Training might improve your pace, but sometimes it takes a killer playlist to power past your PB. Want sweet beats while you pound the pavement? The best running headphones are built to go the distance – and deliver musical motivation all the way.
Not sure which wireless earphones are the best fit for your sprinting style? From lightweight ’buds to sturdy neckbands, the list below features our pick of the top headphones for every sort of jogger.
So whether you’re working towards an endurance race or switching off with a few loops around the park, you’ll find your perfect pair of ’phones in our buying guide. The playlist’s up to you.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
At their core, Jabra’s Elite Active 75t are the same as Jabra’s Elite 75t. They’re the same size, feature the same 6mm drivers and offer the same battery life. They also ship in the same matchbox-sized charging case.
What’s different with the Active edition is a sportier fit and sturdier build: a grippy coating ensures they sit more securely in the ear, while an improved IP rating represents better durability. Wing tips would properly lock them in place, but they comfortably stay put during sporting pursuits.
The shell isn’t AirPods chic, but it stops short of bulky. Streamlined at 5g a piece, the Elite Active 75t offer a pared-back interface to match: there’s one button on each ‘bud, with a little learning curve to master the function of multiple taps.
Better by far is the solid boom from these tiny buds, correcting the Elite 65t’s lack of low-end punch. And thanks to a firmware update, they now support ANC. You can personalise this through the smartphone app, for hushed listening to suit your workout surroundings.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
Offering big sound and solid battery life in pocket-friendly packaging, these are the best all-round running headphones you can buy – and they now support ANC
Battery: 7.5 hours (earbuds), 20.5 hours (case) • ANC: Yes • Driver size: 6mm • Weight: 5.5g (per earbud), 35g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 • Water-resistance: IP57
Beats Fit Pro
Combining AirPods tech with a fitness-friendly fit, the Beats Fit Pro are some of the finest running headphones you can buy. Ditching the ear hooks of the Powerbeats Pro, they adopt a flexible wingtip and gel combo that’s designed for optimal comfort in any ear. It works brilliantly, creating an unshakeable fit that can withstand vigorous sprints.
With Apple’s H1 chip and 9.5mm drivers inside, sound quality is excellent. You get the same ANC and transparency modes as the AirPods Pro, plus an Adaptive EQ that tailors sound to your environment. There’s support for spatial audio too, which adds an immersive sense of dimension to the soundscape. Volume isn’t quite as loud as some rivals, but there’s punchy bass to move you, paired with crisp clarity.
Battery life is competitive at 30 hours, while wear-detect sensors prevent the Beats from playing in your pockets – although the absence of an off button means you’ll usually want to return them to their case. Connectivity with iOS devices is seamless, while the Android app also offers some customisation.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
Competitive battery life, rich sound and a lock-tight fit put the Beats Fit Pro among the best running headphones around
Battery: 7 hours (earbuds), 23 hours (case) • ANC: Yes • Driver size: 9.5mm • Weight: 5.5g (per earbud), 54g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 • Water-resistance: IPX4
Jaybird Vista 2
Jaybird’s got form when it comes to top running headphones and the Vista 2 stick to a proven formula: big battery life, solid sound and a secure, comfortable fit. But there are notable improvements, too. The tweaked tweeters now come with improved playback time, upgraded durability and ANC with hear-through smarts, making the Jaybirds a compelling proposition for runners.
Double-tap on the customisable button controls to flick between active noise cancellation and ambient awareness – although here’s not a huge difference between the two when music is playing. Audio performance is rich, full and not lacking in bass, while custom EQ controls in the app mean you can create and store several sound profiles.
