For many, music is a requirement for running. It keeps motivation high and even helps you use less oxygen. But with so many headphones on the market today, how do you choose a good pair that won’t force you to fiddle with wires and settings? To help you choose, we’ve rounded up some of the best wireless headphones for running, all of which are Bluetooth-capable.
First, a few tips for finding the best headphone for your current running situation:
- Cords: For wireless headphones, a cord between the buds usually means creates a better connection and battery life. Removing the thread between for a truly wireless headphone means, well, no cords to deal with.
- Sweatproof capabilities: Are you likely to be dripping sweat on a workout or running in the rain? Look for a set that has an IP rating if IP5 or IP6, like all the headphones in this article
- Sound quality: AAC support for iPhones and aptX support for Androids mean better sound quality.
- Fit: Ears are like fingerprints. Everyone is different. Most fitness headphones come with different size ear tips and rubber wings that hold the bud in your ear and seal in the sound. Get something with a wing or ear hook if you are moving a lot.
Best Wireless Headphones for Running
The latest and greatest from Jabra, the Elite Active 65t is the lighter weight brother of the Elite Sport. Jabra has removed the heavy heart rate monitor, added a grippy coating, and increased battery life, building a very comfortable, truly wireless earbud. There are no wires running behind your head on these ones.
The Elite Active 65t has five hours of battery life and another 10 in the charging case. An integrated motion sensor in the earbuds can track steps through the Jabra phone app, which also lets you make basic equalizer changes to the bass, mid, and treble. The wireless connection is solid and has no issue with bouncing around on a run. The buds sit snug in your ears and bring great bass.
One of the problems with plugging your ears is not being able to hear traffic or other people when running. Jabra solves this with HearThrough technology, which plays outside sounds through the headphone. You can set how much it plays via the same app.
Bose has a reputation for high-quality sound and the brand’s SoundSport Free headphones keep that reputation strong. Sound quality is excellent on these truly wireless headphones. Bass, mids, and treble are optimized depending on the volume so you can crank it when you need that motivational boost.
As long as you can get over the mushroom look to these earbuds, you’ll be surprised at how comfortable they are. I found I could wear them longer than any other pair truly wireless headphones. The ear tips and wings don’t go as far into your ear and don’t cause as much of the “plugged ear” sensation when running.
The SoundSport Free has five hours of battery life and another 10 in the case, where little magnets keep the buds snapped into place. A phone app helps you “find my buds” if you’ve misplaced them, a constant struggle with headphones so small.
Larger headphones can have larger batteries, and such is the case with the JLab Audio Epic Air truly wireless headphones. The company has taken its award-winning corded wireless headphones and chopped the cord on this pair.
With eight different ear tips and a sizable ear hook, Epic Air buds aren’t coming off. The bigger battery gives you six hours of playtime and the larger antennae provide better Bluetooth connectivity and fewer dropouts. The charging case, which carries charge for another 30 hours of listening time, has an integrated USB cable so you’ll never lose it.
Most truly wireless headphones only pair the right earbud to your phone, but the Epic Air pair to either the left or right, affording you the best connectivity to your phone and the ability to run with one earbud. For the audiophiles out there, JLab has a free app with a headphone burn-in feature, an eight-hour track with the ideal sounds for breaking in the driver.
The smallest truly wireless headphone we tested, the Jaybird Run has been a favorite of runners for a while. They are tiny, light, and comfortable to wear. Three different sizes of ear tips and wings let you customize the fit.
The Run connects to Jaybird’s app to do updates when you need to and find them when you lose them. However, the app really shines with all the different sound presets, which configure the bass, mids, and treble in the music. You can look up other users’ presets or configure and save your own. Athletes like Timothy Olson and Rory Bosio have saved their favorites for download as well.
The Aftershokz Trekz Air sit on your cheekbones just in front of your ears and deliver sound through the bone — seriously. One of the biggest surprises of this review was how comfortable bone-conducting sound can be.
Why go to all the work to get sound-waves through your head instead of just wearing normal headphones? It keeps your ears open. While listening to music (or taking a phone call), you can still hear traffic, bears, or maybe just your kids. The bass doesn’t thump like an in-ear headphone, but the sound quality is clear. There are also equalizer presets to increase or decrease the bass.
The Trekz Air is the newer, lighter version of Aftershokz’s popular Titanium model, so they can easily be worn for hours with no ear fatigue. They run for six hours on a charge and weigh just over 1 ounce.
Headphone models with a wire in between the earbuds are often less expensive, smaller in your ears, and have a longer battery life. Optoma has given its popular NuForce BE Sport3 headphones an upgrade to the BE Sport4, which boast drivers coated in graphene and a 15-minute quick-charge for two hours of listening; 10 total hours of battery life keeps you running for as long as you need to go.
The BE Sport4 has many ear tip and wing combinations to choose from. For example, the SpinFit TwinBlade tips have two layers of silicone for an even better fit. When you’re not listening, just throw the 0.5-ounce headphones around your neck and the magnets on the back of the buds will keep them secure.
If you’re just looking for a simple, lightweight headphone, the JBL Reflect Mini 2 might be the ticket. At just 0.5 ounces for the set and 10 hours battery life, there’s not much here but solid JBL sound. The ear tips run a touch on the larger side, so factor that in when buying. The reflective strip all the way across the cord helps everyone see you at night.
The least expensive in our round-up, the Decibullz Custom-Fit earphones are the most customizable. Like most earbuds, they come with three different sizes of ear-tips. Beyond that, they’re like no other headphones we’ve seen.
Based on the team’s expertise in making custom-moldable earplugs for musicians, Decibullz has made a headphone that’s perfectly shaped to your ears. Around the acutal headphone is a heat moldable insert. Boil the insert for a couple minutes and then stick it on the bud and into your ear (once it’s cooled a bit). Voila — a perfect custom fit to each of your ears. The inserts can be molded multiple times or spot-fixed with a hairdryer.
You can expect 4.5 hours of battery life for a smaller cost than most headphones. And they sound pretty good too.
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