Whether you’re a casual jogger or a marathon runner, music can be a perfect companion to help push you to your limits while you are working out. The best headphones for running should be stable enough to stay on or in your ear, as well as be comfortable, easy-to-use, and portable plenty to take around with you. While some people like to block out as much background noise as possible when working out, if you run outside, it can be helpful to stay aware of your surroundings as well. A good pair of headphones makes the workout more exciting and helps you to increase metabolism.
We’ve reviewed over 455 pairs of headphones so far, and below are our recommendations for the best earphones for training and running that you can buy.
Best Workout and Sports Headphones review In 2021
1. Sony WF-1000XM3
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are decent-sounding and versatile truly wireless headphones. They have a passable ANC feature that is decent for commuting and blocks out a good amount of noise in an office setting. Their design is stylish and feels premium but it’s a bit hard to find a good airtight fit as their tip options are larger than average. This mainly negatively impacts their bass reproduction and isolation performance. On the other hand, they have about 7 hours of battery life, which is good for truly wireless design, and they are compatible with a companion app that gives access to decent audio customization. The true wireless XM3 is portable, breathable, and durable. However, if you can’t find a good fit due to the large ear tips, they might not be the most stable option for physical activity. They also don’t seem to have an official IP rating, that is disappointing.
2. Apple AirPods Pro
The Apple AirPods Pro is a welcome upgrade to the previous models of Apple company AirPods. Their in-ear fit makes them much more stable in the ears, and they’ve improved their sound reproduction significantly, though some may find this design less comfortable. Their active noise cancelling works very well, and is among the best that we’ve tested on in-ear headphones, making them a good option to use while commuting or at work. While they’re smaller than the previous models’ thanks to their shorter stems, they offer longer battery life and have an easier-to-use touch control scheme. Overall, they’re better earphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 and are much more versatile for every day make use of. These headphones are a great option for sports. Their silicone tip and in-ear design is incredibly steady and should have no problem staying in during strenuous workouts. They’re small and lightweight, making them easy to toss in your pocket during exercises. Their bass is improved over previous models, which should help give you a little extra thump to get you motivated. Their ANC will also help keep you from getting distracted even when working out in a busy gym
3. Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless
The best wireless earbuds for running we’ve tested so far are the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They have a surprisingly comfortable truly wireless design thanks to their malleable ear-hooks that help keep their earbuds securely in place without sticking too far down your ear canal. Their impressively stable fit ensures they won’t go flying off your head, even as you’re sprinting towards the finish line.
These wireless earbuds have a balanced sound signature that’s very well-suited to punchy, lively tracks that’ll get your heart pumping. They’re missing a bit of detail and clarity in the treble range, so you might find podcasts or audiobooks slightly muffled, but some people prefer this since they find it helps take a bit of edge of the brighter sounds. Their 11-hour battery life ensures they’ll last you an entire marathon and they charge in under an hour as well.
On the downside, these earbuds are expensive, and it’s unclear how well they hold up to more rugged weather conditions. If you’re a fan of their ear-hook design but don’t want to have to spend a fortune if you need to replace them, then you’ll want to consider the Mpow Flame Pro Truly Wireless. They’re nearly identical in style and even have an even longer-lasting battery. Their dark, bass-heavy sound is best-suited to EDM, though, so you will want to stick with the Beats if you listen to a wider range of music genres.
4. Jabra Elite Active 75T Truly Wireless
If you’re looking for something with a more solid build quality for trail running or hiking, then get the Jabra Elite Active 75t. They don’t fit quite as securely in the ear as the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless since they don’t have any ear-hooks or stability fins, but they feel a lot more durable. Jabra also backs up their IP57 rating with a 2-year guarantee against sweat or dust exposure damage, as long as you register in the Jabra Sound+ app. The app furthermore provides some good sound customization options that you can assign to location-specific presets, which is helpful if you prefer a more balanced sound at work, but extra bass at the gym. On the downside, their battery only lasts 6.5 hours on a charge, which is a bit short, especially for long hikes.
Get the Beats if you’re not worried about dust or water damage, but if you need something that can withstand the elements, you’ll want to go for the Jabra.
5. Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless
The best wireless earbuds for working out that we’ve tested so far are the Jaybird Tarah Pro. These Bluetooth headphones look and feel very rugged and well-built, and have a thick braided cable connecting the left and right earbuds. Though we don’t currently test for it, they’re rated IPX7 for sweat and water resistance, and they feel stable in the ear, making them a good choice for more intense workouts. Their in-line remote is also easy to use, so you can easily change your music mid-workout.
