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The 5 Best Headphones For Running - Spring 2023 Reviews

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 720 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 Beats Studio3 Wireless are the best headphones for running that we've tested. These stylish over-ears are comfortable and have good stability for light runs. They also come with a W1 chip for seamless pairing with Apple devices, and their ANC does a decent job at blocking out chatty gym-goers. While they don't have an IP rating for protection against the elements, they last 23 hours on a single charge, so you can use them through several runs before needing a top-up.

    The Beats have a warm sound profile. There's a touch of extra bass to compliment your pump-up jams. Unfortunately, an underemphasis in the treble range means instruments and vocals sound muddy and dull. Their companion app lacks sound customization features, like a graphic EQ or presets, so you're stuck with their sound out of the box. Their control scheme is also hard to navigate due to all the buttons being flush with the body of the ear cups.

    Feedback is tactile and clicky, so you'll know when you've input a command. If you're looking for headphones with better controls and slightly more stability, check out the Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless. They aren't as sturdy as the Beats but offer a much more bass-heavy default sound profile, which will please fans of hip-hop and EDM.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Headphones For Running

    While earbuds don't offer the same continuous battery life as over-ears, they're more breathable and often have higher stability and better durability for outside exercise. The mid-range Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless are no exception, as they're sturdy and have an IP68 rating, meaning they're dust-tight and protected from submersion in water. They have a comfortable, stable fit, meaning 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 five-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.

    On the other hand, if you're looking for more spacial awareness, you can turn on their transparency mode—a feature that the Beats Studio3 Wireless lack. 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

  3. Best Budget Headphones For Running

    In the budget range, the best wireless headphones for running we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. Given that these over-ears only have decent build quality and stability, they're best suited for moderate indoor exercise. Their ANC also does a good job of cutting out ambient gym noise, like squeaky treadmills and nearby conversations, and they're comfortable enough to last through a long jog without causing undue fatigue. They'll likely fall off if you move your head a lot while running.

    These headphones have an excited, V-shaped sound profile out of the box. There's a ton of extra bass and treble to complement hip-hop, pop, and rock music. However, the over-emphasized bass can end up overpowering the mix, and the extra treble makes sibilants, like cymbals, piercing. Unlike other models from this manufacturer, like the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, these headphones aren't compatible with a companion app, meaning you can't adjust the mix to something more neutral or better-suited for different genres. On the plus side, their nearly 33-hour battery life will get you through plenty of long runs without needing a recharge.

    See our review

  4. ฮ’est Cheap Headphones For Running

    The JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless are a good option if you're looking for a pair of cheap but functional earbuds for runs. These offer solid performance for runs and workouts while being inexpensive enough that you don't need to worry as much about losing an earbud along the path or at the gym. Their battery life isn't as good as the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, lasting around nine hours of continuous use, meaning they probably don't need to be recharged after every run. Their case holds roughly three additional charges and has a built-in charging cable, which is one less thing to forget at home, but it means you need to replace the buds if the cable gets damaged.

    Out of the box, they have a well-balanced sound profile with a bit of extra bass. Although they don't have a companion app or sound customization features like a graphic EQ, you can use the earbuds' onboard controls to cycle through a few EQ presets, which allows you to customize their sound a little bit. They have a sturdy design and a stable fit. They're also decently comfortable for most people but have a deep fit, and using the onboard controls can push the buds deeper into your ears, which you might find annoying, especially during long runs.

    See our review

  5. Best Headphones For Outdoor Running

    When running outside, it's key to have good spacial awareness to avoid obstacles and stay safe. Some headphones use transparency mode to help you hear your surroundings, but the sound they create can't capture your environment perfectly. Unlike some of the other picks on this list, the Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction bypass the ear canal and use bone conduction to send vibrations via your cheekbones, leaving your whole ear unobstructed and able to hear the world around you. However, this does mean 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, they can be a solid choice if you like to listen to vocal-centric content like podcasts, thanks to their fairly balanced mid-range.

    These headphones hook around your ear, ensuring they don't move too much during intense movement outside. They're well-built and have an IP67 rating for protection against dust and water, meaning you can wear these out in the rain without worrying about 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

Notable Mentions

  • Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless: The Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless are premium over-ear headphones with one of the best-performing ANC systems we've tested. They're comfortable, have a transparency setting, and keep out more bothersome background noise than the Beats Studio3 Wireless. However, they're prone to moving around and falling off during more intense runs. See our review
  • 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 and transparency performance. 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 have better battery life but aren't as stable or well-built as the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless. See our review
  • Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless: The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless are budget noise cancelling over-ears. Their bass-heavy sound, lightweight build, outstanding ANC performance, and transparency mode make them well-suited for runs indoors and outdoors. However, their battery doesn't last as long as the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, and they can fall off with more intense movement. 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

Recent Updates

  1. May 04, 2023: Overhauled the article to showcase earbuds and over-ear headphones, as well as reflect best-of picks in each category's respective 'Best For Running' article.

  2. Mar 10, 2023: Checked that the products are relevant and available. Made minor updates to the text.

  3. Feb 09, 2023: Made minor updates to the text and checked that the products are in stock.

  4. 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.

  5. 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'.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best bluetooth headphones for running and the best 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.