Best Headphones for Running

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If you’re a runner in search for a new headphone, you may want to narrow down those choices to our Best Headphones for Running. Not all sporty headphones are created equally. There are tons of different styles and fits, and you wouldn’t want regrets on a new investment. Quality headphones can also cost a pretty penny, especially if you go for a robust Bluetooth wireless pair.

Therefore, we’ve rounded up a list of headphones that would perform particularly well on your running workouts. Factors like a secure fit and sweat resistance are particularly important. Let’s see which do it best. If you’re interested in a more general list of sport-ready headphones, check out our wireless headphones built for working out list.

Best Headphones for Running

Jaybird X2 Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Bragi Dash Bose SoundSport Aukey EP-B4
Jaybird Freedom Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Bragi Dash Bose SoundSport Aukey EP-B4
Rank #1 – Editor’s Choice #2 #3 #4 #5
Frequency Range 20 – 20,000Hz 20 – 20,000Hz 20 – 20,000Hz Unknown Unknown
Impedance 16Ω 16Ω 16Ω Unknown Unknown
Wireless green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark red-x-icon green-check-mark
Playback time 4 hours (8 hours with charging clip) 5 hours 3 hours Wired 4.5 hours
Bluetooth range 30 feet 33 feet 16 feet Wired 33 feet
Weight 13g 16g 16g 17g 16g
Sweatproof green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark
Waterproof red-x-icon green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark red-x-icon
Price $200 $200 $299 $130 $30
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

#1 Pick Jaybird Freedom

Jaybird Freedom wireless headphones

Jaybird refines its flagship wireless headphones in big ways, making the Freedom the one to beat.

Price: $200 | Battery Life: 4 hours (8 hours with charging clip)

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The most compact and lightest wireless in-ear on the market.

Jaybird is on a roll and there’s no signs that it’s letting up on the momentum. Not too long ago, we got the superb Jaybird X2, which were an effortless sporty wireless in-ear with excellent battery life. The company is in the midst of up’ing the ante with the further refined X3. But before that, it has just dropped a new initiative, dubbed the Jaybird Freedom.

What’s so special about this one? Well, it’s small. Like, impossibly small for a wireless in-ear headphone. Jaybird achieved this by moving the wireless-enabling electronics to the in-line remote unit. What’s more, the earpieces now exhibit premium metal chassis. Despite the aesthetic improvements, you’ll still Jaybirds promise for a robust and durable build. The compact size coupled with sweatproof considerations means that the Freedom is one of the best wireless headphones for running.

Jaybird is also known to bring it with regard to sound quality, and the Freedom carries that ideal. Additionally, the company developed a custom equalizer app, called MySound, which lets the user finely tune the frequency ranges to their preference. Jaybird’s have been known to be prominent in the mid-range to treble regions, but not so much with bass. Now the user can add just the right amount of bass.

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#2 Pick Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless

Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Headphones

The Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless can withstand anything you throw at it and tracks your fitness data with an app.

Price: $200 | Battery Life: 5 hours

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Probably the most robust and functional wireless earphone on the market.

Jabra is another audio manufacturer that knows what it’s doing with wireless headphones (the company has a professional/business line of wireless communication headsets). Sporty earphones may not be its forte, but Jabra has the prowess to build a compelling solution. The Sport Pulse Wireless is the headliner of this initiative, and there’s a lot going for it.

First, it’s compact and lightweight. Coupled with the terrific fit, Jabra says that the earpieces will stay in place “no matter what you do”. That alone makes them a great candidate for runners. What’s more, they’re probably the most durable wireless earphones on the market. Jabra says that the Sport Pulse Wireless can withstand water, shock, sand, weather, and dust – so just about anything you can throw at it.

Another feature is its complementing Sports Life app (available on both iOS and Android), which can track your activities. The Sport Pulse Wireless can report various fitness data, like distance, duration, speed, and calories. The headphone is also built with heart rate monitor!

The thin cable carries an in-line 3-button button remote for playback control and a mic to take calls. A drawback is that the battery life isn’t as strong as some of its competitors, like the Jaybird X2, but it’s acceptable at 5 hours. Additionally, the sound quality isn’t anything to write home about, but it certainly gets the job done.

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#3 PickBragi Dash

Bragi Dash Wireless Earphones

The Bragi Dash is truly wireless (no cables at all) and packs tons of features in a tiny space.

