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 reviewed over 450 pairs of headphones so far and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for working out and running that 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 wireless headphones.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro are the best wireless headphones for running that we've tested so far. These comfortable headphones have an ear-hook design that keeps them stable and secure, even when you're running on more challenging terrain.
These headphones have a balanced sound that's suited for most genres of music. They're very breathable, so you shouldn't sweat too much more wearing them, even after long runs, and their 10-hour battery life should be enough to get you through your 5k with little problems. Their case comes with one additional charge if you need it on the go and if you're short on time, they take less than an hour to fully charge, which is great.
On the downside, they struggle to isolate noise. However, outdoor runners may prefer hearing background sounds, as they can stay more aware of their surroundings. Some may also find their carrying case a little bulky, but it can fit in larger pockets when not in use. Overall, these are among the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out and are a comfortable and stable choice for running.
If you want something more affordable that doesn't skimp too much on the features, get the JBL Reflect Mini 2. Their battery life lasts a bit less than the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless and they're not as comfortable, but they have a decent price-to-performance ratio. While some may not like their neck cable, it offers in-line controls that can make it easy to take calls, track skip, or change the volume on the go. They're also better at reducing background noise and they don't leak as much sound. However, they have a cheap-feeling design and thin cables that may be prone to wear and tear.
If you're looking for a truly wireless design and don't mind the higher price tag, go for the Beats. However, if you're looking for something more affordable but don't want to sacrifice too much on sound quality, get the JBL.
The best headphones for running with an over-ear design that we've tested so far are the Sennheiser PXC 550. These over-ear Bluetooth headphones are comfortable and lightweight and feel stable enough on your head to not move during runs. Their touch-sensitive controls are easy to use, allowing you to easily change tracks with a quick arm movement, so you don't ruin the momentum of your run.
Their out-of-the-box sound profile is quite well-balanced and versatile enough for a wide range of genres and content. While their dedicated companion app has some EQ presets, it doesn't allow you to fully customize the sound profile with a graphic or parametric EQ, despite advertising that you can, which is a shame. On the upside, their 27.5-hour battery life is great and they support both multi-device and NFC pairing, so you can easily pair them to your devices.
Unfortunately, their touch-sensitive controls may not be for everyone, especially if you live in colder climates that require gloves or winter caps while running outside. If you want physical controls, you may want to consider the Beats Studio 3 Wireless, though they don't perform quite as well for sports overall, making the Sennheiser the best over-ear headphones for running or working out that we've tested to date.
The best headphones for running with a truly wireless design that we've tested so far are the Jaybird Vista. These truly wireless in-ears are surprisingly comfortable as they don't enter the ear canal as deep as some other in-ear options. Their physical control scheme is quite decent, and their stability fins help them stay in place in your ear. They feel very premium and durable and are rated IPX7 for sweat and water resistance, though this isn't something we currently test for.
Their out-of-the-box sound profile is quite well-balanced and is well-suited for a wide range of genres, though it may be slightly piercing on brighter tracks. That being said, they're compatible with Jaybird's great MySound app so you can fully fine-tune their sound with a parametric EQ or presets. Unfortunately, while their physical buttons are decent overall, both earbuds have the same controls, so they're somewhat limited.
These headphones have a 5.5-hour battery, which is decent for truly wireless headphones, though their charging case only gives an additional two charges, which isn't great. Overall, they're an excellent choice for running thanks to their stable fit and truly wireless design that eliminates all cables.
If you aren't worried about your surroundings and want something that helps keep you focused, get the Amazon Echo Buds. They aren't as comfortable as the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless, and their touch-sensitive controls may bother some people, but they isolate much more background noise thanks to their ANC and their default sound profile isn't as bright and piercing. They have a very similar single-charge battery life, but their case gives five charges, which is great. Unfortunately, while their app has a graphic EQ, it doesn't allow for the same kind of fine-tuning as the parametric EQ in Jaybird's app.
If you want a more comfortable pair of in-ears with physical controls, get the Jaybird, but if you want something with ANC that will do a much better job at blocking out background noise, go for the Amazon.
The best budget headphones for running that we've tested so far are the SoundPeats TrueFree. These truly wireless in-ears are among the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out and provide decent value for their affordable price.
Thanks to their wireless design, they're very breathable and stable. You also won't have to worry about microphonics, or the sound of cables rubbing up against one another or on your clothes, which can be annoying if you're always moving. They have a powerful bass too and it can help pump you up and put you in the zone. If you like to run indoors, they can also help to cut down background noise, and when you're done, they can easily fit into most pockets.
Some users may not find their in-ear design comfortable and using their controls can further push them into your ears. They also have a disappointingly short battery life of just over three hours which may not be enough to get you through an ultramarathon. However, their carrying case offers four additional charges so you can charge them when not in use.
The best headphones for running outdoors that we've tested so far are the AfterShokz Aeropex. Whether you're in on a trail or on the sidewalk, these uniquely designed headphones allow you to hear everything around you so you can stay safe when running outside.
These headphones don't go inside or cover your ears. Instead, they sit on your temples and create sound by using vibrations along your bones. This unique method of producing sound won't give you the same thumpy, bass-heavy sound that regular headphones can but they're still versatile enough for most genres. They can also be worn for long periods since they don't put pressure on the ear, and their 13-hour battery life should be enough to last longer marathons. They're also stable and incredibly breathable.
Unfortunately, their unique design may not be for everyone and they're prone to leaking sound. They also use a proprietary charging cable, which can be a problem if you need to charge these headphones and you forget their cable. Still, these headphones are great for outdoor runners as they don't block any background noise and they help to keep you aware on-the-go.
05/15/2020: Replaced Jaybird Tarah Pro with Beats Powerbeats Pro, replaced Anker SoundBuds Curve with SoundPeats TrueFree.
04/17/2020: Replaced the Beats Studio 3 Wireless with the Sennheiser PXC 550, and the Jabra Elite Active 65t with the Amazon Echo Buds for consistency.
03/18/2020: Moved Beats Studio into a new category: Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running.
02/17/2020: Removed some picks for a more comfortable article length.
01/17/2020: Replaced the Anker SoundCore Spirit X by the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019.
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. 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.