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The 6 Best Headphones For Running - Winter 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best Headphones For Running

Whether you’re a casual jogger or a marathon runner, music can be a perfect companion to help push you to your limits. Running headphones should be stable enough to stay on or in your ear, as well as be comfortable, easy to use, and portable enough to take around with you. While some people like to block out as much background noise as possible when working out, if you run outside, it can be helpful to stay aware of your surroundings.

We've tested over 705 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best wireless headphones for running that you can buy. Check out our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for working out, the best wireless earbuds for running, and the best wireless headphones.


  1. Best Headphones For Running

    The Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless are the best headphones for running that we've tested. These sports earbuds have a rugged, sturdy build quality. They're rated IP68, meaning they're dust-tight and protected from submersion in water. They have a comfortable, stable fit, so they won't fall out of your ears during runs, and have an easy-to-use control scheme with music and volume functions. Their roughly 5.3-hour continuous battery life is on the short side, but they come with a portable case that holds a couple of extra charges and helps protect them from dust and water, thanks to their IP54 rating.

    These buds have a well-balanced sound profile that's also versatile enough for most kinds of audio content, and their companion app has a parametric EQ and presets, so you can adjust it to suit your tastes. While they have an ANC feature, it's not very effective, especially when blocking out bass-range sounds like rumbling engines if you're jogging near a busy road. Although they have a very stable fit, if you're concerned about losing your buds, the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless have flexible hooks that wrap around your ears, making it difficult to lose them even if you're moving around a lot. They have a longer battery life, but aren't as well-built, have worse controls, and aren't as customizable.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Headphones For Running

    The best mid-range headphones for running are the Jabra Elite 3 True Wireless. These headphones are comfortable, and even though they're a little less sturdy than the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless, they're well-built and rated IP55 for dust and water resistance. They don't have stability fins but will easily stay in your ears during a run, and their controls let you skip a track or turn up the volume without using your phone. Despite not having an ANC system, they passively block out more ambient sound than the Jaybird, so they can help reduce distractions like background conversations at the gym.

    Their slightly bass-rich sound profile adds a bit of extra body and boom to music, which is nice if you like to work out to genres like EDM and hip-hop. It's well-balanced enough for a variety of content, but if you prefer a different sound, the companion app features a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. The headphones have a solid continuous battery life of about seven hours. Their portable case holds an additional charge in case you need to top them up, but the case itself doesn't have an IP rating.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Headphones For Running

    The best Bluetooth headphones for running at the budget level we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless. At this price point, you won't find many headphones with extra features like ANC or a companion app, and they won't be as sturdy or well-built as our top pick. That said, these in-ears still have a trick up their sleeve. Unlike the Jabra Elite 3 True Wireless, these buds have almost 100 hours of playback time, which is outstanding. On a single charge, they last over seven hours, but their carrying case supplies well over 12 extra charges to help keep you topped up on the go.

    Although their control scheme is pretty limited and lacks volume control, they have a sturdy build quality that's certified IPX5 for resistance against direct water contact. They're decently comfortable, and their stability sleeve design ensures they stay in place during your run or jog in the park. Thanks to their bass-heavy sound profile, their extra thump, rumble, and boom keep you pumped up during your workout. They lack sound customization features to help you adjust their sound to your liking.

    See our review

  4. Βest Cheap Headphones For Running

    If you want even more affordable earbuds for running, check out the JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless. If you worry about forgetting your earbuds at the gym or losing one during an outdoor run, you may prefer cheap earbuds like this. Their total battery life pales in comparison to the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless, but they're a good choice for runs if you don't want to risk replacing more expensive options. Despite their affordable price, they feel sturdy and have a well-balanced sound profile with a touch of extra bass. They're also stable and decently comfortable, although their deep in-ear fit might bother you, and using the onboard controls can push them in further.

    They have a long continuous battery life of about nine hours, so you probably won't need to recharge them after every run. While they have a shorter total battery life than the Anker, their portable charging case holds three extra charges. The case's charging cable is built into the case itself, meaning you can't forget it at home, but also you need to replace the headphones if the cable gets damaged.

