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 in 2019. 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 will 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. The JBL Reflect Mini 2 Wireless are cheaper and charge via micro-USB, which some may find more convenient, but they’re not customizable like the Jaybird and feel a bit less durable. Overall, the Tarah Pro 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 are 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 the need arises.
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.
If you don't like having a wire behind your neck and want the freedom of truly wireless earbuds while working out, get the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless, which fall among the best earbuds for running. They're a versatile pair of truly wireless headphones that are great for working out due to their compact, portable, and breathable design. Their fit is comfortable and they come with a few tip and fin options that should be able to fit most ear sizes.
While their out-of-box-sound is decent and suitable for a wide variety of genres, what really makes them shine are the customization options through Jaybird's great MySound app. The app has an easy-to-use parametric EQ, a community-oriented platform to share presets and playlists, and even allows you to find the last known location should you lose your earbuds.
Unfortunately, their 5 hour battery life isn't great, though it should be enough to last for most workout sessions, and their case provides an additional couple of charges. You should be able to use them for running in the rain, thanks to their IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't test this. Overall, the Vista are a decently well-rounded pair of truly wireless earbuds that are great for working out due to their comfortable, stable fit and excellent build quality.
If you're an Apple user and want a pair of truly wireless earbuds that will seamlessly connect to all your Apple devices, get the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless. They aren't quite as portable as the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless due to their bulkier, ear-hook design and much larger case, but they utilize Apple's H1 Chip which allows them to very easily connect to your iPhone or Apple Watch for a quick workout. Unfortunately, they don't have a customizable EQ like the Jaybirds, but they have an even more balanced sound out-of-the-box which is suited to a wide variety of genres. They are quite comfortable and their ear-hooks are easily malleable to help you find a steadier and more comfortable fit. They also have an impressive 11 hour battery life that can be fully topped up in less than an hour, which is amazing.
If you like customizing your sound profile depending on what you're listening to, get the Jaybird Vista, but if you're an Apple user who wants an easy-to-use pair of truly wireless headphones for working out, get the Powerbeats Pro.
If you tend to use your headphones a lot in a noisy gym and want a pair of truly wireless headphones that can block out background noise, get the Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless. They aren't nearly as comfortable as the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless, but their tight fit blocks out significantly more ambient sounds, making them great for working out in a noisy environment. Their sound profile is acceptable out-of-the-box, but luckily they have a very good companion app that allows you to customize their sound to suit your needs. They also offer Jabra's HearThrough feature which should allow you to hear your surroundings even while listening to music, which may be helpful for those who run outside or in busier areas.
If you have smaller ears and are worried about getting a comfortable fit, go with the Jaybird Vista, but if you tend to work out in a noisy environment and want impressive noise isolation, go with the Jabra.
If you’re an outdoor runner who wants to enjoy some background music while remaining aware of your surroundings, then get the AfterShokz Trekz Air, the best wireless earbuds for running outdoors. They have a bone conduction design that transmits vibrations through your cheekbones instead of playing sound directly in your ears, so you feel bass instead of hearing it. They sit near the outer ear but keep your ears open, so they’re also suitable for biking if your local legislation permits it.
These are very lightweight headphones that are comfortable to wear for long periods. The vibrations can take some time to get used to, especially if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music like dubstep, but shouldn’t be a problem for most people, especially if you mostly listen to podcasts or audiobooks. They have a decent 7-hour battery life, which isn’t as long as that of other sports-oriented earbuds we’ve tested but should last you long enough for your daily training.
Although our current testing equipment fails to fully capture their sound quality, bone conduction headphones don’t sound as good as traditional earphones in general. The way they sound also differs significantly between people, so if you share a pair with a partner or friend, it’s likely you both won’t hear the same thing. That said, their open design provides unparalleled situational awareness, so they’re worth considering if a truly open listening experience is what you’re after.
If you’re looking for earbuds that are open enough to help you remain aware of your surroundings without sacrificing functionality, get the Jabra Elite Active 45e. They’re not as comfortable as the AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction, but they’re easier to use and have a mic mute button. Like most headphones designed with situational awareness in mind, they sound distant when listening to bass-heavy music, but their earbud design ensures better consistency. They don’t offer quite the openness that bone conduction headphones do, though, and their fit might be uncomfortable for some while working out.
Get the AfterShokz if you just want to listen to music but need your ears to remain completely open; however, if you want something with a more traditional earbud fit that’ll be passable for taking calls too, then you’ll want to go for the Jabra Elite Active 45e.
The best earbuds for running in the budget category are the Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless. They’re surprisingly comfortable for in-ear headphones and have a flexible ear-hook design that ensures a stable fit. They come with a quick-adjusting cable clip that holds the wires in place. They are said to be water and sweat-proof, but we don’t yet have a test to confirm this.
They have an exciting bass-rich sound that’ll help get you pumped during your toughest workouts. They’re great for more bass-heavy music like EDM or hip-hop but are balanced enough to be alright for other genres too. They have a decent 12-hour battery life and are compatible with Bluetooth 5.0.
These earbuds are nearly identical to the even cheaper Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless in respect to design and performance. However, the Spirit X have a better in-line remote and feel better-made, especially since they’re supposed to be sweat-proof. The Curve generally provide generally better value for more casual use, but the added durability of the Spirit X make them a better choice for running and working out specifically.
If you prefer more neutral-sounding earbuds, get the JBL Endurance Sprint. They’re less comfortable than the Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless, but they’re better suited to a wider range of music genres. They also have great isolation performance, making them a good choice if you’re training indoors in a crowded gym. Their 9-hour battery life is decent and they even have an auto-off timer to help save battery life, which is useful if you forget to turn them off after your workout.
Their touch-sensitive control scheme is a welcome feature at this price point; however, it’s sensitive to the point of being inaccurate. Get the Spirit X if you prefer the ease-of-use of an in-line remote and don’t mind a bit of extra bass; however, if you’re after a more neutral balanced sound and aren’t bothered by touch-sensitive controls, the Endurance Sprint are your best bet.
If you're on a budget but still want the freedom of truly wireless earbuds, go with the SoundPeats TrueFree. They aren't quite as comfortable as the Anker Soundcore Spirit X Wireless, and they don't have nearly as good a control scheme, but they isolate sound well and feel quite well-built for the price. Their sound is average sounding but provide deep and powerful bass which should help keep you moving during a workout. They provide just over 3 hours of playback off a single charge, which isn't great, but should be enough for most workouts. Their case gives an additional 4-5 charges, meaning they should be able to last you a full day as long as you take breaks from your music.
If you want a well-rounded pair of wireless earbuds for working out that are quite comfortable for the price, get the SoundCore Spirit X, but if you want a pair of truly wireless headphones without spending too much, get 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.
10/18/2019: Added 'Best Truly Wireless Earbuds For Running' category. Added JBL Reflect Mini 2.