Best Wireless Headphones and Earbuds for Running Compared 2021

Last updated: November 22, 2021

Running Headphones / Best Wireless Headphones and Earbuds for Running Compared 2021

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As a runner, you’ve probably come to realize that running with the right gear and equipment makes a massive difference to perceived effort. Wireless earbuds are no exception, coming in all shapes and sizes with irresistible features such as heart rate monitoring and great levels of bass.

Wireless headphones for running have made a great comeback too and these staples of equipment come in many different forms depending on if you’re hunting for massive sound, noise cancellation or bluetooth features. We’ve compared some of the best running earbuds and headphones as rated by other runners available today. Check it out below

Reviews of the Best Headphones & Earbuds For Running

We’ve gone through immense research and detailed an overview of some of the best earbuds for running and compared them against popular reasons to buy or avoid. Its best to look out for features that you are most keen on as there is a lot of variety and nuances between the different range of headphones and earbuds available.

1. Beats PowerBeats Pro

Key Features

  • Auto-pause feature
  • Siri summoned by voice or button
  • Nine hours of play time per charge
  • Able to handle moisture from a workout

Reasons to buy

  • Amazing sound quality
  • Impressive battery life
  • Pairs easily with iPhone

Reasons to avoid

  • For iPhone users only
  • No pass-through audio
  • Over-the-ear clip may rub some people the wrong way

For runners who use an iPhone and want a truly wireless experience, Beats are the earbuds to choose. They take complete advantage of smartphone offerings, and are far and away better than the AirPods that were offered with the iPhone. There are the right wireless earbuds for running, hands down.

Their battery life is longer than the AirPods offered, and they deal with sweat and moisture well. A hard workout isn’t going to hurt these earbuds, and excellent sound quality and the hands-free ability to use Siri can’t really be beat.

Playing for nine hours on just one charge is another big advantage of the Beats PowerBeats Pro. That’s a long time to listen to music, and helps ensure that no one who uses these will run out of tunes during their workout.

From hard sessions at the gym to training runs for their next marathon, runners can rely on these earbuds to give them what they’re looking for. The low-end bass is punchy, and the earbuds have the sound balanced just right. Runners who are looking to move along to the beat won’t be disappointed. They’re going to get what they paid for and more, with these running earbuds.

The fit of these earbuds is comfortable and secure. They have the same basic over-the-ear clip design as the PowerBeats 3, but this one is better and more comfortable on the ear. There’s also a volume rocker switch, and it’s convenient for any runner to be able to summon Siri if she’s needed, just by using voice commands.

There’s no pass-through audio offered with these earbuds, so working out and running around traffic and potential hazards should be done with caution. But the auto-pause feature when an earbud is removed is a convenient way to stop for a chat or to listen for something important, before moving on.

Read our full review on the Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds

2. Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds

Key Features

  • Wireless
  • Rechargeable
  • Open Design
  • Color Options

Reasons to buy

  • Built to take a lot of abuse
  • Strong battery life
  • Balanced, quality sound

Reasons to avoid

  • Poor isolation of ambient noise
  • Loose fit and extension from ears
  • Expensive when compared with the competition

One of the best things about the Bose SoundSport Free is doing away with wires. Most runners like having wireless headphones, so they don’t have any risk of a cord getting caught or tangled.

These provide excellent sound quality and clarity, and their connection is extremely reliable. They also put up with a lot of abuse, which can make them among the best wireless headphones for running. These earbuds offer a mixed bag of good and bad, which may not be what a serious runner is looking for in their headphones.

They aren’t perfect, and have their downsides — one of which is the way they fit. Because they’re a little older than some other options available, they’re larger and heavier than newer models. They stick out far more than most earbuds, and that can make them feel bulky and even sloppy in the ears, which may create worries that they’ll fall out during a hard run.

Anyone who’s looking for ambient noise blocking isn’t going to like these headphones as much as some other available options, either, and there are more affordable models that will offer a better fit and more comfort for the wearer.

One of the biggest points to make with these earbuds is that they have an open design. That means they let in ambient noise, instead of drowning it out. In quiet environments that doesn’t matter very much, and it’s great for runners who need to be able to hear cars and other noises in their environment.

But with so much noise coming in, it’s easy to drown out the music you’re trying to listen to. Running in quieter locations, such as nature trails, can make these earbuds feel like a better choice. For noisy places, though, there’s very little point in having them since the music really can’t be heard over outside noises.

