Sports

12 Best Sport Headphones for Any Recreation

Last updated: 1 month ago, Aug. 23. 2020
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    Find good sports headphones for recreation and physical activity. Enjoy your pastime with music in your ears.

    Comparison of Sport Headphones

      RatingPriceWater-
    protection
    Battery
    (charging)
    TypeMic & Controls
    Jabra Elite Active 75t
    best overall
    3.8
    More info
    under $200IP57 (IPX7)
    waterproof
    7 hours+
    20h in case
    (USB-C)
    in-ear
    true wireless
    Beats PowerBeats Pro
    best bass
    4.1
    More info
    under $250IPX49 hours+
    (Lightning to USB)
    true wireless
    Jaybird Vista
    best sound
    4.3
    More info
    under $170IPX76 hours
    10h in case
    (USB-C)
    in-ear
    AfterShokz
    Aeropex

    best bone conduction
    4.3
    More info
    under $160IPX7
    (IP67)
    8 hours
    (Micro-USB)
    bone conduction
    Treblab Z2
    best over-ear
    4.4
    More info
    under $80IPX435 hours
    (Micro-USB)
    over-ear
    Aukey
    Key Series T10

    best affordable TWS
    4.1
    More info
    under $120IPX57 hours
    (USB-C)
    true wireless
    TaoTronics SoundLiberty 77
    best affordable
    4.4
    More info
    under $50IPX75 hours
    15h in case
    (Micro-USB)
    in-ear
    SwimBuds Sport
    best for swimming
    4.3
    More info
    under $60IPX8n/a
    wired
    3.5mm
    in-ear
    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air
    best under $50
    4.0
    More info
    under $50IPX56 hours
    +15h in case
    (Micro-USB)
    true wireless
    Bose SoundSport
    best wired
    4.0
    More info
    under $50IPX4n/a
    wired
    3.5mm
    in-ear
    iTeknic
    Bluetooth Earbuds

    best battery
    4.2
    More info
    under $20IPX724 hours
    (Micro-USB)
    in-ear
    Aukey EP-T21
    best cheap
    4.5
    More info
    under $30IPX44.5 hours
    20h in case
    (Micro-USB)
    in-ear

    If you are looking for headphones for physical activity, there is specific criteria to consider.

    • Will they get in the way of your sports activity?
    • Do you need to hear what is going on around you?
    • Will they stand up to movement and activity?

    We’ve explored the best sport headphones in this guide, as well as providing information on how you can choose the right model for you.

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      Check related:

      Best workout headphones for the gym

      Top headphones for running

      The best swimming headphones

      What Features Make Good Sport Headphones?

      Naturally, there are certain features to look for. A quick overview of the essential features should include:

      • Water resistance. If your sport is played outdoors, then you will want them to be able to stand up to rain.
      • Battery life. If you’ve gone for wireless, long battery life will help, especially with sports played over long times like trail cycling.
      • Stability. Earbuds constantly falling out is infuriating and defeats the purpose.
      • Durability. You want to wear your pair of headphones and stay confident they won’t break. Sports can be strenuous, and you need a sturdy option.

      Best Sport Headphones

      1. Jabra Elite Active 75t – best overall

      Jabra Elite Active 75t black earphones

      The best sports headphones overall

      Jabra Elite Active 75t are even better than their equally sporty predecessor.

      See the Jabra Elite Active 75t review.

      Type: True wireless
      Connection:
      Bluetooth 5.0
      Water-protection: IP57 (IPX7) – water-resistant
      Battery life: Over 7 hours (20h of battery in the charging case)

      Why Buy These?

      For all kinds of sports, the Jabra 75t’s are the best choice.

      You can use them for blocking background noise, or activate HearThrough mode when you need awareness (like when running).

      They stick in the ears like glue, and it’s hard to lose them during activity.

      To make sure the music keeps playing, you get 7 hours of battery per charge and 20h more in the charging case. With full physical controls and a 4-microphone system, you can make phone calls hands-free.

      Plus, IP57 water resistance makes these good sport headphones that stand up to the outdoor elements and a dip in the water.

      The Bad

      Since they’re premium sport headphones, they cost a bit more. All sounds come from the middle of your head.

      The Sound

      Elite Active’s have a boosted lows that can be equalized with the Sound+ app. Thanks to the app, you can make them sound great for all types of music. Find out more in the review.

