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 75 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 ion 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 don’t want any wires in your way at all, get the Jabra Elite Active 65t. They’re less comfortable than the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless, but they’re durable truly wireless earbuds that isolate more noise. They’re rated IP56 for dust and water resistance and come with a good charging case. They sound decent and are surprisingly good at blocking out disruptive gym chatter. Unfortunately, their bulky in-ear fit may be uncomfortable for some, especially those with smaller ears. The Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless are more comfortable but don’t isolate noise as well.
Get the Jaybird if you want something with a more versatile fit, but if you prefer a truly wireless design with better noise isolation, then go for the Jabra.
If you like truly wireless headphones for working out but are looking for something more comfortable, then get the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They don’t feel as well-built as the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless and they isolate less noise than the Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless, but their malleable ear hook design helps them fit securely without entering too deeply into your ear canal. They’re not customizable, but they sound surprisingly well-balanced and are versatile for a wide range of music genres. On the downside, they’re only rated IPX4, which suggests they’re less water-resistant than most sports headphones we’ve tested.
If you want wireless earbuds that feel more durable for running in different weather conditions, then you’ll want to go for the Jaybird or the Jabra; however, if you’re all about comfort and stability, then the Powerbeats are for you.
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. 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 sweatproof, 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, 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 looking for truly wireless in-ears at a great price, get the SoundPeats TrueFree. Their battery doesn’t last as long as that of the Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless, but they’re surprisingly well-designed for the price. They sound decent and pack thumping bass, which makes them great for EDM and hip-hop. On the downside, they don’t have any volume controls and their one-button design will be uncomfortable to use since you end up pushing the earbuds further into your ears every time you pause a song.
Get the Spirit X if you want more comfortable sports headphones with a better battery life, but if you’re after affordable truly wireless in-ears that perform decently overall, the TrueFree are hard to beat.
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.