennheiser CX Sport headphones should you use a Samsung Galaxy S9 to watch videos. Consequently, you can use these earbuds for your morning commute and moments to chill in the living room as well as running sessions. Pairing these earbuds to your chosen device is easy and quick, and there aren’t many reports of the connection dropping out either. Sweat and splash resistant, you can hit the roads no matter the weather and push yourself farther every time you run.
These earbuds are clearly designed with comfort and security in mind. For example, the rubber ear fins keep them in place in your ear while you’re working out. You’ll also receive three different sized ear tips to ensure you find an exact fit for your ear. They’re also a small and compact design so storing them in your bag or pocket when not in use isn’t a problem, plus, they won’t hurt your ears should you wear them for a long time.
Underneath the right earbud is a volume and playback control as well as a built-in microphone that all make operating these earbuds convenient and simple. These earbuds are flashy and have a character to them. The bright green elements bring them to life when running in the dark and helps you be seen easily. Plus, if you’re tired of boring black earbuds and need a change, these are an exciting option.
The vocals are exceptional and smooth while enhancing all of the details, so you’ll hear an emphasis on every single lyric. You may even hear parts of the song you didn’t even know existed until you purchased these earbuds. There’s also plenty of power for the bass frequencies, and there’s no noise leakage into the middle ranges, which is a common feature of wireless headphones.
Most users found that these earbuds had a warm, rich and open sound, making them great for bass-heavy exercise routines, R&B, and hip-hop songs. These headphones have a clever way of picking apart different instrumentals in a song, and vocals are expressed in such a way that captures the true emotion of the song. It’s worth mentioning that you should take some time choosing the right sized ear tips for you, as the size massively affects the bass performance and noise leakage.
Monster iSport Victory earbuds are the best companion for running. It’s worth mentioning that their main feature is keeping you motivated throughout your workouts, so there’s a bigger emphasis on simplicity and comfort than features. They’re certainly sweatproof to keep you moving throughout all intensities, and can even handle heavy rain pours better than some of the best earbuds for runners.
The reflective coating on the cable’s exterior improves your safety should you choose to run outdoors when it’s dark. From one single charge, you’ll receive eight hours’ playtime. Use the built-in remote for your own ease, and press the volume up and down buttons simultaneously for three seconds to switch the sound profiles to suit you (more on this in the audio section).
These earbuds lock into your ears for a perfect fit that prevents them shaking around when you move. Weighing only 15, they’re light enough to wear for a couple of hours without the need to readjust them in your ear. To make the most out of these earbuds and ensure they’re as comfortable as can be, we recommend using the wire clip that comes in the box to hold them in place during intense sessions. This is ideal if you’re bending down lifting weights and keeps your safety a priority, too.
Compared to previous Monster earbuds for runners, iSport Victory cater for a wider range of ear sizes and shapes so you don’t feel any pressure as you move along at fast speeds. Compared to some other wireless earbuds, Monster’s are bigger, though this isn’t necessarily a flaw as they’re less likely to fall out of your ear. Finding the right position in your ear canal can take several seconds longer, but once in place, they won’t fall out with movement.
To have the best listening experience possible, it’s important that your headphones promise clean sound waves. Even as you move, you want the music to feel solid and stable so you can remain in the zone as you run. Monster iSport Victory earbuds keep the sound sealed into your ear so you get to enjoy every second of your favorite songs. Drums sound thick and driving bass lines become deep, though not as much as some other earbuds on this list.
We like that you can customize your audio preferences to suit you. With two audio modes to choose from – Normal and Turbo – simply opt for the best mode to boost the bass or tweak the treble if you’re looking for an extra bite in your music. You won’t experience any music knockouts or the Bluetooth connection falling off.
The Best Headphones for Running
It’s genuinely never been a better time to buy earbuds for running or other sporting purposes. Manufacturers are acutely aware of the consumer desire for headphones which perform well enough to keep you motivated but which also feature a design that complements an active lifestyle. You can find a great variety of offerings across a real breadth of price points and are sure to find something which will suit you down to the ground. As ever, it’s important to keep in mind that there are trade-offs you’ll have to make depending on the model you end up choosing.
If we had to choose the best earbuds for runners from our selection above, we’d announce Treblab XR100 the winner. With wireless earphones, you have the freedom to move around without any restrictions, except the one cord connecting the two earbuds together. These cater to a variety of music genres, including rap, dance, country, hip-hop, and more. You won’t experience any distortion or connection issues, and many have compared these headphones to Beats, for a fraction of the price.
Rather than merely resting in your ear canal as some other earbuds do, these come with ear hooks to offer incredible stability when you’re undergoing intense exercise. Consequently, they’ll never fall off or out of your ears to ruin your music sessions.
Have you found the best earbuds for runners from our above selections? Or do you have any other recommendations we haven’t mentioned? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments.