Find good sports headphones for recreation and physical activity. Enjoy your pastime with music in your ears.
|Rating||Price||Water protection||Battery||Type||Mic & Controls||More info|
Jaybird Vista 2 Best overall
8 hours, 16h in case (USB-C & Qi charging)
Jabra Elite Active 75t Runner-up
7 hours, 20h in case (USB-C)
Beats PowerBeats Pro Best bass
11 hours, 24h in case (Lightning)
Aukey EP-T32 Budget ear hooks
7 hours, 28h in case (USB-C)
AfterShokz Aeropex Best bone conduction
8 hours (Micro-USB)
Treblab Z2 Best over-ear
35 hours (Micro-USB)
TaoTronics Soundliberty 97 Great value
9 hours, 20h in case (Micro-USB)
Swimbuds Sport Best for swimming
Wired – 3.5mm
Jlab Audio Jbuds Air Best under $50
5.5 hours, 15h in case (Micro-USB)
Bose Sport Earbuds Best Bose
5 hours, 10 hours in case (USB-C)
iTeknic IK-BH001 Best battery
24 hours (Micro-USB)
Aukey EP-T21 Best cheap
4.5 hours, 20h in case (Micro-USB)
If you are looking for best workout 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.
Best workout headphones for the gym
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 rating. 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, find best headphones for 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. Jaybird Vista 2
The best sports headphones overall.
There are many incredible sport-oriented wireless earbuds, but the audio quality of these Jaybird’s is still hard it beat.
- 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
Smooth default tuning might lack some punch necessary to pump you up with energy. After fiddling with the app’s EQ, you can make them either punchier, or bring them to an almost neutral level.
Vista’s 2 are a very comfortable pair of truly wireless earbuds, with many features that come in handy during sports activities. They even include active noise cancellation, reducing loud noises inside a gym.
With ear gels, workout earbuds provide a secure fit, giving you the confidence they’re not falling out during rapid head movements.
Earbuds support two durability standards: IP68 water-resistant rating, 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.
2. Jabra Elite Active 75t
The best sport headphones with EQ.
Elite Active 75t are even better than their equally sporty predecessor and a must-have among workout essentials.
- 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
Elite Active 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.
You can use them for blocking background noise, or activate HearThrough mode when you need to hear ambient sound (like when running).
They stick in the ears like glue, and it’s hard to lose them during intense activities like cross-training.
You get 7 hours of battery life per charge and 20h more in the charging case, which is more than enough to reach the finish line.
With full physical controls and a 4-microphone system, call quality is surprisingly great.
Plus, IP57 water-resistant rating makes these good sport headphones that stand up to the outdoor elements and a dip in the water.
Find more of the best waterproof Bluetooth headphones.
3. 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.
- 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
- Large charging case
- No way to turn them off without the charging case
- Mids sound a bit subdued
What you can expect from Beats is a strong bass depth and PowerBeats Pro delivers. An emphasis on lows and highs makes for a nice V-shaped sound that creates a sporty feeling for bassy music lovers.
If you need headphones for recreation that require a stable fit, like basketball, then these are the top choice. They do however produce some wind noise if you plan to use them for cycling.
These sports earbuds stick in ears amazingly well even if you do gymnastics. Lightweight design with an hook design stick to the head like glue.
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.
4. Aukey EP-T32
Best affordable wireless headphones for sports.
Wireless sports earbuds are convenient and popular, though, they can be pricey. In contrast, this is an affordable option with excellent features.
- Excellent comfort and stability thanks to ear hooks
- Reliable touch controls
- Extreme water protection (IPX8)
- Enjoyable, punchy sound
- Great Bluetooth stability and coverage
- Support for Qi wireless charging
- No multipoint support
- Subpar microphone quality
- Mediocre passive isolation due to shallower fit
12mm dynamic drivers produce a boost in the sub-bass, giving the overall frequency response a nice warm tone. The midrange and treble are quite smooth, providing an enjoyable listening experience.
Thanks to ear hook design, they’re perfect for intense sports activities. Since they grab your ears so gently, you quickly forget about wearing them.
You don’t have to worry about sweat or water damage. With their IPX8 water-resistant rating, you can submerge them up to 1 meter.
For a budget pair, they have many bonus features. The proximity sensor automatically pauses the music playback, while the Qi-compatible charging case lets you charge it wirelessly.
5. AfterShokz Aeropex
Gold standard of 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.
- 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
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 quality than these. All that said, compared to regular drivers, it still lacks a bit of bass and clarity in highs.
The main advantage of bone-conducting headphones 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.
And extremely durable, with an IP67 rating and you can easily throw them into the gym bag.
6. Treblab Z2
Best over-ear sports headphones.
The over-ear headphone with active noise cancellation that is also great for gym sessions.
- Comfortable, plush earpads
- Great noise isolation
- Good build quality
- IPX4 water-protection
- Great sound performance
- Hard carrying case
- 35-hour battery life
- Micro-USB port
- Average ANC performance
- Earpads get a bit sweaty
When noise cancellation is OFF, the audio performance is very bassy, almost muddy.
While that might appeal to bassheads, we preferred the noise cancellation ON sound signature. Everything gets more detailed and focused, but you do lose a lot of bass power.
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.
They are rated at 35 hours of battery life 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.
7. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 97
Best sound quality for under $50.
TaoTronics makes some great consumer electronics. Soundliberty 97 are the best wireless earbuds with great sound quality at an affordable price point.
- Good overall sound quality
- High water protection (IPX8 rating)
- Comfortable fit for long listening sessions
- Impressive 9-hour battery life
- Great passive isolation
- Competition comes with extra features
- No EQ presets
Despite having a bass emphasis, the midrange remains clean and natural, with warm tonality. The treble is smooth and very inoffensive, which is why you can listen to them for hours.
The housing of Soundliberty 97 is relatively small and doesn’t protrude much. It’s well-built from rigid plastic and can endure strong water jets (an IPX8 rating). Therefore, sweat damage shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Apart from SBC and AAC, earbuds also support aptX, an excellent addition for Android users. It means better audio quality and reduced latency in videos and games.
Due to slightly longer ear tips, the passive noise isolation is above average. Built-in mics have good call quality, regardless of the ambient sound.
8. 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.
- Good sound
- Many accessories
- Some earbuds survive deeper depths
For swimming in-ears, they provide a very clean sound. Quality isn’t comparable to regular earbuds, but at least they can get really loud.
Specially designed for underwater activities, these earbuds are IPX8 water-resistant. 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 ear tip sizes that go deep into the ear canal. The latter is vital to ensure the water doesn’t come inside your ear, affecting the sound quality.
Find the best swimming headphones.
9. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air
The best sport headphones under $50.
Jlab Audio Jbuds Air are good quality wireless buds 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.
- Good water protection IP55
- Stable fit suitable for sports
- User-friendly magnetic design
- Good sound quality for the price
- Annoying physical controls (Air Icon have touch controls)
- Can become uncomfortable after prolonged time for small ears
- Phone calls require the right earbud
Audio quality is fine for the price, but not perfect. You get to choose from 3 EQ settings (Jlab signature, Balanced, and Bass Boost sound profile).
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 the IP55 rating of 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.
10. Bose Sport Earbuds
Best sports headphones from Bose.
If you’re a fun of Bose headphones and their sound, your best sport option are the Bose Sport Earbuds.
- 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
The sound quality on Sport Earbuds will satisfy most users. They’re punchy and have great control over the bass. The rest of the spectrum is warm but balanced, accompanied by a wide soundstage.
Earbuds have a rather bulky construction that fits surprisingly well. Thanks to StayHear Max ear gels, you can run or jump with these and not worry about losing them.
The same gels also don’t go too deep into ear canal, making the buds very comfortable to wear. Sadly, no Transparency mode for amplifying ambient sound.
By connecting them with a dedicated companion app, you can tweak controls and download firmware updates. The latter is useful since Bose keeps on adding new things.
11. iTeknic BH001
The longest battery earbuds for sports.
If you’re looking for monster battery life in affordable, quality earbuds, these could be your answer.
- Best-in-class battery life (up to 24 hours)
- Comfortable and stable fit
- Cheap price
- Pleasant, balanced sound
- Big casing protruding out of the ears
- Not a lot of bass (more balanced)
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.
The number one feature of these cheap activity wireless earbuds is the battery life; an incredible 24 hours of listening time.
Reliable Bluetooth to connect the buds and mobile device with each other, 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 gym headphones due to the fact they can be worn for an extended time and in the rain.
12. Aukey EP-T21
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 truly wireless earbuds.
- Very loud
- Ergonomic design that’s stable and comfortable
- Good battery capacity
- Low price
- The lid on the case feels a bit flimsy
- Okay sound
It’s not as good as with more expensive gym 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.
Thanks to a lightweight design, they’re comfortable and suitable for all types of heart-rate pumping 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 sweat proof (though you can’t submerge them).
And, if a friends calls you, you can talk on the go with the built-in microphone and touch commands.
Jaybird Vista – A great option if you’re looking for robust sport headphones. Their ear wings keep them firmly in your ears so that you can better concentrate on your workout. Jaybird Vista review
Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350: Another great Bluetooth earphones from Plantronics offers excellent value-for-money and clear audio as well as a secure fit. BackBeat FIT 350 are especially good for running. (Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350 review)
Apple AirPods Pro – AirPods Pro are among the most popular audio products, even for gym in-ear headphones, but since they lack secure fit, we don’t find them to be that great. They do however have a sweat-resistant IP rating, excellent active noise cancellation, and let you hear ambient sound with their Transparency mode. (Apple AirPods Pro review)
Jaybird Tarah – Cost almost the same as X4 but have worse battery life and more basic ear cushions. Fortunately, you can still tweak settings inside a companion app.
VAVA Moov 28: Cheap waterproof wireless earphones with an IPX6 water resistance rating. They’re a good budget alternative. (VAVA Moov 28 review)
Senso Bluetooth earbuds: These workout earbuds hook to all ear shapes. They’re popular because of their dirt-cheap price. (Senso Bluetooth earbuds review)
Different Levels of Water Protection
Make sure to choose the IPX for your needs.
How to Choose Sport Headphones
Think about what features and headphone functionality you want for your needs before purchase.
- 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 truly 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 the best headphones for running too.
- Canyoning, rafting, boating, river trekking, and other water sports require high IPX protection. You can check the best swimming headphones with the highest levels of water protection (IPX7+). IP rating 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