Read out full review on the Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds

3. Bose Soundsport Pulse Wireless Headphones

Key Features

  • Micro-USB charging
  • Heart rate display
  • Five hours of battery life per charge
  • Three-button remote

Reasons to buy

  • Sporty good looks
  • Solid and durable
  • Impressive sound quality

Reasons to avoid

  • Short battery life
  • Stick out from the ear
  • No active noise cancellation

Bose is famous for its audio quality and the high-end features it offers, and the Soundsport Pulse wireless headphones for running are no exception to that. Not only do these great earbuds help to remove external sounds and keep runners focused on the music, but they also have a heart rate sensor built right in.

Runners can see how hard they’re working their bodies on their runs, and adjust accordingly. Both the technology in these and the sound they produce are solid choices any runner can appreciate.

One of the biggest benefits of most Bose headphones is the comfort they offer. The earpieces of the Bose Soundsport Pulse are larger than expected, and at first glance they don’t look like they’d be very comfortable. Fortunately, looks aren’t everything.

Although they appear bulky and stick out from the ear further than expected, the comfort that runners typically associate with Bose products is still in full force. With in-ear hooks made from soft silicone, the hooks are the only parts that actually come into contact with the ear. The earbuds are also so much lighter than the look, so they stay in place very easily.

Some runners may not like the look, or be happy with how far the earpieces protrude from the ears. But they aren’t going to complain about the fit or the comfort offered by these earbuds. They can be paired via Bluetooth or NFC, which gives runners the option of simply touching devices together to connect them.

The stability of the wireless performance is impressive, and the range between the earbuds and the source is as advertised, as long as there aren’t walls or other obstructions to cause interference. The biggest downside is the battery life, with a 5-hour charge that might not last long enough for some but should be enough for most.

Read our full review on the Bose Soundsport Pulse Wireless Headphones

4. Jaybird Vista 2 True Wireless Earbuds

Key Features

  • Eight-hour battery life
  • Case can hold two charges
  • Several sizes of ear tips
  • Easy-to-use controls

Reasons to buy

  • Great safety features
  • Damage resistant
  • Excellent, comfortable fit

Reasons to avoid

  • SurroundSense needs improvement

The Jaybird Vista 2 has clearly improved on its predecessor, and taken runners’ feedback seriously. They still have the great fit of the originals, though, and they’re also still among the best when it comes to water and sweat. For runners who are getting out into the world and really working hard, these are a great option.

Earbuds for running need to be able to take a lot of abuse, and the Vista 2 doesn’t disappoint in that regard. From city streets to wooded trails, runners can expect that these earbuds will handle everything that’s thrown at them and keep working through the moisture and muck.

The sound quality of the original Vista left something to be desired, but the Vista 2 delivers in that area, as well. Now that they’ve been improved and upgraded, the sound is something runners can rely on. They also offer very effective noise cancellation now, giving runners the opportunity to tune into their music and focus on their run while the outside world flows around them.

There’s also a SurroundSense mode that can be turned on, so runners can hear what’s going on around them if they’re running near traffic or other hazards that might put them at risk. While it’s a great idea, it doesn’t always work well and could use some improvement.

There are 6 hours of battery life, and runners can bump that up to 8 hours if they don’t want to use the SurroundSense or noise-canceling features. While there are other earbuds for running that offer more battery life, most runners will find that the Jaybird Vista 2 is adequate in that regard.

The battery case makes it easy to recharge, too, in order to get 24 hours of music from these earbuds. While they aren’t perfect, they can be a great option for runners who want something they can trust and rely on.

Read our full review on the Jaybird Vista 2 True Wireless Earbuds

5. JLab Epic Air Sport

Key Features

  • 10 hours of battery life
  • Better price than some competitors
  • Portable charging case

Reasons to buy

  • Long battery life
  • Total protection from sweat
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Extremely rugged

Reasons to avoid

  • Lacking in hi-fi

Ten full hours of battery life is just one of the great reasons for runners to choose the JLab Epic Air Sport earbuds. These are some of the best wireless headphones for running, and offer excellent sweat protection and a great sound quality.

It’s easy for runners to really get their game on when they have the right equipment, and these earbuds can easily be part of the package. They’re extremely durable, and a good mix of everything a runner should have in their earbuds. For runners who want it all in one place, these likely won’t disappoint on any of the most important fronts.

