Thanks to all of the new technology available, it has never been easier to take your music with you wherever you run. Rare is the runner who doesn’t plug into their iPod or other MP3 player before heading out onto the road or climbing aboard the treadmill. With everything that is out there, it can be difficult to find the best running headphones for you.
It is crucial that you pick a good set of headphones to bring the music to your ears. Listening to music is a great way to stay motivated, keep your mind engaged, and add enjoyment to the process of working through a long run. With all of the sweating and pounding that occurs during a run, you will need headphones that are up to the task of holding tight to your head and maintaining good audio quality.
The following choices are some of the best running headphones on the market today. I've separated out the products into in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear categories. Click on the tabs for each product to see what I think about them.
In Ear Headphones
In ear headphones, or earbuds as they are more popularly known, have been the athletic industry standard for some time now.
They are small, they are convenient, and in many cases are reasonably priced. There are a TON of different options to choose from out there, each varying in price and functionality.
Check out our top 3 earbuds picks in the tabs below.
- Jaybird X2 Sport
- Bose SoundSport
- PANASONIC RPHJE120K
Don't get tangled up in your headphones ever again. The Jaybird X2 Sport's are Bluetooth enabled earbuds that offer superior fit and sound quality. The inline remote allows you to adjust volume, change songs, and even receive calls without ever having to take your phone out of your pocket.
When you open up the box, you will see 6 different earpiece options, 3 wing options, and 3 line clips. This ensures that the Jaybird X2's will fit almost any ear. They also come with a USB charge cable and a silicon carrying case.
Featuring a 100 mAh battery, you'll get up to 8 hours of uninterrupted play time and 250 hours of standby time on a single charge. Not only that, but they come with a lifetime sweat-proof guarantee.
Priced at $139, the X2's are a top shelf product that all runners should consider.
The Bose Soundsport ear buds are another top of the line option for sport headphones. If you're familiar with Bose products, you know that they're of the highest quality.
A new pair of these babies will run you between $100 - $130. The more expensive version comes with an inline controller and mic to switch between songs, adjust volume, and take calls.
They are renowned as the most comfortable earbuds on the market. For your convenience, they come with 3 changeable ear pieces, so you can get the right fit.
The sound quality is pretty good as far as earbuds go, but they do tend to let in a lot of ambient noise. This is a problem with all earbuds and is not unique to the Bose Soundsports. It's simply the nature of the beast.
I believe that these are priced a little high for what you are getting, but they are just about the most comfortable option on the market. They won't disappoint.
The Panasonic RPHJE120K earbuds are your basic wired headphones. They are, for all intents and purposes, a "generic" earbud. But don't be fooled, there is more to these little guys than meets the eye.
The biggest selling point for these is that they only cost $7. That's right. If you can scrape together 7 whole dollars, these can be yours. But inexpensive does not always mean cheap. These are a great value for what they are.
You get 3 different sized rubber ear pieces, so you should be able to get a decent fit. They actually stay in your ear while you're running and are pretty comfortable too. Coming in at a whole 1.4 ounces, you'll probably forget you're wearing them.
While sound quality isn't bad, it's certainly nothing to write home about. But if you're buying earbuds, your're probably not overly concerned with sound quality to begin with.
For being $7 headphones, their quality is really quite good. They obviously lack certain features like Bluetooth, an inline mic/controller, and mind blowing sound quality. But as far as inexpensive headphone go, these are the tops.
On Ear Headphones
On ear headphone have started to become more and more popular in today's fitness culture. This is partly due to the fact that on ear headphones are "cool" right now.
But they also solve a common problem prevalent with In ear headphones. In ear models are often unable to block out ambient noise during physical activity. On ear systems tend be superior in this area.
Take a look at some of our top picks for on ear headphones in the tabs below.
- Monster ISPort Freedom
- Urbanears hellas
- Kinivo bth240
The Monster iSport Freedom on ear headphones are geared specifically towards runners. With their lime green body and reflective strips, you’ll easily be seen no matter when your run.
To keep their weight in check, plastic and rubber were used as their primary materials. The ear cups are lined with a ventilated antimicrobial cushion and can even be washed without fear of damaging the electronics.
The Freedom’s are bluetooth enabled so no need to worry about dangling cables. They were praised for their high quality connectivity with few users reporting connection loss during runs.
While overall sounds quality was good, they do fall short in sound isolation. Tests showed that the iSports do not do a very good job sealing out ambient noise. Most users report having to crank up the volume to drown out their surroundings, which leads to sound leakage.
These are a little pricey at $160, but overall these are an excellent choice for runners looking for a stylish, yet functional, set of on ear headphones.
Urbanears Hellas were designed with runners in mind. These bluetooth enabled beauties come in four different color combinations. Reflective patterns were integrated into to headband design for added safety while running in low light conditions.