They don’t enter the hearing canal as deep as most in-ears, which some people may prefer, plus they come with three different tip sizes to help you find the best fit. Their sound profile is fairly well-balanced, but with a bit of extra kick and warmth to help keep you pumped up in the gym. They’re also compatible with the great Jaybird MySound app that gives you access to a fully parametric EQ to completely customize the way they sound.
Unfortunately, these earphones use a proprietary charging clip, which can be a pain if you forget to bring it with you or lose it entirely. Also, while their 13.3-hour battery life is good and much longer than the 6 hours on the regular Jaybird Tarah Wireless, it’s still less than some other options, and they don’t have a charging case to give you additional juice on-the-go. Overall, however, these Bluetooth earbuds are a great workout companion, thanks to their rugged build quality, great companion app, and easy-to-use controls.
6. AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction
The best wireless earbuds for running outdoors we’ve tested so far are the AfterShokz Aeropex. If you live in the city and often run outside, you likely want an option that helps you stay aware of your surroundings. They have a unique design that transmits audio using bone conduction, leaving your ears completely open and unblocked. This allows you to hear your music or podcasts while also fully taking in all the sounds around you.
They’re lightweight, comfortable, and easy-to-use, making them a popular choice among not only outdoor runners but athletes of all kinds. Due to the way bone conduction technology transmits sound, they’re best suited for fans of podcasts, audiobooks, or just regular talk radio, though they still sound surprisingly decent for most songs genres. Their battery lasts nearly 13 hours on a charge, so they should easily last for most runs.
Unfortunately, they don’t sound nearly as full or accurate as most regular earbuds. While they nevertheless have a surprising amount of bass, followers of bass-heavy music will find them lacking in this department. They also use a proprietary charger, which is limiting compared to the older AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction which use a regular micro-USB cable to charge. That being said, the Aeropex have better controls, feel more durable, and have longer battery life.
7. Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019
The best Bluetooth earbuds for working out we’ve tested so far in the budget range are the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. Like the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless, they have a comfortable in-ear design thanks to their ear-hooks which help keep their earbuds securely in place. They’re now rated IPX7 for waterproofing and feature Anker’s SweatGuard technology, which should help protect the earbuds in most weather conditions, although we don’t yet have a test to confirm this.
These Bluetooth earbuds have a bass-rich sound profile that brings out the thump and rumble of rap and EDM without overpowering the vocals and lead instruments of rock or pop music, making them a versatile option for fans of a wide range of songs genres. They also have an 18-hour battery life, which is among the best we’ve seen among sports earbuds at any price point to date.
While they feel fairly well-built overall, especially for the price, their cable still feels quite thin and prone to breakage. Fortunately, they come with an adjustable wire clip to make sure their cable isn’t dangling freely behind your head, and even a shirt clip to help reduce microphonics. They even come with a nice hard carrying case and carabiner so you can clip them to your bag, protecting them on-the-go.
8. SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless
If you need something without a wire for running, then get the SoundPeats TrueFree. They’re not as comfortable as the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 since they need to fit more deeply in your ear to stay secured in place, but their truly wireless design ensures you don’t have to put up with any pesky microphonics. Their bass-heavy sound will help get you pumped while running, but you might find they lack detail and clarity if you listen to brighter genres. Their 3-hour battery life is also quite short, so they won’t be ideal for marathons, and they isolate quite a bit of noise, which can reduce awareness when running outdoors. That said, if you’re training on the treadmill and have to block out the chatter of a noisy gym, they’re a solid choice.
Get the Anker if you are not easily bothered by having a wire behind your neck and prefer something more comfortable; however, if you want to go wireless without breaking the bank, it’s hard to beat the SoundPeats.
9. Beats Studio 3 Wireless
The best over-the-ear headphones for working out that we’ve tested so far are the Beats Studio 3. These Bluetooth headphones are very comfortable thanks to their lightweight and well-padded design that feels premium and well-built. They fit tight enough to feel secure enough for most workouts, without being so tight that they cause discomfort quickly.
These headphones have a good ANC (active noise cancelling) feature, which is helpful if you like to have some peace while you’re at the gym. Their sound profile is versatile enough for some genres, but they have a good amount of extra bass to help keep you pumped up and motivated. They also leak very little audio, so you won’t bother people nearby, even when you’re blasting your favourite workout playlists.
