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The Best Earbuds for Running

Last updated: 2 days ago, Aug. 14. 2019
Article Contents

    Find the best earbuds for running when you take a look at; if they stay in, are they water protected, cable noise, and more.

    Comparison of Best Running Earbuds

    Mic & Controls
    Elite Active 65t

    best true wireless
    More info
    under $200IPX6
    wireless Bluetooth5 hours
    Key Series B80

    best sound
    More info
    under $100IPX6wireless Bluetooth
    8 hours
    SoundSport Pulse

    with heartrate monitor
    More info
    under $180sweatproofwireless Bluetooth
    5 hours
    AfterShokz Air
    best bone conduction
    More info
    under $120IPX5
    wireless Bluetooth
    6 hours
    BackBeat FIT 350

    best value
    More info
    under $80IPX5wireless Bluetooth
    6 hours
    Jaybird X4
    best sound
    More info
    under $100IPX7wireless Bluetooth
    8 hours
    Bose SoundSport
    best wired
    More info
    under $50IPX43.5mm
    Key Series B60

    best cheap
    More info
    under $60IPX6wireless Bluetooth
    8 hours
    Anker SoundBuds Slim+
    best budget
    More info
    under $30IPX7wireless Bluetooth
    10 hours
    Bluetooth ActivBuds

    best ear hooks
    More info
    under $30IPX7wireless Bluetooth
    8 hours
    MEE Audio X1
    best cheap & wired
    More info
    under $20IPX53.5mm

    Finding earbuds which are suitable for running can be tough. There is a lot more to consider than just choosing earbuds for casual listening.

    As well as sounding good, they need to have suitable features for running.

    This can mean you need waterproof, noise-isolating and snug-fitting earbuds.

    Our buyer’s guide features 11 of the very best earbuds for running that allow you to make the top choice for your needs and running style.

    We tested or made full reviews for all models included and took advice from real-life runners (because none of the editors are runners).

    Table of Contents


      Best headphones for running (including on-ear)

      Best workout headphones

      Waterproof Bluetooth headphones

      Key Features of Earbuds for Running

      So, what are some of the key features of running earbuds? What makes a great pair?

      This isn’t just about the sound. Workout headphones and earbuds are designed specifically for movement.


      The most important feature is stability. Earbuds which don’t fit well will fall out. This is extremely frustrating. Disrupted audio is of no use whatsoever.

      A lot of the best earbuds on the market are not just wireless, but true wireless earbuds. They come without any wires whatsoever, only connected wirelessly.

      Note: More about wireless technology in headphones

      To fit perfectly in the ear, many earbuds have multiple tips no matter what size you need. Also, they come in a “hook” shape that you fix over your ears like glasses.

      Senso Bluetooth Headphones earbuds with hooks

      Ear hook design offers stability.

      Water Resistance

      Another crucial thing is water resistance. Your earphones will need to stand up to the environment whether you’re running in the rain or sweating profusely during a marathon.

      Your wireless headphones or earbuds will need to stand up to the environment.

      Water-resistance is measured and rated with IPX (Ingress Protection) rating.

      Look for at least IPX4 which effectively means full sweat protection.

      Some headphones come without IPX but still have anti-water protection. In this case, there’s a difference between sweat-resistant and sweat-proof (sweatproof is better).

      A rating of IPX7 to IPX9 means that the earbuds are waterproof. This is helpful when it rains when you sweat a lot and you can also wash them under tap water (or dip them in).

      Noise Isolation

      Depending on where you run, you may also look for features such as passive noise isolation

      Blocking ambient noise is preferred if you run on a treadmill, so you can focus on your tempo and music.

      But if you run outside, especially on the streets, having good awareness is crucial for safety.

      You want to hear traffic around you, so you don’t get into an accident.

      For this case, shallow-fitting earphones are better for the job.

      Nonetheless, if your running paths are safe you should go with noise-isolation earbuds. But always be cautious with an eye on what’s happening around you.

      When choosing headphones for running, you should always take into account the location in which you plan to run.

      Wired or Wireless

      This is a personal choice you need to make. There are pros and cons to either choice.