      The best and most versatile sports headphones, the Elite Active 75t’s, make the competition scared.

      Check the full Jabra Elite Active 75t review.


      2. Beats PowerBeats Pro – best bass

       Beats PowerBeats Pro

      Best bass earbuds for sports

      Wireless earbuds are the top option for all types of sports and PowerBeats Pro are among the best with fantastic battery life and bass-heavy performance.

      Read the full PowerBeats Pro review.

      Type: True wireless
      Connection:
      Bluetooth 5.0
      Water-protection: IPX4 sweatproof
      Battery life: 9 hours (24 hours in charging case)

      Why Buy These?

      If you need headphones for recreation that require a stable fit, like basketball, then these are the top choice.

      They stick in ears amazingly well even if you do gymnastics. Lightweight design with ear hooks stick to the head like glue.

      You can enjoy music for over 9 hours per charge, and there’s enough juice for 24h in the charging case. It’s super quick too. For a 5-minute charge you get 1.5h of playback.

      For everyday convenience, you can make phone calls and make voice commands with the help of built-in microphones. And, you can control music and volume with built-in physical buttons that are easy to use.

      Plus, they’re sweat-resistant with IPX4 protection.

      The Bad

      A bit more expensive. The earphones might be uncomfortable for people with smaller ears.

      The Sound

      What you can expect from Beats is strong bass and PowerBeats Pro deliver. An emphasis on lows and highs makes for a nice V-shaped sound that creates a sporty feeling in music.

      It’s suitable for all genres but these are the best for bass intensive songs that have the beat.

      Beats PowerBeats Pro offer fantastic battery and secure fit for every bass lover who wants a pair of sports true wireless earbuds.

      See the full Beats PowerBeats Pro review.


      3. Jaybird Vista – best sound

      Jaybird Vista true wireless earbuds on a wooden log

      The best sport headphones with EQ

      There are many incredible sport-oriented wireless earbuds, but the audio quality of these Jaybird’s is still hard it beat.

      See the Jaybird Vista review.

      Type: True wireless
      Connection:
      Bluetooth 5.0
      Water-protection: IPX7 – water-resistant
      Battery life: 6 hours (10 hours in charging case)

      Why Buy These?

      Vista’s are a very comfortable pair of truly wireless earbuds, with many features that come in handy during sports activities.

      One of them are the ear gels that are the combination of tips and ear fins. Because of them, earbuds provide a secure fit, giving you the confidence they’re not falling out during rapid head movements.

      These support two durability standard: IPX7 water-resistance, and MIL-STD-810G shock protection. That doesn’t only make them fully submersible but can also ensure these can survive a little bit of physical damage.

      The Bad

      Microphone quality leaves a lot to be desired.

      The Sound

      The strange thing about the audio quality is that at first, the midrange is quite forward and harsh sounding. After fiddling with the app’s EQ, you can drastically change the sound to suit your taste. The bass stays punchy and controlled, the midrange is full and natural, while the treble is clean and sparkly. However, it does get lost in the mix if the track gets busy.

      If you seek durability and fully customizable sound, Vista’s are a superb choice.

      See the Jaybird Vista review.


      4. AfterShokz Aeropex – best bone conduction

      AfterShokz Aeropex

      Best bone conduction sport headphones

      Bone conduction headphones offer a different way to listen to music and keep the ear canals open to hearing your surroundings.

      Read the full AfterShokz Aeropex review.

      Type: Bone conduction
      Connection: Bluetooth
      Water-protection: IP67 (fully waterproof)
      Battery life: Up to 8 hours

      Why Buy These?

      Bone conduction headphones have given us a new option. The AfterShokz Aeropex vibrate the sound through bones rather than into the ear canal.

      The main advantage of these is unobstructed hearing and perfect awareness of your surroundings.

      The brand has a number of patents for bone conduction technology. PremiumPitch 2+ is one of the upgraded tech features which improved the bass to cut through better.

      Moreover, the lightweight (26g) and titanium headband make for a super comfortable fit that’s suitable for all kinds of pastime.

      The Bad

      You can feel the vibrations and not everyone likes it. Sound quality isn’t as good as with conventional headphones.

      The Sound

      The audio fidelity is wonderful, and the technology which boosts the bass makes these the best bone conduction headphones yet.