Unfortunately, like with most over-ears, they don’t breathe very well, and will likely cause you to sweat more than usual. While this may not be an issue for a quick run on the treadmill, it may be a concern during more intense workout routines. Also, despite feeling quite stable, they’re a bit on the bulkier side and may slide around a little bit while laying down or going upside down. That being said, their comfortable and premium style combined with good stability makes them a decent gym companion.
10. Plantronics BackBeats GO 810 Wireless
If you need something with a good stable fit and simple physical controls for working out at the gym, but don’t want to spend a fortune, then get the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810. They don’t feel quite as well-built or comfortable as the Beats Studio 3 Wireless, but they’re a lot more affordable and still have a decent design for exercising at the fitness centre. They also have a more versatile, neutral sound profile that’s better suited to a wider range of music, though some people might find it a bit bass-light for training. Their ear cups are also a bit small and shallow, which might not fit everyone equally well, especially if you possess larger ears.
Get the Beats if you’re concerned about fit and don’t mind spending a bit more money; however, if you’d like something more affordable, then you’ll want to consider the Plantronics.
11. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
The best over-ear headphones for running we’ve tested so far are the Sennheiser PXC 550. They have a lightweight, well-padded design that fits securely yet comfortably while running. A quick swipe on their touch-sensitive controls will change tracks or adjust the volume without ruining the momentum of your run, and they look and feel fairly premium. It’s worth noting that these headphones are getting a bit tougher to find, as the newer Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless is available. While the newer model has a better ANC feature, they perform similarly overall, and the original model likely represents better value, especially if you can find them on clearance.
Out-of-the-box, they’re a good choice if you like listening to podcasts or audiobooks while running since they put a bit of extra emphasis on vocals by default. However, they also have a few EQ preset options you can toggle through directly on the headphones to find a sound profile that better suits your needs. They will have a talk-through function that helps filter in ambient noise, which can help you remain aware of your surroundings when running outdoors, and their 28-hour battery life will last you multiple runs.
While they’re a bit more breathable than most closed-back over-ears, they’ll still make you sweat quite a bit more than usual. Their control gestures can also take a little while to get familiar with since they’re not the most intuitive. That said, they’re still a decent general option for runners who prefer over-ears thanks to their stable fit and solid overall performance.
12. BackBeat Go 600 Wireless
The best over-ear headphones for working out we’ve tested so far in the budget range are the Plantronics BackBeat Go 600. They don’t fit quite as securely as some of the other options in this article, but they’re more breathable, which can make all the difference while working out. They have a very lightweight design that you can wear for a long time without fatigue, and their simple physical controls provide good feedback.
These wireless over-ears have a good 17-hour battery life, so you won’t have to worry about charging them too often. They can connect to two devices at the same time, too, which can be useful if you like to bring your phone and another media player with you to the gym. Due to the way their ear cups fit, they can sound quite different depending on who’s wearing them, especially in the bass range. However, most people should find that they sound generally fairly well-balanced.
Unfortunately, they don’t isolate very much noise. This can be a good thing if you work out outside and need to be able to remain aware of your surroundings, but also means that all the chatter and ambient noise of a crowded gym will seep into your audio. They also don’t feel the most durable, and might not stand up too well for daily use in the gym. Fortunately, they don’t cost too much to replace if they do break.
13. SkullCandy Hesh3 Wireless
If you like having a ton of bass to help keep you motived in the gym but still don’t want to break the bank, go with the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless. They don’t breathe as well as the Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 Wireless, causing you to sweat more, but this is due to their tighter seal around your ears, which helps them produce a more consistent and deep bass every time. They look and feel pretty cheaply made, but fit tight enough that they shouldn’t move around too much during most moderate workouts. It’s worth pointing out that Skullcandy headphones tend to vary quite a bit in price between colour options, so you might have to compromise on style to get them at their budget price point.
If you tend to sweat a lot during workouts and want spending budget over-ears that will help your ears breathe better while at the fitness centre, get the Plantronics. However, if you want a more bass-heavy sound profile to keep you pumped up and moving, opt for the Skullcandy don’t cost too much to replace if they do break.
14. Bose SoundSport Wireless
The Bose SoundSport Wireless is good wireless sports earbuds. They’re comfortable and should be stable and breathable enough to take with you to the gym. Their sound profile is well-balanced, and their semi-open design gives them a better soundstage than most in-ears. Unfortunately, their 6-hour battery life is only mediocre and they don’t block as much noise as other in-ear/earbuds which is not ideal for commuting. Their build quality also isn’t as durable as some of the some other Bose designs. On the upside, they’re very portable, and they include a decent carrying case as well.
