Finding the best wireless running headphones is about more than sound quality. It’s how do they fit? Can I use one to still hear things around me? Do they have enough battery life for a full marathon??
For years my iPod kept getting smaller, but my headphones remained pretty much the same with an annoying cord that hit me in the face or pulled. Seriously, it’s an investment I waited FAR TOO LONG to make.
Bonus points because now running headphones even work with your GPS watch if you don’t want to carry a phone!
In the last two years, I’ve seen a massive improvement in wireless headphones for running and thus was ready to really make some recommendations.
Not interested in all the research and just want to know what I’d pick?
✅These are the wireless headphones I use 90% of the time and love.
They have a super long battery life so I don’t have to worry about finding them dead and at the gym they block out all the outside noise.
Best Wireless Running Headphones
This list is a combo of my experiences and the top recommendations I received from a couple hundred runners on Instagram!
- Jaybird Vista Wireless Earbuds
- Aftershokz Air
- JBL Wireless
- Sennheiser CX Sport Wireless
These aren’t just researched, they’re real world tested and approved earbuds for running that don’t fall out.
4 years ago I tested out one of the first mp3 headphones from Sony (which are also good for swimming) and I swear tons of people are still looking at that review, so apparently these headphones do stand the test of time.
And recently, Sony sent me another pair of their greatly updated wireless earbuds. I have done a full review of the Sony earbuds on YouTube, but am not including them here because I don’t think they’re the best.
Best Bone Conducting Headphones
This is an interesting headphone option that uses bone conduction to eliminate the need for buds inside your ears and allows you to be more aware of what is happening around you.
Both David and I were shocked at how well we could hear using them! The major downside was he can’t wear them with his bike helmet and I run in to issues wearing them with my sunglasses, which are a must have.
However, I was very impressed with the 6 hour battery life (great for marathon day!) and the titanium construction makes the headphones lightweight and very flexible.
My friend Charlie of The Runner Beans wears them all the time and is a big fan because they’re comfortable and she feels stay put well. And if you find them cheaper than noted above, jump on it!
Best Earbuds for Running (my current fav)
When I was looking to change things up, these were the first one’s I considered. They’re designed for us sweaty runners and based on all the feedback I’ve received work incredibly well.
I was nervous about something that didn’t curve over my ear (what I require in wired headphones), but everyone swore they would stay in…and guess what they absolutely do! I have done a full video review of the Jaybird Vista if you want to see more details.
The one major thing I caution is they block out ALL NOISE. So I wear only 1 on a trail, I keep the volume low on the roads and love them in the gym. I will say however, if I try to use them for phone calls the other person tells me they pick up too much of the noise around me, especially wind.
Jennifer wears them daily and swears they’re one of the best things she’s done.
Running with Airpods – $150
After some consideration, initially I ended up buying these because I felt like I knew without a doubt they would work for phone calls…and if I’m spending $150 I just want one good thing.
So on the plus side they totally work and while I used to have issues with any earbuds staying in that seems to be better, these are solid. On the downside, sometimes I like taking out one earbud while on the trails (even though my podcasts are turned low or often off), but you can’t take out an earbud without turning them off.
And as I found out from calling my parents while I’m out walking because the microphone is farther from your mouth it picks up more of the ambient sounds like wind.
Do AirPods fall out while running?
While I could NEVER get the old wired apple headphones to stay in, I didn’t have any issues keeping my Airpods in my ears. Maybe it’s because there is no chord swinging and pulling them out, no idea.
I wore them for runs over 2+ hours and they stayed in just fine. Unfortunately, I noticed that as the runs got longer they started to hurt a little bit. I think that hard plastic inside the ear as you sweat just starts to cut a little bit.
You guys taught me how to change the settings (see comments) so I can tap the earbud to change tracks or to stop/start music. Unfortunately many of you are having another issue with me…randomly only 1 ear bud will work. I have to go through a whole reset and it fixes it, but only for a few days.
Best Overear Headphones for Working Out
JBL Wireless Headphones — $48
David has stolen these from me and they are now his go to. This is the downside to having fun gear …you have too much and then someone else uses it and you’re like “hey I want that!”
He, like many of you, likes having the strap so you can put these around your neck and feel like you won’t lose one earbud. Additionally, for most of my running life I would only by headphones that went over the ear because they stayed in better and tada here is your wireless option with that feature.
There is a newer version, but it has a wider strap that sits behind your head, which I’m not a fan of.
So this is basically your cheapest wireless running headphones option. And yes it still technically has a wire, but not connected to anything besides the earphones.
Best Sound Quality Running Headphones
These have gotten a lot of hype and I’m not totally sure why, they remind me a great deal of the Jabra Wireless headphones I tested out a MANY years ago, but with a much higher price tag.
These are similar to the headphones pictured on David with a cord that will run from bud to bud and your controls on that cord. It has a 6 hour battery life which is fine for most of us and does have a 10 minute quick charge option that will get up to an hour playtime.
I would say these are for the runner who is VERY concerned about sound quality. Otherwise, I can’t consider them better in than any of the others listed and probably won’t be ones I find myself using.
Are headphones or earbuds better for running?
Both have benefits, so it depends upon your running style and needs. Some runners like the wire better because it provides them with insurance that they won’t lose a headphone and because the controls are often on that wired piece making it easier than remembering 1 tap or 2 to make a change with earbuds.
Earbuds are great for eliminating yet another thing hitting you on the neck or bothering you as the miles progress.
One drawback to earbuds that I’ve noticed is if I turn them off for too long during the run then they shut down to conserve battery…that’s great, but sometimes when I try to reconnect them it’s a fail. They sometimes need to go back in to their case to get them to reset and have both earbuds connect again.
Are Wireless Headphones Good for Running?
I’d say they’re the best. But of course you can run in issue if for some reason it doesn’t want to stay connected via Bluetooth or they run out of battery, not an issue with a traditional cord pair.
Most runners will be surprised to find that plenty of these wireless models are earbuds that don’t fall out while running. It can take some adjustment with the rubber pieces provided and simply getting used to the feel. Admittedly, at first I just wanted my old school over the ear sport headphones, but after a few runs without that cord slapping around I knew I needed to adjust.
Best Cheap Wireless Headphones for Running?
You probably noticed that most of these are $100 or over and honestly that’s why these are in the best category. As someone who is NOTORIOUSLY bad about spending money and wanting to save, I can just say in this case it’s really worth getting a good pair.
Break the cost down over many years of running, many miles of running and many many hours not spent frustrated at the dead battery, poor fit or poor sound.
Add it to your runner gift list and tell Santa you’ve been extra good.
Looking for more reviews to find the best things for your run?
Checkout our full page of my must have running gear reviews and guides to save you time searching and money! I share what’s worked for me and fellow runners, along with what wasn’t worth the price tag.
A few common requests:
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- Best running socks (lightweight to compression)
- Best sunglasses for running
Have you tested out any other wireless headphones you loved?
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