The best running headphones, recommended by running experts: Jabra, JLab, Sony, Bose and more
Heading out for a spin and wanting to find a new set of running headphones? We’ve rounded up some of the best and spoken to three running experts to find out more.
Whether lapping around the block, jogging on the treadmill or sprinting the streets, take your run to the next level with the perfect pair of running headphones.
Running headphones can make a real difference to the overall experience and efficiency of your run, so finding the right pair is essential. There is a wide selection of headphones on the market available for your individual running needs and designed for you to make the most of your run with the ultimate tunes and pace along to the beat.
From wireless charging cases, noise-cancelling settings and one-touch control to battery life and play time, every set of running headphones has different features to consider.
The Recommended has scoured the web to round up the best running headphones on the market and spoke to three running experts to find out more. We asked them what exactly we should look out for when shopping for running headphones and, more importantly, what we should avoid.
Read on to step it up a gear with our favourite picks of running headphones in line with their recommendations, and see their expert advice in full at the bottom of this article.
The best running headphones at-a-glance:
- Best affordable headphones: JLab Go Air Sport Running Headphones
- Best playtime headphones: Tribit FlyBuds 3S1 Headphones
- Best Bluetooth connectivity: Ordtop Wireless Running Headphones
- Best fitting headphones: Beats Fit Pro – True Wireless Noise-Cancelling Earphones
- Best charging headphones: Apple Airpods with Charging Case (2nd generation)
- Best small headphones: Jabra Elite 7 Active In-Ear Bluetooth Earbuds
- Best wraparound headphones: Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction Sports Headphones
- Best control headphones: Bose Sport Earbuds
- Best for bass: Sony WI-EB400 Extra Bass Wireless Headphones
- Best adjustable headphones: Apple Airpods Pro (2nd generation)
The best running headphones
Best affordable headphones: JLab Go Air Sport Running Headphones
A range of colours
These wireless headphones are ideal for running, whether a short sprint or long-distance jog, with a lasting battery life of up to 32 hours. They are also sweatproof and easy to connect to via Bluetooth.
This headphone’s ergonomic design fits most ear sizes for a secure fit and features three types of gel tips for the ultimate comfort while on the move. Swap between the different sound modes, from JLab signature, balanced, or bass boost, and use the integrated cable for hassle-free charging.
Best playtime headphones: Tribit FlyBuds 3S1 Headphones
Long-lasting and secure
Our expert Jason Fitzgerald recommends this brand of headphones as ‘waterproof, Bluetooth earbuds that have a ridiculously long battery-life with amazing sound.’ They have a playtime of 150 hours.
These headphones are lightweight and come complete with six sizes of eartips, providing a customizable fit for the ultimate comfort throughout your runs. They are waterproof, withstanding wet weather conditions and sweat, and pair easily with your smartphone for an immersive sound experience.
Best Bluetooth connectivity: Ordtop Wireless Running Headphones
Fast and smooth connection
Using Bluetooth 5.3 technology, these headphones are perfect for fast pairing with your smartphone, bringing a crystal clear soundtrack to your running.
Waterproof and sweatproof, they are ideal for all conditions and have a hardy 48 hours of play time using its case. The lightweight design, weighing all in at just 4 grams, is comfortable and adjustable to fit all ears. Be careful as they are noise-cancelling.
Best fitting headphones: Beats Fit Pro – True Wireless Noise-Cancelling Earphones
Tailored to you
These headphones have flexible wing tips with soft silicone ends, available in sizes small, medium and large. Customise to fit you for a sturdy and comfortable experience.
These headphones feature a noise-cancelling mode for blocking out background sounds and a transparency mode to keep you aware of your surroundings (highly recommended for running). Charge up in their case, which is super portable and fits in your pocket, and they will last up to 24 hours.
Best charging headphones: Apple Airpods with Charging Case (2nd generation)
Reliable and lightweight
Easy to set up with your smartphone, these headphones provide a high-quality sound to soundtrack your runs, whether outside or pacing it on the treadmill.
Providing more than 24 hours of battery life with their charging case, they are a reliable set and simple to use. Double tap to skip to the next tune, and with its censoring technology, they will automatically stop playing when taken out of your ears.
Best small headphones: Jabra Elite 7 Active In-Ear Bluetooth Earbuds
A compact design
Made with ShakeGrip, a soft material with a firm grip, these wireless headphones are guaranteed to stay put whatever the action.