They’re also one of the more affordable options, which makes them all the better for anyone just getting into running, or for serious runners who are on a tighter budget. They could spend more on a different brand, but with the JLab Epic Air Sport, they won’t feel like they’re sacrificing quality or sound.

With a truly wireless experience and a battery life that’s longer than most competitors, it’s hard to go wrong with these. Add in the abilities of the charging case, and the battery life goes to a nearly astounding 70 hours. That’s far beyond what any runner would need, and well past what most of the competition can provide, as well.

They aren’t quite as strong on the hi-fi as some of their competitors, but it’s hardly noticeable. There’s an EQ adjustment built right in, so there’s no need for an extra phone app just to make some small changes. With the available options, it should be easy for most runners to find what fits their preferred genre of music.

The controls are right on the sides of the earpieces, and voice assist, volume control, a “be aware” mode for outside sounds, track changes, and pause/play features are all handled with a quick tap.

Read our full review on the JLab Epic Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds

6. Jabra Elite Active 75t

Key Features

  • 7.5-hour battery life
  • Noise cancellation
  • Sound isolation
  • Bluetooth wireless
  • Charging case for 28-hour battery life

Reasons to buy

  • Great sound and noise cancellation
  • Comfort and fit are good
  • Sweatproof

Reasons to avoid

  • Too compact/hard to remove from case

For runners who are looking for a great smaller option that won’t break the bank, the Jabra Elite Active 75t may be just the right choice. They’re sweatproof, and can handle plenty of moisture from even the hardest run. For runners who are outdoors in hot climates, these are a great option and won’t have a big risk of damage.

The sound is excellent, as well, with plenty of bass and enough musicality that runners can pound the pavement to everything from rap to classical and still enjoy the quality of the music.

With a new software update, these earbuds now have active noise cancellation. It isn’t top tier quality, though, so runners who are looking for a truly solid experience in this regard may be put off a little. Still, it’s far better than not having this option at all, and it works pretty well in most situations.

It’s a good addition and shows that Jabra understands the value of listening to what the public is looking for in their wireless earbuds for running. But the most important thing about these earbuds has to be the way they fit. For their price point, the fit and comfort are well beyond what would be expected.

They’re so small that they can sometimes get stuck in the case, and it takes some digging to get them out. The same is true of runners’ ears, where they might be a little more difficult to remove after a run than some other brands.

Despite that small nuisance, it’s better to have them fit securely than worry about whether they’re going to stay put during longer or more difficult runs. Especially for those running on trails or more uneven terrain, a solid fit from their earbuds is vital. With a special type of coating that holds it in the ear better than many other brands, the Jabra Elite Active 75t is a great choice in earbuds for any runner.

Read our full review on the Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds

7. Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Earbuds

Key Features

  • 4.5-hour battery life
  • Fully wireless
  • Waterproof
  • 2 charges with charging case

Reasons to buy

  • Fitness tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Fully wireless design

Reasons to avoid

  • Short battery life

The fully wireless Jabra Elite Sport is an excellent choice for earbuds for running. They offer fitness tracking, quality sound, and plenty of features that athletes would be looking for.

When runners are hunting the best mix of price, quality, features, and durability, they should definitely take a look at these Jabra running earbuds. Runners look for earbuds that aren’t bulky or cumbersome, and they likely want some that are light and easy to wear, but that are going to stay put. If that’s what they’re looking for, they’ve come to the right place in considering this Jabra option.

The sound quality in these earbuds is truly impressive, and they’re completely waterproof, so there are no worries about sweating, moisture, running in the rain, or other types of dampness concerns. But it’s not just about sound quality or durability. Any running earbuds have to have good battery life and the ability to do what’s needed on a daily basis.

These earbuds don’t disappoint, and runners everywhere can enjoy them without fear that they’ll fail during a run. The only significant downside is the 4.5-hour battery life, but it’s still unlikely the battery will get tired before the feet do, for even the most dedicated of runners. 

Not having a wire is also among the best features, as the Jabra Elite Sport earbuds stay in place firmly and don’t get jostled around during running. The noise and pulling that can come from wired earbuds gets annoying quickly, but with this option there’s no need to worry about any of those things.

The heart-rate monitor located in the right earpiece goes above and beyond, and just provides the icing on the cake for these great earbuds. By paring with the app, runners can see their heart rate easily and adjust accordingly.

