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Best Headphones For Running

February 9, 2024
Stephanie Valente
Written by
Stephanie Valente
Stephanie Valente
Lead Editor
Reviewed by
Lead Editor
Lead Editor

Soundly conducts in-depth research to guide prospective hearing aid wearers. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

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Here’s a little secret about me: I’m trying to fall in love with running. 

It’s not that I don’t enjoy lacing up and jogging through my Brooklyn neighborhood, or reaping the many health benefits associated with the sport. And truthfully, I love the feeling of running once I hit a stride, where my body is engaged in a flow state and I’m floating on endorphins (aka, that runner’s high).

But I have a few speed bumps in the road when it comes to making my running habit a regular thing. When it comes to running outdoors, I’m a seasonal runner and you’ll definitely catch me outside from spring to fall. Winter? Not so much. (I tend to stick to running on a treadmill December through March). 

The next issue is a bit two fold. Truthfully, I tend to run too fast. I run as if I’m a supporting player on The Walking Dead who's trying to get more prominent screen time and not meet a grisly demise. While I need to work on my pacing, running too fast or too slow also seems to mess with my music and my earbuds—wired or Bluetooth—and inevitably one falls out. And just like that, my running flow is ruined.

For me, music is essential on my runs. I can’t really explain it, but having a good playlist gets my legs moving faster and my mind wanders off into a faraway place that helps me reduce stress

It seems like a small nuisance but when a lost earbud happens on every run, it becomes a bigger issue. Which leads me to my next mission: finding the best headphones for running.

What should I consider in running headphones?

When it comes to running, there’s a few variables that can make or break a set of headphones. Such as depending how often you and where you run for starters. 

Here’s what to consider in running headphones:

  • Fit
  • Comfort
  • IPX rating
  • Price

Why is an IPX rating important?

Water damage may not seem like an immediate concern on daily runs, especially if you hit up the treadmill. However, sweat happens. Or, your morning run might include a surprise rainstorm. Those two reasons are enough to pick up a pair of headphones that include an IPX rating of 4 or higher.

And if swimming is a part of your exercise routine, you might want to invest in a pair for some laps (aka, splashing and water submersion). 

FYI: IP stands for Ingress Protection Marking, a system that rates the level of defense mechanical and electrical casings offer against intrusions like dust, water, and more.

IP Rating Key Feature
IPX0 No water resistance at all
IPX1 – IPX2 Device will function with light rainfall or moisture
IPX3 – IPX4 Device will function with water spray conditions
IPX5 Device will remain functional in direct water spray like a hose or jet
IPX6 Device is able to be exposed to saltwater
IPX7 Device can be exposed to many water sources, get submerged (approximately 3.2 feet for 30 minutes)
IPX8 Device is able to be submerged underwater for more than 30 minutes

From fit and comfort to sound quality and IPX ratings and ease of use, I ran the gamut for a pair of durable and stable headphones. The results? I was impressed—and surprised—with my findings. And my runs will hopefully be more frequent and more fun.

So without further delay, here are the five best headphones that’ll make you fall in love with running again.

Apple AirPods Pro
For Apple Fans

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

$249.00
Listen to a demo
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BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY
IN-EAR FIT
6 HOURS OF LISTENING TIME
IP RATING: 4

Customer Review | “I use them for running and they surprisingly stay in place, although I still need to tighten its fit from time to time.” - Dom & Marty

To start off this list, many folks might be curious about Apple AirPods. Odds are, some people might already own these or are considering a pair for daily use, including fitness usage. With a rich audio experience and a customizable fit, these earbuds might just be a great starting point for runners. With cushy silicone tips for a customizable fit (available in XS, S, M, and L), the tips create an acoustic seal to keep the earbuds in place. And if you’re worried about the AirPods getting loose or falling out on the trail, give these ear hooks a try for a little extra security.

