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 what if you lose one out on the road? Then a cheap pair makes more sense. Another choice you have to make is whether you want to run with over-ear, on-ear, wrap-around, or buds. To help narrow down the list, here are some of my favorite headphones—of all prices, sizes, and fit options—to run with. Enjoy and run well.
1. QuietComfort 35 (Series II)
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, over-ear headphones 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.
2. VI Sense Headphones
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.
3. Jaybird RUN
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.
4. Anker Soundcore Spirit Pro
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.
5. AfterShokz Trekz Air
Bone conduction headphones work differently than typical cans or earbuds. They vibrate specific parts of your head without blocking the canal itself, so it lets in ambient noise like your chatty workout partner or that oncoming bus that might smash you if you don’t hear it. AfterShokz Trekz Air Bluetooth 4.2 headphones are lightweight, repel sweat, and are one of the better bone conduction options. The sound is delivered through vibrations in your cheekbones. These headphones have a wrap-around design that makes them more secure, a built-in microphone for phone calls, and holds a six-hour charge.
6. Jarv’s Joggerz PRO
For a super-affordable option, check out Jarv’s Joggerz PRO. These sport headphones are lightweight, connect over Bluetooth, and wrap around the top of your ears so they’ll never fall off. These remind me of the behind-the-neck Sony sport headphones I used to run with years ago.