Running headphones are arguably just as important as your running shoes. The better the fit, the greater the comfort, the longer your run. It’s pretty simple. So why does finding the best running headphones seem like anything but? Some don’t stay in place no matter how hard you cram them in; others have unreliable Bluetooth connectivity and a high chance of shorting out mid-sprint; and most just don’t have the audio specs you crave to hear your favorite running playlist with utmost clarity.
Thankfully, the best running headphones of today have improved drastically from the buds or corded monstrosities you probably have knotted in your junk drawer. We’ve rounded up the brands that will give you the best overall experience when it comes to sound quality, comfort, wearability, and connectivity. After all, running outdoors is one of the greatest escapes; you deserve a pair of running headphones that can keep up.
These top picks deliver the full sonic range, from bass to treble to high hat, while also staying snugly in your ears no matter how hard you sprint. We selected a range of styles, whether you like buds that are barely visible or semi-wireless (one wire)—good for those who are prone to losing things. These have also been tested to ensure they don’t lose their connection every time you hit a long stride.
Whether you’re training for a marathon, run just a few miles each week, or are lacing up for the first time, these are the best running headphones to train comfortably mile after mile.
1. Jabra Elite Active 75t
These are the most discrete, snug-fitting buds of the bunch, and they’re both waterproof and sweatproof. With five-and-half hours of continuous play (and up to 28 with the charging case), Jabra’s Elite Active 75t will keep kicking well beyond your cooldown. Just beware: Because they’re noise-canceling and fit so nicely in your ears, you may not hear cars or cyclists as they pass (so run against oncoming traffic, as you always should).[$149; jabra.com]
2. Bose Sport Open Earbuds
Bose takes the opposite approach of most buds: Instead of covering your ear, they hug around it, allowing you to hear your music and the ambient noise around you. These are perfect if you don’t like the feeling of earbuds and want to maintain some situational awareness. Their sound quality is fantastic, and they’re water-resistant to boot.[$199; bose.com]
3. Beats Powerbeats Pro
Powerbeats Pro are larger than Jabra and Bose’s offerings, which gives them even more battery life: Nine hours without a charge and a “Fast Fuel” that provides 1.5 hours of playback when the battery is zapped. You can also play one side or both, and control the volume and track from either earbud.[$199; beatsbydre.com]
4. Jaybird Tarah Pro
Sweatproof, waterproof and, with 14 hours of battery life, Jaybird’s Tarah Pro are best suited for long distances and extreme environments. If you need to take a call while you’re out on the trail, there’s a built-in microphone; your boss will be none the wiser should you peel out during the workday for a quick exercise snack.[$129; jaybirdsport.com]
5. JBL Reflect Mini 2
The most affordable headphones on our list, JBL’s Reflect Mini 2 boasts a stellar battery life: 10 hours on a full charge and an hour with just 15 minutes of charge. Their reflective cables also mean you’ll be visible if you’re running at night, and the three-button remote makes it easy to control your music without breaking your pace.[$99; jbl.com]
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