Whether you’re a casual jogger or a marathon runner, music can be a perfect companion to help push you to your limits. The best headphones for running 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 as well.
We've tested over 580 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for working out and 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.
The best headphones for running with a wireless connection that we've tested are the Beats Powerbeats Pro. These well-built, comfortable in-ears have a very stable fit thanks to their ear-hook design, so they shouldn't fall out during your runs. Though they don't block out a lot of background noises, outdoor runners may prefer this design feature since you can stay aware of your surroundings while running.
They offer a balanced, neutral sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different music genres, though their treble is a bit underemphasized. With a continuous battery life of over 11 hours, they shouldn't run out of battery even during your longest runs. Their portable charging case also offers an additional charge, making it easy to power up when you're on the go.
Unfortunately, unlike other headphones, they don't come with any sound customization features to help you adjust their sound profile based on your preferences. Athletes who like a more bass-heavy sound to stay motivated during their workouts may be disappointing by their more neutral sound. However, they rank among the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out and are a great choice for a run.
If you're looking for a cheaper pair of wireless headphones for running, consider the Mpow X3 instead. While their 5.3-hour continuous battery life isn't as impressive as that of the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless, their portable charging case offers about 3.5 extra charges to help you recharge on-the-go. These budget in-ears are well-built and comfortable, and their stable fit helps them stay in place during your runs. Their sound profile is quite neutral and balanced, though they lack sound customization features. You can turn off their ANC feature to help you stay aware of passing cars while running outdoors. Unfortunately, their ANC feature struggles to block out a lot of background noises, so they aren't very versatile.
If you want sports-oriented wireless headphones with an ear-hook design and a longer continuous battery life, check out the Beats. However, if you're on a tighter budget, consider the Mpow instead.
The best headphones for running with an over-ear design are the Razer Opus. These comfortable, well-built over-ears have a stable fit, so they shouldn't fall off your ears during your runs. They also offer an easy-to-use control scheme, so you can adjust the volume and turn their ANC feature on and off while you're working out.
Out-of-the-box, they have a very neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. If you prefer a different sound, there's even a graphic EQ and presets available in the Razer Opus app to help you customize them. They also offer an incredible noise isolation performance, which is handy if you're running on a treadmill at the gym and don't want to be distracted by people talking around you.
Unfortunately, due to their over-ear design, they aren't the most breathable, so they can cause you to sweat a bit more than usual while wearing them. They're also a bit bulky, so they aren't as portable as the truly wireless headphones we've tested. That said, if you prefer an over-ear design, they're a great choice for sports with an excellent price-to-performance ratio.
The best truly wireless earbuds for running that we've tested are the Bose Sport Earbuds. These truly wireless earbuds feel quite well-built, with a sturdy high-grade plastic construction that's rated IPX4 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. They're also comfortable enough to wear for extended periods and have an amazingly stable fit, so they should stay firmly in place even during intense workouts.
Out-of-the-box, they have a well-balanced sound profile that's likely to suit whatever kind of content you enjoy listening to while you're out on a run, whether that be pop music or an audiobook. While they don't have any sound customization features, like an EQ or audio presets, you can use their companion app to enable their in-ear detection feature, which can answer calls or pause and play music when to insert or remove the bud from your ear.
However, their continuous battery life of just under 4.5 hours isn't particularly impressive, and their carrying case only supplies roughly two additional charges. Thankfully, they have an auto-off timer to help conserve power when not in use. Another downside is their lack of on-board volume controls, which can make volume adjustments something of a hassle. Otherwise, their compact design and stable fit make them a great option for runs and workouts.
If you tend to run at a gym and you want earbuds that can help cut down some of the thump and hum of exercise machines, consider the Apple AirPods Pro. While their fit isn't as stable as that of the Bose Sport Earbuds Truly Wireless, the Apple have an excellent active noise cancelling (ANC) feature that can reduce ambient noise around you. They also have a comfortable fit, lightweight design, and are rated IPX4 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. Even though they lack stability fins, they should also stay firmly in place during workouts. They have a well-balanced sound profile that's suitable for most audio content too. However, their companion app is quite limited, and it lacks an EQ, so you can't customize their sound to your liking.
Go for the Bose if you're looking for a very stable fit for intense runs or if you want to hear what's going on around you while you're outdoors. However, try the Apple if you want to cut down ambient noise around you so that you focus on your movement.
The AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction are the best headphones for running outdoors that we've tested. These unusual headphones sit on your temples instead of fitting on your ears and transmit sound by producing vibrations on your bones. This experience is well-suited for runners who want to stay aware of their surroundings as there's no obstruction in the ear canal that can block out ambient noise.
As they're made with silicone, they have a well-built, thin, and flexible design that's comfortable enough for a long run in the park. They have ear-hooks to help keep them stable as you move, and although we don't currently test for this, they also have an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. Their 13-hour continuous battery life should help get you through long marathons on one charge. The controls are easy-to-use too, which is handy for adjusting the volume or skipping tracks while you're on the move.
However, due to how they deliver sound, they leak audio. While it shouldn't be a problem if you're running outside, it could be more troublesome in quiet areas. They don't deliver a lot of bass, but their sound profile is still versatile enough for most other audio genres. They also use a proprietary charging cable, so it could be a bit of a problem if you lose or damage it. If you're looking to listen to tunes while staying alert while out and about, these are a unique and suitable choice.
The best budget headphones for running that we've tested are the FIIL T1X. These well-built in-ears offer a comfortable fit, and since they come with lots of different sizes of stability fins and earbud tips, it's easy to find a stable fit for your runs. They're also rated IP65 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this.
They offer a pretty neutral, though slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers a little extra thump and punch to help you stay motivated during your runs. Their companion app also comes with 15 different EQ presets so you can customize their sound more to your liking. They also last for over six hours off of a single charge, which should be more than enough to get you through your workout, and their portable charging case offers around three extra charges so you can power up on the go.
Unfortunately, while these in-ears have adequate controls, they aren't the most intuitive to use off-the-bat, so it may take you some time to get used to them. They also don't come with an ANC feature, and they struggle to passively isolate against bass-heavy background noises like bus and plane engines. However, some runners may actually prefer this feature since it can help you stay aware of your surroundings while running outdoors.
Apr 08, 2021: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Mar 02, 2021: Verified that all picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for each given category.
Feb 05, 2021: Replaced the Jaybird Vista with the Bose Sport Earbuds as 'Best Truly Wireless Earbuds For Running' as they have a more stable fit. Moved the Jaybird Vista to 'Notable Mentions'. Verified the accuracy of the text and availability of our picks.
Dec 04, 2020: Replaced JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless with Mpow X3 Truly Wireless. Replaced Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless with Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless.
Nov 05, 2020: Replaced SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless with FIIL T1X True Wireless due to current availability.
Sep 11, 2020: Added the FIIL T1X True Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Aug 12, 2020: Replaced the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless with the Razer Opus.
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 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.