      There are no bone-conducting alternatives with better sound than these. All that said, compared to regular drivers, it still lacks a bit of bass and clarity in highs.

      For the top choice of headphones with perfect awareness, get the AfterShokz Aeropex that are a favorite among many elite athletes.

      Check the full Aeropex review.


      5. Treblab Z2 – best over-ear

      Treblab Z2 wireless headphones

      Best over-ear sports headphones

      The over-ear headphone that is also great for the gym.

      See the Treblab Z2 review.

      Type: Over-ear
      Connection: Bluetooth
      Water-protection: IPX4 – sweat-resistant
      Battery life: Up to 35 hours

      Why Buy These?

      They might not look very sporty, but that’s where you’re wrong. These come with an IPX4 rating. That is more than enough to withstand a fair amount of sweat, and even some light rain.

      Their battery life is rated at 35 hours per single charge. There is the option for active noise-canceling as well. Although it’s not impressive, they’re able to drown out the low-end hum successfully.

      Despite their plastic construction, they seem nicely made, with a soft finish to it. Earcups can swivel up to 100°, but they can’t fold. That can also be a good thing since those hinges are the main breaking point in many headphones.

      The Bad

      Enabling ANC changes the sound significantly.

      The Sound

      When the ANC is OFF, the audio performance is very bassy, almost muddy. While that might appeal to bassheads, we preferred the ANC ON sound signature. Everything gets more detailed and focused, but you do lose a lot of bass power.

      Treblab Z2 are a great pair of wireless headphones for commuters, who also like to work out. They’re comfortable, can survive light rain, and have a long-lasting battery.

      See the Treblab Z2 review.


      6. Aukey Key Series T10 – affordable true wireless

      Aukey Key Series T10

      Best affordable wireless headphones for sports

      TWS earbuds are convenient and popular, though, they can be pricey. In contrast, this is an affordable option with excellent features.

      Check the full Aukey T10 review.

      Type: true wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth
      Water-protection: IPX5 water-resistant
      Battery life: Up to 7 hours (charging case can increase this to 24 hours)

      Why Buy These?

      The cost of around $100 is a huge plus point, but there’s plenty on offer with these buds besides the price benefits.

      It charges using a USB-C charger, and there is also a charging case which can turn the overall battery life from 7 into 24 hours.

      You can control the TWS earphones while playing sports by tapping the earpieces.

      A built-in mic allows you to make phone calls, and stability wings in different sizes make sure they stay put throughout the exercise.

      The Bad

      The main downside is the fact that the controls (tapping on the earpieces) can be a little awkward. Some users have also reported a patchy connection to Bluetooth.

      The Sound

      For the price point, the sound quality is perfectly acceptable, and the bass frequencies are particularly strong.

      The audio quality is geared towards on the go use, which means lower frequencies (bass) is more prominent.

      For affordable wireless earbuds for sports, opt for the Aukey Key Series T10.

      More info in the Aukey T10 review.


      7. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 77 – best affordable

      TaoTronics SoundLiberty 77 is IPX7 water-resistant

      Best sound quality for under $50

      Affordable wireless earbuds with great sound quality.

      See the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 77 review.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Bluetooth
      Water-protection: IPX7 – water-resistant
      Battery life: Up to 5 hours (15 hours in case)

      Why Buy These?

      They might be cheap, but they’re built exceptionally well. The hard plastic shell protects them from drops, while also preventing the water from coming in (IPX7 rating).

      Looking a bit bulky, they fit nicely inside the ear, remaining comfortable for extended periods. We had no problem listening to them for hours, even when we went outside for a run.

      Their battery life is pretty good for truly wireless earbuds. You get 5-hour battery on a single charge, with another 15 hours waiting inside the charging case.

      The Bad

      Finding the perfect seal can be time-consuming since the ear tips are too shallow.

      The Sound

      For the price, sound quality is impressive. You get a punchy low-end with a good rumble when needed. The midrange is a bit forward, which brings out a lot of details in the instruments and vocals. Treble isn’t incredibly detailed, but it’s there, and it does its job.

      If you’re looking for something below $50 and great audio quality is essential to you, make sure you check these.

      See the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 77 review.


      More: Find top wireless buds under $100


      8. SwimBuds Sport – best for swimming

      Swimbuds Sport

      Best sport headphones for swimming

      Bluetooth doesn’t work underwater, so you need to pick a wired solution. Swimbuds Sport are the best-in-class for swimming.

