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 500 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 are comfortable and great for running since they have no wires connecting each earbud. Their ear-hook design also makes them feel impressively stable so that they won't fall out or move around during a run, and their very easy-to-use controls mean you can change your music or answer a phone call without fumbling around with your headphones.
They have a very well-balanced sound profile that lends itself well to a wide variety of genres, though their slightly recessed treble-range may make some vocals sound dull and listless. They last almost 11.5 hours off a single charge, and you can charge them fully by tossing them in their case in around 45 minutes, which is excellent. They feature seamless pairing to Apple devices thanks to the H1 chip, and they connect just like any normal Bluetooth headphones to any other device.
Unfortunately, while their sound profile is quite accurate and natural, some people may find they lack a bit of bass in comparison to the more bass-heavy or excited sound profiles that are common with many popular headphones; especially if you listen to a lot of EDM and like a bit of extra thump to keep you motivated. They also don't have any EQ options in their app, so you can't bump up their bass if you'd prefer more kick, which is a shame. That being said, these are among the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out and are a great choice for taking with you on a run.
If you're trying to keep your expenses down but don't want to sacrifice performance too much, check out the JBL Reflect Mini 2. While they don't feel as sturdy as the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless and they aren't as comfortable, they're more affordable while still retaining a stable, fairly comfortable fit. They have a slightly bass-heavy sound that can help keep you pumped up while you run, and they're better at blocking out background noise, which is nice if you're at the gym or at a noisy intersection. They don't leak much sound either, so others shouldn't be able to hear your audio. They have decently easy-to-use controls too, so you're able to manage calls or music on-the-move.
If you prefer a sleek-looking true wireless design and don't mind paying a bit more, go for the Beats. However, if you're looking to save some money while still getting a good audio experience, get the JBL.
The best headphones for running with an over-ear design are the Razer Opus. These durable over-ears have a comfortable and stable fit, so they shouldn't fall off your head while you're running. Their controls are easy to use, and their over 32-hour continuous battery life should easily get you through your longest runs, too.
They have an active noise cancelling feature that does an outstanding job blocking out background noises. If you're running on a treadmill in a crowded gym, you shouldn't hear the sounds of nearby exercise machines or the chatter of other people working out around you. Also, their default sound profile is very well-balanced, making them well-suited for listening to lots of music genres. If you prefer a different sound, there's a graphic EQ and presets available in the Razer Opus companion app.
Unfortunately, you can't pair them with multiple devices at the same time, which may be inconvenient if you like to switch your audio source frequently. Also, their over-ear design may not be ideal for all runners, as it can cause you to sweat a little more than usual. That said, they're very versatile, and their performance ranks them among the best headphones we've tested.
The best truly wireless earbuds for running that we've tested are the Jaybird Vista. These well-built, comfortable in-ears come with lots of different sizes of earbud tips and stability fins to help ensure a stable fit. Thanks to their truly wireless design, they're very portable, and they don't make you sweat more than usual, either.
Out-of-the-box, they have a very balanced, neutral sound profile that's ideal for lots of different music genres. If you want to customize their sound, and there's a parametric EQ and presets available in their companion app. You can also use the app to remap their controls based on your preferences, making it even easier to use them during a run.
Unfortunately, they only have a 5.5-hour continuous battery life, which may not be enough to get you through marathons. They also don't really isolate against bass-heavy sounds like bus and plane engines. However, some runners may prefer this design, as it can help you stay aware of your surroundings while running outdoors.
If you do most of your running in loud spaces like a gym and want something to help keep that ambient noise at bay, consider the Amazon Echo Buds. While they don't have as comfortable a fit as the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless and some may find their touch-sensitive controls to be a little limited, they have an excellently-performing ANC that's able to help cut down the sounds of treadmills or clanking weights. They also have a sound profile that doesn't sound as bright or piercing as the Jaybird.
If you're looking for more comfortable in-ears and you prefer physical controls, get the Jaybird. However, if you want to focus on your workout with less distraction by ambient noise thanks to an ANC feature, try the Amazon.
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 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. That said, if you're looking to listen to tunes while staying alert while out and about, these are a unique and suitable choice.
The SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless are the best budget headphones for running that we've tested. These in-ears have a stable fit, and although we don't test for it, they have an IPX4 rating for water resistance. They're also among the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out we've tested.
These well-built and sturdy headphones have a bass-heavy sound profile that's well suited for EDM or hip-hop, although some listeners may find them to be a bit muddy or lacking detail on more delicate tracks. Thanks to their small design, they keep heat from being trapped in your ears while you exercise, and they can fit in most small pockets when not in use. They also come with four different ear-tips so you can find the combination that's most comfortable for you. Their fit helps to isolate a good amount of background noise, which can be helpful in noisier places like the gym, and they hardly leak audio.
Unfortunately, their battery life lasts just over three hours, which may not be a lot if you're running a marathon. However, if you're just going on a short jog in the park, you can toss them back into their carrying case, which has four additional charges. Their case lacks a cover, though, and while the earbuds are held in by magnets, they could still get knocked out of place. There are more expensive variants that come with a lidded case, but we haven't tested them. That said, if you're on a tight budget, they offer great performance at an affordable price.
10/09/2020: Minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy. No changes to the recommendations.
09/11/2020: Added the FIIL T1X True Wireless to Notable mentions.
08/12/2020: Replaced the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless with the Razer Opus.
06/12/2020: 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.
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.