The headphones are relatively light due to their plastic construction, coming in at 4.5 ounces.
The earpads and headband are made of an absorbent quick drying mesh so your headphones won’t start slopping around when your juices start flowing. They are also removable and can be machine washed in a mesh bag that comes in the box.
The Hellas feature a buttonless design and are controlled by a touch pad on the right earcup. The controls were found to be a little finicky, but mostly consistent once you get used to them.
The sounds quality was reported to be somewhat underwhelming, but very clear and adequate for the majority of users.
Priced at $120, these are worth a look for anyone who is searching for a nice set of mid/upper range running headphones.
The Kinivo BTH240’s may not look like much, but don’t brush them aside just yet. These have become extremely popular for a number of reasons. The biggest one being the price. You can commandeer a set of these off of Amazon for right around $25.
These are also the most compact headphones in our on ear group and fold up small enough to fit in a pocket. Due to their small size, they are extremely lightweight (2.5 ounces) and sit behind your head rather than on it.
They are a Bluetooth enabled headset that sport hands free calling - no cables to worry about. With it's rechargeable battery, you'll be able get up to 10 hours of listening time and 200 hours standby on a single charge.
Sound quality, while definitely not top of the line, exceeded expectations for the price of the head phones.
These may not top the charts in a lot of categories, but they definitely give you the biggest bang for your buck if you’re on a budget. For 25 smackers, you really can't go wrong here.
Over Ear Headphones
You don't see people wearing over ear headphones very often while exercising. They are bulky and just flat out look a little funny.
That being said, much like the revolution of the on ear headphones, over the ear systems have become a growing trend. Over the ear models offer unparalleled sound quality and ambient noise cancellation which is desirable for many athletes.
Check out our favorite over ear headphones for runners in the tabs below.
- AUsdom m04
- Soul combat+
- rhythmz blu hd
Ausdom is a newcomer when it comes to headphones market. Most people are unfamiliar with the brand and quality of their products. Rest assured that they have developed a top notch product where the Ausdom M04’s are concerned.
They are classified as a bluetooth headphone, but also come with a wired connection that can be used according to the listener's preference.
They are pretty lightweight as far as over head headphones are concerned, coming in at 7 ounces. The M04’s sport Ausdom’s detailed-wireless-sound technology to provide optimal sound quality through a full range audio spectrum. They also have a phenomenal battery life of up to 18 listening hours and only take 3 hours to charge.
While these are not marketed specifically to runners, many users have reported excellent results when used in this line of duty. They’re definitely worth a look if you're in the market. At the price point of $40, they can’t be beat.
The Soul Combat+ over ear headphones came out in 2013, but are still a very popular option when it comes to over ear workout wear. The sleek design and good sound quality top the list as fan favorites.
They are designed for those music buffs who like high end sound, but don’t want to bring their fancy headphones to the gym.
The basic band construction is made of a durable rubberized plastic. The ear pads are made of a sweat resistant memory foam material and are also removable for easy cleaning and replacement. They are breathable, yet still offer a good seal to drown out back noise.
One gripe that customers have is with the cable. The L-shaped cable is inherently weak and prone to breakage. From what I have heard, their warranty department is a pain to work with, so tread carefully.
In my opinion, the price tag is a little steep. But if style and sound quality are important to you, these are worth a shot.
If you're looking for a mid-range, all-around, set of headphones, the Rhythmz Blu HD's are your babies. They feature Bluetooth connectivity, touch gesture controls, and a built-in mic to make your running experience as hands free as possible. It also comes with a cable if you prefer a wired connection.
They are also easy to pack as they are fold-able and come with a carrying case. They do not have noise reduction capabilities, but the ear-cups do pretty good job of keeping the music in and the ambient noise out. The ear pads are made of a breathable cotton so you ears won’t cook while you're out on your run.
Sound quality is about what you would expect from a pair of mid ranged over ear headphones. But where they really shine is their Bluetooth connection. You can be as far as 30 feet away from your device with no discernible compromise in connectivity.
The sleek design certainly makes them look high end. As far as price is concerned, they actually wind up in the middle of the pack around $80 a pair.
They may not be a studio recorders dream, but if you're looking for a mix of quality and affordability in a pair of over ear headphones, these are an excellent choice.
The best running headphones are the ones that fit comfortably onto your head and allow you to get the most out of your running experience. You should be able to find a pair that fits your lifestyle, your budget, and your head.
If you can, try to demo headphones before you buy them so you can ensure that they will stay snug to your head throughout the run. Make sure to try a few different models from the list above and make the choice that will fit your needs just right.
Have you tried any of the headphones above? Do you have a favorite pair that we didn't talk about? Let us know down in the comments!