Read our full review on the Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Earbuds

8. Plantronics BackBeat FIT 6100

Key Features

  • Over-the-ear fit
  • Cushioned comfort
  • Onboard controls
  • Available app

Reasons to buy

  • Lightweight and water resistant
  • Good battery life
  • Offers awareness listening
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Reasons to avoid

  • Touch controls are imprecise
  • Macbook Pro pairing is staticky
  • Micro-USB input

These are some of the best wireless headphones for running, hands down. Often, headphones for running are too heavy and bulky to really work well. But that’s not the case with this Plantronics offering. These are lightweight and easy to wear, which makes them a popular choice for runners who don’t want to wear earbuds for whatever reason.

While not perfect, and a little frustrating due to the tiny micro-USB charging port, these are a great buy for an all-around headphone that’s easy to wear during long and short runs.

Most runners prefer earbuds, but there are some that feel like in-ear options just aren’t right for their needs. With excellent battery life and true water resistance, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 6100 solves many of the concerns of runners who opt for headphones with full coverage of the ears.

There’s a mechanism to easily adjust the clamping force, too, so runners can choose how snug of a fit they’re looking for and reduce the chances of losing their headphones or giving themselves a headache. These headphones are also competitively priced, so that gives runners another option for trying a great way of listening to music during their runs.

These headphones have a lot of bass, so if that’s not something a runner is looking for, these might not be the best fit. But running hard with the bass thumping is a great way to get a strong workout.

The Plantronics headphones also have all the little necessities runners may want, including support for quick charging, good battery life, and durability. They’re also versatile, and offer a quilted pattern on the inside of the band instead of rubberized material that’s infamous for hair-pulling discomfort.

The ear cups mold perfectly to the ears, and send sound right into the ear canal to reduce resonance and increase clarity. But the touch controls can be finicky and imprecise, so runners may find themselves accidentally pausing their music when they were just trying to adjust the headband. It’s a small nuisance, though, and doesn’t really take away from the great quality these headphones for running offer.

Read our full review on the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 6100

9. Raycon The Performer E55 True Wireless Earbuds

Key Features

  • Charging case lanyard
  • Wireless and USB Type-C charging
  • Snug fit in the ear
  • Fast, reliable pairing

Reasons to buy

  • Fit is comfortable
  • Charging case is compact
  • Wireless charging is convenient

Reasons to avoid

  • The bass overwhelms other sounds
  • Cheap feeling
  • No app option
  • Call quality is poor

From the moment runners purchase these Raycon The Performer E55 earbuds, two things will become apparent. First, Raycon spends a lot of money on quality, high-end packaging. Second, the earbuds themselves feel cheap and don’t live up to all the hype that’s been heaped on them.

But they aren’t all bad, and still have some great features that runners can enjoy. Five extra sets of ear tips come with the purchase, as does a charging cable. Most brands don’t offer that many tips, so that’s a plus for runners who may have smaller or larger than average ear canals.

The charging case is lightweight and compact, making it extremely convenient to carry without bulk. There’s also a plastic loop and an included mini lanyard. While that could be a nice touch, most runners would likely worry about the loop breaking. That would result in the loss of the charging case, which may be better left at home or kept in a secure pocket.

The case could also come unzipped just through natural range of motion, which could mean losing the earbuds if they were inside at the time. During charging, the buds click into the case firmly, and the case seems to stay closed well.

The case is wireless-charger compatible, and also charges with a Type-C USB plug. The LED port changes its glow from red to green when the charging is done. The buds fit well in the ear, but unfortunately they have a cheap plastic look and feel that’s surprising given that they’re one of the more moderately priced choices.

These earbuds are very lightweight, which is good for staying in the ear, but being fully plastic gives the impression that they’ll break easily and may not be good quality.

Even runners who are disappointed with this level of quality will find something to like about the Raycon earbuds, though. They fit the ear well and lay very flat against the head, so they’re great for aesthetics. They pair quickly with phones through Bluetooth, but there’s the potential for them to stay connected even after they’re put in their case.

That’s usually a bigger problem with lower-quality earbuds, so it’s a shame to see that Raycon hasn’t solved this issue. The buttons are easy to use, but the sound and call quality are just average. Runners aren’t going to be blown away by these earbuds, but they’re a satisfactory choice for most.