With an IP68 rating, the Jaybird Vista 2 are fully resistant to sweat and water, while the charging case is IP54 weatherproof. That container can boost the 8-hour earbud battery life by another 16, plus rapid charging is as good as it gets: five minutes equals an hour of playback time – ideal if you’ve forgotten to charge your earphones before a 5K.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
Built tougher than the original Vista ‘buds, these second-gen Jaybirds also sound better, last longer and now do a decent job of cancelling background noise
Battery: 8 hours (earbuds), 16 hours (case) • ANC: Yes • Driver size: 6mm • Weight: 7g (per earbud), 44g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 • Water-resistance: IP68
Beats Powerbeats Pro
Long top of the list for audiophiles on the run, the Powerbeats Pro remain a stellar option for those who prefer an unshakeable ear hook fit. That design does mean the Powerbeats require a chunky charging case. And given the size, it’s a shame the container doesn’t include wireless charging, relying instead on a Lightning connector.
Still, the headphones and case both feel premium. So does their functionality: from setup to sprint, the whole process is broadly flawless. Wear sensors power auto-pause smarts, while an H1 chip inside makes it a cinch to sync with iOS devices. In a progressive move, each earbud benefits from full-function controls, rather than one serving as the dominant commander.
While that over-ear approach won’t be for everyone, it ensures a snug and secure fit. Noise isolation isn’t the greatest, but the Powerbeats Pro do offer one of the most rounded and refined soundscapes of any Beats device. There’s still plenty of bass, but it no longer suffocates the mids and treble. Plus you get a class-leading 9-hour battery life.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
With grown-up sound, a smooth interface and secure fit, these are the best running headphones for Apple smartphone owners – and seriously tempting for everyone else
Battery: 9 hours (earbuds), 24+ hours (total with case) • ANC: No • Driver size: 12mm • Weight: 21g (earbuds), 130g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 • Water-resistance: IPX4
Wrapped in a rubberised shell, Urbanista’s rugged ‘buds state their intentions clearly: with IP67 waterproofing and a sturdy silicone finish, durability is the order of the day. Yet despite the tough build, they stop short of chunky. Spend some time finding the right pairing of tips and wings and you’ll be rewarded with a fit that’s comfortable and secure on the move.
Accompanying the Athens is a 50g case that extends the eight-hour battery life by another 24 hours, which is up there with the best of any wireless running earphones. The flip-side is that you don’t get rapid or wireless charging. Buttons on the back of each earbud require a firm press, which is no bad thing: they remove any risk of accidental inputs while you run.
In the ear, you’ll find the Athens deliver a consciously meaty sound profile. Yes, the soundstage could be more expansive and the strong bass can sometimes overwhelm the mids. But paired with highly effective passive noise isolation, these earbuds deliver a sonic experience that gets you moving – and they’re among the most affordable earphones in this list.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
Rugged, punchy and packing plenty of charge, these active earbuds might lack a transparency mode, but they still deliver a lot for their price tag
Battery: 8 hours (earbuds), 24 hours (case) • ANC: No • Driver size: 6mm • Weight: 6g (per earbud), 39g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 • Water-resistance: IP67
Wearable every day, Apple’s top-spec AirPods do a solid job as running headphones – especially if you’re an iPhone owner. Shorter stems and silicone tips mark them out from Apple’s standard earphones. Paired with a lightweight build, those same design elements also mean they sit pretty in the ear. Rivals with hooks or wings will lock in more securely, but for joggers about town, the AirPods Pro generally feel secure.
IPX4 waterproofing isn’t the toughest, but it’s enough for the AirPods Pro to survive a shower. Capacitive stem controls make it easy to enable ANC and transparency modes on the fly. Both are impressive, whether you want the world to disappear or let just enough noise in to stay safe on the pavement.
Less impressive is the battery life: with ANC and transparency enabled, longevity is limited to 4.5 hours. But stick the AirPods Pro back in their wireless charging case and you’ll get another 19. Plus just five minutes of rest delivers an hour of juice.
