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The Best Wired Workout Headphones

Last updated: 2 hours ago
9 min read

The best wired workout headphones with sweat protection and a secure fit for all activities.

Rating Price Water protection Type Mic & Controls Plug design More info
4.5
Under $160
IPX4
In-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
3.5mm, I-shaped
JBL Endurance Run Runner-up
JBL Endurance RUN wired earbuds
4.6
Under $30
IPX5
In-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
3.5mm, Y-shaped
Samsung Active InEar Best security
Samsung Active InEar wired earphones
4.4
Under $20
/
In-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
3.5mm, I-shaped
Sony MDR-XB510AS Best under $50
Sony MDR-xb510AS Extra Bass
4.2
Under $40
IPX5
In-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
3.5mm, L-shaped
4.4
Under $20
Sweatproof
In-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
3.5mm, I-shaped
MEE Audio X1 Best budget
MEE Audio X1 wired workout earbuds
4.3
Under $20
IPX5
In-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
3.5mm, L-shaped
JVC HA-EBR80 Best classic earphones
JVC HA-EBR80 classic sports earphones
4.2
Under $20
Sweatproof
In-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
3.5mm, I-shaped
Shure SE215 Best sound
Shure SE215 wired earbuds
4.5
Under $100
/
In-ear, closed-back
crosscross
3.5mm, L-shaped
Koss SportaPro Best budget on-ear
Koss SportaPro
4.4
Under $30
/
On-ear, open-back
crosscross
3.5mm, L-shaped
Skullcandy Grind Wired Best value on-ear
Skullcandy Grind orange wired
4.4
Under $60
/
On-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
3.5mm, L-shaped

The best wired sports headphones are, in our opinion, Bose SoundSport in-ear wired headphones.

In the world of true wireless earbuds, some of us still want a reliable and hassle-free experience of wired headphones.

Worrying about battery level isn’t what you want. Wired workout headphones are simple, you put them on and they work. Here are your best options.

Table of Contents

    The Best Wired Workout Earbuds

    1. Bose SoundSport In-Ear Wired

    1st-place Best overall
    Bose SoundSport Wired workout headphones

    Bose SoundSport are the best wired earbuds for sports if you can still get them.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: n/a | Weight: 0.64 oz (18g) | Cable lenght: 51 inch (1.3m) | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Ear fins
    • StayHear ear tips ensure great stability
    • Great, enjoyable sound
    • Wires can get in a way during workout

    While audiophiles might not like its imbalanced sound with recessed highs and mids and enhanced bass, it offers a fun sound quality with a good dynamic range. It has the typical Bose sound signature.

    These are some of the most comfortable earbuds on the market among wired workout earbuds, using gel tips with an ear fin design.

    Sound leakage helps with being aware of your environment, so this is a good thing if you’re working out outside.

    And it’s also the reason why these are some of the best-wired earbuds for running (you need awareness to stay safe).

    They’re also sweating and moisture resistant to survive hot and sweaty workouts. Just don’t dip them into the water since they aren’t water-proof.

    You can control these in-ear headphones fairly easily with an inline remote, also enabling a voice assistant to perform a task instead of you.

    2. JBL Endurance RUN

    2nd-place Runner-up
    JBL Endurance RUN wired earbuds

    Sure, you can get perfect in-ear headphones for workout under $20 with good sound quality.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8.2mm dynamic driver
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: n/a | Features: FlipHook, TwistLock
    • IPX5 water resistance
    • Good stability for sports activities
    • Fun, V-shaped sound
    • Slight cable noise

    There is a noticeable bass presence, which makes the overall sound quite warm, but still enjoyable to listen to. Mids are well defined, with the highs being nice and crisp.

    Their well-thought design lets you decide if you want to wear them normally, with the wire going straight down, or with the wire going behind your ears.

    The latter is much better since it makes these workout earbuds much more lightweight and it can also reduce microphonics, even if the wire drags over your shirt or running shorts.

    As it is expected from sport-oriented wired headphones, these do offer some sweat protection. It is also worth mentioning that the built-in microphone quality is very good for a budget product.

    3. Samsung Active InEar

    trophy Best security
    Samsung Active InEar wired earphones

    A cheap wired solution for active people on a tight budget.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Earphones | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: n/a | Features: Inline controls, ear fins
    • Good stability
    • Decent sound (if you fit them right)
    • No IP rating

    They can sound muffled if the fit isn’t perfect. When the fit is just right, the sound quality is quite good. It is very punchy, with decently clear midrange and treble.