15. Sennheiser CX Sport
These Sennheisers are designed with running and the gym in mind, with their rubberised ear fins and splash and sweat-resistant design. Fit is excellent and noise isolation is good. The earpieces are connected by a short run of cable which includes an in-line mic and controls. Battery life is a respectable six hours and sound quality is robust and powerful, just what you need when you’re making a push for the finish line or your final set of squats. And now they’re available for a bargain price.
16. JBL Reflect Flow
The JBL Reflect Flow True Wireless are a decent pair of earbuds that are well-built and have a well-balanced sound profile that should suit most genres. They’re a bit bulky, but with proper fit, they’re stable and shouldn’t cause any issues when using them for sports. They also have very good passive noise isolation and don’t leak very much, so you should be able to pump up the volume safely without bothering those around you. Unfortunately, they’re not compatible with JBL’s mobile app, so you can’t customize the sound. Overall, they’re still a great couple of headphones to take to the gym. Very good for sports activities. The Reflect Flow has a very stable fit due to their size and the stability fins. They won’t fall out when engaged in vigorous exercise and they’re rated IPX7 for water and sweat resistance, although we don’t currently test for this.
17. Bowers & Wilkins PI3
Bowers & Wilkins has successfully made a smooth move into the headphone market, building on its almost unrivalled reputation when it comes to making speakers. In-ears of this design, which makes us think of sport and the gym, haven’t necessarily been on the hit list, however – fear not, B&W offers knocked it out of the park with these wireless in-ears too.
The PI3 earphones are a dual driver design, complete with a flexible neckband. We would prefer a few more ear tips to get the optimum fit, so it might be one to try before you buy. They deliver a decent battery life and though they aren’t technically waterproof, B&W claims they are “resistant to light rain, splash and sweat”.
Happily, they deliver a clear, controlled, punchy and well-balanced sound. From rock to pop to hip-hop, the B&W PI3 earphones deliver confident, entertaining audio. Another fine option from B&W.
18. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are arguably the most refined-sounding wireless earbuds that we’ve heard. The earpieces are slim and comfortable, while, unlike the 1st Gen pair, they now sport noise-cancelling. And it works extremely well. They’re nice to use too, with touch-sensitive pads on each earpiece which can be customised to control music playback and features. Battery life is competitive, with a single charge giving seven hours of playback and the charging case providing an additional three charges, bringing the total battery life up to a solid 28 hrs. Sonically, highs and lows are composed and controlled, while still delivering impressive dynamics. The Sennheisers present a detailed soundstage with impressive scale and authority. They’re a little pricier than other wireless earbuds, but if your budget can stretch, your ears will be rewarded, and your workout will fly by.
19. Bose’s SoundSport Free
Bose’s SoundSport Free, a set of totally wireless earphones, offers richer sound than Apple’s AirPods and a more secure fit. The buds are water-resistant and durable, battery life is decent and a charging case provides two extra charges on the go. Instead of an inline remote, the control buttons, including volume controls, are integrated into the buds themselves. They’re a little small and a touch stiff, but they worked better than I thought they would. I had no problem skipping tracks forward by double-clicking on the middle button with my fingernail. The only real design gripe I have is the same one levied at the SoundSport Wireless: The buds stick out from your ears quite a bit and aren’t exactly discreet. Great for sports. The Bose SoundSport Free are portable, truly wireless earbuds that you can take with you to the gym or outdoors. They’ve got a stable fit thanks to their stability fins, and their semi-open fit means that runners will be able to monitor their surroundings with ease. However, you might not have a lot of pocket space for the situation, as it’s a little bulky.
20. Beats Powerbeats 3
The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless earphones are, predictably, wireless, offering Bluetooth connectivity, but they have a flexible cable between the buds. They also have a hook over the ear. The cable and the hooks mean they’re highly unlikely to fall out of your ears, so they’re ideal should earphones that stay put be a key priority. They’re comfortable, too, have a decent battery life of 12 hours, and offer a mic and volume controls on the wire. The sound is bassy and exciting, not offering the last word in clarity but perhaps ideal for the getting a sweat on to some pumping tunes. A solid bet if the feature set ticks your boxes.
