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The 10 Best Headphones For Running - May 2019
Reviews

Best Headphones For Running
370 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

Whether you’re a casual jogger or a marathon veteran, music can be the perfect companion for your workouts and a good beat can help you push yourself to the limits. The best headphones for running and working out should have great stability and not fall off or out of your ears. Sports headphones should also be comfortable, easy-to-use, and compact enough to carry around when you take them to the gym or go for a jog.

So far, we've reviewed 349 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for working out you can buy in 2019. Check also our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for working out, the best wireless earbuds for running, and the best headphone brands.

  1. Best Wireless Headphones For Running: Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    8.2
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best wireless headphones for running that we’ve reviewed so far are the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They’re well-made with a comfortable, stable fit. They have a braided cable and magnetic earbuds that snap together for easier cable management. They also have an IPX7 rating, so they should be waterproof, but we don’t have a test to confirm this yet.

    These headphones are similar to the Jaybird Tarah, but with a significant improvement to their battery. The battery life is over 13 hours, which is more than double that of the original Tarah. Overall, they sound pretty similar, but these headphones have better treble, which is great if you like to listen to more vocal-centric pop or rock music while working out. They lend well to a variety of genres. Their compatibility with the Jaybird MySound app makes them even more versatile since you can EQ their sound any way you want.

    Unfortunately, these headphones can’t connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously like the Tarah can. They also have a proprietary charging cradle, which is a bit restrictive. Thankfully, they have better latency performance, so they shouldn’t be too bad if you like to watch videos on the treadmill. Overall, the Jaybird Tarah Pro are the best headphones for working out we've tested, but some may find them a bit expensive. If you don’t mind the difference in battery, then it’s worth checking out the Tarah as well.

    See our review

  2. Cheaper Alternative: JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you find the Jaybird Tarah Pro too expensive, then consider the JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless. They’re around the same price as the Jaybird Tarah and, although they don’t have the build quality and customization options of the Tarah series, they use a regular micro-USB cable to charge, which is more convenient. These headphones have a stable, comfortable fit and they sound decent too. They have pretty good audio reproduction, which makes them well-suited for a range of music genres, like hip-hop, rock or even audiobooks or podcasts.

    Unfortunately, they do not have a companion app, so you can’t EQ their sound if you prefer a different sound profile. They’re also only rated IPX5, which suggests they’re not as waterproof. That said, they have much better noise isolation and their battery lasts longer than the regular Jaybird Tarah, so they’re worth considering, especially if you don’t want to spend over $100 on sports headphones.

    See our review

  3. Over-Ear Alternative: Beats Studio 3 Wireless

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you do not like the fit of in-ears and prefer over-ear headphones for the gym, then we recommend the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. They’re definitely not as breathable or as stable-fitting as the Jaybird Tarah Pro, but their over-ear fit is tight enough to keep them secure while running. They have great battery life and a decent bass-heavy sound. The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless and the cheaper Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC have more features and are more customizable options thanks to their app support, but they're not as comfortable. The excellent quick charge feature of the Beats is also a lifesaver if you're about to hit the gym and forgot to charge them overnight. All-in-all, these are worth considering if you prefer wearing over-ears while being active.

    See our review

  4. Best Truly Wireless Earbuds For Running: Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    8.0
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you prefer truly wireless earbuds for running and working out, get the Jabra Elite Active 65t. They are very portable and have a matte blue finish which gives them a high-end, premium feel. They’re rated IP56, so they should be more sweat-resistant than the non-active Jabra Elite 65t model, but we don’t yet have a test to confirm this.

    They have a fairly stable in-ear fit, so they shouldn’t pop out of your ears during your workout. They have good audio reproduction to keep you going during a run and are also compatible with the Jabra Sound+ mobile app, which gives you access to an EQ and pre-sets to customize the sound to your liking. They’re also a great option to use inside a crowded gym since they block a lot of noise.

    Unfortunately, they aren’t the most comfortable in-ears because of their bulkier design. On the upside, they have a 5-hour battery life that should last your whole workout, the provided case gives you two additional charges, and they have some fun sports-oriented features in the app.

    See our review

  5. Cheaper Truly Wireless Alternative: SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If the Jabra Elite Active 65t are out of your price range, take a look at the SoundPeats TrueFree. They’re not as well-built as the Jabra, but they still have very good build quality, especially considering their cost. They’re actually more comfortable and have an even more stable fit.

    Unfortunately, they sound rather mediocre, especially in the treble range. While their bass-heavy sound may be great for fans of house and EDM, they’re not well-suited for more vocal-centric music, especially since you can’t EQ their sound. Their battery also doesn’t last as long. That said, they’re a fraction of the price of the Jabra and are definitely worth considering if you like their sound profile and don’t want to drop big bucks on sports headphones.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Headphones For Running: Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.8
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you’re trying to keep your fitness gear expenses to a minimum, the best Bluetooth headphones for running and working out in the budget category are the Anker SoundCore Spirit X. They’re very comfortable for in-ear headphones, with a flexible ear-hook design and quick-cinching adjustable cable clip that help ensure a great stable fit. They’re a very good choice for athletes who don’t want to spend a fortune on sports headphones but are still looking for great value.

    These headphones have great deep, thumping bass to keep you pumped during your toughest workouts but sound balanced enough to be suitable for casual use too. They have a 12-hour battery life, which should last you multiple sessions at the gym, and they charge in under 2 hours.

