Best running headphones, which should you buy

Bharat Bhushan - Nov 13, 2021, 6:02am CST
Best running headphones, which should you buy

Running is the best form of exercise and arguably the finest way to kick off your day, shedding all the worries and enjoying the breeze in the face. Reality check: It’s not easy to motivate yourself to get up and take off every morning. Therefore, most runners – casual or more serious ones – prefer to play music to get up and about. This is where a good pair of headphones for running comes in.

If you want to add music and superb audio to your routine, a good pair of running headphones will satiate you. There are a host of headphones on the market – available in various shapes, sizes, and price points – so choosing one can be a daunting task. For most, these headphones should be easy to use, present a decent battery life, and stay firm in the ear during the run. While doing all this and more, the headphones tend to differ to requirement so the idea of one size fits all doesn’t work.

You may want to do your own testing. Try out a few recommended pairs for yourself before handing over the money. This will let you size up your earpiece, understand the feel and fit so what you pick is as desired and not ill-fitting and painful over time. No matter where you are coming from, the following are the best running headphones that are wireless, secure, and sweat-resistant and designed for assorted running needs.

Beats Fit Pro

The noise-canceling Beats Fit Pro is better fitting, features longer backup than the AirPods Pro yet offers similar iOS capability. These come equipped with wingtips you can flex to fit the ear so that they keep in place while running. The Fit Pro is a more elegant and sleeker option to the chunkier Powerbeats Pro and it includes ANC for effective sound isolation when you want to cut off the ambient noise. And when you want to be aware of the surrounding, simply switch to transparency mode.

What we like

– Comfortable design, wingtips for a secure fit
– Wholesome compatibility with iOS
– Good noise-cancellation and hear-through option

What we don’t like

– The expensive pair lacks wireless charging
– A slight limitation with Android

Runners with Apple devices can call up Siri for hands-free control even though the physical buttons let you toggle through listening modes, calls and manage music to choice. Android users can strike a chord with one-touch pairing and customized controls via the Beats app. You’ll not have the luxury of charging the $200 Fit Pro wirelessly; but these offer balanced sound, 6 hours of music playback, and come with an IPX4 water-resistance rating in four colors.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds

Bose Sport Open Earbuds tout a very unique enclosure, which runners, who don’t want to completely shut out the world around them, will appreciate. A different approach to true wireless earbuds, but if you can come to terms with the design, there is little chance you’ll not pick the Sports Open Earbuds for your routine. The biggest reason is the design itself, which wraps around the back of your ear and sits just above, “not in or on,” the ear canals.

What we like

– A nice, comfortable fit
– Sounds surprisingly good for its design
– Good battery backup

What we don’t like

– It may not be to everyone’s design choice
– No wireless charging

This design primarily facilitates runners since it leaves the ears open to ambient sounds, which is important when running on the road with traffic around. These earbuds sound sublime even though they sit above the ears. Of course, some disturbance is expected, but despite competing with ambient and wind noise, the Sports Open Earbuds have fantastic audio output and mic. Provided with an IPX4 rating for protection against rain and sweat, the headphones designed to rest over the ear offer 8 hours of playback and come for $200.

Jabra Elite 7 Active

Designed to replace the company’s own best-in-class workout headphones, the Jabra Elite Active 75t; the Jabra Elite 7 Active is a new member in the family boasting comfortable fit, simple controls, and dynamic sound. Ideal for runners who desire compact earbuds, the Elite 7 Active is one of the smallest pairs from Jabra that would align well with the inner part of your ear and stay put through your intense routine.

What we like

– Compact design
– Powerful sound and long battery life
– Durable construction for dust and water resistance

What we don’t like

– Call quality is average
– Not best at blocking out ambient sounds

Elite 7 Active supports active noise cancellation, built-in Alexa, and has customizable onboard button controls. The sound experience with the earbuds is identical to the flagship Elite 85t, but it may lack clarity while making calls. Priced at $179, these have IP57 dust and water resistance and would give you up to 8 hours of battery backup including a total of about 30 hours with the charging case that also supports wireless charging.

Jaybird Vista 2

Built upon the success of the Jaybird Vista with a similar mix of performance and ruggedness, the Jaybird Vista 2 is designed for runners and athletes who want to enjoy excellent audio quality while exercising without worrying about sweat or rain. You can expect active noise cancellation, like in the other earpieces we’ve discussed, which you can switch back with SurroundSense tech to remain aware of your surroundings.

What we like

– Rugged construction and secure fit
– Nice long battery life
– Trackable feature so you don’t misplace the earbuds

What we don’t like

– Not the best for ANC
– Slightly on the heavier side

A pair of true wireless earbuds designed for durability, all active users demand, the Jaybird Vista 2 features military-grade construction and is water-resistant with best in class IP68 rating. Moreover, the headphones are crash and drop-proof and arrive with the Find My Case feature to track down the earbuds and their case when you can’t find them before stepping out. The $200 Vista 2 delivers about 8 hours of battery life and in-ear detection allows them to automatically start when placed in the ears.

JBL Reflect Flow Pro

JBL Reflect Flow arrived with great stamina and impressive bass for people with an active lifestyle. The Reflect Flow Pro with its compact true wireless design featuring touch-sensitive onboard controls only stretches on the idea of its predecessor in a highly sweat-proof and water-resistant form factor. With the upgraded Adaptive Noise Cancellation option JBL Reflect Flow Pro claims a very interesting 10-hour battery life extendable to another 20 odd hours with the wireless charging case.

What we like

– Lightweight and nice secure Powerfin design
– IP68 dust and water resistance
– Incredible battery playback

What we don’t like

– Average adaptive noise cancellation
– A bulkier case

The ANC is not best-in-class to say, but with JBL level accuracy, you still get balanced audio and solid bass injection to keep you groovy through the occasional jitters. With support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, the Reflect Flow Pro is priced at $180 and its six microphones should provide you decent voice clarity on calls during your run.

Wrap up

Of course, secure fit and comfortable design are the prerequisites of the best running headphones but besides that, the choice varies on preference. If you’re in for a pair that blocks out noise, Beats Fit Pro is a good choice. Runners who’d also want to hear their surroundings can pick the Bose Sport Open Earbuds. While Jabra Elite 7 Active is a nice overall package, the Jaybird Vista 2 should be preferred for its ruggedness and finally, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro can be the choice for its long battery and durability.


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