    See our review

  5. Best Headphones For Outdoor Running

    If you want to stay aware of your surroundings while running outdoors, the best headphones for outdoor exercise that we've tested are the Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction. Unlike any of the other picks on this list, they don't enter your ear canal and use bone conduction to send vibrations via your cheekbones to your ear canal. It means that they don't block out any background sound at all. Their unique sound reproduction may not be for everyone either. These headphones lack low-bass, so music like EDM and hip-hop lacks body and sounds hollow. However, if you like to listen to vocal-centric content like podcasts, they can be a solid choice, thanks to their fairly balanced mid-range.

    These headphones hook around your ear, ensuring they don't move around too much during intense movement. They're well-built and have an IP67 rating, so they're dust-tight and can be immersed in water without damage. They last roughly 13 hours continuously and have a standby mode to help conserve battery life if you forget to turn them off. However, they use a proprietary charging cable, so if you lose or misplace it, you'll need to buy a new one.

    See our review

  6. Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running

    If you don't like the fit and feel of in-ears, then it's worth checking out the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless, which are the best wireless headphones for running with an over-ear design that we've tested. They won't be as breathable or durable as they can trap heat and aren't protected from water damage. However, their fit is comfortable, and they're stable enough for running, which sets them ahead of their other over-ear counterparts, as they won't fall off your head when moving. They have good build quality, and their headband is reinforced with metal to make them more durable.

    These headphones have a bright sound profile out of the box, though you can use the EQ presets in their companion app to help you customize their sound to your liking. They're also equipped with a great ANC system to help block out noise at the gym and last over 21 hours continuously. Their touch-sensitive surface makes it easy to adjust your audio settings on the fly, but if you prefer the feel of physical buttons, try the JBL Live 660NC Wireless. Their control scheme is easy to use, but their ANC doesn't block out as much background sound.

    If you're looking for more over-ears for the gym, check out our recommendations for the best over-ears for running and working out!

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless: The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless are premium in-ears that are just as well-built as the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless and offer a much better ANC performance to block out ambient sound. However, their fit is less stable, and they're only rated IPX4 for resistance against being splashed with water. See our review
  • Jabra Elite 7 Active True Wireless: The Jabra Elite 7 Active True Wireless are sports-oriented earbuds with an IP57 rating for dust and water resistance. They also have better overall battery life. They're not as stable or well-built as the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless. See our review
  • JBL Live Free NC+ TWS True Wireless: The JBL Live Free NC+ TWS True Wireless are a good choice for runs, thanks to their good build quality and an IPX7 rating for water resistance. However, they don't have stability fins, so they aren't stable as the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless. See our review
  • Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction: The Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction are the upgraded variant of the Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction. They have two additional bass enhancers to help improve their bass reproduction, which is good if you prefer more punch in your mixes. However, they still offer a very similar performance to their base model sibling but at a higher cost. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 13, 2023: We've done minor updates to the text to ensure its accuracy and added the Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction to Notable Mentions.

  2. Nov 24, 2022: Made the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless the 'Best' pick and the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless an alternative. Added the Jabra Elite 3 True Wireless as the 'Best Mid-Range' pick. Replaced the JBL Live 660NC Wireless with the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless as the 'Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running'.

  3. Sep 15, 2022: We've overhauled this article with picks that better reflect the market. We've moved around the picks and added the following: Beats Powerbeats Pro, Bose Sport Earbuds, Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2, and Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction. We've also removed the Bose Sport Open Earbuds since they're not currently available through most retailers and moved the Jabra Elite 7 Active to Notable Mentions. We've cleared the Notable Mentions of out-of-date products and added more relevant picks.

  4. Jun 16, 2022: Added the Jabra Elite 7 Active True Wireless as the Βest Noise Cancelling Ηeadphones for Running. Moved the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless to Notable Mentions and added the JBL Live Free NC+ TWS True Wireless.

  5. May 18, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best in-ear and earbuds for running 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 of our headphone reviews, ranked by their suitability for sports and fitness. 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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