Read our full review on the Raycon The Performer E55 True Wireless Earbuds

10. AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Headphones

Key Features

  • 8-hour battery life
  • Bone conduction technology
  • Waterproof and sweatproof

Reasons to buy

  • Strong sound quality
  • Open design
  • Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

  • Some audio leakage
  • Not as comfortable as traditional options
  • Lower sound quality due to ambient noise

There are a lot of great reasons for runners to like the AfterShokz Aeropex open-ear headphones. Not only do they have strong sound to get runners through those sometimes grueling miles, but their unique, open design means it’s easy to hear the surrounding noise at a level that reduces hazards and risks.

When a runner is looking for new technology and doesn’t want to compromise on quality, these can be the right choice. They work through bone conduction, which is a different way to send sound to the ears and doesn’t require the in-ear placement that’s typical of standard earbuds.

Keeping the actual ears open is one way for runners to hear ambient noise, even while the music plays. These headphones work by transmitting sound through the bones near a runner’s ears, and this model does that with small tabs that sit on the cheeks, right beside the ears.

Earlier versions of these headphones had problems with definition and clarity, along with bass. But there’s clearly been improvements made. The audio quality is much better than it used to be, and the audio leakage is now much less pronounced. These won’t sound the same as more traditional options, but they can be great for any runner who wants more ambient noise.

On a single charge, these unique earphones are able to provide up to eight hours of great sound. They’re also sweatproof and waterproof, as well as comfortable and lightweight. The feel of them resting on the cheeks can take a little getting used to, but after a few minutes they won’t feel strange anymore.

Runners can’t expect to get the same overall experience from them as they would be getting from other headphones, but they may feel safer because of the ability to hear noise and potential hazards around them.

In the meantime, they can still enjoy podcasts and music, and make sure they have something to listen to as they put in the miles. Overall, these are a great choice for any runner looking for a good mix between ambient sounds and music, so they can feel secure and still have something great to run to.

Read our full review on the AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Headphones

How to Choose the Best Running Headphones or Earbuds

The best running headphones should do two things: they should keep your mind occupied during your run, and they should help strengthen your performance and give it a boost.

But no matter what else they do or don’t do, they absolutely need to stay in place. Stopping your run to readjust your headphones isn’t going to help you get the workout you’re striving for, and it can be frustrating and annoying too. From a light jog to really pounding the pavement or trails in your area, earbuds for running should always stay where you put them.

It’s a big bonus if they’re high quality headphones for running that make your music sound great, too. Getting all of those things in one package really is possible, but you have to take care to really research the best wireless headphones for running.

If you don’t find the right ones, you could end up with significant problems that slow down your running and keep you from reaching your best times and fullest potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Wireless Best?

Most runners find wireless options to be the best ones. There’s less to get caught or tangled when running, and there’s also less pull on the earbuds or headphones because there aren’t any wires connected to them. Having said that, some runners prefer the wired headphones, with the opinion that the sound quality and consistency of the signal is better than using something that works wirelessly. You may want to try different types and see what feels best for your specific running needs. Where and how hard you run may make a difference, too.

Should I get Earbuds or Headphones?

Headphones will fit over the ear, while earbuds will fit inside it. Both may be good choices, but they aren’t going to feel or sound the same. There’s some concern from runners that earbuds may fall out if they’re larger, or they don’t have a good fit. In some people, earaches may also be a problem because of the pressure the earbuds create. As for headphones, they’re larger and heavier than earbuds, and can block out a lot of surrounding noise that may be important to hear, such as car horns. They may also contribute to problems with sweating, if you’re running in hot temperatures.

How Much Does Price Matter?

Price matters only because quality matters, and better quality usually equals a higher price. It’s important to remember that price and quality aren’t always completely bound together, though, and some lower-priced earbuds for running may be great choices simply because they’re lightweight and easy to use. It can also depend on whether you just want something to play a little music while you run, or you’re looking for a more immersive experience. If you want full-on sound that envelopes you as you run, you may need to pay more for a higher-quality option.

Do You Need More Than One Option?

You may want to consider having earbuds for running, but also having headphones for running, too. If you do that, you can alternate between which ones you use. If your ears are sore from earbuds, for example, you can just choose to use your headphones for a day or two. They may also make a difference in how the sound quality is, and how much noise they block out. Because of that, you may want a different style or type of sound system option depending on where you’re going to be running and the length of the run itself.

Conclusion

Take the time to select the best running earbuds for your needs, and you’ll be much happier with them as you get stronger and explore your area through running.

There is no one size fits all option, and will ultimately depend upon your needs and preference.

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