      Freedom. If you want headphones which stay out of the way then wireless is for you. Wired headphones are more likely to get tangled up.

      Battery charging. Wireless headphones need to be charged, which can be a hassle. Running out of battery when you are on a run is frustrating

      Price. Wired headphones tend to be cheaper. If you are on a budget, you can get better sound quality for your money.

      Durability. Wireless headphones will probably die out sooner, but still, last a couple of years. Wired technology is simpler and thus fewer things can go wrong.

      How to Choose Earbuds for Running

      Earbuds are a personal choice. We can provide you with a list of great options with good sound, but you will need to make your decision based on your own needs.

      You should decide based on your preferences and needs.

      You may have a preference about the way the headphones feel.

      Note: What to listen while running

      Types of Earbuds

      You have multiple options:

      • Regular in-ear headphones (wired or wireless, some have ear wings for stability)
      • True wireless earbuds (completely without wires)
      • Ear hook earbuds (with hooks worn behind ears)
      • Classic earphones (the same style as old Apple earbuds)
      • Neckband earbuds (worn with band around the neck)

      Some people dislike neckbands because they jump around during movement. Neckbands are generally less suitable for sports.

      Different types of runners may even opt for different earbuds.

      For instance, if you run long distances or are training for a marathon, you might need to prioritize battery life.

      If you run long distances in tough conditions, durability might be top of your list.

      What you actually plan to listen to can help you choose your earbuds for running, too.

      If you like music to get the heart pumping then you might want to get the best bass headphones to drive you through the long hours.


      Your running earphones should fit comfortably and tightly whether you have large or small ears.

      Earbuds falling out of your ears is the most annoying thing in the world.

      You want to put them in and not worry about it anymore.

      To ensure you get the best fit for running you should pick earbuds with multiple eartips and wings to combine with.

      Thankfully, most sports earbuds come with at least 3 different tips and ear wings/hooks (small, medium, large).

      If you have smaller ears, start with smaller sizes and test it.

      In case you only have silicone tips to try, you can improve the fit by switching them with memory-foam eartips. They’re comfier and block outside noise better (if aftermarket foam tips are available for your wireless earphones).

      As for over-ear headphones, try to stay away as they’re too big even for jogging.

      Weather and The Elements

      Water is the bane of electronics.

      Wireless running earbuds are no different. Rain and sweat can damage them in no time.

      Looks for waterproof or at least sweatproof models.

      You can determine how much you can expose them to water by IPX rating. The higher the better.

      IPX4 is considered sweatproof while IPX6 is waterproof but not submersible. More info about IPX here.

      If no IPX is given, at least look for sweat-proof or water resistant certification.

      Wireless sports earbuds often feature sweat-resistant protection like Liquipel nano-coating but don’t have certified IPX rating.

      Keep in mind, even if you run inside on a treadmill. You sweat. So, it’s always a good idea to get sweatproof earbuds.

      Battery Life

      With wireless Bluetooth earbuds battery plays a big role.

      You don’t want to get negatively surprised by a dead battery in the middle of a run.

      You should know there are differences in average battery life based on design:

      • Big headphones (over-ear, on-ear) have the longest battery life but are unsuitable for running due to weight and size.
      • In-ear headphones or earbuds come from 5 hours up to 10 hours of battery on average.
      • True wireless earbuds have the shortest battery life, averaging around 3 to max 7 hours per charge.

      Keep that in mind if you take longer runs and marathons where you’re likely to run longer than 3 hours.

      Best Earbuds for Running

      Time for our rundown of the best earbuds for running.

      We’ve taken into account the best fit, comfort, audio quality, and durability for runners.

      On the bottom, you’ll find cheaper running earbuds.

      1. Jabra Elite Active 65t (best true wireless)

      Jabra Elite Active 65t

      The best true wireless earbuds for running

      It’s easy to see why true wireless earbuds have become so popular for running when you hear the Jabra Elite Active 65t. A better alternative to Airpods.

      Connection: Bluetooth – true wireless earbuds
      Battery life: Up to 5 hours (with spare chargers in the case)
      Bluetooth: 4.0
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      These earbuds do a brilliant job of staying stable, with a comfortable fit, making them ideal running headphones.

