Best MP3 Music Players For Running And Working Out

Last updated: September 4, 2021

Running Headphones / Best MP3 Music Players For Running And Working Out

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Some people might think that MP3 players are a reminiscence of the past.

You might be delighted to hear that they’re still around and often come bundled with a pair of earbuds. They aren’t exactly the most sought out options that are available today since we all have smartphones or smartwatches with music.

However they do provide a purpose, they are an easy way to take a portable music player around to play your MP3’s and music. They tend to have more battery life than your average devices as well due to the minimal features they contain.

Best MP3 Music Players For Running and Working Out Reviewed

Best Overall
Sony NWWS623 Walkman
Sony NWWS623 Walkman
Best Storage
Apple iPod Touch 32GB
Apple iPod Touch 32GB
Walkman Style
Sony NWE394/R 8GB Walkman MP3 Player
Sony NWE394/R 8GB Walkman MP3 Player
Best Value
SanDisk 8GB Clip Sport MP3 Player
100% Waterproof
H2O Audio Stream 2 MP3 Music Player
H2O Audio Stream 2 MP3 Music Player

Below are some of our top picks and individual reviews on the best mp3 players available today. We’ve rated them against features, durability, weatherproofing and more. If you need some help, there’s a guide available after the reviews.

1. Sony NWWS623/B Waterproof and Dustproof Walkman

Key Features

  • IPX68
  • Quick charge capable
  • Drag and drop music curation
  • Water-resistant up to two meters

Reasons to buy

  • Unit is both dustproof as well as waterproof
  • Able to be used for 12 hours
  • Sound quality is a premium grade
  • Designed with an optimal Bluetooth connectivity
  • Built as a self-contained headphone unit

Reasons to avoid

  • Small storage capacity

There is no doubt that when you’re thinking of audio equipment to add to your workout routines that you will run across more than one Sony product.

The MP3 player that we are looking at first is from this world-renowned company and is crafted with Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to withstand water up to two meters. Wrapped in that waterproof capability is the ability to withstand not only freshwater but saltwater.

There is a lot to say about this 4GB wearable other than the fact it has an excellent IPX rating. On top of being able to stand water, it is also dustproof and crafted with a lightweight all-in-one design for a self-contained audio experience. When you’re out there running or getting into your groove in the gym, the last thing you want to have is your audio to cut out. 

So the fact that this unit offers you 12 hours of play and is also outfitted with a quick charge capability means you won’t have to ever worry about that happening to you. All of that, coupled with the fact that the unit is designed with a high-quality audio capability and optimal Bluetooth connectivity, makes this self-contained unit by far one of the best options.

That being said, some may find that the storage capacity when it comes to audio is quite limiting. The unit is only outfitted with 4GB storage, and for those that like to have a wealth of audio at their fingertips when getting their sweat on, this might be too small.

2. Apple iPod Touch 32GB

Key Features

  • Several colors available
  • Multiple storage capacities are available
  • A10 Fusion chip
  • Not water resistant

Reasons to buy

  • The player is designed with a large HD screen
  • Battery permits 40-hour playtime
  • Capable of using Wi-Fi
  • Large 32GB memory
  • Built-in premium-grade chipset

Reasons to avoid

  • Will need to buy a waterproof case separately

Some people who are super loyal to Apple products will want to stay that way when looking for an MP3 for their exercise needs. If that’s the case and you’re looking for a good quality compact player, then the Apple iPod Touch might be a good choice for you. 

This player is designed with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability, which gives it versatile use. Designed with a 4″ retina display and built-in A10 fusion chipset, this player is not only easy to read but also offers fast graphics and performance.

When it comes right down to it for us, the best thing about this piece is the compact design. When you’re running or doing any type of exercise, you want to ensure that you are comfortable and that things will not get in your way while executing your daily routine. 

This player is compact, and yet the large HD screen is still easily visible, which is different than many other types of MP3 players out there. Not only that, but you get a 40-hour playtime and a large memory that can hold a wealth of music or audiobooks.

One thing that is consistent no matter what type of athlete you are is that there will be sweat. That is why when looking for an MP3 player for running or exercise, many people look at the IPX rating. Unfortunately, this unit is not water-resistant, so that would mean that you would have to buy a water-resistant case separately, which means more money spent. If you’re working with a tight budget, this might not work for you.