Sound quality is solid, courtesy of Apple’s adaptive equaliser. There are more balanced, dynamic options out there, but the AirPods Pro are a package that’s easy on the ears – in more ways than one.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
Comfortable to wear and intuitive to use, Apple’s top-spec wireless ‘Pods do a stellar job as running headphones – especially with transparency smarts in the mix
Battery: 5 hours (earbuds), 24 hours (with case) • ANC: Yes • Driver size: 11mm • Weight: 5.4g (per earbud), 46g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 • Water-resistance: IPX4
Bose SoundSport Wireless
Most running earbuds have gone fully wireless. Despite the tag on the end of their name, Bose’s SoundSport Wireless are some of the few earphones that still feature a cord connecting the pair. And if that’s your style, they’re also the best of their breed.
Hooks keep them firmly in place when running, while a collar clip stops them from bouncing around as you pound the pavement. The in-line remote – a rarity in this era of touch controls – offers reassuring physical feedback, with an ergonomic curved design that keeps it from tugging on the right earbud.
Sound quality is as good as you’d expect from a set of Bose ‘phones: clear and dynamic, they’ll pump out your favourite playlist with panache. There’s no ANC, but passive noise cancellation is excellent. In fact, some might find it too effective, especially if you prefer to keep passing traffic on your radar.
Battery life is pretty standard at six hours, with an IPX4 rating matching several newer rivals when it comes to weatherproofing. Forever losing your earphones before a run? Configure Tile integration through the Bose Connect app and you’ll be able to use the Bluetooth tracking service to pinpoint their last-known location.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
Battery life could be longer, but with top-notch audio and wings that securely hook in place, these bulky Bose ‘buds won’t budge on the run
Battery: 6 hours • ANC: No • Weight: 23g • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1 • Water-resistance: IPX4
Jabra Elite Active 65t
These Jabra ‘buds have multiple successors, but they remain a solid option for runners. And because they’re not the latest release, you can now add these sporty in-ears to your sprinting ensemble for a lot less. Despite their bulbous build, the Elite Active 65t slot perfectly in the ear: simply pick a tip that fits and give them a twist. This secures the fit, although it can become uncomfortable after a while.
Link up with the smartphone app and you’ll have the option to pick between sound presets or tweak the EQ. Here you can also configure HearThrough smarts: although there’s no ANC, integrated mics can pipe in outside sounds, allowing you to be more aware of your surroundings. Otherwise, the snug fit means noise isolation is excellent.
Sonically, you get a nice balance between punchy base and a detailed high end. Audiophiles will have their gripes, but for tunes on the jog, they still deliver the goods. The five-hour battery life won’t set your world alight; nor will the 10-hour backup in the charging case. But if you’re looking for a pair of budget running earphones, the Jabra Elite Active 65t are tough to beat at their current price.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
Since usurped by newer models, these sweat-proof sports ‘phones still sound great and fit well – and they’re now even better value for runners
Battery: 5 hours (earbuds), 10 hours (with case) • ANC: No • Driver size: 6×5.1mm • Weight: 12.3g (earbuds), 67g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 • Water-resistance: IP55
Bone conduction headphones send vibrations through your jaw, leaving your ears open to the world around you. Sounds weird, but it works. The common downside is that low vibrations are tricky to transmit – something these Philips ‘phones go some way to addressing.
Sacrificing a bit of battery life in favour of bass, they can deliver beefy beats without drowning out the world. Head to the partner app and you can tailor the sound profile to your liking. Enable the bass mode and you’ll see longevity drop from the claimed nine hours to around five. Sound quality still won’t rival a set of in-ears, but this set does manage to elevate audio to something warmer and more rewarding, with low-end when you want it.
Adding to the sporty appeal are LED lights integrated into control mounts, which can blink or glow for increased visibility. Despite adding some bulk to the otherwise slim neckband, the mounts themselves don’t weigh it down. The whole package also has an IP67 rating, so it can survive sweat, dust, rain and the rest.
If you want running headphones that deliver decent sound and a comfortable fit without blocking your ears, these are well worth a look.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
Sacrificing some battery in favour of bass, these bone-conduction earphones deliver punch without drowning out the world – plus integrated running lights mean you’ll be seen
Battery: 9 hours • ANC: N/A • Weight: 35g • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 • Water-resistance: IP67