      If you want to use them to make calls, you can do so, and the microphone even connects to Alexa. This can mean you are able to control the audio with your voice.

      The Active 65t earbuds have a 2-year warranty against sweat and dust to keep you protected. They can stand up to a variety of different conditions with ease.

      And, you charge them inside the charging case which also works as protection.

      The Bad

      The buttons which are built-in are on the sides. Therefore, they can hurt when you press them by jabbing at your ear.

      The Sound

      Sound fidelity is certainly not an issue. The clarity is good, and if you are looking for some snug yet clear running earbuds, check out the Jabra Elite Active 65t.

      2. Aukey Key Series B80 (best under $100)

      Aukey Key Series B80

      Best wireless earbuds for running under $100

      Not everyone is able to spend a fortune on their headphones. If you want some earbuds with good features which won’t set you back a huge sum of cash, these could be the answer.

      Read the full Aukey B80 review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: USB-C

      Why Buy These?

      Aukey’s B80 earbuds are a good option for runners. They don’t cost a huge amount but their features outperform their price.

      They’re wireless, with a compact and comfy behind-the-ears fit which doesn’t get in the way. The hook design keeps them in place and comfort tips mean they aren’t harsh on the ears.

      Charge of up to 8 hours is good for runners. However, the most impressive feature regarding the battery is the fact you can do a quick charge of 10 minutes to get 80 minutes of listening time.

      The Bad

      Silent white noise due to Bluetooth that is audible at lower volumes. More in the full review.

      The Sound

      They may not compete with earbuds twice the price, but for the price, you will struggle to find better audio than the Aukey Key Series B80. Punchy bass with clear treble, it’s enjoyable audio for all genres.

      Aukey B80 review.

      3. Bose SoundSport Pulse (best heart rate monitor earbuds)

      Bose SoundSport Pulse

      The best wireless earbuds with heart rate monitor

      Combining good audio quality with running features makes these excellent workout headphones from a highly-respected brand.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 5 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      The heart rate monitor is a real standout feature for these earbuds. They have a sensor which connects to either the Bose Connect app or multiple running and fitness apps in order to show you heart rate as you run.

      The earbuds are compatible with MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Endomondo and Runtastic.

      These earbuds have multiple tips to ensure a fit on your ears no matter their size. The tips are designed to curve with your ear and stay nicely in place, perfect for running.

      The Bad

      The battery life could definitely be better. 5 hours is not impressive.

      Also, these are only sweat-proof and not water-resistant with the IPX4 rating.

      The Sound

      The trademark, quality sound we’ve come to expect from Bose is on offer. If you want earbuds to connect to your running app, consider the Bose SoundSport Pulse.

      4. AfterShokz Trekz Air (best bone conduction earbuds)

      AfterShokz Trekz Air

      The best bone conduction running earbuds

      The technology sounds futuristic, but the results are pretty good and offer perfect awareness. These are fantastic for running in streets where you need to be aware of dangers.

      The AfterShokz Trekz Air may change the way you think about running headphones.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 6 hours
      Bluetooth: 4.2
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      Headphone innovations are always exciting. These have been designed not to sit directly on the ear, they sit on the bone and conduction sends them to the cochlea where sound is processed.

      One huge benefit of this sort of design for runners is the fact it leaves your ears free for other sound to enter, such as traffic or other hazards.

      They’re water-resistant and due to the design you are less likely to experience ear fatigue. They even have reflective strips to help runners stay visible.

      The Bad

      Arguably the sound is not as good from this style of earbuds. Though try them and see for yourself.

      Others simply don’t like the feel of these against their head. It’s a matter of preference.

      The battery life is 6 hours. Fine for most, but not particularly amazing.

      The Sound

      You may think bone conduction is a gimmick, but it’s not. For impressive earbuds designed for runners, you should consider the AfterShokz Trekz Air.

      5. Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 (great value)

      Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350

      Best value-for-money earbuds for runners

      Sometimes in the market for headphones and earbuds, you find a little gem. There are models which perform above their price, and the BackBeat FIT earbuds are an example of this.