      Find more swimming headphones.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
      Water-protection: IPX8 submersible
      Battery life: n/a

      Why Buy These?

      Specially designed for underwater activities, these earbuds provide you with IPX8 water-resistance. That’s why you can easily take them in the pool, where you can dive up to 10ft (3m) in depth.

      AUX plug is gold-plated, which protects it from corrosion. You can also use them with any waterproof iPod Shuffle or MP3 player out there.

      You can choose between 4 different sized eartips to find the perfect seal. The latter is vital to ensure the water doesn’t come inside your ear, affecting the sound quality.

      The Bad

      Some swimming earbuds can survive deeper waters.

      The Sound

      For a swimming in-ears, they provide a very clean sound. Quality isn’t comparable to regular earbuds, but at least they can get really loud. Underwater you hear a lot of noises like bubbles and splashes, so getting them loud enough to drown out those noises is essential.

      They are a bit pricey, but they’re well worth the money. If you want something to be consistently good for in-pool use, Swimbuds Sport are the best option.


      9. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air – best under $50

      Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

      The best sport headphones under $50

      Jlab Audio Jbuds Air are good quality wireless earbuds that do most things right and can be yours for a cheap price. While you aren’t getting the cream of the cream, you get fantastic value for money.

      The Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Bluetooth
      Water-protection: IPX5 – water-resistant
      Battery life: Up to 6 hours

      Why Buy These?

      Jbuds Air are versatile sports headphones that fit into many roles. You can take them on a hike, climb a mountain or kayak down the river.

      These truly wireless earbuds are small and easy to pack with you. They can survive sweat or an accidental shower thanks to IPX5 rated structure.

      To keep the music playing, you get almost 6 hours per charge and 15h more in the charging case.

      If you feel like calling your friends or using a voice assistant, you can do so with built-in controls.

      Plus, they stay in ear really well without the need to constantly readjust.

      The Bad

      Since they’re a bit wider, they might be uncomfortable for smaller ears.

      The Sound

      Audio quality is fine for the price, but not perfect. You get to choose from 3 EQ presets (Jlab signature, balanced, and bass boost).

      While that’s a nice feature, they lack more sparkle and details compared to more expensive headphones. Nonetheless, for an average user, they’re more than good enough.

      For great affordable wireless earphones that can survive most activity, check out the Jlab audio Jbuds Air.

      Check the Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review.


      10. Bose SoundSport – best wired

      Bose SoundSport Wired workout headphones

      Best wired sport headphones

      If you’re satisfied with wired headphones for your needs, your best option are the Bose SoundSport earbuds.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
      Water-protection: Sweat-resistant
      Battery life: n/a

      Why Buy These?

      These are sweatproof headphones and have a clever, comfortable design. In-line controls and microphone are included, and these earbuds generally offer plenty of good features as well as great sound.

      They are lightweight, and the way the design curves in your ear keeps them very stable. There are also 3 pairs of tips with ear wings to help them to stay in place.

      But due to the proprietary Bose ear tips which don’t go as deep into the ear canal, the noise isolation isn’t so effective. Nonetheless, this gives you better awareness of your surroundings.

      The Bad

      Wired headphones are not perfect and can rub on your skin during movement or get in the way.

      Unfortunately, a lot of sound can leak out of these, and there is not much isolation. If you’re playing with others, they may hear your earbuds.

      The Sound

      Bose has a reputation for great sound, and they’ve earned it. These have a good frequency response and crisp highs as well as full, well-rounded bass. It’s typical Bose audio quality.

      If you want wired sport headphones, SoundSport Wired are good-quality earbuds from a top brand.


      11. iTeknic BH001 – best battery

      The longest battery earbuds for sports

      If you’re looking for monster battery life in affordable, quality earbuds, these could be your answer.

      Read the full iTeknic BH001 review.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Bluetooth
      Water-protection: IPX7 – water-resistant
      Battery life: Up to 24 hours

      Why Buy These?

      The number one feature of these cheap activity wireless earbuds is the battery life — an incredible 24 hours of listening time.

      It might be hard to believe, but we tested it ourselves, and we really did get 1-day of music on 1 charge (full review).

      Reliable Bluetooth and reasonable stability make these a good option, though they can sometimes fall out of the ears due to larger casing.