21. Soundcore Spirit X Sports
The Bose SoundSport Free are truly wireless earbuds with a well-balanced sound profile. They’ve got a comfortable earbud fit with a semi-open design suitable for outdoor runners, but commuters won’t appreciate the lack of noise-isolating. Unfortunately, they’re a lot bulkier than other truly wireless headphones we’ve tested so far. They also have a few bugs with their wireless connection and don’t offer any customization options making use of their app. The Bose SoundSport Free are portable, truly wireless earbuds that you can take with you to the gym or outdoors. They have got a stable fit thanks to their stability fins, and their semi-open fit means that runners will be able to monitor their surroundings with ease. However, you might not have a lot of pocket space for the case, as it’s a little bulky.
22. Jaybird Vista Review
The Jaybird Vista are very versatile truly wireless headphones that have a decent sound profile. These are great for sports thanks to their compact, portable, and breathable design. They also have stability fins to help you get a more secure fit. They are rated IPX7 for water resistance, and their audio reproduction can easily be EQ’ed inside their app. However, their microphone performance is quite poor and their control scheme is limited. Nevertheless, Vista is great for active people who are looking for a pair of truly wireless earbuds that can be used in various situations. Great for sports. These headphones were designed for this use and their style shows it. They are small, transportable, breathable, and very stable due to their balance fins. They are also quite comfortable and don’t move around, meaning you’ll be able to put them in and work out without having to move them. You can also easily make use of their handle scheme while moving around. Their bass isolation overall performance isn’t the best and won’t completely get rid of the deep rumble of a bus or plane engine. On the upside, they are very portable, and you can easily bring them wherever you go. Their battery life will also last you long enough for your commute but might be a bit short for long flights. Their in-ear fit is also quite comfy to wear for a while.
23. JBL Endurance Run
The JBL Endurance Run are good sports headphones, decent enough for most use cases. They have a unique and sporty design that feels decently well-built and compact enough to carry around on your person. They also have a stable in-ear fit that blocks a lot of noise, making them suitable for running and working out as well as commute and travel. Unfortunately, they aren’t the most comfortable headphones for long listening sessions, and their control scheme isn’t as precise. They’re also slightly lacking inactive features, but on the upside, they sound balanced enough for some genres. Good for sports. The Stamina Sprint has a well balanced ear-hook style that will prevent the headphones from falling off your ears no matter the physical activity. There is also good battery life and provide all the essential functions with their touch-sensitive handle scheme. Regrettably, their control scheme is not as precise and they do not come with foam tips for better comfort. Above-average for commuting. They’re compact, easy to carry around and block lots of sounds passively. Also, they barely leak so you can play your music a little louder if you need to block even more noise. Sadly, they aren’t probably the comfiest wireless in-ears we’ve tested so they may not be ideal to wear for really lengthy continuous listening classes on long trips.
24. Soundcore Spirit SweatGuard Headphones
Anker is quickly making a name for itself by offering good quality, low priced audio products. The Soundcore Spirit follows in that tradition, bringing decent audio with great comfort and athletic performance for a low price. However, apart from the addition of an IPX7 waterproof rating, we don’t see any substantial improvement in these buds over their slightly less costly siblings, the Anker SoundBuds. Therefore, we would suggest saving a few bucks and getting the SoundBuds instead of the Soundcore Spirit, unless waterproofing is very important to you.
25. Skullcandy Push Ultra True Wireless In-Ear Earbud
Earphones typically need to create an in-canal seal to deliver the best sound quality, but some people prefer a good unsealed fit to better hear their surroundings. In the case of Skullcandy’s ($99.99 at the time of writing article) Push Ultra true wireless earbuds, the lack of a seal makes for issues with audio performance and ear-to-ear audio balance. You indeed need to spend a little more money for the best gym-friendly correct wireless models, but if audio quality is your main concern, you can do far better than the Drive Ultra for the same price. The Skullcandy app for Android and iOS displays whatever EQ mode the earbuds are in, but oddly there’s no way to adjust it on-screen. You can also use the app to set up Find My Earbuds With Tile. Beyond that, there isn’t much utility, and Skullcandy misses an opportunity to provide user-adjustable EQ rather than only presets-and if there’s an in-app way to switch between these presets, we couldn’t find it. Skullcandy’s Press Ultra earbuds just don’t hit the mark. The good news is, in the true wireless realm, there are plenty of water-resistant, gym-friendly options, and many have monitor modes, so you can have an in-ear seal for better audio overall performance while still hearing your environment.