Whether you’re a casual jogger or a marathon veteran, music can be the perfect companion for your workouts and a good beat can help you push yourself to the limits. The best headphones for running and working out should have great stability and not fall off or out of your ears. Sports headphones should also be comfortable, easy-to-use, and compact enough to carry around when you take them to the gym or go for a jog.
So far, we've reviewed over 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for working out 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 headphone brands.
The best wireless headphones for running that we’ve reviewed so far are the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They’re well-made with a comfortable, stable fit. They have a braided cable and magnetic earbuds that snap together for easier cable management. They also have an IPX7 rating, so they should be waterproof, but we don’t have a test to confirm this yet.
These headphones are similar to the Jaybird Tarah Wireless, but with a significant improvement to their battery. The battery life is over 13 hours, which is more than double that of the original Tarah. Overall, they sound pretty similar, but these headphones have better treble, which is great if you like to listen to more vocal-centric pop or rock music while working out, though they lend well to most genres. Their compatibility with the Jaybird MySound app makes them even more versatile since you can EQ their sound any way you want.
Unfortunately, these headphones can’t connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously like the Tarah can. They also have a proprietary charging cradle, which is a bit restrictive. Thankfully, they have better latency performance, so they shouldn’t be too bad if you like to watch videos on the treadmill. Overall, these are the best headphones for running that we've tested, but some may find them a bit expensive. If you don’t mind the difference in battery life, then it’s worth checking out the Tarah as well.
If you find the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless too pricey, the JBL Reflect Mini 2 is a good alternative. They perform almost as well as the Jaybird with a few minor exceptions: JBL doesn't have a mobile app to customize the sound, battery life is a bit shorter, and it's rated IPX5. As for sound, they are suitable for a variety of genres, but the bass can sound a little boomy and the treble is somewhat uneven. On the upside, they use a micro-USB for charging instead of a proprietary charger and have better passive isolation.
If budget allows, go with the Jaybird, but if you want something cheaper without compromising too much on quality, the JBL are a good choice.
If you don’t like the fit of in-ears and prefer over-ear headphones for the gym, then we recommend the Beats Studio 3. They’re not as breathable as the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless, but their over-ear fit is tight enough to keep them secure while running. They have great battery life and a decent bass-heavy sound. The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless sound a bit better and are more customizable thanks to their app support, but they're not quite as comfortable as the Beats. You can also check out the on-ears Beats Solo Pro Wireless if you prefer a smaller and more compact format than the over-ear Studio 3.
You’ll want to stick with the Jaybird if you do a lot of high-impact workouts like CrossFit, but if you prefer over-ears then you’ll want to consider the Beats.
The Jaybird Vista are the best truly wireless earbuds that we've tested so far. Ask any runner and they'll tell you that one of their biggest annoyances are microphonics, which is noise produced when cables move around. As an evolution and refinement of the Jaybird Run XT Truly Wireless, Jaybird has nearly perfected the design to provide a secure fit that won't fall out during runs. There aren't many options in the provided tips and fins, but most people should be able to find one that suits them.
These earbuds have decent sound quality and are well-suited for a wide variety of music genres. The bass is accurate and powerful, but the treble can be a bit uneven. As always, they are compatible with Jaybird's excellent mobile companion app and you can tune the sound profile to your heart's content. Battery life is around the 5-hour mark, which is enough to get through a workout, bar ultra-marathons; but in case you run out of juice, the charging case provides an additional 10 hours of battery life.
Unfortunately, the microphone isn't very good. Voices tend to come across as muffled and often cut out. Noise isolation is decent but it really comes down to personal preference; some runners prefer complete isolation while others prefer some level of environmental awareness for safety. Nevertheless, the Jaybird are great for any type of workouts, especially running.
If you're an Apple user and want the best headphones for running for iPhone, get the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They don't have EQ customization like the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless but provide seamless pairing to your Apple devices thanks to Apple's H1 chip. While they don't have a customizable EQ, they have great audio reproduction with excellent bass and a pretty well-balanced overall sound. Their 11-hour battery life is very good for truly wireless headphones, giving you more than double the battery life of the Jaybird. They also charge in under an hour, which is excellent if you need to give them a quick charge before you hit the gym.
Get the Jaybirds if you want decent all-around headphones with a fully customizable sound-profile, but if you're an Apple user and want your headphones to easily connect to your devices and provide all-day battery life, go with the Beats.
