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 nearly 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for working out you can buy in 2019. 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, then it’s worth checking out the Tarah as well.
If you find our top pick too expensive, then consider the JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless. They’re not customizable like the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless, but are also a great option for running. Although they don’t feel as well-built, they use a regular micro-USB cable to charge, which is more convenient. They have a stable, comfortable fit and sound decent too. Their audio reproduction is pretty good, which makes them well-suited for a range of music genres, like hip-hop, rock, or even audiobooks or podcasts. Unfortunately, they don’t have a companion app and are only rated IPX5, so they’re less customizable than the more waterproof Jaybird. That said, they have much better noise isolation and are considerably cheaper.
Get the Jaybird if you need something more durable and like being able to customize the way your earbuds sound, but if you’re looking for something more straightforward that can charge via micro-USB, you’ll want to go for the JBL.
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 Wireless. 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’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 best truly wireless earbuds for running that we've tested so far are the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless. They have a very good design and are well-suited for runners thanks to their compact, portable, and breathable design. They also have stability fins to help get a secure fit which should help them stay in during runs.
They have decent sound quality and are well-suited for a wide variety of music genres. While they have decent sound quality out-of-the-box, they can be easily EQ'd using their companion app which provides an amazing parametric equalizer, meaning you should be able to customize the sound to suit your needs easily. They also offer a decent 5-hour battery, which is a little less than some other truly wireless headphones but should be more than enough for a workout.
Unfortunately, their microphone isn't well-suited for making phone calls while walking or running in busy areas. They also don't have the best noise isolation and don't isolate well against low-end noises like bus or plane engines. Nevertheless, they are great for active people who want the best all-around truly wireless headphones for running.
If you're an Apple user and want the best headphones for running for iPhone, get the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless. 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 who wants your headphones to easily connect to your devices and provide all-day battery life, go with the Powerbeats Pro.
If you want a pair of truly wireless headphones that will isolate noise around you, then get the Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless. 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.
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 SoundCore Spirit X. They’re very comfortable for in-ear headphones, with a flexible ear-hook design and quick-cinching adjustable cable clip that help ensure a great stable fit. They’re a very good choice for athletes who don’t want to spend a fortune on sports headphones but are still looking for great value.
These headphones have great deep, thumping bass to keep you pumped during your toughest workouts but sound balanced enough to be suitable for casual use too. They have a 12-hour battery life, which should last you multiple sessions at the gym, and they charge in under 2 hours.
On the downside, these headphones aren’t customizable like the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless. They also don’t have any power-saving features, so you’ll want to make sure to turn them off when they’re not in use or else their battery will continue to drain. The Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless are very similar and are generally a little cheaper, but the Spirit X are supposed to be more sweat-proof (although we don’t yet have a test for waterproofness to confirm this). They’re both very good sports headphones, but the Spirit X give a slight edge for fitness enthusiasts.
If you like sports headphones with ear-hooks for added stability but want a more neutral sound, then get the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless. They’re not as comfortable as the Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless, 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 Spirit X 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 Endurance Sprint.
If you prefer the extreme portability of truly wireless headphones, go for the SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless. They aren't quite as comfortable as the Anker SoundCore Spirit X and don't have as good controls, but their build quality is even better and they're easier to toss in your pocket between workouts. While their bass-heavy sound may be great for fans of house and EDM, they’re less well-suited for more vocal-centric genres like pop or rock. Their 3-hour battery life also isn’t very long, though their case will provide an additional 4-5 charges.
If you prefer a wire connecting your two earbuds and like the stability of having ear-hooks, go with the Spirit X; however, if you like the portability of truly wireless headphones, go with the SoundPeats.
If you mostly run outdoors and need to be aware of traffic, then get the AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction. They’re not typical wireless sports headphones; they sit on your temples and use bone conduction to send vibrations, so you feel bass instead of hearing it. This feature is also the reason why they sound better than what we measured. They do not sound quite as good as regular wireless earbuds, but should be good enough to get you pumped when running and for listening to podcasts and audiobooks.
They are great for running outdoors since your ears are wide open and nothing blocks ambient noise. Runners or cyclists can be aware of everything surrounding them while having a background track at the same time. They are very comfortable, since they don’t enter your ear canal, and they have a lightweight design.
Unfortunately, they aren’t the most portable headphones because of their odd shape that doesn't fold. The headband is flexible and might fit in the looser pockets of gym shorts, but you won’t be able to cram them in your jean pockets. On the upside, they are stable enough for running and have a rubberized build that’s rated IP55.
If you’re looking for sports headphones that are open enough for you to remain aware of your surroundings but have a more traditional earbud fit, then consider the Jabra Elite Active 45e. They don’t leave your ears completely open like the AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction, but their semi-open earbud design lets in lots of ambient noise so you can still hear what’s going on around you while still listening to your favorite tracks. They feel well-made, with a great IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. While they have a very complete control scheme, they can be a bit difficult to use on-the-go and don’t fit everyone equally well.
Get the AfterShokz Trekz Air if you need your ears completely uncovered, but if you’re looking for something that fits more like regular earbuds, you’ll want to go for the Jabra Elite Active 45e.
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.
10/16/19: Replaced Beats Powerbeats Pro with Jaybird Vista for the main pick, added 'Alternative For iPhone' category, moved SoundPeats Truefree to 'Best Budget' category.