Whether you're just starting to learn to enjoy running, you've been jogging around your local park for years to stay in shape, or you're a competitive runner, there's no denying that music motivates you. It lets you block out external distractions and focus on your breathing, rhythm, and technique. Multiple studies, like the 2009 study from Liverpool John Moores University and the 2004 research from Lincoln University, show that music increases athletic performance. With the right sports headphones, you can let your favorite tracks motivate you as you run.
Choose the Right Type
Go for earbuds or IEMs (in-ear monitors). Earbuds are the most budget-friendly and sit on the ridge of the outer ear. Though they are affordable, they are more likely to slip out of place than IEMs and offer lower fidelity and fewer advanced features like noise cancellation. However, for beginners and those on a tight budget, standard sports earbuds are a good choice.
IEMs sit snugly in the ear canal and usually have a choice of tip sizes in foam or rubber. These are a popular choice with all types of athletes as they offer a secure fit and higher-end models offer exceptional sound quality that can rival high-end closed-back over-ear headphones.
1. Bose SoundSport
The Bose SoundSport is among the best headphones for running and is available in wired or wireless models. These high-end sports headphones use Bose's proprietary StayHear+ ear tip design, so they don't block environmental sounds completely. They sit relatively loosely in your ears without frequently falling out, letting you stay aware of potential hazards like traffic without the distraction of having to repeatedly insert the tips back into your ears. It's this combination of safety and usability, along with sweat and water resistance, that gets these Bose sports headphones on the list. They offer high-quality sound, too, as well as inline controls and a microphone.
2. Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless
Beats is known for its quality products, and the Powerbeats 2 is a solid offering. They are sweatproof, lightweight and comfortable and are a good choice for runners of all types and abilities. Powerbeats are a good choice if you like earhooks or tend to run across rough terrain as they have moldable ear hooks for a secure, customized fit. The earbuds themselves offer a relatively loose fit, so ambient noise does leak in, helping you stay safe while training. While they're a little pricey, they do offer a secure, comfortable fit, let in a safe level of ambient noise and produce rich, clear audio.
3. JVC Gumy Sport
The JVC Gumy Sport headphones make the list because of their impressive design and performance combined with the low price. These budget-friendly in-ear headphones are available in plenty of different bold colors and come in wired or wireless models. JVC's low-cost offering is lightweight and the buds are hybrids – part hard and part soft. You also get three sizes of soft silicone tips. While you don't get any advanced features like inline controls, noise cancellation or an inline mic, you do get solid sound quality and excellent value for the money.
4. Panasonic Water Resistant Sports Clip Earbuds
Panasonic's budget-friendly offering makes our list of the best headphones for running because of its low cost and its outstanding design. This product represents great value and is popular with all types of runners. The Panasonic RP-HS34 has bendable over-ear hooks for a tailored fit that keeps the earbuds firmly but comfortably nestled inside your ears. They are resistant to rain and sweat and boast an ultra-light construction that's ideal for running, cycling and other intense activities.
5. Sennheiser OCX 685i
Sennheiser's OCX 685i sports headphones are waterproof and sweatproof, and they include an inline microphone and controls. The design includes bendable over-the-ear hooks with a rubber and memory wire construction to ensure the buds stay comfortably but snugly in your ears. You get a choice of six different antibacterial earbud sizes so you can easily find the best fit. If you choose tight-fitting tips that essentially fill your ear canal, you'll benefit from passive noise isolation. While this isn't the safest choice for running on the road, it is a great option for running on the treadmill in the gym, as you can really focus on your workout and performance. This model makes the best list because it's a step up from the most budget-friendly models and offers plenty of advanced features without breaking the bank.
When it comes to the best headphones for running, there are so many contenders for the top spots. We looked at design, sound quality, features, performance and cost to bring you a selection of outstanding headphones for running from reputable manufacturers, with something for every budget.