Running without music can be quite boring for some; a good beat can help you to push yourself. Over-ear headphones are comfortable but can be quite bulky and tend to trap a lot of heat under the ear cups, which can make you sweat more than usual. Earbuds and in-ear headphones are generally more convenient for running and working out, especially if they connect wirelessly to your mobile devices via Bluetooth. Good sports earbuds should be comfortable, portable enough to carry on you, and sound good. Those who run outdoors may also want to consider more open designs to help stay aware of their surroundings.
We’ve tested over nearly 100 wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best earbuds for running and working out to buy. See our recommendations for the best headphones for working out, the best wireless earbuds under $100, the best neckband headphones, and the best true wireless earbuds.
The best earbuds for running we’ve tested so far are the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They’re comfortable, well-built in-ear headphones that are great for running and working out. They have a very stable fit that'll stay put during your most vigorous runs and are rated IPX7 for waterproofing.
These headphones have a versatile, well-balanced sound that lends itself well not only to a wide variety of music genres but also audiobooks and podcasts. You can also fine-tune the way they sound in great detail with the Jaybird MySound app. They have a very good battery that lasts for over 13 hours on a charge. They charge in under 2 hours, and when you snap the magnetic earbuds together, it triggers the auto-off timer to preserve battery life.
Unfortunately, they use a proprietary charging cradle that isn’t very practical. You can’t use a spare micro-USB cable if you don’t have the charger on you, which can be frustrating to some. However, the Jaybird are impressive earbuds for sports that are great whether you’re pumping iron at the gym or running a marathon.
If you want a cheaper pair of wireless earbuds for running that still sound decent and are stable enough for working out, get the JBL Reflect Mini 2. They don't feel as durable as the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless and their battery doesn't last as long, but they have a similar sound profile and offer a good price-to-performance ratio. They're fairly comfortable and provide a very stable fit that should work well for most workout sessions. While their out-of-the-box sound profile is well-balanced, they unfortunately don't offer a companion app with a customizable EQ like the Jaybird. On the upside, unlike the Jaybird, which use a proprietary charger, the JBL charge via micro USB, making it easier to replace the cable if you need to.
If you like to be able to customize your sound profile or tend to be a little harder on your headphones, go with the Jaybird, but if you want to spend less but still get a decent all-around pair of headphones that are great for sports, get the JBL.
The best truly wireless earbuds for running that we've tested are the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless. When you're on the move, cords, cables, and neckbands also move too. They can become huge annoyances as they brush up against things, producing microphonics that distract you from your audio. With true wireless earbuds like these, there's no tangle, no fuss: just you and your audio.
Made mainly with physical activity in mind, these earbuds have a stable fit thanks to their stability fins. While they already reproduce well-balanced sound, using the Jaybird MySound app, you can further customize your sound profile or select one created by others. They've also got a battery life of about 5 and a half hours of continuous playback on a single charge; this should be enough for most runs, but if you need more juice, the case can give you an additional 10 hours of extra battery life.
Unfortunately, they don't isolate well against low, outside noise such as treadmills. However, mid-range noise like locker room talk is more easily blocked. If you also like to take calls in between laps, the microphone is disappointing: voices sound muffled and lacking in detail. In noisy environments, the mic can even cut out as it tries to separate voice from background noise. That being said, if you get your motivation from your audio, these headphones are a great option.
If you like true wireless earbuds like the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless but want to have better isolation from ambient noise, try the Amazon Echo Buds. Not only do they have great passive isolation, but they also have one of the best performing active noise cancelling for truly wireless earbuds. To achieve this isolation, though, they need to be inserted rather deep into the ear canal, which some may find uncomfortable. Fortunately, they're not too bulky and are lightweight. Amazon provides different tip sizes as well as stability fins, so you shouldn't have any issues with them falling out. They last a little over 5 hours with ANC enabled, but should they run out, they take less than an hour for a full charge. If you want more awareness of your surroundings when running outdoors, Amazon's Alexa app has a pass-through feature to let in ambient noise without having to pause your music.
If you like the ability to customize your headphones and don't care as much for noise isolation, go with the Jaybird. But if you want to tune out the world around you, get the Amazon.
Whether you're out doing laps in the city or the park, the AfterShokz Aeroplex Bone Conduction earbuds are the best wireless earbuds for running outdoors that we've tested. Reproducing sound with bone conduction, these earbuds sit outside of the ear altogether, making it easy to hear all ambient noise around you - great for when you need to be aware of your surroundings.
Designed for workouts, these earbuds are light and stable. Their simple controls are located behind the right ear: you can adjust volume, power on/off, and pair with your device on the go. Even if you forget to charge them, they have almost 13 hours of battery life, making them great for ultramarathons. They also have an IP67 rating for dust and waterproofing, although we don't currently test this.
Unfortunately, due to their unique sound reproduction, bass tends to be lacking. While these earbuds perform better with more vocal-centric audio like podcasts and ballads, they still do a decent job for most genres of music. Still, these earbuds are a good choice for those outdoor runners who encounter more potential hazards than those on a treadmill.
The best Bluetooth earbuds for running in the budget category that we've tested so far are the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. These Bluetooth headphones are quite comfortable for in-ears as they don't enter too deep in the ear canal, and they come with five different sizes of tips to help you find the most comfortable fit. They're very stable in the ear thanks to their ear-hook design and stability fins, and should have no problem staying put during even more strenuous runs. Unlike the previous version, these headphones are now rated IPX7 for waterproofing, though this isn't currently something we test.
Their bass-heavy sound profile will help keep you pumped up, but shouldn't be too boomy or over-powering and is well-suited for most genres. Their 18.4-hour battery life is great and is a big improvement over the first generation, as well as the very similar Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless. They're a good option for running outside as well since they don't block out too much background noise, so you can stay aware of your surroundings.
Unfortunately, their build quality is only decent and they have quite a thin cable connecting the left and right drivers. They also don't have a dedicated companion app to customize their sound profile, but this is fairly standard for headphones at this price point. Overall, they're the best earphones for running in the budget category and they offer a fantastic price-to-performance ratio.
If you want extra freedom while running and don't want a wire running behind your neck, get the SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless. They aren't quite as comfortable as the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019, and their controls are more difficult to use, but they feel better built and have no wires connecting your left and right earbuds. Their sound profile is very similar to the Anker, though their treble range is quite recessed, so vocals may sound a bit dull. Unfortunately, their battery life is disappointing at just over three hours, but their case gives an additional four charges, so you can take small breaks to charge them up throughout the day. Despite not having stability fins or ear-hooks, they still feel surprisingly stable in the ear, but unfortunately, they don't have an IP rating for waterproofing.
If you don't mind having a wire connecting your two earbuds and want something a bit more comfortable, get the Anker, but if you want the freedom of truly wireless headphones while running, go with the SoundPeats.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out for most people to buy 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 earbuds and in-ears. 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.
02/24/2020: Removed Beats PowerBeats Pro, JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless, and Jabra Elite Active 45e. Replaced AfterShokz Treks with AfterShokz Aeroplex. Minor text and structure changes.
01/22/2020: Replaced Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless with Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless Upgraded 2019. Minor text and structure changes.
12/23/2019: Replaced Jabra Elite Active 65t with Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless. Minor text and structure changes.
11/20/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.