    On the downside, these headphones aren’t customizable like the Jaybird Tarah Pro or the Jabra Elite Active 65t. They also don’t have any power-saving features, so you’ll want to make sure to turn them off when they’re not in use or else their battery will continue to drain. The Anker SoundBuds Curve are very similar and are generally a little cheaper, but the Spirit X are supposed to be more sweatproof (although we don’t yet have a test for waterproofness to confirm this). They’re both very good sports headphones, but the Spirit X give a slight edge for fitness enthusiasts.

    See our review

  7. More Neutral-Sounding Alternative: JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you like sports headphones with ear-hooks for added stability but want a more neutral sound, then get JBL Endurance Sprint. They’re not as comfortable as the Anker SoundCore Spirit X, but they have a more balanced sound profile. They have outstanding audio reproduction, especially for budget in-ears, and are very well-suited to virtually all genres of music as well as podcasts and audiobooks.

    Although some may prefer their touch-sensitive control scheme over the in-line remote of the Anker, it can be a bit too sensitive at times and tends to register unwanted commands at times. That said, the JBL Endurance Sprint are still very good sports headphones, especially due to their rubberized design and matte finish that makes them feel fairly premium for their price.

    See our review

  8. On-Ear Alternative: JBL E45BT Wireless

    Type : On-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you don’t like the fit of in-ears, and over-ears are just a bit too bulky, then consider the on-ear JBL E45BT. They’re not as portable as the Anker SoundCore Spirit X, but they still fit tightly enough to be stable for running. Although they may still be a bit too bulky for more intense exercises, they’re a lot more compact than typical over-ear headphones. They sound decent, have good battery life, and are sufficiently well-rounded to be suitable for most use cases. The Skullcandy Grind are slightly cheaper, better sounding, and more comfortable, but they don’t fit as tightly and more easily slide off your ears when working out.

    See our review

  9. Best Headphones For Running Outdoors: AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.9
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    Type : Bone Conduction
    Enclosure : Open-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Bone Conduction

    If you mostly run outdoors and need to be aware of traffic, then get the AfterShokz Trekz Air. They’re not typical wireless sports headphones; they sit on your temples and use bone conduction to send vibrations, so you feel bass instead of hearing it. It's also the reason why they sound better than what we measured, due to this feature. They do not sound quite as good as regular wireless earbuds but should be good enough to get you pumped when running and for listening to podcasts and audiobooks.

    They are great for running outdoors since your ears are wide open and nothing blocks ambient noise. Runners or cyclists can be aware of everything surrounding them while having a background track at the same time. They are very comfortable, since they don’t enter your ear canal, and they have a lightweight design.

    Unfortunately, they aren’t the most portable headphones because of their odd shape that doesn't fold. The headband is flexible and might fit in large sports shorts, but you can't cram them into your pockets like you can with the Plantronics BackBeat Fit. On the upside, they are stable enough for running and are fairly rubberized, but technically not waterproof.

    See our review

  10. Alternative With An Earbud Fit: Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless

    Type : Earbuds
    Enclosure : Semi-Open
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you like the wraparound design of the AfterShokz Trekz Air but prefer a more traditional earbud fit, get the Plantronics BackBeat Fit. You won’t be able to monitor everything surrounding you like you can with the AfterShokz, but these headphones still have a semi-open design that doesn’t isolate much noise. These are more typical in-ear headphones, but their design is more flexible and more portable, on top of being very stable for sports.

    Unfortunately, although these are intended to be sweat and water resistant, there have been reports that they can be damaged by sweat alone. Their earbud fit might also not be very comfortable for everyone. Consider the Bose SoundSport Wireless if you’re looking for a more comfortable semi-open earbud design, but they don’t have the same wraparound design. All-in-all, these are decent sports-oriented headphones that can be a good option for outdoor use.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless: The best alternative to the Jabra Elite Active 65t. More comfortable, but not as durable and not as sweatproof. See our review
  • JBL E55BT Wireless: An over-ear variant of the JBL E45BT that some will find more comfortable for the gym. Similar performance design and build quality, but they're a bit more expensive. See our review
  • Bose SoundSport Wireless: Stable wireless design and a comfortable earbud fit. Hard to use control scheme and prone to sweat damage. See our review
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless: An on-ear fit for those who do not like in-ears. Great sound and build quality, but a bit tight and they get a bit warm when running. See our review
  • Bose SoundSport In-Ear:  Stable headphones for runners. Good sound and an open fit to monitor your environment. See our review
  • Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless: Over-ear headphones with a good, customizable sound. A good alternative to the Beats Studio 3. See our review
  • Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless: Well-built, comfortable wireless earbuds with an ear-hook design similar to that of the Anker SoundBuds Curve. They sound decent, but the Curve provide better value. See our review
  • Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless: Decent truly wireless in-ears with a versatile sound profile, but less sports-oriented than the Jabra Elite Active 65t. See our review
  • Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless: Premium truly wireless in-ears with great build quality, but surprisingly mediocre sound. Well-designed, but expensive and don’t provide as good value as our top picks. See our review
  • Jaybird Tarah Wireless: A less expensive variant of the Jaybird Tarah Pro, perfect if you like the design of the Tarah Pro but find them too pricey and don’t mind a much shorter battery life. See our review
  • Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless: Comfortable wireless in-ears that provide great value for their price. Nearly identical to SoundCore Spirit X but not advertised as sweatproof. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for running and working out to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for sports/fitness headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and where you use the headphones will matter more in your selection.

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