Running while listening to your favorite tunes is an effective way to keep your legs going until you reach your self-imposed goal, be it for time or distance. Needless to say, a pair of earbuds or anything else along those lines is necessary.
To determine the best headphones for running, it should have a long battery life, a degree of water and sweat resistance, a secure fit and decent sound quality at the very least. Luckily, buyers have a ton of options that meet the criteria, and there’s plenty of variety too, including those with an over-ear fit and those that use bone conduction technology. We list down some of the models we think are best suited for the purpose and for certain situations. That way, we can hopefully help you decide which one is the best for you.
- Best Headphones for Running Comparison Chart
- Best Over-Ear Headphones for Running — Sony WH-1000XM4
- Best Cheap Wireless Headphones for Running — Skullcandy Push Active
- Best In-Ear Headphones for Running — Jabra Elite Active 75t
- Best On-Ear Headphones for Running — Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500
- Best Bone Conduction Headphones for Running — AfterShokz OpenMove
- Best Earbuds for Running Under $100 — JLab Epic Air Sport ANC
- Best Headphones for Running with Glasses — AirPods Pro
- Best Sports Headphones for Running — Bose Sport Open Earbuds
Best Headphones for Running Comparison Chart
|Sony WH-1000XM4||Excellent sound and noise canceling, comfortable fit||Check Price at Sony.com|
|Skullcandy Push Active||Affordable, ambient listening, hands-free voice commands, ear hooks||Check Price at Skullcandy.com|
|Excellent sound quality, active noise cancellation, IP57 water and dust resistance||Check Price at Jabra.com|
|Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500||On-ear headphones with water resistance||Check Price at Walmart.com|
|AfterShokz OpenMove||Bone conduction headphones, low price tag, IP55 water and dust resistance, leaves ears open||Check Price at Shokz.com|
|JLab Epic Air Sport ANC||Affordable ANC earbuds, ear hooks, IP66 water and dust resistance, 15-hour battery life||Check Price at JLab.com|
|AirPods Pro||Lightweight, decent noise canceling and transparency mode, sweat resistant, plenty of features for iOS users||Check Price at Apple.com|
|Bose Sport Open Earbuds||Safe to wear outdoors because it doesn’t block your ear canal||Check Price at Bose.com|
Best Over-Ear Headphones for Running — Sony WH-1000XM4
With noise canceling and features to allow external sounds in, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is suitable for running.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 ticks a lot of the right boxes. First off, it’s really comfy to wear, and it has fantastic audio quality. But what really makes it stand out from the rest is its superb active noise cancellation or ANC, and what’s more, it has an ambient mode to let outside noise in.
The good stuff doesn’t end there either, as it features Quick Attention that allows you to turn on ambient mode simply by placing your hand on the right ear cup. Then there’s Speak-to-Chat too that activates ambient mode when it picks up your voice so you can hold a conversation without taking the headphones off. With a full charge, it’s good for up to 30 hours of playback, and if you’re ever caught with a drained WH-1000XM4 right as you’re about to work out, it can provide up to 10 hours of runtime in only 10 minutes.
Thing is, it’s not really water resistant, and unlike in-ear headphones, over-ear counterparts—and on-ear ones, for that matter—have a tendency to slip off your ears when you run. That said, many users have reported a decent experience with the WH-1000XM4s in that it has a snug fit and that it doesn’t easily get damaged by water despite the lack of an IP rating.
Best Cheap Wireless Headphones for Running — Skullcandy Push Active
The Skullcandy Push Active uses voice commands for hands-free control and features an ambient mode too, but it doesn’t have ANC.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro is generally regarded as one of the best earbuds for running because of its ear hooks, but it’s not exactly what you’d call cheap. That’s where the Skullcandy Push Active comes in as a budget alternative.
In case it isn’t clear, the Push Active has hooks to make sure it doesn’t fall out, and it has an IP55 water resistance rating to boot. But that’s not all it’s got going for it. For starters, it features Skull-iQ for hands-free voice commands with the wake word “Hey Skullcandy.” This lets you pause and play tracks, take or reject calls, open Spotify and turn on Stay-Aware mode, which is what its ambient mode is called. Moreover, it boasts 10 hours of battery life, and while that doesn’t seem too impressive, it’s more than enough for a run.
There are a few drawbacks, though. You’ll be better off looking elsewhere if you’re after excellent sound quality and noise isolation, but in its defense, it does have an equalizer so you can make adjustments according to your preferences.
Best In-Ear Headphones for Running —
Jabra Elite Active 75t
ANC, ambient listening, strong water resistance, excellent sound quality—the
There’s really nothing to complain about the Elite Active 75t. Arguably, it may be considered as expensive, but that’s a bit of a stretch since it provides more value for money than most counterparts in the same price range.
Best On-Ear Headphones for Running — Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500
The Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500 is among the few on-ear headphones made for exercising, complete with sweat and water resistance.
Typically, the problem with on-ear headphones is they don’t have a strong water resistance, which is important when exercising outdoors. However, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500 has got you covered.
