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When you hit the pavement, you want some solid tunes to go through even the hardest miles. But you don’t need in-ear headphones to keep your workout playlist running – in-ear headphones are a good option if you want equipment that won’t let you down, slip or drain your battery while you’re just guessing your pace.
The best running headphones provide comfort, performance and a firm stance that will work for runners at any level. Get yourself a reliable wireless pair that offers enough high-quality sound and noise cancellation so you can enjoy them even when you’re not on the road.
What are the best wireless running headphones?
There are many factors you need to consider before choosing the best pair of running headphones, but in general, they should be lightweight, safe, but comfortable to stand and withstand sweat and elements. Here’s what else you should know.
Fit and design: Headphones are a popular choice for exercise because they fit so well in the ear, but the best in-ear and in-ear headphones can be just as safe to run. Think about how long you will run, which may narrow your choices even further. If you care more about immersing yourself completely in the sound while running, choose earphones (they also tend to be less slippery than earphones).
Battery life: You don’t want your headphones to die in the middle of driving, so battery life is important. Although fully wireless in-ear headphones have a shorter battery life (they tend to charge in five hours), the best wireless in-ear headphones last as long as 70 hours on a single charge. It also means less charging time, so you can go multiple times or use the headphones more often without the need for amplification.
Water resistance: Sweating during running is given, and if you run outside, there is always a chance of a wandering rainstorm or other severe weather conditions. The IPX rating of the headphones shows how much dust and moisture they can withstand without damage. Look for headphones with at least an IPX4 rating, which means they are resistant to dust, sweat and water.
Bluetooth: Don’t get confused by tangled wires while running – choose a pair of wireless headphones that work via Bluetooth and maintain a good connection with your phone no matter how far you move.
Sound quality: Music can be the best motive for breaking through running, so you obviously want your headphones to deliver high quality sound. All selections on our list have a rich, full sound that you can enjoy long after the race is over.
1. Bare noise canceling headphones 700
THE BEST SOUND HEADPHONES
The Bose 700 should be your first choice if you care about having the best sound headphones for your run. Not only do the 43mm riders provide sharp heights and deep, full bass, we love the design of the slanted earrings so they will feel comfortable and safe as you move.
Want to fully immerse yourself during exercise? The Model 700 has eight microphones with powered ambient noise from outside into your ears, along with your music, creating a mode of transparency that rivals the AirPod Pro. We recommend them if you want a completely undisturbed run that focuses only on music – not only do they have 11 active ways to clear noise, but you can connect to Spotify and discover new music by tapping and holding the earring.
But there are a few trade-offs with the killer sound: the 700s only list an IPX4 rating, which will hold up well, but they may not be able to handle if you are suddenly caught in a downpour. They are also a pretty tough option, weighing 8.8 ounces, so they would work better for short runs than marathon training.
While they may not be as simplistic as some of our other selections, they are a worthy choice if you are an audiophile who wants to get the most out of their exercise list.
2. Beats Solo Pro
Already running with Apple AirPods? Try Beats Solo Pros instead.
Apple’s custom H1 chip in these headphones works similarly to AirPods, allowing them to instantly pair with any iPhone or Apple device. It won’t cause a big lag when switching songs, so you can focus on your step, instead of wondering when the song will change or your call will drop. You will get a stronger connection that will not drain your battery life.
With “Fast Fuel”, a fast charge of 10 minutes allows three hours of playback, which means that you can quickly get back on track if the battery runs out. These headsets also allow you to take calls, control music and activate Siri without the use of hands, which is a great feature if you don’t want to mess with the controls on your phone.
While they have a sleek, simplified design, some reviews say they tend to slip a bit while running. It makes sense because they have 9.4 ounces, which is harder for a pair of exercise headphones, but we still recommend them because of the bright, immersive sound quality.
If you prefer headphones to bugs, but want a more secure Bluetooth connection and battery life, Beats Solo Pros are a great option for longer runs.
3. Jabra Elite 45-hour wireless in-ear headphones
While we love Jabra’s best running headphones, they also offer pretty great budget headphones that runners will enjoy, a comfortable design, long battery life and customizable sound.
If you ever feel like your headphones hurt when you’re already in a race, look no further – these Jabras have soft and shaped memory foam pads that provide outstanding comfort and customization. They are surprisingly light compared to the bulkier headphones in this category, with only 5.64 ounces, and are resistant to rain.
Jabra says these wireless headphones can produce up to 50 hours of a single charge, and you can use them for up to 10 hours with just a 15-minute charge, so good quality sound never separates you for more than a few minutes.
Speaking of sound: adaptive headphones are just starting to get more productive, but Jabra can fine-tune the way you experience your tunes through a simple hearing test using Jabra’s MySound app on your phone. But even if you don’t like the listening profile it gives you, the sound quality sounds great with 40mm drivers, even without an equalizer.
The Jabra Elite 45 will cover all your bases if you want sturdy running earphones without a ton of other bells and whistles.
4. Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones
THE MOST COMFORTABLE
Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones have great sound and superior noise cancellation, but all the extra features packed make these the most versatile running headphones. They are extremely light and comfortable, and the headband remains in place.
We tested several Sony headphones, including their previous iteration WH-1000XM3, which topped our list last year as the best noise canceling headphones. With two microphones on each ear, they pick up ambient noise and automatically adjust it to your environment. But they also really improved their music game, using the “Digital Sound Enhancement Engine” which automatically upgrades digital files for more intact listening, which we found to be clear and well-balanced regardless of genre.
You can also use the Quick Attention feature while running to reduce the volume by holding your hand over your ear mug. It connects to Alexa or Google, so you can play music, check the temperature and more, all without the use of hands. Reaching for the phone can distract you while running, which makes all these great features for running or exercising.
Despite its size, one drawback is that these headphones last only up to 30 hours of battery life per charge. It’s still at the higher end, but not as much as others in this category. They allow you to charge for 10 minutes for five hours of playback if you are desperate to run and need a fast power supply.
Sony’s WH-1000XM4 has all the hands-free features you’d want in a pair of good headphones, but their noise cancellation and sound quality features make them overall great headphones.