Whether you run daily, weekly, or yearly, a good pair of running headphones can make running more fun.
The best running headphones deliver great sound while offering a solid, sweat-resistant design, and with plenty of wireless options, you won’t be short of options. Most of them also have decent battery life.
From cheap true wireless earbuds that remove the cable entirely, to in-ears and neckband designs, these are some of the best-performing earphones we’ve tested.
1. JBL Reflect Flow Pro
Until they are replaced by these, the standard Reflect Flow has been a mainstay of this list since its inception in 2019. JBL’s newer, more expensive premium Pro pair replicates that success admirably.
They add active noise cancellation to the mix, as well as Ambient and TalkThru modes to make you more aware of your surroundings (handy when you’re out and about). They’re dustproof and fully submersible, so even the heaviest downpour won’t bother them.
They also sound pretty good, with enough bounce to get you through the fifth mile. They’re not as sophisticated as a dedicated musical couple, but for sports-focused buds, they tick all the boxes.
2. Shokz OpenRun Pro
Shokz (formerly AfterShokz) is the most famous brand in bone conduction headphones, and the OpenRun Pro is their best set yet. Released in early 2021, they feature a new bass driver for rich, round sound. You no longer need to settle for open design or premium audio quality; OpenRun Pro gives you both.
The overall design is very similar to the original OpenRun (originally called Aeropex), with a lightweight elastic titanium strap that securely but gently holds the earcups of the headset in place. They hold securely in all conditions without pinching or chafing. However, there are a few small differences; the Shokz has moved the charging port, which is now easier to access, and the volume buttons are now slightly larger for easy pressing while carrying.
The extra bass can sometimes provide a slight tingle when you’re listening to particularly heavy tunes, but in our tests, it was never annoying. These are the best bone conduction headphones and, in our opinion, the best running headphones.
3. Jlab Go Air Sport
It’s very rare for a pair of earbuds this cheap to do the right thing. Yet the Jlab Go Air Sport outperforms it all, proving once and for all that you can do more with less. This isn’t the first time Jlab has released lightweight, affordable headphones, but this time it may just have mastered the art.
Our time with Jlab Go Air Sport was full of surprises. We found it to be a lot more comfortable to wear than our previous favorite, the more expensive Beats Fit Pro. We also found that while its sound quality wasn’t at audiophile level, its frequencies were all well represented, especially the bass, which was heavy but not overwhelming. We found its controls — especially the volume controls that Apple just implemented on the AirPods Pro 2 — to be a joy to use.
Of course, being a cheap option, some premium features are absent. For example, there’s no active noise cancellation. But considering what else you get, you won’t even miss it. Runners on a budget will find these to be the best running headphones for them.
4. Beats Fit Pro
Technically, the Beats Fit Pro ($200) aren’t AirPods, but they’re based on the same technology platform as the AirPods Pro (Apple owns Beats). Unlike Beats’ earlier and cheaper Studio Buds, the Beats Fit Pro contains Apple’s H1 chip and has most of the features of the AirPods Pro, including active noise cancellation, spatial audio, adaptive EQ, and a very good Transparency mode that lets ambient noise out Enter. Dare I call them the sporty AirPods you’ve always wanted. For some, they might just be better than the AirPods Pro. Read our Beats Fit Pro review.
5. JBL Endurance Peak 3
JBL has updated its over-the-ear sports earbuds for 2023. Available in black or white, the Endurance Peak 3 earphones offer longer battery life (up to 10 hours with 4 additional charges from the charging case), improved voice call performance and an IP68 rating, making them completely water and dust resistant. They also have an ambient awareness transparency mode and a call mode that automatically lowers the volume of your music and opens it up to the outside world. This means you can talk to someone without taking off the earbuds.
They fit very securely on my ears while running, and I found they sounded good, although they do have some bass punch (i.e. they have powerful bass). Note, however, that if the seal is not tight, the sound quality will deteriorate significantly. Like other earphones with an over-the-ear design, the case is heavy. Having said that, the earphones seem to be durable, and if you wear them properly, they’re a great and less expensive alternative to the Beats Powerbeats Pro. I also found the touch controls worked well; I was able to switch sound modes with ease.
6. Earfun Air Pro
The Earfun Pro headphones take the standard and excellent Earfun Air and add active noise cancellation (ANC), more microphones, and larger drivers. This all translates to better sound performance and clearer voice calls – handy when your run is near a noisy road.
These headphones are easy to pair and comfortable enough for even the longest workouts. Controls are a breeze, too. Double-tapping the right bud pauses or resumes playback, while triple-tapping skips to the next track.
They’re built to withstand downpours, so they’ll happily take on any sweat you throw at them on the trail. All in all, it’s a lot of tech and durability for a little money. Now you have no reason not to go out and hit the pavement.