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8 Best Headphones for Running in 2021

Last updated: 1 min ago
9 min read

Here are the best running headphones in 2021 that stay in your ears. And survive bad weather and sweat with ease.

Rating Price Water-resistance Battery Mic & Controls More info
Jaybird Vista 2 Best overall
Jaybird Vista 2 small image
4.1
Under $160
IPX7
6h + 10h in case
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4.3
Under $150
IP57
7h + 20h in case
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4.6
Under $250
IPX4
9h + 24h in case
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Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo Affordable true wireless
Soundcore Liberty Neo
4.4
Under $40
IPX7
5h + 19h in case
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AfterShokz Aeropex Best bone conduction
AfterShokz Aeropex
4.6
Under $160
IP67
8h
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Bose Sport Earbuds Best all-around
Bose Sport Earbuds true wireless earbuds
4.4
Under $150
IPX4
5h + 10h in case
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Sony WF-SP800N Best battery
Sony WF-SP800N true wireless earbuds
4.2
Under $150
IP55
13h + 13h in case
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4.0
Under $100
IPX2
18h
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Table of Contents

    Introducing, the latest Bluetooth and wired headphones best fit for runners.

    After thorough research and choosing from over 50 headphone models here are the 8 best running headphones.

    We looked at:

    • Water-resistant rating
    • Fit & stability
    • Energetic, fun sound

    These are the most “running-friendly” headphones on the market, whether you’re running outside in the heavy rain or just jogging inside on a treadmill.

    The Best Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds for Running

    1. Jaybird Vista 2

    1st-place Best overall
    Jaybird Vista 2 on the ground

    Jaybird Vista 2 are the best-sounding earbuds for outdoor runners.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 8h + 16h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IP68 (IP54 on case) | Features: Ambient mode, mono mode, EQ
    • Great out-of-the-box sound
    • Excellent comfort and stability
    • Extremely durable with water-resistant charging case
    • Good battery life
    • Feature-rich companion app
    • Decent active noise cancellation
    • Occasional connection stutters
    • Error messages during firmware updates

    The second-generation Vista 2 have a more relaxed, slightly V-shaped sound signature, with good extension in the sub-bass. Of course, you can tweak their EQ inside the app to make them sound even better.

    These are the best running earbuds for harsh conditions. They are fully IP68 water-resistant and can survive a couple of drops thanks to the MIL-STD-810G standard. Even the charging case can withstand rain (IP54).

    They provide a comfortable listening experience even when running. You can use the included ear gels with ear fins, which offer better stability.

    Eight hours of battery life can last you through the longest runs. To save on juice, you can use each earbud independently

    If you need quick fill-up, there’s a quick charge feature, which provides an hour’s worth of listening time in 5 minutes.

    Jaybird Vista 2 review

    2. Jabra Elite Active 75t

    2nd-place Runner-up
    Jabra Elite Active 75t wet

    Jabra’s Elite Active 75t are still one of the best running headphones.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 20h in case | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h 20min + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, BT-CVSD, mSBC | Water-resistance: IP57 | Features: EQ, "find my buds" feature, ambient aware
    • Reliably stable during movement
    • Comfortable for hours thanks to smart ergonomics
    • Fully waterproof with IP57 (IPX7)
    • Great sound quality with equalization
    • HearThrough awareness mode (useful for runners, cyclists…)
    • Competitive battery life at 7 hours per charge (+20h in case)
    • Perfectly designed physical controls
    • High build quality
    • Tiny soundstage (all sounds come from the middle of your head)
    • Pricier than most alternatives
    • Only right earbud can be used as mono

    You get a bass-heavy sound signature that works great for modern music and setting a rhythm. If you prefer less bass direct sound, you can EQ the earbuds with the Sound+ app.

    Comfy in-ear fit doesn’t need a lot of readjustment; it’s every runner’s dream. The Jabra deliver an ergonomic earbud design that’s better than the alternatives (for most people).

    To keep you safe, you can enable the HearThrough mode that picks up ambient sound around you so you know when to step away from an oncoming car.

    In case rain catches you, the buds have full water and dust protection with an IP57 rating.