Soundly Scorecard
+
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Pros

Sound quality, noise cancellation

Cons

Mixed reviews on earbuds staying secure

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On Amazon
Cleer ARC Sport II
Best Open Earbuds

Cleer ARC Sport II

Cleer ARC Sport II

$169.99
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BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY
Up to 35 HOURS WITH 8 HOUR OF CONTINUOUS PLAYTIME
IP RATING: 5

Customer Review | “I run every day and am active and finding a good pair has been a multi-year endeavor. These sound great and are very comfortable. I think they are the best overall I have purchased.” - Paul Anderson

Want to be aware of your surroundings on a run? Whether it’s city sounds or a naturescape, this open ear set is like having two tiny mini speakers aimed at your ear canals. With flexible ear hooks, this pair easily slips over the ear without moving or falling. Now, for the specs: The Cleer Arc Sport II features water and sweat resistance, a 6-axis motion sensor for control, and Multipoint Connectivity (to switch between devices seamlessly). Many users also reported that the music is audible to the wearer and not to the outside world, unless the volume is turned all the way up.

Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

Comfortable, secure, good sound

Cons

Mixed reviews on sound quality

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On Amazon
Bose Sport Earbuds
Snug Fit

Bose Sport Earbuds

Bose Sport Earbuds

$179.98
Listen to a demo
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BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY
IN-EAR
UP TO 5 HOURS BATTERY LIFE
IP RATING: 5

Customer Review |“I use these for running and they stay in my ear better than any other EarPods out there. The sound quality is fantastic (obviously it’s Bose), the price is not obscene, and they have cool color options that actually look nice in your ears. I definitely would recommend these to anyone looking for something with good quality, at a good price.” - Adrian

If you’re set on a pair of earbuds for runs, Bose is leading the charge. Noted for a secure and comfortable fit, these buds come with three sizes of StayHere Max tips. Designed with simple touch and packed with Bose’s renowned life-like sound, these earbuds can carry you from runs to after workout stretches with ease. Worried about sweat interfering with sound or functionality? Don’t stress it—the earbuds have an IPX 4 rating so sweat or a surprise sunshower won’t break your stride.

Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

Adjustable, comfortable, sound

Cons

Short battery life, some reported connectivity issues

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On Amazon
Shokz Open Run Pro
Best Bone Conduction

Shokz Open Run Pro

Shokz Open Run Pro

$179.95
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pause
BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY
BONE CONDUCTION
10 HOURS OF CONTINUOUS PLAYTIME
IP RATING: IP67

Customer Review |“This is my 3rd Shokz headphone purchase. The battery life is great- I use them on all of my runs, some up to 50K. They are as comfortable as they can be. Bluetooth connection is fast and easy, pairs well to either iPhone or Android (I've used both).” - Tech Junkie#2

Want to run with free ears? Shokz is just the ticket. These bone conduction sport headphones transmit music directly into the inner ear while keeping your ears completely uncovered. You’ll be able to hear your surroundings totally unencumbered while receiving music or podcast streaming with a comfortable, bud-free design. Renowned for its sound quality and Shokz Turbo Pitch technology, the bone conduction headphones deliver a deep listening experience.

Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

Clear sound and quality

Cons

Bass is low, control buttons can get “stuck”

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On Amazon
JLab Go Air Sport
Best Budget Headphones

JLab Go Air Sport

JLab Go Air Sport

$24.95
Listen to a demo
pause
BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY
IN-EAR
OVER 8 HOURS OF PLAYTIME
IP RATING: IP55

Customer Review | “I use these earbuds for working out, especially running. They sit comfortably in my ears and the loop works well around my ears to keep them in place. I have never had these earbuds fall out of my ears during a run. The sound is good quality in my opinion. The touch “buttons” on the sides work well and I’ve received no complaints for the microphone’s sensitivity during phone calls.” - Nick

Hit the trails with JLab and never miss a beat. These sweatproof earbuds (IP55 rating) are ideal for working sessions indoors or outside, plus the dual connect functionality is great for users who prefer to listen out of one earbud independently (if you’re in a fitness class), can sync the pair up in a matter of moments, and charge up in their own case. With touch controls and EQ3 sound featuring JLab Signature, Balanced and Bass Boost modes, a rich audio experience is just a tap or two away.

Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

Battery life, sound quality, comfort

Cons

Some reported connectivity issues

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On Amazon
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