When looking for the best running headphones or for the gym, priorities are slightly different to when you’re searching out the best headphones for casual listening.
Headphones for exercise need to be comfortable and secure fitting as well as being sweat resistant. This is important as sweat is really bad for electronics.
With that said, that means the best sports earphones are the ones that will stay in your ears, are lightweight and are comfortable to wear when you’re a sweaty mess pounding your feet against tarmac.
It also helps a lot if there’s plenty of bass pumping to keep you driving on. So without further ado, let’s check out the best headphones for running, the gym and general exercise.
Beats Powerbeats Pro
Beats has reinvented the earphone and got rid of the wire, resulting in an amazing pair of workout earphones. They ensure that they fit as comfortably as is possible while they’re light too, so when they’re in your ears, not only do they fit very securely, but you can barely tell that they’re there.
Battery life is, quite frankly, insane for a pair of wire-frees, with the Powerbeats Pro capable of lasting up to 9 hours of constant music listening outside the case. All things considered, right now, these certainly seem like the best workout headphones you can get.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport
If you want sports earphones that don’t look like sports earphones, this is where it’s at. Beoplay E8 Sport is – in every sense – a premium pair of true wireless earphones, but with design and features that suits runners and gym fiends.
You get water/sweat resistance, but also a grippy secure fit from the rubber outer of the earbuds. With B&O, you know you’re getting great quality sound in a package made from high end materials. In every way, this is just as much focused on sound and premium feel as any other B&O product, but they also happen to be great for working out too. You even get the convenience of wireless charging in the case.
Imagine if you took the comfort, sound and convenience of the Powerbeats Pro and put it in a pair of earphones that’s cheaper, but connected by a slim cable. That’s essentially what the latest generation of non-Pro Powerbeats earphones is.
The sound is delivered by the same custom drivers developed by Apple to offer great control over a wide range of frequencies, meaning bass is great, and don’t get boomy or muddy, while trebles/highs are still clear. They also have the Apple H1 Chip, and that means you get easy pairing with iPhones, plus automatic pairing/connecting with any other Apple device with the same iCloud account.
Apart from the lower price, the other reason you might prefer these to the Powerbeats Pro: battery. They can get through 15 hours of music playback before needing to be plugged into a Lightning cable for refilling, and when they do charge, they charge quickly
Master & Dynamic MW07 Go
Master & Dynamic took the sound and drivers from its awesome first pair of true wireless earphones, then put them in smaller, lighter pair of in-ears with IPX6 water resistance. The tip offers a good seal in the ear, then the soft, bristled silicone comb fin in the ear keeps the pair securely in place during exercise.
If you’re into long exercise sessions, the MW07 Go has you covered. They can go up to 10 hours in a single session before needing to be placed back in their charging case. Couple that with sound that dynamic, rich and detailed, and you have one of the best sounding and – in our opinion – most attractive pair of workout earphones out there.
Apple’s new kids on the block are, quite simply, the best AirPods yet. We were some of the many people who would occasionally use previous AirPods models in the gym, guiltily, and knowing that their lack of waterproofing made it a real risk. No more — AirPods Pro bring water and sweat-proofing to let you go hard, and that in-ear design makes for a way more secure fit, too.
Plus, the addition of active noise cancellation means that you won’t have to crank the volume too crazily to drown out the playlist your gym chooses, or the honking and sirens of your outdoor environment. They don’t have many dedicated fitness functions, and while the fit is secure and comfortable, the hooks from the Powerbeats Pro do make those earbuds even more safe.
These are superb running headphone, and are extremely reasonably priced given the features on offer. They don’t boast a huge range of controls, but they’re comfortable, lightweight and sweatproof. The security of the fit on offer is best-in-class, too, which matters a lot when you’re working out vigorously.
With a good charging case into the mix, taking the earbuds’ six-hour battery life up to 16 hours without needing main power, and really decent sound, too, the Vista marks a genuinely impressive effort from the ever-improving Jaybird.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
We loved the standard Jabra Elite 75t, and still do – the Active version is almost exactly the same set of earbuds, just with the waterproofing dialled up to make sure that they’re perfect for sporty uses.
One thing we loved about this pair is the ability to tailor the sound to suit the individual. They give a lot of control over tone through the Jabra app for iPhone/Android.
The earbuds are also really comfortable and secure, a must for working out, and while 7.5 hours of music playback isn’t the best battery performance on this list, it’s definitely adequate for most workout sessions or activities. The ability to switch ‘HearThrough’ on means you can hear traffic around you when you’re running at night time.
Bose SoundSport Free
These fantastic true wireless headphones are comfortably some of the best sports earphones for pure music enjoyment. The disadvantage is that they don’t have some of the smart fitness features you get in the likes of the Lifebeam Vi or Jabra Elite Sport we’ve talked about elsewhere; there’s no heart-rate or cadence measure for example. They are comfortable though and crucially don’t fall out.
You get a battery life of around five hours per charge although naturally there’s extra power in the case – enough to charge the earphones twice over again. So that’s around 15 hours in total. Because they’re black, they’re also a lot more subtle than many of the other choices out there.
Samsung Galaxy Buds+
Samsung’s newest Galaxy Buds+ are great value for money, offering a convenient wireless charging case, lots of bass and a secure fit that ensures the latest pair of Galaxy-branded earphones will stay in your years.
Like some of the other modern pairs on the list, one of the best features is battery life. You can get up to 11 hours of music playback outside the case, so that should easily see you through your longest exercise sessions. Even if that session happens to be a long hike up a mountain range and back down again.
If you’re pretty concerned not just with getting good wireless running performance, but also making sure that your earbuds don’t just become sweaty messes over time, Philips could have a solution here.
The ST702 have a UV-lit case that cleans them after each use, which means they should be clear of bacteria – it’s a nice touch. That said, it makes the case slightly chunky.
The buds are comfortable and stay secure thanks to wing-tips, and sound quality is very solid.
If you don’t mind having a neckband, these earbuds are pretty impressive – right down to the nice, woven fabric finish on that cord.
They’re nicely priced and have really decent battery life, plus a punchy sound profile that’s heavy on the bass.
Selecting the right buds and wing-tips should help you get a comfy fit, although we found that we had to adjust it every so often.