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Best Workout Headphones & Earbuds for Running 2023 Review

Best Workout Headphones & Earbuds for Running 2023 Review

The gym can be the ultimate source of escape, as can exercising outdoors. And a great set of workout headphones can really elevate your sessions! Below, we’ve highlighted several of the best options that will keep you focused on your fitness activity, as well as insight into choosing the perfect pair.

What to Look For When Buying Workout Headphones or Earbuds

A variety of factors can influence headphone selection and should be considered in order to really get the most out of your workout. Here are the most important.

Sweatproof & Waterproof

Headphones have become a true fashion accessory in the last decade, with consumers often opting for style over function. This choice shouldn't be a factor when working out. Thankfully, the best headphones for working out don’t sacrifice either quality - with the right pair, you can look amazing without having to worry about damage from sweat, water, or other fluids you might encounter at the gym or the outdoors.

Bluetooth Functionality

Wireless headphones are a must at the gym or while hiking, biking, running, climbing, or a host of other activities, as dealing with cords can be outright dangerous while operating free weights, machines, or free movement in general. Bluetooth functionality is crucial not only for pairing your headphones to your listening device but also for interfacing with modern cardio equipment that allows you to listen to whatever is playing on the built-in monitor.

Secure & Comfortable Fit

You wouldn’t work out in an ill-fitting pair of pants or shoes, so it only makes sense that your headphones should feel as snug and secure as the rest of your wardrobe. Otherwise, your session could be constantly derailed as you make necessary adjustments. When purchasing a new set of headphones or earbuds, opt for a pair that you can try on first. Move around a bit to determine how they'll hold up.

Sound Quality

It should go without saying that great sound quality is a key component in choosing a pair of headphones. That being said, many consumers simply assume that any set they buy will sound great. This isn’t always the case, especially since some headphone brands intentionally amp up the bass or otherwise alter the sound in a way that may not be to your liking.

As you evaluate various brands and models based on sound quality, listen to several types of music to determine how each pair handles various genres. While the ideal is a set that can deliver stellar sound quality in all situations, the emphasis for workout headphones should be on the type of music you typically use at the gym or during outdoor activity. For most people, this will involve bass-heavy pop, rock, hip-hop, or EDM. Others, however, prefer calming music for stretching, yoga, or laid-back walking on the treadmill.

Noise Cancelling (Or Not)

Sometimes you need to block out every distraction and focus on your workout in order to keep your sanity. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done within a noisy fitness center environment, a very crowded trail, or a park. A pair of headphones with noise-canceling functionality is your best friend in these situations.

If you're like some fitness enthusiasts, however, you like to be aware of your surroundings and might actually prefer a pair that allows you to hear background noise - especially if you’re exercising alone outside.


It's not shallow to want to look good while working out. If you look your best, you'll feel more confident, which will inspire better performance. Why not use your headphones as a stylish accessory? Thankfully, you don't need to worry if your favorite pair looks drab. The right skin or wrap can add instant pizazz to the best workout earbuds and headphones.

Our Top 11 Picks

With so many different brands and models available, it can be difficult to choose the best workout headphones for your situation. We understand the frustration of sorting through the specs and features of dozens of models, so we've compiled a few top options based on the unique preferences of various gym-goers and outdoor fitness enthusiasts. The following are our top picks of the best wireless headphones for running, lifting, and other fitness activities. Get the best sound for your buck!

Best Sports Headphones: Beats Fit Pro

While the Powerbeats Pro offers a better ear-hook design than the Fit Pro, the latter is far superior in many ways. Not only do they include Apple's H1 chip and have most of the AirPods Pro's features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio, and a very good transparency mode that lets ambient sound in, but also have the perfect wingtips for ear canals. The Beats Fit Pro also has a similar battery life as the AirPods Pro 2 of about 6 hours but are significantly cheaper, selling for about $160. 

Most Secure Fit: Jaybird Vista 2

Jaybird has long held a wonderful reputation for producing high-quality wireless earbuds. The beloved brand's Vista set continues that tradition. An ideal option for those looking for full waterproof capabilities and a discreet look, these earbuds will last a full 8 hours on a single charge.

A pair of Jaybird Vista 2 earbuds retails for about $120. This may be on the high side for this style, but enthusiasts believe that a unique secure fit makes these the best wireless earbuds for running, and thus, worth every penny.

Best Bone Conduction: Shokz OpenRun Pro 

AfterShokz has changed its name to Shokz and released new 9th-generation bone-conduction headphones that offer better performance than their flagship model, the Aeropex. The Shokz OpenRun Pro excels at providing serviceable sound quality while allowing just enough outside noise to permeate through. These waterproof headphones provide up to 10 hours of battery life and can be purchased for $180.

Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Runners: Sony WH-1000XM5 

It's tough to hit a true runner's high when gym disturbances overtake your favorite tunes. Thankfully, Sony's WH-1000XM5 solves this problem. These active noise-canceling headphones deliver the amazing sound quality that has set Sony apart in the past, as well as limited water resistance and a 30-hour battery life. Sony quality doesn't come cheap, however, with these over-ear headphones costing $400. Depending on your running routine, however, they might be worth the investment.

Best Ear-Hook Style: Beats Powerbeats Pro

An excellent offering from headphone masters Apple and Beats, the Powerbeats Pro headphones wrap around your ears and provide the snug fit you need. Ambient sound leaking is minimal, so you can easily focus on the task at hand. Siri voice integration and physical buttons make it possible for both iPhone and Android users to enjoy these headphones.

Fortunately, these features are accompanied by a fair price tag: a cool $150. Many Apple enthusiasts are more than willing to pay because they get access to some of the best-running headphones on the market. The style factor alone may make these headphones easily worth the price, especially if they can be further amped up by trendy skins and wraps.

Best On-Ear Style: JBL Live 660NC Wireless 

There's more to the JBL Live than meets the eye. The brand has proven capable of competing in the headphones market, thanks to the popularity of the JBL speakers. Targeted specifically for athletes who will be breaking a sweat, the sporty JBL Live 660NC offers noise-canceling technology and a slightly bass-heavy sound profile. Sound quality is overall average, but their over-the-ear design does a solid job of keeping outside noise away. Perhaps the greatest selling point? An impressive 40-hour battery life. This helps to justify the $200 price.

Best Over-Ear: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 6100

Comfort is key in the weight room, where you'll want to avoid fumbling with headphones while moving serious weight. The BackBeat Fit 6100 headphones from Plantronics fit perfectly while delivering a solid, bass-heavy sound and decent outside noise cancellation. Even more impressive is the long battery life, with a single charge capable of producing over 24 hours’ worth of music. These sweat-resistant headphones can be found in stores at a range of prices, with some retail locations offering them for a mere $60.

Best Lightweight Noise-Cancelling: Apple AirPods Pro 2

Apple's newest iteration of its enormously successful AirPods line offers active noise-canceling technology in an ultra-lightweight package. Cardio kings and queens looking to cover miles at a time will love the comfortable fit and dynamic sound pumped out by these earbuds, which also feature enough waterproofing to make them resistant to splashes and sweat.

Unfortunately, these headphones fall short in terms of battery life. A single charge won't even produce 7 hours’ worth of listening. As with everything else Apple, you'll pay a premium price — about $250 at retail. Protect your investment with AirPods Pro 2 skins or wraps, which also add an extra dose of style.

Best Apple AirPods Pro Alternative: Jabra Elite 75t 

It takes a lot of confidence to name your product Elite — but Jabra has clearly earned this title. The Elite 75t earbuds match the performance, comfort, and style found in the AirPods Pro while clocking in at only $115.

With adjustable noise cancellation, you can set the amount of outside noise you want to let in. This versatility is perfect for runners and joggers who want to be aware of traffic but also enjoy limiting noise during focused gym workouts. The sound quality is excellent, but as with the aforementioned AirPods Pro, the battery life is less than impressive: just 7.5 hours of music per charge.

Best Under $100: Sennheiser Sport True Wireless 

If your pricey gym membership has you pinching pennies, you may want to opt for the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless. These are essentially Sennheiser's CX True Wireless earbuds but with sport fins for a more secure fit and better overall durability. These aren't noise-canceling earbuds, but they do have an awareness mode that allows ambient sound to leak into the buds so you can hear what's going on around you while running.

They have an IP54 rating that makes them water-resistant and dust-resistant. The CX True Wireless (IPX4) doesn’t offer the same resilience to the elements. Shoppers can expect to get about 9 hours’ worth of playtime out of a single charge. This is typical for a set of earbuds under $100.

Best Under $50: Anker Soundcore Life A1 

Comfortable, functional earbuds don't need to cost hundreds. This is evidenced by the Anker Soundcore Life A1s — a fantastic set of headphones that offers all the features that fitness enthusiasts demand without breaking the bank. Completely waterproof, these buds are ideal for swimmers or runners braving the elements. These affordable fitness headphones offer solid sound quality and active noise cancellation. For the bargain price of $50, the A1 is a wonderful alternative to high-end headphones.

Whether you're willing to spend good money on the best headphones for running or prefer to stick with a modest investment, skins can prove a valuable add-on. Customizable options for headphone or earbud wraps allow you to design a look that matches your stylish fitness wardrobe. Our skin wraps not only cover the earphones but charging cases as well to provide automotive-grade vinyl protection. They’re also precisely cut to not interfere with touch controls, wired or wireless charging, and sound quality. Try them out!
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