Price: $299 | Battery Life: 3-4 hours

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The true wireless earphone, which has absolutely no wires and is sport-ready.

The Bragi Dash isn’t a perfect headphone, but we had to include it in our best headphones for running list because of a glaring feature – no wires, whatsoever. It also fits in the ear like a wonder, securely and comfortably. These things make it an awesome headphone to use on runs. There’s no wires that bounce with you or lay on your neck.

Fortunately, that’s not all the Dash have going for them. They are not just sweatproof but carry a waterproof rating (submersion up to 1 meter). Bragi developed a complementing app, which allows theheadphone to capture fitness data, like steps, distance, and activity duration. The Dash even pack a heart rate monitor. The earpieces have touch-enabled surfaces for control to play/pause, switch tracks, or answer/end phone calls.

Each earpiece carries a 100mAh battery, said to provide 3-4 hours of playback, which isn’t too spectacular. Although, the portable charging case can serve as an external battery pack for up to five full charges. The tiny balanced amateur audio drivers surprisingly pack quite a punch, with detailed highs and solid bass. However, the Bluetooth range leaves to be desired.

The Bragi Dash is available in either black or white and starts at $299. We feel they are one of the best earbud headphones for running.

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#4 Pick Bose SoundSport

Bose SoundSport headphones

Bose excellent sound quality can be enjoyed on your run with the SoundSport.

Price: $130 | Battery Life: Wired

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Bose’s excellent sound quality, now sport-ready and sweatproof.

The Bose name kind of speaks for itself. The brand means all-around quality in consumers’ eyes. We’re glad that Bose didn’t forget about those of us in search for the best headphones for working out. The SoundSport in-ear headphones don’t carry the wireless technology like many of the options on our list, but they should still be a consideration.

These Bose earphones are tuned to withstand your hardcore activities, resistant to moisture from sweat or weather. Additionally, the custom ear fins are designed to conform to your ear’s shape. They won’t go anywhere once donned. Together with Bose’s excellent sound quality (detailed highs and engaging lows), these factors make the SoundSport the best option for running if you don’t care for the best wireless headphones.

Like many other offerings, there’s a 3-button in-line remote/mic unit. Bose also considerately includes a quality carrying case with a karabiner attachment. The SoundSport is available in a multitude of colors: Charcoal, Front, Green, Neon Blue, and Red.

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If you especially care keeping ambient noise out, you may want to consider the Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise Cancelling In-Ears.

#5 Pick Aukey EP-B4

Aukey EP-B4 Bluetooth headphones

The Aukey EP-B4 Bluetooth headphones offer an unbeatable value for runners.

Price: $30 | Battery Life: 4.5 hours

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: An amazing value for sweatproof and lightweight wireless earphones.

Sometimes affordable alternatives of devices come along and greatly push what your money can get you. The Aukey EP-B4 Bluetooth sport in-ear headphones do just that. They pack just about everything that the big names bring, but at a bargain basement price of only $30. Crazy.

No, the Aukey EP-B4 won’t have the most compact earpieces, but at least they’re lightweight. Also, the cable is considerably thin. The build is sweatproof, and the earhook design means that you’ll get a secure fit – two important factors when you’re running.

Despite the low price tag, Aukey still finds a way to pack the latest Bluetooth standards – version 4.1 with A2DP and the higher quality aptX audio codec. The sound quality won’t impress any audiophiles, but it certainly gets the job done. Battery life is also nothing to write home about, at about 4.5 hours of playback.

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#6 Pick Plantronics BackBeat Fit

Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Headphone

The Plantronics BackBeat has a thought-out design, healthy battery life, and great sound quality.

Price: $130 | Battery Life: 8 hours

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: An all-around top performer from a company that knows wireless.

Plantronics is another audio manufacturers with roots in wireless headsets for communication, like Jabra. But it also wants a piece of the wireless sports headphone market. Its flagship comes in the form of the BackBeat Fit. The design is quite different from the other options on our list, but we feel it works great for running. The around-the-ear wear means that the fit is snug and secure. It is also both sweat and water-proof.

The playback and call controls are easily accessible on the surface of the earpieces, so you should have an uninterrupted workout even when life tries to step in. Plantronics was also considerate with battery life. It’s rated at about 8 hours of playback.