3. Sony NWE394/R 8GB Walkman MP3 Player

Key Features

  • Built-in alarms and timers
  • No water resistance
  • Able to set up playlists
  • Dynamic normalizer

Reasons to buy

  • Compact yet still has a built-in screen
  • Price versus value is competitive
  • 35 hours of playback
  • Headphones and USB cable included
  • Designed with a rechargeable battery

Reasons to avoid

  • It may take getting time to get used to the controls

The next MP3 player that we’re going to look at is another Sony product that offers a lot of great features for a very budget-friendly price. The Walkman is designed with an 8GB memory and an almost 2″ screen. Crafted to be a drag and drop player that is simple to use, the unit offers 35 hours of playback and so much more. 

On top of this, the unit comes with timer and alarm functions as well as a dynamic normalizer that helps level out music both during and in between songs. This Sony MP3 player is built with a compact frame which you might think means that the screen is small and unreadable, but that couldn’t be further from the case. Though compact, the built-in screen is still a pretty decent size and relatively easy to read. 

When you look at the value, you get not only from the features but the fact that headphones and the USB cable come with the MP3 player; it is easy to see why many people choose this as their go-to MP3 player for running or exercise. But even with all that, this MP3 player is not perfect.

In fact, though we love the compact design and easily read screen, there are so many buttons and controls on here that some may find it hard to use the controls. This is especially true if you have larger hands, as you may find you end up hitting the wrong button.

4. SanDisk 8GB Clip Sport MP3 Player

Key Features

  • Dynamic audio quality
  • Compatible with multiple file formats
  • LCD screen
  • IPX5

Reasons to buy

  • The unit comes with a 1.44-inch screen
  • Internal storage of 8GB
  • Comes with earphones
  • USB 2.0 cable included in the purchase
  • Designed with an FM tuner

Reasons to avoid

  • Some find that organizing music can be challenging

The next MP3 player that we will be looking at is one from SanDisk. The Clip Sport comes in four different colors and has a compact LCD screen player that also offers the ability to listen to FM radio as well. Designed with a lightweight design, it is outfitted with easy controls and a memory card slot so that you can expand the storage capability.

The screen is almost two inches, giving you enough room to have decent visibility of thumbnails and titles when exercising. Designed with an internal storage of eight gigabytes, this unit has plenty of space such you can ensure all your most motivating tunes or books are available to you at all times. 

The simple design affords plenty of value when it comes to features but also because it comes with earphones and a USB cable as well. Another great feature is that you can use this MP3 player to listen to your favorite radio stations if you’re more into that.

But the simplicity, though great for running and working out, may actually annoy some when it comes to organizing the music they choose to upload onto their player. The organization process in this player is almost nonexistent. That means if you’re someone who likes to create playlists for certain workouts, it might be best to look at one of the other options.

5. H2O Audio Stream 2 100% Waterproof MP3 Music Player

Key Features

  • IPX8
  • 10 hours of playtime
  • 8GB storage
  • Built-in shuffle mode

Reasons to buy

  • Designed specifically for watersports 
  • Crafted with a 360° clip
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Unit is super simple to customize
  • The headphone connector is sealed for water resistance

Reasons to avoid

  • Not outfitted with fast charging capability

For some, running may not be their idea of a good workout. In fact, many people enjoy swimming, but even though they are underwater, they still want to listen to their favorite songs to tune out everyone around them.

To do this, you have to invest in a completely waterproof MP3 player like this one. It comes with patented stereo headphones to help amplify the base and give the swimmer optimal sound quality.

This MP3 player is specifically designed for watersports which gives it a leg up over many other MP3 players when it comes to water resistance. Though this is by far the best thing about this player, many other features should be noted. Among these is, of course, the lightweight and compact design, which keeps it out of the way during all of the rigorous activities.

The unit is also crafted with a durable 360° clip to ensure that it moves very little during activity. Along with all that, you get a highly customizable music player that has a built-in headphone connector that is tightly sealed to ensure no water gets inside.

Even with all that, though, there is still one drawback to this player. For those looking for a quick bump in battery life, the unit is not designed to allow for fast charging. This could be a problem for some who continually forget to charge their player.

6. Mighty Vibe Spotify and Amazon Music Player

Key Features

  • IPX68 water resistance
  • Offline capability
  • Wireless syncing
  • Most compact size

Reasons to buy

  • Uses lightweight materials
  • Able to use be used online as well as offline
  • Designed with a sturdy clip
  • A compact and durable player 
  • Compatible with multiple online streaming services

Reasons to avoid

  • Bluetooth connections are known to be slow

When you look at this MP3 player, it may seem super simple, which could lead you down the path of thinking that it is not as high performing as other options. But this unit is crafted not only with an 8GB memory but high-quality Bluetooth connectivity. 