      IPX7 protection means you can wear these in all conditions. They make good hiking headphones due to the fact they can be worn for an extended time and in the rain.

      The Bad

      The fidelity of the audio is not as good as some of the other choices, but this is natural when you think about the price point of these earbuds.

      The fit isn’t top-notch, it can get uncomfortable over long spells.

      The Sound

      The audio is respectable without being spectacular. It is more than good enough for most non-audiophiles and has a decent frequency response with a little boost in bass frequencies.

      Overall, for the cheap price and monstrous battery, iTeknic wireless earbuds have a lot to offer.

      You can read more about the battery in our full review.


      12. Aukey EP-T21 – best cheap

      Aukey EP-T21 sweatproof earbuds in rain

      Best cheap sport earbuds

      If you need a pair of cheap headphones for sports that still do the job, then check the Aukey EP-T21 true wireless earbuds.

      Read the full Aukey T21 review.

      Type: In-ear – true wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
      Water-protection: IPX4 – sweatproof
      Battery life: Up to 4.5 hours (20h in case)

      Why Buy These?

      Thanks to a lightweight design, they’re comfortable and suitable for all types of activity. The buds keep in place due to Airpod-like ergonomics. They’re a blatant copy, and that’s fine.

      To keep the water away, they have an IPX4 protective layer that effectively makes them sweatproof (though you can’t submerge them).

      Moreover, the battery is solid among truly wireless headphones with up to 4.5 hours of battery life per charge with 20h more in the charging case.

      That’s plenty of time for even longer trips. And, if a friends calls you, you can talk on the go with the built-in microphone and touch controls.

      This headset has everything a modern product needs, and it’s super cheap.

      The Bad

      While the earbuds stick in the ears quite well, they do require occasional readjustments. Touch controls don’t support volume regulation.

      The Sound

      It’s not as good as with more expensive headphones, but surprisingly good for the price. With its balanced sound quality, you can enjoy all types of music or videos. Read more about it in the review.

      If you’re looking for dirt-cheap true wireless earbuds with secure fit, the Aukey EP-T21 make an unbeatable offer.

      The Aukey EP-T21 review.


      Honorable Mentions

      Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350: Another great option from Plantronics offers excellent value-for-money and clear audio as well as secure fit. Check price

      Jaybird Tarah –  Cost almost the same as X4 but have worse battery life and more basic eartips.

      VAVA Moov 28: Cheap waterproof wireless earphones, a good alternative.

      Senso Bluetooth earbuds: Ear hook buds with Bluetooth that are popular because of their dirt-cheap price.

      Different Levels of Water Protection

      Make sure to choose the IPX for your needs.

      IPX rating - infographic

      How to Choose Sport Headphones

      Think about what features and headphone functionality you want for your needs before purchase.

      Ask yourself:

      • where do you plan to use the headphones
      • how long you will use them for
      • what features you prefer

      Are Wires an Option?

      It is recommended in most scenarios that you get wires out of the way.

      In some sports, you may get away with wearing wired earbuds. But think about how strenuous the activity is and whether the wires are likely to be a hindrance.

      Imagine wearing headphones with wires during tennis practice; they’re going to get in the way.

      We usually recommend in-ear monitors for activity, which are wireless or true wireless. They are far better suited for the job. Just make sure you get a reliable battery life and Bluetooth.

      The Environment Conditions

      Think about where your sport is taking place.

      • If you’re taking a hike in bad weather you want at least some water protection (minimum IPX4). You can choose from running earphones too.
      • Canyoning, rafting, boating, river trekking, and other water sports require high IPX protection. You can check the headphones for swimming with the highest levels of water protection (IPX7+). IPX explained here.
      • If you’re trekking outside in a city or nature, consider awareness. Being aware of your surroundings can save you from accidents. Get an open design or earphones with a shallow fit that let in more ambient noise.

      Things to Avoid When Buying Sport Headphones

      There are likely to be a lot of options which suit your needs. But not all are good. Here are some things to avoid:

      • Don’t buy headphones that struggle to stay stable over the ears. On-ears and over-ears are examples of this
      • Avoid earbuds that don’t have water resistance, especially if using outdoors
      • Dismiss wireless models with low battery life. It will only drive you mad
      • Stay away from obvious durability issues and bad user reports
      • Make sure they sound good. You don’t want headphones that aren’t up to the job in terms of audio fidelity

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