Fortunately, the quality carries over to the sound. The entire audio spectrum was focused on, so you’ll get rich bass and clear, natural detail up the frequency chain. Plantronics goes a step further by addressing safety for outdoor workouts. The eartip fit is designed to let in some ambient sound. You don’t want to be completely obvious to your surroundings when you’re running in the streets.

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit is available in black, green, or blue colors. The full retail price runs at $130.

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What to look for in the Best Headphones for Running

Design and Fit: Headphones made for working out come in different shapes and styles. Some are better for running than others. Primarily, you’ll want to look at headphones that stay on your ear securely and can withstand sweat. If you think you’ll frequently be running in the rain, you may want to look out for a waterproof rating rather than just sweatproof.

Wired or Wireless: You can find sport-ready headphones in either wired or wireless capacities. Wireless headphones are typically costlier than wired, so you’ll have to decide if the cable-free convenience is worth that. Battery life also comes into play when you go wireless. You’ll want to keep an eye on the battery rating in the specs sheet and make sure it’s something you can live with.

Additional Features: These days, headphone can pack a lot of features. Since most users play off of their smartphones, many headphones now have an in-line playback remote, which also typically has a microphone for taking calls. Some sport-ready headphones can track fitness data, like heart rate, steps, duration, and distance, via an accompanying app. Active noise-cancellation is an invaluable feature if you often listen in a noisy environment.

Also Read: Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2016

Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t Go Too Cheap: Headphones with running in mind are designed more rigorously than standard options. If you go too cheap, you risk getting a pair that isn’t robust enough to keep up with you. The last thing you’d want is for the earpieces to be uncomfortable and/or constantly fall off. The sound quality may also take a backseat to meet the tight price, or it could mean poor battery life on wireless headsets.

Less Than Ideal Fit: When you’re running, your headphones will constantly get jolted. So it’s especially important that the fit is snug and secure. The headphones should have some design cue to account for that (i.e. ear fins that hug the inner ear for support). If you’re going the wireless route, we’d recommend to stay away from large earpieces and be mindful of weight. Lightweight headphones generally stay in place better.

Wrong Inline Remote: An easy mistake to make is buying a headphone with the wrong in-line remote. Many headphones have an in-line playback remote somewhere on the cable, because so many of us use our smartphone as the source. However, because the two most popular mobile operating systems function differently, manufacturers have to create two versions of the remote. Make sure you buy the appropriate iOS or Android headphone model.

Most Important Features

Fit

  • Sport headphones designed to keep up with your running workout should have a focus on fit. For instance, a helpful consideration is ear fin support on in-ear headphones.
  • Look at the variety of ear tips that the manufacturer includes in the packaging. If they’re sparse, you’ll have less of a chance of an adequate seal (which would impact sound quality). Some earphone listeners also prefer foam tips for their tight fit and noise attenuation.
  • Weight plays a big role in the fit. More weight can mean more mass that gets shifted around during your run. Look out for compact solutions and thin cables.

Durability

  • It just is that headphones are subject to abuse. They’re small and easy to throw around. Avoid flimsy build/materials the best you can.
  • Sport headphones are usually sweatproof at minimum (IPX4 rated). However, if you think you’ll need more robustness, some manufacturers go to town with dust, shock, sand, and water submersion protection. The higher the number on the IP rating, the more it can withstand. A device is waterproof at a rating of IPX7 and up. Additionally, the preceding “X” spot represents resistance against solid particles (i.e. dust).

Sound Quality

  • We’re talking about headphones, so despite all the features, it’s important that they sound good. Headphones that are more concerned with their sport-ready features or competitive price tags can put sound on the back burner. Make sure that the manufacturer outlines an effort for quality acoustics.

Battery Life

  • Many sport headphones these days have gone wireless, because of the cable-free convenience. That fact turns our eyes to battery life. Some wireless headphones handle it better than others, so make sure to always check the battery rating on the spec sheet before buying.

Which Headphones for Running are Right For You?

It’s great that we have a lot of choice these days for headphones suitable for running. Wireless headphones are on the frontlines, because users love removing the cord from their workouts. But, there are various designs/styles out there, and some work better than others. Runners should be extra mindful of fit and weight. It’s no fun when the headphones don’t stay in place and interrupt our workout. Additionally, we’re prone to sweat and the elements, if exercising outdoors. You’ll have to consider the extent of durability for your usage.

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