    Jabra Elite Active 75t review

    Check related sports headphone guides:

    3. Beats PowerBeats Pro

    trophy Best bass
    Beats PowerBeats Pro in charging case

    PowerBeats Pro are one of the best running headphones with ear hooks that stick to ears like glue.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type:: In-ear | Battery Life: 11h + 24h in case | Range: 33ft – 10m | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 1h + quick charge – Lightning | Mic & controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Ear hooks, H1 chip, volume controls on both sides
    • Deep, punchy bass that energizes modern music (slight V-shaped signature)
    • Great battery life with quick charging (we got over 11 hours out of them)
    • Perfect stability for working out
    • High build-quality and nice materials
    • Sweatproof, but can’t be submerged
    • They get slightly uncomfortable after 30 minutes
    • Pricey
    • Large charging case
    • No way to turn them off without the charging case
    • Mids sound a bit subdued

    They output a lot of bass. The lows are clearly boosted, together with treble that gives them a nice V-shaped sound.

    You’re able of making calls (good call quality), control volume, song selection, and give voice commands to hands-free Siri, all with onboard physical buttons.

    These are sweat-resistant and water-resistant (IP rating of IPX4). And with up to 11 hours of battery life, you can use them for more than a few runs.

    And, with ear hooks, PowerBeats Pro stay in place no matter what. You can easily sprint and you won’t even have to readjust them. Although, due to their size, they might produce some wind noise.

    Beats PowerBeats Pro review

    Related: Best bass earbuds.

    4. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

    dollar Affordable true wireless
    Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo wireless headphones

    Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo are the best wireless earbuds under $50 if you’re on a tight budget.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h, 9h in case | Charging: 1.5h + quick charge – Micro-USB | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water-resistance: IPX7 | Features: Ear fins
    • Very comfortable
    • Ear fins provide secure fit
    • Reliable Bluetooth 5.0 connection
    • IPX7 water resistance
    • Good sound quality with graphene drivers
    • Pretty decent build quality
    • The charging case seems a bit flimsy
    • Charging via micro USB
    • Bass isn’t very agile
    • Physical controls are annoying and only support basic commands

    Perfect if you’re looking for a punchy, energetic sound that helps you run that extra mile. There is a clear bass emphasis, which makes them warm sounding.

    The midrange lacks a bit of detail, but vocals come through loud and clear. Treble is smooth and non-fatiguing.

    They provide excellent comfort. With their different-sized ear fins, you can achieve a very secure fit, preventing them from falling out of your ears even during an intense workout.

    These are very lightweight buds, measuring only 5.5g per earbud. Despite that, construction quality is rather good, with a water-resistant IPX7 rating on the top of it.

    They come with lots of accessories, offering high-level customization when it comes to comfort and fitting.

    Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo review

    5. Aftershokz Aeropex

    trophy Best bone conduction
    AfterShokz Aeropex bone conduction headphones

    Aftershokz Aeropex are the best running headphones with an open design.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: Bone conduction transducer
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Bone conduction | Battery life: 8h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h – Proprietary cable | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IP67 | Features: Moisture detect alert, EQ, multipoint
    • Stable fit for all types of sports
    • Perfect environment awareness due to open-ear design
    • Lightweight (almost 30% lighter than Air)
    • Waterproof and dustproof (IP67)
    • Good battery life (8 hours)
    • Improved bass response from previous models
    • Vibrating transducers might be annoying
    • Sound quality is suffering (compared to regular earphones)
    • Lack of bass

    While they aren’t the best bass headphones, their boosted bass makes them the best sounding bone conduction headphones on the market.

    The frequency response is good, and they have plenty of power. Just don’t expect them to rival the elite headphones as the lack of lows is still apparent.

    Plenty of stability keeps these sturdy around the head while you run. They’re also waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about rain while jogging.

    The bone conduction design leaves your ears open while listening to music. You have a better situational awareness when running outdoors.

    With up to eight hours you get better battery life than most, which is enough for long runs like marathons. It’s worth noting they use proprietary charging dock.

    AferShokz Aeropex review

    Related: Best bone conduction headphones.

    6. Bose Sport Earbuds

    true-wireless Best all-around
    Bose Sport Earbuds open charging case

    New sporty true wireless buds from Bose with excellent stability and comfort.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 10h in case | Wireless range: 30ft (9m) | Noise cancelling: / | Charging: 2h + Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water-resistance: IPX4 | Features: Auto pause/play, ear fins
    • Exceptional fit and comfort
    • Great audio quality with controlled bass
    • Massive soundstage (for an in-ear headphone)
    • Sweatproof housing with an IPX4 rating
    • Support for Bluetooth 5.1
    • Good passive noise isolation
    • A barebones mobile application without EQ
    • Somewhat average battery life
    • Lack of extra customizations

    Punchy, well-balanced sound, with good detail and control on bass. Earbuds provide an enjoyable audio experience with most genres, and a good for movies, too, with a wide soundstage.

