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 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 so far are the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless. These comfortable headphones are 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.
These headphones 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 headphones 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 looking for something a little more affordable without giving up much in the way of performance, give the JBL Reflect Mini 2 a shot. They aren’t as comfortable or sturdy-feeling as the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless, but they’re quite a bit cheaper. Their sound profile isn’t as well-balanced since they have a bit of an overemphasized bass, which some might prefer. They’re also better at blocking out ambient noise and don’t leak as much sound, which is helpful if you intend to also use them in your daily commute. They also have an in-line microphone and remote that places the most important functions within easy reach.
If you require the freedom and flexibility of a truly wireless design and don’t mind paying more, get the Beats. If you want to save a fair bit of money without missing out on sound quality, the JBL are a good choice.
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 your run's momentum.
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 have a low-profile design that doesn’t protrude from your ears too much and have a very stable fit without the need for stability fins. They’re made of sturdy-feeling, dense plastic and don’t weigh very much, so they shouldn’t get damaged by accidental drops. An IPX4 rating for sweat and water protection is an added bonus, even though we don’t test for that.
They have a bass-heavy sound delivery that’ll keep you pumped up if you listen to a lot of EDM or hip-hop while you run but might come across as a little muddy on more delicate tracks. They do a good job of isolating background noise so you can stay focused on your music and maintaining your tempo. Sound leakage is minimal, so you won’t have to worry about bothering others even if you listen to your music very loud.
Unfortunately, battery life is disappointing, at just over 3 hours, but that can be extended with a standby mode as well as their carrying case, which provide enough energy for an additional four charges. Their case also lacks a cover and relies on magnets to keep the buds in places. However, there are more expensive variants they do come with a lid, although we haven’t tested them yet. All in all, these are among the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out we've tested and deliver great performance for their price.
The best headphones for running outdoors that we've tested so far are the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. As the name implies, these headphones rest on your temples, not your ears, and transfer sound via vibrations in your bones. They primarily use a silicone material in their construction and have a flexible, if thin, headband, so they don’t feel like they’ll be damaged in a few accidental drops. They’re also rated IP57 for dust and water protection, though this isn’t something that we test for. Their 13-hour battery life, meanwhile, should get you through even longer marathons on a single charge.
Their unique design means that they lack a lot of bass, especially at the low-end, so if you’re the type who listens to a lot of EDM or hip hop to stay motivated during your runs, you might be a little disappointed. Of course, this also lets you stay aware of your surroundings, and the rest of their sound profile is versatile enough for other musical genres and audio content.
On the downside, they leak quite a bit of sound, so they aren’t the best for listening in a quiet environment like an office or a library. They also use a propriety charging cable, which might be a bit of a problem if it becomes damaged or is lost. With that said, if staying aware of your surroundings is a priority during your runs, it’s hard to do better than these.
07/13/2020: Minor changes to text for clarity and accuracy; no change in recommendations.
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.
03/18/2020: Moved Beats Studio into a new category: Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running.
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.