If you’re a serious runner, you can bear witness; the only thing that’s more important than comfortable sneakers is a pair of quality running headphones and an awesome playlist. Its true running is good for your health. It keeps your body in shape and builds your stamina. However, it sucks and feels like torture without music to distract you from your aching muscles.
When you are out shopping for quality running headphones, you’ll want to consider several factors (more on this a little later). You see, not all headphones are designed to withstand the rigorous movements and sweating involved in running. Luckily for you, we have gone through the trouble of testing several running headphones and compiled a list of the best in 2019.
Best Running Headphones in 2019
Headphone technology has come a long way since 1958. Today you have lots of options – which is part of the problem. Now, there are two broad categories you have to choose from – wireless and wired. Each has its pros and cons. So you really need to give it some thought.
With wireless headphones, runners don’t have to put up with the cord. However, they do have to find a way around the short battery life. Also, in comparison to wired headphones, they offer slightly lower sound quality. On the flip side, wired headphones are ‘bulky’ – in the sense that you have to have your phone on your arm to listen to your dope playlist. Also, some sport long cords that can be a pain to manage.
Moreover, some manufacturing companies have upped their game and now include features like AL personal trainers and heart rate monitors. Sure, they are not must-have features, but they certainly come in handy for serious runners.
Regardless of which type you choose, the headphones need to have several basic features. Here is a quick rundown of what you should consider.
What to Look For In The Best Running Headphones
Did you know that listening to a playlist can help keep you in the ‘running’ zone for longer? Pfft! Of course, you did. Why else would you be looking for the best running headphones? But here’s what you didn’t know. This claim is backed up by science. Research shows that the tempo and type of tune you listen to is connected to how long you are in the ‘zone’.
But before you prepare your playlist, let’s get into what a great running headphone should have.
Normal headphones can be great for running and regular exercise (assuming they fit well). However, they are not designed to withstand heavy rain when you’re out running or sweat. Sooner or later, regardless of their quality, the heavy rain and sweat will kill them. Running headphones should at the very least be sweatproof/rain resistant. All the running headphones featured in this guide are.
Note: water-resistant isn’t the same as waterproof. So don’t hit the showers or go swimming with running headphones – they’ll ‘drown’.
Comfortable and Secure Fit
Headphones designers are really creative. Today, there are all kinds of fitness-based designs. But most are designed to wrap around and over your ears, around your head and dig deep into your ears. Regardless of the design you choose, it should be comfortable and fit tightly and securely. You don’t what to have to keep re-sitting the headphones after every few steps.
The headphones should be lightweight and have fitting ear tips.
I’ll be honest. With running headphones, high-quality sound isn’t always a priority. Here’s the reason it’s so, most runners want to hear or at least feel their tunes as they run and workout. The tunes keep them motivated and block out the distractions in the gym and in their running routes. Runners aren’t interested in picking up undetected nuances in string quartets or other fine and artistic tunes.
So while running headphones don’t have mind-blowing sound quality, they are decent enough with sufficient mid-range and low-end tones.
For outdoor runners, this is an important factor. Deafening themselves to the world around them leaves them exposed to a world of danger including muggers and traffic on the roads as they run to build their stamina.
If you are an outdoor runner, it is important to get a pair of running headphones that let some sound through.
Expectedly, big headphones have better battery lives. This is mainly because they have more space to fit bigger batteries. For this reason, you don’t expect groundbreaking battery lives (though there are some running headphones that impress on this front).
But even with this fact, you shouldn’t settle for super low lives. Battery length determines the length of runs and workout sessions you can have.
What best way is there to test running headphones aside from, well, running? For this reason, we have participated in several marathons. We’ve pounded the pavements and hit the treadmills to really test these headphones.
We made sure the headphones that make it on the list fit comfortably and will survive through the sweat or rain. And since we know you won’t buy these headphones only for running, we tested them also through exercises like weightlifting and spin classes.
Clearly, we’ve got you covered. You can trust the list we present you.
And with that…
On your marks, get set, SHOP!
Reviews of the Top Running Headphones
1. 66 Audio BTS Pro
These Bluetooth headphones stand out on several fronts. First, and probably the first thing that will grab your attention as well, its battery lasts for a whopping 40 hours of music playback and 400 hours on standby. Additionally, its wireless range covers a 100-ft radius.
The 100-ft Bluetooth range is impressive since most Bluetooth running headphones cover only 30-ft. the Aptx 3D antenna it features gives the BTS this superpower. This range comes in handy when running track.
If you love to have control over the sound like your fitness, you’ll love the Motion Control app which complements these headphones. The app gives you control over the sound. Talk of personalized sound!
To top it all off – it’s sweatproof.
- Long battery life
- Long wireless range
- Smart alerts through the app
- Heavier than most
- Cannot wear a helmet with it
2. AfterShokz Trekz Air Open Ear Headphones
These are upgrades to the titanium version. They are lighter and we felt they have better sound quality in comparison to their predecessor. Needless to say, they are slightly more expensive.
Now AfterShokz is not your average headphone manufacturer. They specialize in creating wireless headphones that deliver music to your ears through the cheekbones. They do this courtesy of the bone-conducting tech. your ears are left uncovered free to hear what’s going on around you.
With these, you can hear your fans cheer you on in the sidelines, traffic while on the road and commands from the Marshalls. Even better, these headphones are race legal in some jurisdictions. They are sweatproof and have a comfortable and secure fit.
This pair is perfect for runners who are not looking to drown out surrounding noise and aren’t afraid to fork out more cash for the high tech and design.
- Secure and comfortable fit
- Perfect situational awareness
- Stylish design
- Short battery life
- Has low volume
3. Jaybird X3 Bluetooth Headphones
The Jaybird X2 were durable, compact and affordable. They were popular with runners. Now, the upgrade, Jaybird X3 neckband has improvements that make it even more loved. But even with all the tech upgrades, it’s still affordable.
The Jaybird X3 has a compact design. Despite this design, its sweat proof and has quality sound. With the MySound app, you have more control over the sound. The headphones have several ear tips designs which means it stays secure through rigorous activity.
They feature Bluetooth 4.1. This upgrade allows the headphones longer battery life.
- Great sound quality
- Compact design
- Affordable price point
- Intermittent signal
4. Optoma Nuforce Be Sport4
These headphones are perfect for day-to-day use. They have great clarity and support both Apt-X and AAC. These technologies offer superior sound quality on Android and Apple devices respectively. The battery lasts for 10 hours and they have a comfortable and secure fit.
These headphones are designed to get you in the zone – block out ambient noise. If you prefer to be aware of your surrounding with earphones, these may not be ideal for you. Optoma sports different bud sizes and have in-ear hooks. With these options, you have a balance between anchoring and comfort. Even better, they are sweatproof
- Secure and comfortable fit
- Stunning audio quality
- Quick charge
- Uneven design
5. Jabra Elite Active 65t
These are perfect for runners looking for true wireless headphones. They have a great fit. Moreover, they do not protrude and as such are unaffected by wind. They have great sound. They have good enough bass and are workout friendly.
Even more, they feature an accelerometer which counts reps along with the Jabra Fitness app. Though some people might find it useful, you might want to get a gym watch instead and let these Jabra headphones entertain.
- Perfect comfort
- Dust and water resistance
- 5-hour battery life
The Final Word
And there you have it – top list of best running headphones. Though these headphones do not feature heart rate monitoring technology, they more than excel on the basic feature front. They are secure, comfortable, have a great sound quality and above all are sweat proof. You cannot go wrong with these headphones.