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 540 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 Truly Wireless. 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.
If you're looking for a cheaper pair of wireless headphones for running, consider the Mpow X3 instead. While their 5.3-hour continuous battery life isn't as impressive as that of the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless, their portable charging case offers about 3.5 extra charges to help you recharge on-the-go. These budget in-ears are well-built and comfortable, and their stable fit helps them stay in place during your runs. Their sound profile is quite neutral and balanced, though they lack sound customization features. You can turn off their ANC feature to help you stay aware of passing cars while running outdoors. Unfortunately, their ANC feature struggles to block out a lot of background noises, so they aren't very versatile.
If you want sports-oriented wireless headphones with an ear-hook design and a longer continuous battery life, check out the Beats. However, if you're on a tighter budget, consider the Mpow instead.
The best headphones for running with an over-ear design are the Razer Opus. These over-ears are Bluetooth-compatible, so you won't have to worry about an audio cable snagging on something as you run. They're also comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time and do a good job of staying on your head when you're on the move. They're also more than sturdy enough to deal with minor drops and bumps.
Out-of-the-box, they provide a well-balanced sound profile that's well-suited for everything from EDM music to podcasts, though their companion app features a collection of audio presets as well as a graphic EQ to fine-tune your listening experience. If you want to filter out the distractions of the outside world, their ANC system is remarkably effective when it comes to drowning out background chatter. On the opposite end of the scale, if you want to keep tabs on your surroundings, they also have an adjustable talk-through feature to let in more ambient noise.
Unfortunately, they have an integrated mic that struggles to isolate speech from background noise, so they aren't necessarily the best choice for making phone calls during your workouts. Otherwise, their great build quality, dense feature-set, and superb ANC feature also make them some of the best over-ear headphones that 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 tend to work out run more on treadmills in the gym and want to filter out the clanging of dumbbells and weights, you may want to consider the Apple AirPods Pro. These premium truly wireless in-ears have a less comprehensive control scheme than the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless, but they do have a highly effective ANC system that helps them filter out a remarkable amount of background noise. They're exceptionally lightweight and have a comfortable, stable fit that should allow them to stay firmly in place during workouts, despite their lack of stability fins. Their sound profile is quite well-balanced and suited for a mix of audio content, but unfortunately, their companion app doesn't offer you any sound customization features. They also have a lower IPX4 rating for water resistance compared to the Jaybird's IPX7 rating, but it should be noted that we don't currently test for this.
Get the Jaybird if you want more customization features and a better control scheme, but consider the Apple headphones if you want to filter out more background noise to stay focused on your workout.
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 best headphones for running that we've tested with a budget-friendly price are the FIIL T1X. These truly wireless in-ears offer great value, with a sturdy-feeling plastic construction that should survive a couple of drops and bumps as well as an IP65 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for that. They're comfortable and stable enough to stay in place, even during vigorous workouts.
Out-of-the-box, they have a fairly well-balanced sound profile that should suit many different musical genres and audio content. If that's not to your liking, their companion app features 15 selectable EQ presets to fine-tune your listening experience. Their near-seven-hour continuous battery life should easily get you through most of a day, especially if you put them back in their case occasionally.
That said, their touch-sensitive control scheme can take some time to get used to, as it relies heavily on multi-tap inputs. Their microphone also gives your voice an unnatural, distorted quality, so they aren't the best choice for making phone calls while you're on the go. Still, their mix of affordability and relatively rich feature-set also help make them some of the best headphones under $50 that we've tested.
01/04/2020: Added the Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless to Notable Mentions.
12/04/2020: Replaced JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless with Mpow X3 Truly Wireless. Replaced Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless with Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless.
11/05/2020: Replaced SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless with FIIL T1X True Wireless due to current availability.
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.
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.