Best Earbuds for Running

A well-researched earbud is required for those who enjoy listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks on their run for two reasons. Firstly, running motion will put any earbuds to the test of staying in place and not falling out of an ear mid-run. Secondly, sweat adds a layer of complication to the mix — the warmer the temperatures you run in, the more likely you’d be to damage or lose an earbud. You need gear specifically designed for running and other intense activities. This is our list of the best sports earbuds for runners.

Quicklook: Best Earbuds for Running

6 Best Earbuds for Running

When out for a run, every runner wants earbuds designed for comfort, durability and excellent sound quality to keep you motivated mile after mile. Additionally, all runners should prioritize the ability to hear ambient sounds to stay safe from traffic and other potential hazards. Whether you’re just getting started running or on your hundredth marathon, you’ll want to make sure a pair of running headphones that accounts for both is part of your running essentials

Best For Transparency Mode: Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

The AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) offers the highest sound quality with the option to turn on Transparency Mode, designed so the wearer can hear ambient noises. They also have the ability to go in the other direction with a high quality noise canceling mode. The AirPods Pro hold 6 hours of battery life to cover you for even the longest runs.

Have trouble keeping track of all headphones? The Apple AirPods Pro case comes with a speaker that beeps when you turn on “Find My” to help you locate the earbuds. This is also an especially nifty feature if you lose them during a run. The earpods are waterproof so you won’t have to worry about water damage when sweating or getting caught in the rain.

Accolades:

  • Best Lightweight Noise-Canceling Earbuds for Working Out by CNET
  • Best Running Earbuds for Small Ears by Sports Illustrated

Best For Bone-Conduction Headphones: Shokz OpenRun Pro

The Shokz OpenRun Pro presents a unique listening experience because they don’t go in your ears like most running headphones. Instead, they use bone conduction to deliver sound through your cheekbones. While the sound quality of bone-conduction headphones still lags behind in-ear options, they’re designed to allow the wearer to hear your surroundings better than with any earbud options.

While they aren’t a traditional earbud design, the microphone works with the quality of a regular earbud, and you can still use them for voice calls. If you’re participating in an event that prohibits having earbuds, many races will still allow you to wear these.

The design features a lightweight titanium frame and comes with up to 10 hours of battery life. 

Wearing bone-conduction headphones will take some getting used to, and it will take time to adjust to avoid pressure points.

Accolades:

  • Best Bone-Conduction Headphones for Runners by CNET
  • Best Earbuds for Running Outdoors by  Sports Illustrated
  • Best Wireless Earbuds for Running Outdoors by RTINGS.com 

Best For Inexpensive Running Earbuds: JLab Go Air Sport

At a price point of just $30, the JLab Go Air Sport earbuds are the most affordable high quality earbuds on the market. They have 8 hours of battery life, making them one of the most robust battery options on the list.

You’ll still enjoy water resistance, but you’ll miss out on noise canceling. The style is over the ear with three sets of gel tips to help you get a good in-ear fit.

These earbuds have a more limited Bluetooth range, so don’t plan to leave your phone on the counter and keep listening to your content while doing things around the house.

Accolades:

  • Best Cheap Earbuds for Running by Sports Illustrated

Best For Customizable Sound: Jabra Elite Active 75t

The Jabra Elite Active 75t headphones offer great features for runners. It’s most known for its secure, comfortable fit. The earbuds come with three different ear tip options for a highly customizable fit for all types of ears.

Using the Jabra Sound+ app on iOS and Android devices, you can customize the sound experience and adjust the earpods to your preferences. 

You’ll get up to 7.5 hours of use per charging session. And you can get up to 20.5 hours of use before needing to charge the case. Charging the earbuds for just 15 minutes should garner you 60 minutes of playback, making the quick-charge function competitive.

Best For Firm In-Ear Grip: Bose Sport Earbuds

The StayHear Max tips on the Bose Sport Earbuds offer a secure fit so you can be confident they won’t pop out of your ears during your runs. These earbuds are compact and lightweight while still boasting outstanding technology. 

The drawback to these running headphones is that they do not feature active noise canceling and have a 5-hour battery life. They also lack wireless charging capability. 