The secure and durable design is workout-proof (sweat and water-resistant) with 6mm speakers for a powerful and high-quality listening experience. Pop in for your run and use the adjustable Hear Through technology to customise what you hear. These headphones are lightweight and available to use as a pair or in Mono Mode.
Best wraparound headphones: Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction Sports Headphones
Shokz is the official headphone partner of England Athletics. An innovative open-ear design, their bone construction style sits in front of your ears rather than inside and has a ten-hour playtime.
Running expert Thomas Watson puts these at the top of his recommendations, commenting that ‘for the first time it feels like you can get high-quality music without losing situational awareness’, putting your safety at top of the priorities while running. These headphones have a wraparound titanium frame to provide a secure fit and are water-resistant to rain splashes and sweat.
Best control headphones: Bose Sport Earbuds
Small design, big sound
These wireless headphones have simple touch controls, making it easy to manage your music and podcasts while running on the go. Swipe up and down for volume control and tap to play/pause your tunes.
Sweat and weather-resistant, pop these in your ears securely, sync up with the Bose Music app to listen to crisp, clear audio, and get moving. There are three sizes of StayHear Max tips included to ensure these headphones fit comfortably and won’t fall out no matter how fast you run.
Best for bass: Sony WI-EB400 Extra Bass Wireless Headphones
You’ll barely notice they’re there
Unroll the soft and flexible neckband, and pop these headphones in your ears for a lightweight on-the-go option with up to 15 hours of non-stop music.
Use the easy-to-operate buttons to play, stop and skip tunes and when finished, wind up for easy, tangle-free storage with the handy magnetic buds. These headphones have extra bass for improved sound quality, providing a motivational beat for your run.
Best adjustable headphones: Apple Airpods Pro (2nd generation)
Switch between modes
Choose between Active Noise Cancelling to reduce unwanted background sounds or Adaptive Transparency to still allow outside noises in while minimising loud environmental noises.
These headphones provide a personalised listening experience and have multiple ear tips included, from extra small to large, to cater for all ear sizes. Sweat and water-resistant with up to six hours of listening time, they feature touch controls and a lanyard loop on the charging case for easy carrying.
Our running experts
To get an expert take on the best running headphones, we spoke to three running coaches who have years of experience between them when it comes to training, fitness gear, and succeeding in their running goals.
Thomas Watson is a UESCA-certified running coach and the founder and editor of Marathon Handbook. Launching in 2016, the site receives more than one million visitors every month, encouraging runners to achieve their PBs and health and fitness goals with training plans and advice from a team of running experts. They cover everything you need to know, from running ultra-marathons to their own version of Couch to 5k training plans.
Jeff Gaudette is the founder of RunnersConnect, an online coaching platform for runners established in 2011. Together with his team of expert coaches, Jeff connects with runners of all abilities and helps them to train up and master their running, whether that’s hitting a PB or completing their lifelong dream of a marathon.
Jason Fitzgerald is a USA Track & Field certified coach who won Men’s Running Magazine Influencer of the Year in 2017 and has written for publications including Runner’s World and MapMyRun. He set up Strength Running in 2010, a running community helping runners reach their ambitions by giving them the tools and training to get there.
What should you look for when buying running headphones?
‘A comfortable, stable fit is key: you want headphones that don’t impinge on your running experience’, says Thomas. He also stresses the importance of being able to hear your surroundings and not isolating yourself from your environment.
He says, ‘wherever you choose to go running, whether it’s streets, trails, or the treadmill, it’s safer and useful to still be able to hear what is going on around you. For that reason, many runners find open-ear bone conduction headphones to be the best bet – they actually sit in front of your ear, meaning you can still hear everything in your environment.’
Jeff agrees this is ‘critical for safety so you can hear cars and people around you.’ He also adds that battery life is also very important, especially for those ‘who are going on super long runs’.
Jason Fitzgerald comments that ‘runners should also look for ‘headphones that are sweat-resistant (or waterproof) so they don’t stop working during a particularly sweaty training run.’
What should you avoid when looking for running headphones?
‘Avoid buying headphones that “look cool”’. They’ll often be too heavy or won’t sit in place throughout your run’, says Thomas.
Jason agrees, saying, ‘it’s ideal to avoid headphones that aren’t made for athletes and exercise. Those models likely won’t be as durable or water-resistant, leading to a short product life.’ Instead, focus on a lightweight design with practical features and safety benefits.
Jeff also reminds us to be wary of noise-cancelling features in running headphones – as mentioned, ‘it’s very important for safety to be able to hear your surroundings (cars, dogs, potential attackers).’