The best headphones for running

Our Recommends the best headphones for running and gym workouts

Pounding the pavements is good for the soul, but when the miles get tough, a bit of musical inspiration can really help you to power on through. Whether you’re out on a run or hitting the treadmill, we’ve lined up some of our favourite headphones for running and the gym.

Our current WIRED Recommends top pick is the Jaybird RUN. We think these sweat and water resistant earphones are perfect for running and the gym. You may also want to read our guides on the best running shoes and the best running watches.

Which running headphones are best for you?

Before you read our recommendations, there are a few decisions to keep in mind. First up, you have a choice of wired, ‘true’ wireless and semi-wireless – where the earbuds are connected by a wire round your neck but use Bluetooth to connect to your phone. If truly wireless, you’ll want to make sure you’re happy with the size and weight.

Either way, you’ll want to choose a pair with a snug fit so they don’t fall out – a good selection of gels and wing tips or over-ear hooks can help here. Depending on where you plan to use your new buds, you might also want to go for a pair with a waterproofing (and sweatproofing) rating.

In terms of sound, it’s down to personal preference whether you prefer noise-isolating buds with energetic audio to drown out the sound of your feet hitting the treadmill or at the other extreme, open-ear bone conduction earphones to let in the street noises around you.

More of a recent development, another choice you’ll have to make is around whether you need your running headphones to double up as an activity or heart rate tracker or if you’re prioritising pure sound. Some running headphones on this list offer built-in heart rate monitoring, rep counting or in-ear voice coaching but if you have a sports watch, for instance, this might be an unnecessary extra.

If you want to know even more about running headphones, we recommend visiting guys who know a lot about headphones. This is a team from newrealreview.com, they are real professionals. Their recent Jabra Elite 65t Review has become one of the most popular in the United States.

Recommends: Jaybird RUN
Compact, convenient and comfortable with a life-saving five-minute rapid charge and plenty of noise isolating, full-bodied sound to boot, if there’s a better set of true wireless running headphones than the Jaybird RUN (£170) out there, we’re yet to find them.

At just 15g, the RUN are superbly light with a protective carry case that’s just about small enough to take with you on longer runs. So, while you don’t get quite as much runtime from the battery as you would from the Bose Soundsport Free – the RUN have four hours in the headphones – it’s easy to unlock eight hours from the back-up charging case, and that’s more than enough for most runners’ needs, even those pushing ultra distances.

With a selection of wing tips and gels, they offer a snug, lock-tight fit for almost any ears and the buds don’t protrude like some other true wireless options, giving a much more subtle look, so these can double as your everyday commuter headphones as well. Full sound customisation via a partner app lets you tweak the EQ levels to suit your personal preferences.

They are, of course, sweatproof and water resistant, so you can run hard in any weather without fear of damaging your buds.

Monster iSport Victory

If you’re not yet ready to go fully wireless, the third generation Monster iSport Victory (£80) are a solid set of wired, in-ear Bluetooth headphones that offer punchy sound and great in-run comfort at a really competitive price.

They are extremely light at 15g, plenty durable to survive in a gym bag and once you selected the gels and wings to fit your ears, they don’t budge an inch, though the inline controls do tug a little if you don’t use the wire clip provided to hold things in place.

There are two audio modes – Normal and Turbo – that you can flick between easily mid-run using those inline controls. Turbo boosts the bass and tweaks the mids and highs to give your music some extra bite.

You get eight hours’ runtime from a single charge, and with an IPX5 rating they ward off sweat and rain while the headphone cable comes with a reflective coating for some added night-run safety.