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 over 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for working out you can buy. Check also our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for working out, the best wireless earbuds for running, and the best headphone brands.
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 great for running.
When you're on the go, the magnetic earbuds snap together for easier cable management. They also have an IPX7 rating for water resistance, but we don't currently test this. Although they're similar to the Jaybird Tarah Wireless, these earbuds have significantly improved their battery life: at over 13 hours of continuous playtime, it's more than double that of the original. Overall, they sound pretty similar, but this model has better treble. This is great if you like to listen to more vocal-centric music while working out, but they'll still be good for most genres. Their compatibility with the Jaybird MySound app also makes them more versatile since you can EQ their sound profile 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. That said, they're still the best headphones for running that we've tested, thanks to their great combination of features.
If the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless are out of your budget, then the JBL Reflect Mini 2 are an affordable alternative. These comfortable and stable headphones perform similarly well to the Jaybird, although there are some noticeable exceptions in terms of features: the JBL have shorter battery life and no companion app to provide any customization options. On the plus side, their good passive noise isolation helps quiet the chatter of a noisy gym and they have a well-balanced sound.
If you want the most feature-packed sports earbuds we've tested, you'll want the Jaybird, but if you want something less expensive with a simpler design, the JBL are a great choice.
The Beats Studio 3 Wireless are the best over-ear headphones for running that we've tested so far. If you prefer the over-ear look and feel to that of in-ears, then these headphones are a stylish choice whether you're running at the gym or in the park.
Their fit is tight enough to stay on your head and the ear cups are well-padded so you'll be able to run comfortably. Those who like more rumble and thump when they run will enjoy the added bass. Their long battery life is good too: you should be able to complete a 50k without stopping to charge them. If you run at the gym, the active noise cancelling on these headphones can help cut some of the rumble and hum of machine engines. The pop of color in their variants can also lend a little more personality and style when you run.
Unfortunately, not everyone will get a consistent sound - if you don't have the right fit each time, you might lose some bass or treble. Their companion app isn't great for those who like to customize sound, either: for Android and iOS, you're limited to checking the battery life. iOS users alone will be able to turn on and off their noise cancelling through this app. That being said, these headphones are a good choice for those who want the over-ear feel while still remaining practical to their running needs.
The best truly wireless earbuds for running that we've reviewed so far are the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless. If you hate the sound of microphonics - that rustling noise created by a headphones' cord bumping or rubbing against your coat or earrings - or can't stand the feeling of cables touching your body, then truly wireless earbuds are a great way to go.
Incredibly portable, these earbuds can easily go from the park to the office in most pockets. They're also comfortable and stable: they come with three tip and sleeve options which includes stability fins so that you can find your right fit. Their fairly balanced sound profile is suitable for most genres of audio and if you want more customization, the Jaybird MySound app offers a parametric EQ plus presets. If you tend to misplace things, the app also offers a relocation feature so that you can track your earbuds to their last known location.
Unfortunately, these earbuds have a battery life of around 5 hours, which might not be long enough to ultramarathoners. However, the charging case can give you up to 10 hours of additional battery time, should you need it. If you need to take a call on the run, the microphone produces poor audio quality that can make your voice sound muffled and distant. However, if you're looking for a wire-free option for your running needs, these customisable earbuds are a good choice.
If you want a pair of truly wireless headphones that'll isolate noise around you, then get the Jabra Elite Active 65t. They aren't as comfortable for most people as the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless, but their passive isolation is as good as some of the noise cancelling headphones we've tested. Like the Jaybirds, they have decent out-of-the-box sound reproduction, but their companion app allows you to fine-tune the EQ. They also have a HearThrough feature configurable through the app that can allow you to hear what's around you. Although we didn't test this, it could be useful for outdoor running. If you also feel like the Jabra Elite Active 65t are too big for your ears, Jabra released the Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless, which are noticeably smaller and are rated IP55 for dust and water resistance.
Get the Jaybirds if you want something comfortable with good customization and decent sound quality, but if you prefer earbuds that isolate more noise, then go for the Jabra.
The best budget headphones for running are the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. As an upgraded version of the Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless, they're an affordable choice for those who are watching their wallets.
As an upgraded version of the Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless, these earbuds have improved battery life of over 18 hours, which should be able to get you through even the most grueling of runs. They're also quite stable and comfortable - coming with five different tip sizes and three different sizes of stability fins, you'll be able to get the best fit for you. Although we don't test this internally, these earbuds have an IPX7 rating for water resistance, which is great for running. The remote control is easy to use too, making it easy to adjust the volume while you're moving.
On the downside, the cable connecting the left and right earbuds is fairly thin. This cable might also be annoying to some as it'll move around with each stride you made. Still, if you're looking for an affordable pair of headphones that can get you through your gym session, these are a solid choice.
The best headphones for running outdoors are the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. Whether you're on the sidewalk or off the trail, hazards like cars or animals can be hard to hear with most in-ear headphones. In contrast, thanks to their unique design using vibrations rather than in-ear speakers to produce sound, you'll be able to hear your surroundings while still enjoying your music.
These headphones are great for exercise. Their headband stays stable as it hooks over your ears. Physical controls located behind the right ear make changing the volume or pairing with your devices simple and tactile. These headphones also have impressive sound production. While bass sounds less thumpy because of the vibrations, they're well-suited for vocal-centric audio like podcasts or audiobooks. Long runs in the sun are no problem either as they have a 13-hour battery life and a rating of IP67 for water resistance, although we don't test it internally.
These headphones will let in a lot of background sound due to their open ear design, so if you're running through a busy park, you might have trouble hearing your audio. On the flip side, if you're using them at reasonably low levels, they don't leak a lot of audio, making run-ins with friends during your laps a breeze. Overall, their unique sound production and open-ear design make these headphones a great pick for running outdoors.
03/18/2020: Moved Beats Studio into new category: Best Over-Ear Headphones for Running. Minor text updates.
02/17/2020: Removed some picks for a more comfortable article length, minor text updates.
01/17/2020: Replaced the Anker SoundCore Spirit X by the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. Minor text updates.
12/17/2019: Replaced AfterShokz Trekz Air with AfterShokz Aeropex, added Apple AirPods Pro to Notable Mentions.
11/21/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
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.