    Similar earbuds style to the Apple Earpods and new AirPods, the Samsung Active InEar headphones can be tricky with finding the right fit.

    Samsung found the solution in the form of soft gel ear tips that are providing extra grip.

    On the cable, there are music playback and volume controls. Of course, you can also answer calls. For the price point, the microphone quality is really great.

    4. Sony MDR-XB510AS

    dollar Best under $50
    Sony MDR-xb510AS Extra Bass

    Sony MDR-XB510AS are perfect for everyday use in the gym or while running.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 4-24.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: 56 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2m) | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: Ear fins
    • IPX5 sweatproof design
    • Good stability during workout
    • Punchy sound with deep bass
    • Inline remote offers limited functions

    The bass fits nicely into other ranges and gives you perfect motivation in the gym.

    Mids are slightly warm, and highs are satisfying enough for an average listener. It’s ideal for rhythmic music (like EDM and pop), which sound great.

    As their name already suggests, these Sony headphones are made for sports enthusiasts who also like heavy bass.

    Ear wings help stabilize these sports earbuds on your ears during a workout. Even if you move your head a lot, these won’t fall out.

    With the IPX5 rating, you can use them in every condition and every weather. They have sweat and water-resistant design, and you can even clean them under a tap.

    See the best waterproof Bluetooth headphones for more high IPX options.

    Here are more options at this price. The best earbuds under $50.

    5. Avantree E171

    Avantree E171 Sports

    Dirt-cheap earbuds with an ear hook design.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable length: 47 inch (1.2m) | Features: Inline remote, ear hooks
    • Secure fit
    • Useful inline controls
    • Fun, punchy sound
    • … but a bit too bassy

    As with many sports earbuds, the sound can get overly bassy. E171 are no different, trading overall clarity for a good low-end slam. They offer fun sound quality, nevertheless.

    Basic-looking sport earbuds come with big ear hooks that secure them on your head, even if you have smaller ears.

    It takes some time to get used to the way of how you place them in your ears. But once you do, there’s no turning back.

    The cable has built-in remote controls for a wide range of commands, from answering phone calls, skip tracks, and even volume control.

    Since you’ll probably sweat in them, they come with sweat resistance.

    See more best cheap earbuds.

    6. MEE Audio X1

    dollar Best budget
    MEE Audio X1 wired workout earbuds

    MEE Audio X1 are cheap earbuds for sports, but bassy sound and solid build quality make them a must-have in your gym bag.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 9mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Weight: 0.7 oz (20g) | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2 m) | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: Ear hook design
    • Comfortable for long listening sessions
    • Sweatproof build
    • Bassy, fun sound
    • Barebones remote controls

    The sound quality is pretty good for the price. It’s perfect for all bass-heavy music, which is most popular among sportspeople.

    If you’re looking for budget sports earbuds, these are the best for the money.

    Ergonomically rounded and smooth plastic design makes them comfortable for long workout sessions. Plus, the memory wire folds into ear hooks (cable going over-ear) and provides stability even for running.

    See headphones for running for more alternatives.

    With the right ear tips, you can get fantastic isolation to block most ambient noise. But not as good as the best noise cancelling earbuds.

    Because of the IPX5 rating (sweat-resistant), they can withstand any amount of sweat and even rain, perfect for inside or outside exercise.

    Check other durable earbuds or waterproof headphones for swimming.

    7. JVC HA-EBR80

    earbud Best classic
    JVC HA-EBR80 classic sports earphones

    JVC HA-EBR80 are the best cheap classic earphones (earbuds) for working out.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 13.5mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 16-20.000Hz
    Type: Earphone | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Weight: 0.46 oz (13g) | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2m) | Water resistance: Sweat proof | Features: Ear hooks
    • Great stability with ear hooks
    • Balanced sound signature
    • … but subpar sound quality
    • Limited remote control functions

    Their sound signature is balanced. Mids are clear and well-present. Bass isn’t strong, and some people might complain it lacks in the lows.

    The JVCs are classic earbuds without silicone tips. They have a snug fit and can stay in your ears no matter what. You can use them both for running or the gym.

    Workout earphones rest on your ears rather than go inside the ear canal. Yes, they lack good noise isolation because of that, but it makes them better for your awareness.

