The best running headphones
They’ll stay snug and keep you pumped while you work out.
Choosing a pair of running headphones can be tricky. It’s tempting to splurge for extras like a built-in personal trainer, high-fidelity sound, and other extra fancy features, but you may not need that stuff, or want it if you’re the type to lose your buds within a few months of purchasing them. And then there’s the choice between over-ear, on-ear, wrap-around, or buds. To help narrow down the list, I’ve pulled together my favorite headphones—of all prices, sizes, and fit options—to run with. Enjoy and run well.
QuietComfort 35 (Series II)
For runners that don’t want to sacrifice sound quality while they get sweaty. Amazon
Bose’s QuietComfort 35 (Series II) over-ear headphones are my go-to for traveling, office listening, and even running. Some people don’t like bulkier audio devices when it’s time to sweat, but I quite like exercising with these since they force me to keep my head upright. They hold a 20-hour charge and connect over Bluetooth and have NFC (near-field communication) for easy pairing. The headphones can be used wirelessly or with a standard cable, and have adjustable noise cancellation. While they aren’t the most breathable option, the sound quality makes up for it.
VI Sense Headphones
These running headphones have a built-in AI to help keep you motivated while you run. Amazon
If you use your Apple Watch—or even just your iPhone—for exercise, these Vi Bluetooth headphones are a great option. The built-in personal trainer works with Apple HealthKit to create a personalized workout. It learns how you run and monitors stats like your heart rate, motion, and elevation. The Harman Kardon headphones have waterproof earbuds that actually stay in your ears, plus a battery life that lasts all day. You can also answer phone calls or listen to music from your watch or smartphone.
Truly wireless earbuds that stay securely in your ear, no matter the terrain. Amazon
The Jaybird RUN earbuds are my choice for true wireless, running earbuds. The sweat-proof buds have interchangeable tips for a secure fit, hold 12-hours of battery life—including the extra charges from the travel case—and features a microphone and controls on the earbud, so you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket. In the Jaybird app, you can also locate your earbuds if they are missing and change the EQ settings. My only issue with these earbuds is that they briefly drop their Bluetooth connection on busy, city streets. That being said, I’ve never had a problem with less hectic streets or outside of the city.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Pro
Headphones that are lightweight with impressive sound. Amazon
Anker’s Soundcore Spirit Pro headphones are one of my go-to, cheaper, lightweight options for working out. The headphones have a 10-hour battery life, are IP68 sweat proof—PopSci’s waterproof explainer here—and have “EarWings” that help the headphones stay in your ear while working out. Each pair comes with a charging cable, multiple sizes of EarWings and EarTips, and a travel case. The headphones have two equalizer modes—one for normal listening and another with boosted bass tones.
SENSO Bluetooth waterproof headphones
They come with a year warranty, so it’s a fairly low-risk purchase. Amazon
These Bluetooth SENSO waterproof headphones are inexpensive, have an IPX-7 waterproof rating, and provide eight hours of battery life. Ear hooks help keep fit snugly around your ears to keep the headphones in place while you are running or in the water.
Kinivo sport headphones
These wrap around your neck and over your ears for a secure fit. Amazon
For a super-affordable option, check out these Kinivo sport headphones. They are lightweight, connect over Bluetooth, and wrap around the top of your ears so they’ll never fall off. They hold a 20-hour charge and have controls on one ear to change volume, skip to the next song, or pick up a phone call.