    These in-ear buds have surprisingly excellent comfort. The housing sits comfortably inside the ear without going into the ear canal. Thanks to the ear fin, they lock firmly in their place, even during sports activities.

    Apart from Bluetooth 5.1 support, Google assistant, and auto-pause/play sensor, there aren’t many big features on these earbuds. With an IPX4, they can handle sweat and light rain.

    With the Bose connect app, you can check earbuds battery status and enable a couple of touch control gestures.

    Bose Sport Earbuds review

    To get active noise cancellation, you have to opt for more expensive QuietComfort Earbuds model.

    7. Sony WF-SP800N

    trophy Best battery
    Sony WF-SP800N wireless buds

    True wireless headphones with noise-canceling and the best battery life in business.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 7mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 13h + 13h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2.5h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: ANC, ambient aware, EQ, ear fins, 360 Reality Audio
    • Fun sound
    • Stability for sports
    • Great battery life
    • Unreliable touch controls

    These are a bit lackluster out of the box. You need to download a companion app and play with EQ to get the best sound quality.

    These earbuds also support Sony 360 Reality Audio, which is the surround sound feature that lets you listen to music mixed in this audio format.

    As with all sports-oriented running headphones, these provide excellent comfort with cushioned arc supporter and IP55 water and dust protection. Active noise cancellation and transparency mode are a great addition to the overall package.

    They boast a fantastic battery life of 13 hours per charge, with an additional 13 hours from the charge case. That makes them even better compared to Beats PowerBeats Pro‘s 11 hours on a single charge.

    Related:

    The Best Headphones For Running

    Here are the top wired and wireless on-ear running headphones. On-ear headphones are better than over-ears since the over-ears are just too big and wobble around too much.

    8. Plantronics BackBeat FIT 500

    Solid on-ear Bluetooth headphones for most runners and casual joggers.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 4.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 50-20.000Hz
    Type: On-ear | Battery life: 18h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Weight: 155g | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water-resistance: IPX2 | Features: Sweatproof nano-coating
    • Long battery life
    • Enjoyable sound
    • Multipoint support
    • Not the most comfortable

    They produce rich audio with bass-forward sound. Mid and high frequencies are clear too, but the bass is always in the front. That is perfect for everyone that likes punchy, loud bass. They’re bassy, and that’s what a lot of runners love.

    These on-ears are lightweight and have a comfortable fit, despite ear cushions pushing on your ears. They have good background noise isolation, too.

    They stay on your ears even when running fast, which makes them a well-suited contender for runners.

    Solid battery life of up to 18 hours and stable Bluetooth connection helps you focus on your running only. They also have multipoint (connect 2 devices), built-in remote control, and microphones with decent call quality.

    Honorable Mentions

    Jaybird Vista – Still a fantastic running headphones that sell at a compelling price. They’re durable and provide a stable fit, regardless of how much you shake your head. Jaybird Vista review

    Origem HS-1 – Great cheap running earphones that got discontinued. You might still get them somewhere. Origem HS-1 review

    Aukey EP-T32 – Aukey EP-T32 are the top choice for jogging earbuds under $50. They have both USB-C and Qi wireless charging and even support for aptX Bluetooth codec. Aukey EP-T32 review

    TaoTronics Soundliberty 97 – Tiny Bluetooth earbuds with a low price but similar technologies than some more expensive models. They come with long battery life, good isolation thanks to deeper ear tips, and sibilant-free sound. TaoTronics Soundliberty 97 review

    Koss SportaPro – Retro and cheap on-ears that are light, have decent sound quality, and are suitable for running. (Check SportaPro price)

    Jaybird X4 -If you want running earbuds that have a secure fit for all ears, fantastic audio quality, and dependable water resistance, get the Jaybird X4. Jaybird X4 review

    MEE Audio X1 – If you’re looking for dedicated wired running headphones that sound great, are durable, stable, and comfortable, all for a low price, MEE Audio X1 are excellent. Check more best cheap earbuds. (Check Audio X1 price)

    Treblab X3 Pro – Running headphones with quality sound (if original ear tips fit you). If you don’t mind the over-ear hooks and want superb stability during exercise, Treblab X3 Pro are a good pick. Treblab X3 Pro review

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    How to Pick Best Running Headphones for Yourself

    Before you pick your running headphones, you need to know where and how you’ll be using them.

    If you run in the outside world in all weather, even light rain, you need good waterproof headphones. IPX5 and more is recommended as this ensures complete rain and sweat resistance.