    The adjustable loop hanger secures them on your ears perfectly. The clips are made out of soft rubber, which makes the earbuds extremely comfortable.

    Note: Look at best noise cancelling headphones

    8. Shure SE215

    trophy Best sound
    Shure SE215 wired in-ear monitor

    With the great sound quality, stability, and the way you need to wear them, Shure SE215’s are perfect for a wired workout solution.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 22-17.500Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise Cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Microphone only | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable length: n/a | Features: Detachable cable, optional wireless adapter
    • Good sound quality
    • Price-to-performance ratio
    • Detachable cable
    • Narrow soundstage

    These use a single dynamic driver that produces a nice, controlled low end with a good kick.

    The warm midrange is definitely the star of the show, presenting a lot of details, with the treble being quite smooth and rolled off.

    They have many characteristics of earbuds for sport. You have to wear them with the wire going behind your ears, reducing the microphonics and the weight of the earbuds themselves.

    The housing is perfectly shaped to comfortably fit in your ear, providing good comfort and great stability. Shure’s are made from clear plastic, making the insides of the earphones visible.

    The good thing about these earphones is that the tangle-free cable can be replaced. So if you ever damage the connectors or the cable you can simply buy a new one.

    Looking for more options? See the best headphones under $100.

    The Best On-Ear (Wired) Workout Headphones

    9. Koss SportaPro

    dollar Best budget on-ear
    Koss SportaPro

    The best on-ear cheap sports headphones are Koss SportaPro, perfect for fitness.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-25.000Hz
    Type: On-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 60 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2m) | Features: Foldable
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Lively, open sound
    • Not the best durability

    The audio quality of SportaPros is rather “bassy,” even to the point of losing treble. Bass is deep and emphasized even at higher volumes, quite a feat for such a lightweight pair of headphones.

    You can also check the PortaPro model, another great choice for slightly more money, but with more Hi-Fi sound quality.

    Keeping them on your head is easy due to their lightweight nature and flexible headband, making them great for running or working out. The cushions are minimal but do the job.

    The open-back headphones have soft ear cushions that touch your ears.

    The background noise isn’t isolated much, but they are loud enough to overpower any noisy gym. Because they let in ambient sound, they’re safe to take into the outside world for running.

    10. Skullcandy Grind Wired

    dollar Best value on-ear
    Skullcandy Grind orange wired

    The best value for money on-ear running headphones with wires are Skullcandy Grind.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: On-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: n/a | Features: Detachable cable
    • Good sound with punchy bass
    • Flexible metal headband
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Mediocre microphone quality

    The sound quality is surprisingly good. The bass is strong enough to get you going while still hearing treble and mids with enough clarity.

    They are lightweight and fit comfortably long enough for even the hardest working gym-goers. You can use these wired headphones for running.

    They aren’t made for sports use specifically, so they don’t have any sweat protection, but since these are on-ear headphones, the drivers are well protected from the sweat.

    The metal headband is very flexible and will survive for a long time. The plastic casing is durable enough to last a couple of years as well.

    For more powerful options, see the best bass headphones.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Why Get Wired Workout Headphones?

    There are many reasons why the cable still wins the wired or wireless battle today.

    Wired headphones are GOOD at:

    • Always ready. There’s no need to charge the battery life. Your sports headphones are regularly prepared, and you can just keep them in your sports bag for when you need them again.
    • Usually cheaper. Sure you can get cheap Bluetooth headphones, but most often than not, wireless are more expensive. This plays a vital role if you’re on a budget.
    • Sound quality. Although the gap is getting smaller and smaller by each year. Nevertheless, wired headphones are still more consistent when it comes to sound quality.
    • Longer lasting (without relying on battery life in headphones or charge case). As you probably know, lithium-ion batteries inside wireless headphones don’t have an unlimited life expectancy. In fact, with every cycle (charge and discharge) and every year of age, it loses its capacity. It’s only a matter of time when your wireless workout headphones become useless. You can read more about why lithium-ion batteries die.

    On the other hand, not everything is sunny for headphones with a cable. There are significant reasons when wireless is better.