It features a sweat-resistant P2i nano-coating that effectively repels water, keeping it safe not only from splashes but also rain. On top of that, it’s lightweight at 155g, and it can go for up to 18 hours on a single charge, which means it likely won’t run out of juice while you’re out for a run.
The best part is, it’s super affordable. But the downside to that is, Plantronics had to cut back somewhere, and it shows in its plasticky build quality. And again, since it’s on-ear headphones, it tends to slip off when you move too much or tilt your head back, but at any rate, it’s hard to find any better alternative of its kind.
Best Bone Conduction Headphones for Running — AfterShokz OpenMove
Easy on the budget, the AfterShokz OpenMove is perfect for runners who want to try bone conduction headphones for the first time.
The AfterShokz OpenMove isn’t the top-of-the-line bone conduction headphones in the range, meaning it doesn’t have the latest features or most advanced technologies the company has to offer. But it does its job well, and it isn’t expensive either.
The OpenMove features an IP55 rating, so sprays of water and even a downpour won’t be capable of damaging it. It has a modest battery life of up to six hours, and it uses a USB-C port as opposed to the proprietary cable other models such as the Aeropex use.
In terms of sound quality, you’ll have to temper your expectations. The OpenMove isn’t the best-sounding headphones around, and that’s putting it nicely. But it’s more than enough for podcasts and audiobooks.
Best Earbuds for Running Under $100 — JLab Epic Air Sport ANC
The JLab Epic Air Sport ANC is one of the cheapest ANC earbuds available.
Just because you’re looking for something cheap doesn’t mean you should settle for something that’s sorely lacking in features. That applies to the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC, as it doesn’t break the bank, but it doesn’t skimp on performance.
As its name suggests, the Epic Air Sport boasts ANC, and it’s actually one of the most affordable pairs of true wireless earbuds with ANC. It also has Be Aware, which is JLab’s ambient mode. Battery life is impressive too, capable of going up to 11 hours with ANC on or 15 hours with ANC off.
Like the Beats Powerbeats Pro, it sports ear hooks for a secure fit, and in our experience, it’s more comfortable to wear for long periods. It also has an IP66 rating, so you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged if you get caught in the rain while running.
Best Headphones for Running with Glasses — AirPods Pro
The AirPods Pro is easy to recommend to iOS users and runners alike.
For the bespectacled, the best headphones are the ones that don’t get in the way (i.e., no over-ear hooks), but that means a secure fit is a must-have. Sure, a lot of models can fit the bill, but the AirPods Pro sets itself apart because of its small and lightweight design.
In addition, it has an IPX4 water resistance rating, and it’s officially advertised to have sweat resistance. It also has ANC and a transparency mode to let external sounds in, making it extra useful while running in busy streets and such.
For iOS users, this is the obvious pick because not only can it be used for working out in general, but it also has plenty of exclusive features, such as spatial audio with dynamic head tracking and automatic switching.
On that note, the AirPods Pro is arguably the best running earbuds for iOS users, but because of its relatively high price tag, it may not be worth it for Android users since they can’t make the most out of the pair’s features.
Best Sports Headphones for Running — Bose Sport Open Earbuds
The Bose Sport Open Earbuds are perfect for outdoor runners and cyclists for safety purposes.
Besides transparency or ambient mode, the best way to stay safe while running outdoors with earbuds on is wearing a pair that leaves your ears open. After all, being aware of what’s going on around you is crucial in that situation. There aren’t that many options for it, but there’s one that really delivers: the Bose Sport Open Earbuds.
Unlike in-ear buds or bone conduction headphones, the Sport Open Earbuds are positioned near the top of your ears. It goes without saying that you can hear your surroundings as if you aren’t wearing anything at all. It features ear hooks to stay in place, but because of its form factor, it may not be the most comfortable to wear.
There’s always a pair for everyone.
Choosing the best headphones for running boils down to what your preferences are. For instance, the Jabra Elite Active 75t and AirPods Pro are two of the best ANC earbuds around, but if they don’t fit the budget, there’s the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC. Or if ANC doesn’t matter to you but ambient listening does, then the Skullcandy Push Active is an affordable pick.
Also, if you don’t want anything shoved into your ear canal, then the over-ear Sony WH-1000XM4 and the on-ear Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500 are good options. Along a similar vein, the AfterShokz OpenMove and the Bose Sport Open Earbuds won’t block your ear canal either, and they have a smaller form factor in comparison.
That depends on the clamping force of the headphones, but over-ear and on-ear headphones inherently have a tendency to slip off. If having earbuds in your ear canal is your concern, then there are options such as the AfterShokz OpenMove and Bose Sport Open Earbuds that leave your ears open.
There’s a good chance that the standard AirPods will fall out of your ears, but that isn’t the case with the AirPods Pro, since it has an in-ear fit with silicone tips.
Headphones that let you listen to music and hear your surroundings at the same time is the best for safety reasons. ANC earbuds with ambient listening such as the