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 590 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.
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 Bose Sport Open Earbuds Truly Wireless are the best headphones for running outdoors that we've tested. These earbuds sit outside your ear, so they block virtually no ambient noise, which allows you to listen to music and hear your surroundings at the same time. They feel sturdy and durable and have an IPX4 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for it.
They have easy-to-use controls that offer call, music, and volume control, so you can play and pause your music, skip tracks, and more without taking them out of your ears. Their continuous battery life of more than nine hours should be long enough to get you through a few long workouts. Their integrated mic has a good recording quality, so you can use them to take phone calls when you're out on a run.
Unfortunately, because of their open design, their sound lacks low-bass, so they may not be ideal if you like to listen to bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Also, while they're decently comfortable, they're quite big and may put pressure behind your ears. That said, if you're looking for earbuds that let you hear your surroundings while you run, these are a great choice.
If you like headphones with an open-ear fit, but you're looking for something a bit more comfortable, try the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. While they don't feel as well-built as the Bose Sport Open Earbuds Truly Wireless, the AfterShokz weigh slightly less and can feel like you're wearing glasses since they sit above your ears. Unlike the Bose, these headphones use vibrations on your temples to deliver sound, so you can hear what's going on around you when you're running outdoors. They also have a stable fit thanks to their ear hook design and are rated for IP67 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Unfortunately, their unique way of reproducing audio means that they also leak sound, which could annoy others around you in a quiet environment.
Check out the Bose if you're looking for more portable and premium-feeling headphones. However, if you prioritize comfort over all else from your open-fit headphones, take a look at the AfterShokz instead.
The FIIL T1X True Wireless are the best budget headphones for running that we've tested. These wallet-friendly in-ears have a very stable fit, so you don't need to worry about them falling out of your ears while you're moving. They're also comfortable and have a dust and water resistance rating of IP65, although we don't currently test this.
Out-of-the-box, they have a slightly-bass heavy sound profile that packs a bit of extra thump, rumble, and boom, which can help keep you motivated while running. They're still well-suited for a variety of audio content, and if you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers 15 different EQ presets. Their roughly 6.8 hours of continuous battery life should also be more than enough to last through long jogs in the park, and if you need extra power, their carrying case holds an additional three charges.
Unfortunately, their controls aren't very intuitive to use. Since they don't have active noise cancelling (ANC), they rely on their passive capabilities. However, they struggle to block out more bass-heavy noise like the rumble of a bus engine, which could be annoying. Some users may find this design beneficial as it allows you to hear some of your surroundings while running outdoors.
May 31, 2021: Moved the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless to Notable Mentions as they're currently unavailable from major retailers.
May 05, 2021: Replaced the Mpow X3 Truly Wireless with the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless as the alternative to the 'Best Wireless Headphones For Running' because the Mpox X3 are out of stock. Added the 'Best Headphones For Running Outdoors' category with the Bose Sport Open Earbuds Truly Wireless as the main pick and the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction as the alternative.
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.
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.