    Wired headphones are BAD at:

    • Tangling wires. As you’ve probably experienced, tangled wires are annoying to deal with. You always have to be careful not to tug or pull on them too hard. The cable is a big weak point because it tends to break more easily than other parts.
    • Not as convenient during workouts. You need to have your music device with you at all times. This adds additional weight, which is significant during sports. A smartphone flapping around in your pocket is annoying and increases possible damage danger.
    • Wireless tech is slowly getting cheaper. All new technologies eventually drop in price, and Bluetooth is no different. Now you can get compelling wireless headphones or earbuds for under $30. Also, a headphone jack has become a rarity these days.

    What Makes Good Workout Headphones?

    You should look for a couple of crucial things:

    • A secure fit. Without it, the gym headphones won’t stay put during a workout and thus be useless. This is primarily a problem for bigger over-ear and on-ear headphones. The best workout headphones provide a stable fit for all sports situations.
    • Noise isolation. That depends on where you do your workouts. If you’re out on the streets, too much noise reduction can be dangerous. However, if you prefer the gym, having your ear canals sealed means you’re can focus more on your reps.
    • Long-lasting comfort. You can keep up with the reps if your ears ache. Therefore, it should be a priority to get yourself stable headphones with a comfortable fit. Check the most comfortable headphones.
    • Sweat and water resistance. Water is the arch-enemy of electronics. You should keep it away from the internal parts of headphones if you want them to last. Thankfully, many models come with a certified IPX rating, which tells you how much moisture exposure they can survive.
    • Enjoyable sound. As with all headphones, audio quality plays a part. While you might not expect sonic fidelity in the gym, you want to enjoy your favorite music to push you harder. There are many different sound signatures to choose from and, thankfully, at least as many headphones that fit the bill.
    • Good warranty. Workout headphones are probably going to be abused more than the ones we use at home. These headphones get thrown in the bag a lot, are exposed to lots of excessive sweat, and may fall on the floor at least a couple of times. Here are some of the most durable headphones.

    Is It Bad to Wear Headphones While Working Out?

    It depends on where you’re working out. If you plan to run outside, you should consider wearing something that lets you hear more of the ambient noise. Hearing things around you is crucial for quick reactions if there’s a danger on the path.

    Otherwise, sports headphones are entirely harmless, and you can safely wear them for hours. If you’re at home or the gym, there are absolutely no worries about safety. Most athletes use them to motivate themselves.

    Just make sure you don’t abuse the volume adjustment. High volume can damage your hearing over time.

    Are All Sports Headphones Bassy?

    It’s quite common for sport headphones to be bassy. It gives you energy and rhythm for running or lifting.

    Also, when you’re moving, all that shaking results in vibrations, which can reduce low-frequency audibility. Therefore, the boost in bass helps to even out the audio perception during a workout.

    If you don’t enjoy the overly bassy sound profile, you can always tweak the EQ on your audio device or MP3 player of choice.

    More: Best bass earbuds

    Do Wired Headphones Radiate?

    The short answer is that all electronic devices, including wires, emit radiation. However, the catch is in a type of radiation and its strength.

    Radiation from either wired or wireless is too weak to cause harm.

    Wired devices

    • Wires can cause radiation. However, we’re talking radio frequencies, which are completely harmless. Just like the antenna on your radio or on the roof of a car, the wire is able to pick up frequencies from the outside or create them on its own.

    At worst, these radio frequencies can distort the audio signal, which makes for an unpleasant listening experience.

    • The best tool to combat this phenomenon are ferrite beads. The latter suppresses the electromagnetic interference in the wire, providing a cleaner signal from one device to another. While you don’t see many ferrite beads in headphone wires, they’re very common in cables for data and video signals.

    Wireless devices

    We all know that smartphones and other wireless devices, like Bluetooth headphones, use radio frequencies for communication. But are they harmful?

    • Bluetooth connection uses the 2.4GHz frequency band, which is also used for WiFi, and even microwave ovens.

    It’s an ideal frequency for agitating water molecules. Frequency gets absorbed by those molecules, which causes them to start shaking. That creates friction, which results in heat. Because of that, the microwave only heats the food and not the plate.

    • WiFi and Bluetooth use significantly lower power than a microwave oven. So you don’t have to worry that you’re going to cook your brains if you use Bluetooth headphones too much.
    • Smartphones use more power for beaming out their signal. Their radiation is the highest when they need to reconnect to a different cell tower or at the start of a phone call.

    Longer exposure to phone radiation can also heat up the water molecules in your body. That is why your ears start sweating after a 30-minute phone session.

    The latter is also a reason why it’s recommended for men not to wear a smartphone in their pocket since it might heat up the male parts.