      Read the full Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 6 hours
      Bluetooth: 4.1
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      A lot of features have been packed into an affordable price tag. We recommend these earbuds due to the fact they’ve been designed specifically with runners in mind. And the features reflect this.

      They fit a lot of the basic criteria for good earbuds for running.

      They have ear hooks to keep them in place, and you can clip the cable together or to your top to avoid losing them if they fall out.

      They’ve got a lightweight and comfortable design with multiple tips to suit your ear size and shape.

      6mm drivers are good for canceling out the noise, and the tips have also been designed to block out a lot of the surroundings.

      Though not totally waterproof, these are water-resistant at IPX5, fine for most rain showers and sweat.

      The Bad

      Occasional short interruptions of the Bluetooth signal which is annoying but not deal-breaking.

      The Sound

      The sound quality is pretty good for the price and they’re certainly clear enough for most running needs.

      You can adjust their sound with an app which gives you plenty of options. For the affordable price, the app adds a lot of value to the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350.

      Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 review.

      6. Jaybird X4 (best sound)

      Jaybird X4 wireless sports earbuds

      The best sounding earbuds for running

      Jaybird X4 headphones are wonderful for their sound quality. Perfect if your priority is listening to your favorite tunes through great-sounding earbuds.

      Read the full Jaybird X4 review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours
      Bluetooth: Unspecified
      Charging: USB with proprietary adapter

      Why Buy These?

      Quality sound is the biggest reason to buy the Jaybird X4. However, they have plenty of other features which have been designed for running and working out.

      A waterproof rating of IPX7 means the Jaybird X4 earbuds can stand up to the test of the elements. You can even wash them under tap water.

      The foam tips are comfortable even for long-term use, and the stable fit keeps these nicely stable throughout a run.

      Jaybird also offers an app which you can use to control the sound.

      The Bad

      Though you need to install the app to get the most out of your X4 earbuds, most runners use smartphones for music anyways.

      Since this is Jaybird, durability issues are a concern.

      The Sound

      EQ controls are great. You can choose to boost or cut the frequencies in a way that suits your music.

      Boost the bass to thundering heights or keep it controlled and calm. It’s up to you.

      The Jaybird X4 offer a comfy fit suitable for running and other sports, battery life that will last a marathon, and audio quality with lots of options for every taste.

      Jaybird X4 review.

      7. Bose SoundSport (best wired earbuds for running)

      Bose SoundSport In-ear

      The best wired running earbuds

      Bose SoundSport earbuds offer a great way to listen to your music if you don’t mind the wires.

      Connection: Wired 3.5mm

      Why Buy These?

      Many of us are perfectly happy with wired earbuds for running and you get more for your money in terms of audio quality.

      You can easily take calls, they have an inline microphone and controls that allow you to skip songs and alter the volume.

      Comfort is a priority, too. The StayHear tips come in three sizes and give good situational awareness (perfect for running in the city).

      The Bad

      Naturally, wires can get in the way. Many people are opting for wireless or true wireless models.

      Another big impact on this decision is the fact that many smartphones now don’t have conventional 3.5mm jacks. Having to use an adapter is awkward.

      The Sound

      Bose offers sound quality we’ve become accustomed to. Though they’re not wireless, for good audio at a good price, the Bose SoundSport earbuds are a great choice.

      Most Affordable Earbuds for Running

      Here you’ll find running earbuds under $60.

      8. Aukey Key Series B60 (best cheap earbuds)

      Aukey Key Series B60

      The best cheap wireless earbuds for runners

      The second Aukey earbuds on the list are a great option for those wanting wireless functionality and quality earbuds without spending a huge amount.

      Read the full Aukey B60 review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: USB-C

      Why Buy These?

      The B60 model of these headphones is comparable to the Aukey Key Series B80 we’ve already reviewed.

      These have the same battery life and Bluetooth connection, at a cheaper price.  USB-C fast charging is nice to see at this price point.

      The fit is shallower than with comparable earphones, so it’s great for running outside.