Accolades:

  • Best Secure-Fit Sports Earbuds by CNET
  • Best Sound Earbuds for Running by Sports Illustrated 

Best For Apple Earbuds for Sport Use: Beats Fit Pro True Wireless Earbuds

Apple owns Beats, which means you get similar technology to the AirPods when purchasing Beats-branded earbuds. The Beats Fit Pro True Wireless Earbuds are built on the same technology platform as Airpods Pro.

The Beats Fit Pro True come with a new and improved chip that enables active noise-canceling as well as spatial audio and transparency mode to use the earbuds in a variety of settings.

A big setback to these earbuds compared to the true Apple option — they don’t have wireless charging, and you can’t take advantage of the “Find My” feature like you can on Apple-branded products.

For sport use, you’ll get 6 hours of use with splash-proof water resistance to take on the great outdoors and log your miles. And while they are built using Apple technology, you can get an app for Android users.

Accolades:

  • Best Apple Wireless Earbuds for Sports by CNET
  • Best Earbuds for Running with iPhone/iOS by Sports Illustrated

What to Look for in Earbuds — The Five S’s

As you seek out information about the best running earbuds for you, consider the 5 S’s to ensure you’re considering all important factors before purchasing a pair. Whether you plan to use them exclusively while running, taking phone calls or want to listen to content while cross-training, here are the top considerations before purchasing sport earbuds.

Stability: Over-Ear Lock 

During your run, you shouldn’t have to worry about the earbuds falling off or needing repositions. You should find a pair with a firm in-ear fit or effective over-ear hooks. Look for flexible fits to make sure that the earbuds work well with your ear size and composition. The more adjustability in the headphones, the better stability you’re likely to experience.

Sizing: Rubber to Adjust to the Canal 

You’ve likely never thought about the size and shape of your ear canal before, but when you look for the best-fitting earbuds, you’ll suddenly start to pay attention. Most earbuds will work with medium and large ear canals. If you have especially small or extra-large ear canals, you might find you have limited options when looking to get a firm fit. You want the earbud to be firm in your ear without it feeling tight.

Sound: Music Loudness Adjustment 

As you search for the best earbuds for you, consider how the sound quality, levels and ability to cancel or allow ambient noises through might impact your use. While you’re shopping for earbuds you can use while running, you also want to consider other use cases before purchasing. Here are the top sound factors when purchasing earbuds.

  • Noise-canceling feature
  • Ambient noise
  • Loudness adjustments to ensure you can hear your music in loud environments
  • Sound quality

Stamina: Battery Life 

When considering the battery life on a pair of earbuds, factor in both how long the earbuds are rated for and the expected charging time. The longer the battery life, the easier it will be to use the earbuds for running. Some earbuds drain faster during various activities, such as voice calls or when turning on noise-canceling features. Review how these factors could impact battery life to decide whether the earbuds offer the features you need.

Sweat: Water Resistant 

One of the biggest considerations for selecting earbuds for running is their water resistance due to sweat buildup as you run. Plus, there’s always a chance you’ll get caught in a pop-up shower you weren’t expecting. As you review earbuds for water and sweat resistance, you’ll see it reflected as an IP rating. The first letter after IP tells you the headphones’ rating for dust and debris. An X means they have not been rated for dust while a 6 is the best rating available. The next digit in the rating is water resistance. An 8 is the best water resistance available. So if you see a rating of IPX5, it means that the earbuds have not been rated for dust but they have a water-resistance rating of 5, which is considered good enough for running with the earbuds.

Stay Motivated and On-pace with Running Earbuds

Knowing you can listen to entertainment content while running can help you feel more motivated to get out and complete your training for the day. Whether you’re planning to pace your runs with music at a specific beat or you want to listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook, the right pair of earbuds can get you excited to log some miles.

FAQ

Do wireless earbuds stay in while running?

Sweat-proof earbuds that fit well will stay in place while running.

Do AirPods fall out while running?

Standard AirPods fall out sometimes while running. but the AirPods Pro tend to fit snugly for a better fit for runners. There are also ear hooks you can add onto standard AirPods to help them stay in place during your runs.

Are earbuds better than headphones for running?

Earbuds tend to be better for running because they are lightweight and less likely to make you sweat. Headphones are bulkier and can get uncomfortable as your body heats up.

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