    If you run inside on a treadmill, you don’t really need extra water and sweat protection unless you sweat excessively. It’s still beneficial for headphones to handle sweaty workouts, but not crucial.

    Check the most durable earbuds on the market right now.

    Getting a tight fit is crucial.

    Stability is the most important thing when choosing running headphones. If they don’t stay in, you won’t be able to run with them.

    Because of fast movement, big, bulky running headphones aren’t suitable. The most common sport headphones are small in-ear designs. They are lightweight and offer a good in-ear fit.

    In case you don’t like earbuds (IEMs), lightweight on-ear headphones are a good alternative.

    Overall, you need to pick a good pair of headphones with good fit that don’t fall off even when soaked in sweat.

    People running

    What kind of sound do you like?

    Sound quality is important but not crucial. You probably don’t focus on the detailed sound during a run.

    On the other hand, you still want an engaging sound profile that will make you push towards the finish line. Many people prefer a bass-forward sound signature, but it really comes down to personal preference.

    If you like energetic music genres (like hip hop) and more of a well-balanced sound signature, then you should look for that. But if you listen to audiobooks and podcasts, any decent running headphones will do.

    How much isolation do you need?

    There are 2 options. Closed-back and open-back headphones. Closed-back ones have far superior noise attenuation of external noise and are best for running inside when you want to keep private.

    Or running in nature, on a safe path where you don’t have to worry about the dangers of traffic.

    Also, effective noise blocking means you won’t bother other gym-goers with your loud music and will instead keep it to yourself. It’s a behavior of a civilized person.

    On the other hand, open headphones leak in and out a lot more ambient noise. But this isn’t necessarily bad. If you’re running on busy streets with “blood-lusting” drivers, hearing ambient noise is advantageous. And in many cases, a necessity for a safe run.

    Sure, you’ll hear traffic noise and therefore less music, but your safety is important than the enjoyment of music.

    Just because the outside noise bothers you doesn’t mean you should turn up the max volume. You can damage your hearing fast if you’re not careful, so keep it low volume if you can.

    Don’t forget that open-back design leaks sound in and out. Meaning other people will hear what you’re listening to.

    Good comfort always plays a role.

    When you’re physically exerting yourself, the last thing you want is getting your ears rubbed the wrong way.

    Pick earbuds with many variations of ear tips so you can change them to fit your ear canal comfortably and create a tight seal.

    Having control of the music.

    Some of you use your smartphones for your music and want a convenient way to change the songs and volume on the go.

    This is where the built-in (or in-line) controls become useful. There are many iPhone and Android compatible running headphones that will make controlling music much easier.

    To sum up…

    The best running headphones won’t have you worry about fit, discomfort, breaking the headphones, or annoying you with horrible sound quality.

    There are many great picks on this page that do great in all the categories.

    Can I Use AirPods for Running?

    Nobody says you can’t, but they’re not the best option. Regular AirPods have poor stability and can easily fall out of your ears. You also need to be aware of sweat damage.

    Meanwhile, AirPods Pro are a bit better in that regard. However, in our test we’ve noticed they tend to slip out once you get a bit sweaty. And no one wants to lose $250 worth of earbuds during a run.

    Can You Run With Wireless Headphones?

    Wireless headphones are the best for running since no excess cord could bother you. Running, playing sports or working out while listening to music is just more comfortable.

    Of course, there’re some things to be aware of, like constantly charging your battery and possible Bluetooth connection interruptions. Also, audio quality still can’t reach wired headphones, although, for running, extremely detailed audio hardly matters.

    scissors cutting wires

    Are Headphones or Earphones Better for Running?

    It’s better to use earbuds for running. They’re usually more lightweight, don’t need strong clamping force to keep them in place, and don’t cause sweaty ears as full-size running headphones do.

    We did a more thorough examination of this topic in a separate article about on-ear and earbuds for working out.

    Do Headphones Fall Off When Running?

    The on-ear headphones need to have a strong clamping force and light enough not to move around during a jog. Many have an ear hook-shaped headband to help with stability.

    For wired in-ears, the best option is to wear them over-the-ear. It’s the most secure for all kinds of activities and reduces microphonics.

    Wireless earbuds are a bit more unique in this regard. In general, look for the ones with ear fins or hooks since they offer a more secure fit from the bunch.

    Check the video explaining how to fit buds over the ear style.

    Here is a video explaining how to fit Vi Sense (mentioned above) in an under the ear fit.