The Mighty Vibe is compatible with Spotify and Apple Music and can be used even without a phone. Because of its super compact design, it easily fits in a pocket or band without adding weight or being uncomfortable.

The weight is achieved by using high-quality lightweight material that can be securely fastened to your belts or your pocket with the sturdy clip attached to it. One of the many features is the ability to be used not only offline but online with a simple syncing system to set the process up. 

Designed with a drop resistance, the material used is also able to stand up to just about anything. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about what streaming service you prefer because this unit can be synced with multiple ranges, as we said above of options.

Having the ability to hook up via Bluetooth is something that all of us expect in most of our devices nowadays. This unit is crafted with Bluetooth capability; unfortunately, many find that the connection is a bit slow, which could potentially cause lag or buffering.

7. Clip MP3 Player with Bluetooth 4.0

Key Features

  • 2″ screen
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 30 hours of playback
  • IPX8

Reasons to buy

  • Designed with a long battery life
  • Multiple accessories included in the purchase 
  • Can we upgraded with a microSD card
  • Crafted with an auto-resume for playback
  • Unit is designed with an easy to use file creation system

Reasons to avoid

  • The screen is small and monochromatic

For some, running may not be their idea of a good workout. In fact, many people enjoy swimming, but even though they are underwater, they still want to listen to their favorite songs to tune out everyone around them.

To do this, you have to invest in a completely waterproof MP3 player like this one. It comes with patented stereo headphones to help amplify the base and give the swimmer optimal sound quality.

This MP3 player is specifically designed for watersports which gives it a leg up over many other MP3 players when it comes to water resistance. Though this is by far the best thing about this player, many other features should be noted. Among these is, of course, the lightweight and compact design, which keeps it out of the way during all of the rigorous activities.

The unit is also crafted with a durable 360° clip to ensure that it moves very little during activity. Along with all that, you get a highly customizable music player that has a built-in headphone connector that is tightly sealed to ensure no water gets inside.

Even with all that, though, there is still one drawback to this player. For those looking for a quick bump in battery life, the unit is not designed to allow for fast charging. This could be a problem for some who continually forget to charge their player.

How To Choose An MP3 Player For Running and Exercise

When you’re looking to invest in an MP3 player that is perfect for running or exercise, you should pay attention to a couple of things. The biggest of these is the IPX rating (or water resistance rating). Since there will inevitably be sweat and water, you want to ensure that your technology is safe from being destroyed from it.

You also want to pay close attention to both the memory space as well as the battery life. Having the right song for the right workout is something that a lot of people rely on, and so you want to make sure you have enough space to do this. Ideally, this would be anything 8GB and above or something that can expand the memory via microSD.

Lastly, you want to pay attention to how much time you have available to you in regards to the battery life. Though we are sure that no one is going to be doing a workout routine for 12 hours at a time, you still don’t want to have to recharge every time you use it. Most MP3 players give you at least 12 hours of play, but depending on your preferences, you may want to look for something that gives you more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there things that you should consider when listening to music while running?

Other than considering the features of the MP3 player, the only thing we would say is when you’re running, you want to ensure that you can still hear some of the ambient noise around you. This is for your safety as if you’re someone who likes to run outdoors, you need to be able to hear the sounds around you so that you are always alert and able to react to them.

Is there a difference between normal and workout MP3s? 

Though the overall performance of the MP3 players is the same, those designed for working out or physical activity have other features and elements added to the basic design. Things like being able to clip to clothing or extra durability and water resistance will be found at higher levels in the MP3 players designed for workouts than in the normal ones.

Why should I invest in an MP3 player when I have my phone? 

We all have in our pockets a basic MP3 player- our phones. So you could most definitely use your cellphone as your MP3 player. However, there are benefits in choosing a designated MP3 player for your running or exercise. 

Typically if you find MP3 players designed for this, they will be lightweight and smaller, which is always handy when you’re out exercising. They also tend to be more durable than cell phones, so if you’re someone who’s worried about dropping your expensive smartphone, you might want to look at investing in an MP3 player.

What headphones should I use? 

This is really a preference, but if your MP3 player has Bluetooth connectivity, it might be more comfortable if you choose wireless earbuds. This will eliminate the wires and the chance of getting tangled in them when doing strenuous exercises. You just have to make sure that they are compatible with the MP3 player so that you don’t spend money unnecessarily.

Conclusion

MP3 players are only ancient technology if you choose for them to be, they still service a great purpose in playing music. They are especially good for running or working out as they can usually handle more stress and strain than your typical phone.

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