      They’ve got IPX6 water-resistant protection. Also, multiple ear tips are included for both small ears and medium/large ears.

      And, you turn them off by joining the built-in magnets. No need to hold any buttons. It’s a simple and user-friendly way of powering them on.

      The Bad

      Though equipped with a microphone, it isn’t great quality. When making calls people may struggle to hear you.

      Proprietary eartips are hard to replace if you lose them.

      The Sound

      Impressive sound for workouts with a noticeable bass boost. For affordable, quality listening with the latest Bluetooth 5.0, check out the Aukey Key Series B60.

      Aukey B60 review.

      9. Anker SoundBuds Slim+ (best under $30)

      Anker SoundBuds Slim+

      Best budget earbuds under $30

      When you get down to the price range of around $30 there tends to be a dip in the quality of earbuds available. However, the SoundBuds Slim+ are something of an exception.

      Read the full Anker SoundBuds Slim review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 10 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      There’s plenty to like about these headphones in spite of the low price tag.

      Four different tip sizes allow you to choose the best fit for your ears. They’re relatively comfy considering the price. Ear wings also help them to stay in place within the ears.

      These are waterproof with a rating of IPX7. That’s better water resistance than many of the other, more expensive options.

      Battery life is another plus. A mere 1.5 hours of charging can give 10 hours of battery life.

      The Bad

      Anker’s earbuds do feel a little bit on the flimsy side. They’re designed to be lightweight and small, so considering the price you pay these don’t have the most sturdy design.

      The Sound

      Though they won’t compete with earbuds which are 5 or 6 times the price. However, for a price tag of $30, you probably can’t do better than the Anker SoundBuds Slim+.

      Anker SoundBuds Slim+ review.

      10. Senso Bluetooth Headphones ActivBuds (best with ear hooks)

      SENSO Bluetooth Headphones

      Best affordable earbuds with ear hooks

      These earbuds are both affordable and designed to stay with your ears even during exercise.

      Read the full Senso wireless earbuds review.

      Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours
      Bluetooth: 5.0
      Charging: Micro-USB

      Why Buy These?

      For such an affordable pair of headphones, these have a great battery life of up to 8 hours.

      The hook design is a big plus. It’s frustrating when earbuds fall out.

      The design means they will stay put in your ears and give that level of stability runners are desperate for. The hooks are adjustable for your ear size.

      The Bad

      One compromise with these affordable headphones is comfort. After an hour or two they can start to be uncomfortable around your ears.

      Also, though water-resistant, they’re not 100% waterproof. They will wick away sweat but for heavy showers, the Senso earbuds may not be suitable.

      The Sound

      For such a cheap price tag, the audio quality is surprisingly not bad. Bass frequencies are boosted a little, which a lot of runners enjoy when listening to music. Just don’t expect too much.

      In spite of a few flaws, the Senso Bluetooth Headphones ActivBuds are a good option for runner who want ear hook earbuds.

      Senso Bluetooth earbuds review.

      11. MEE Audio X1 (best cheap wired earbuds)

      MEE Audio X1 wired workout earbuds

      Best cheap wired earbuds for runners

      A long favorite among runners, the MEE Audio X1 offer plenty of sound and usability for a low price.

      Connection: Wired 3.5mm

      Why Buy These?

      In spite of being wired budget earbuds, the manufacturers have thought about comfort as well as the needs of runners.

      Ear hooks keep the MEE Audio X1 earbuds in place while you’re running. Also, there are multiple tips included for matching up to your ears.

      These are suitable for making and receiving calls as they have a mic included.

      Plus, IPX5 means they are water-resistant. They are durable, too, partially due to the fact they’re wired.

      The Bad

      At this price point, they’re bound to not be perfect. Naturally, if you don’t want wires trailing when you run, these won’t be suitable.

      The Sound

      Being realistic, earbuds under $30 are never going to sound amazing. But these produce lots of punch and less distortion are higher volumes than comparable earbuds.

      For dirt-cheap price wired running earbuds, you can’t go wrong with the MEE Audio X1.

      Honorable Mentions

      Beats PowerBeats3 – Older, outdated wireless earbuds from Beats