If you want a pair of truly wireless headphones that'll isolate noise around you, then get the Jabra Elite Active 65t. They aren't as comfortable for most people as the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless, but their passive isolation is as good as some of the ANC headphones we've tested. Like the Jaybirds, they have decent out-of-the-box sound reproduction, but their companion app allows you to fine-tune the EQ. They also have a HearThrough feature configurable through the app that can allow you to hear what's around you. Although we didn't test this, it could be useful for outdoor running. If you also feel like the Jabra Elite Active 65t are too big for your ears, Jabra released the Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless, which are noticeably smaller and are rated IP55 for dust and water resistance as well.
Get the Jaybirds if you want something comfortable with good customization and decent sound quality, but if you prefer earbuds that isolate more noise, then go for the Jabra.
The best Bluetooth headphones for running in the budget category are the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. This version is a nice mix from the original Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless and the Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless. They're one of the most comfortable in-ears we've tested so far since they don't enter the ear canal too deeply. They also have nice rubber ear-hooks that offer a very stable fit, and they come with many tips and stability fins options.
These headphones also have an IPX7 rating for water resistance, which is great for sports, although we don't test this internally. The remote control is very similar to the Spirit X and offers large buttons that are easy to click and offer good feedback, which is great when wanting to control your playlist or volume while running. Their sound profile is a bit bass-heavy, with overemphasized bass and a recessed mid-range, which can be good if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music when running to keep you pumped up.
Unfortunately, the cable on these headphones is still fairly thin, but it's now flat and feels a bit better made. Also, some people might feel like the cable is annoying when running around as it can bounce and hit your neck with each stride. Nevertheless, they're great sports headphones and they offer about 18 hours of continuous battery life, so you won't have to charge them daily after each run.
If you like sports headphones with ear-hooks for added stability but want a more neutral sound, then get the JBL Endurance Sprint. They’re not as comfortable as the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019, but they have outstanding audio reproduction, especially for budget in-ears, and are among the best-sounding wireless earbuds we’ve tested. Although some may prefer their touch-sensitive control scheme over the in-line remote of the Anker, it can be a bit too sensitive at times and tends to register unwanted commands at times.
Get the Anker if you prefer the ease-of-use a physical line-in remote provides, but if you’re after a more neutral sound and don’t mind the touch-sensitive controls, you’ll want the JBL.
If you think a cable is annoying when running and working out, then you might prefer the budget truly wireless SoundPeats TrueFree. They might not be as comfortable as the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 and they only have a one-button control scheme on each bud, but they feel very stable due to their small design that fits well inside your ears. They perform quite well considering their price point and most people will be satisfied with their fairly neutral sound profile that pack a bit of extra bass. However, they won't provide you a long listening session, as they can only play continuously for about 3 hours. This means that you'll probably need to charge them on a daily basis, but thankfully, their charging case gives about four additional charges.
If you prefer an ear-hook design, or like having a wire connecting your two earbuds, get the Anker, but if you want something even smaller and easier to toss into your pocket or bag, go for the SoundPeats.
If you like to run outdoors, it's important to be able to stay aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, most in-ears block out a lot of background noise, making it more difficult to stay alert and safe. The AfterShokz Aeropex help with this, as they don't go in, on, or around your ear in any way. These bone conduction headphones sit against the outside of your ear and use vibrations to create sound, allowing you to fully hear everything that's going on around you. They have an impressive 13-hour battery life and are also rated IP67 for dust and waterproofing, though we don't currently test this.
The sound reproduction of these headphones is different from most headphones we've tested, as they have no speakers and rely strictly on vibrations. Due to this unique style of creating sound, they produce very little bass, but overall, they have surprisingly impressive audio reproduction. While they won't produce much thumping bass for genres like EDM or hip-hop, they're very well-suited for more vocal-centric genres or content, like podcasts.
Unfortunately, they aren't the best for very noisy environments, as they let in a lot of background sound which can drown out your music. On the upside, at reasonably low volume levels, they don't leak much audio, and we were able to use them in the office with music playing, and still be able to carry on conversations with co-workers who couldn't hear any audio coming from them. Overall, these are a unique pair of headphones that are great if you need to stay alert while running outdoors.
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 our reviews for sports/fitness headphones. 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.
01/17/2020: Replaced the Anker SoundCore Spirit X by the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. Minor text updates.
12/17/2019: Replaced AfterShokz Trekz Air with AfterShokz Aeropex, added Apple AirPods Pro to Notable Mentions.
11/21/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.