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Home / Features / Best running and workout headphones 2023: wireless earphones for sport reviewed

Best running and workout headphones 2023: wireless earphones for sport reviewed

Add a soundtrack to your sprints with the best headphones for running

best running headphones featuring Beats Jabra and Bose

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. Don’t worry if you’re not sure wireless earbuds 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.

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 headphones in our buying guide. The playlist’s up to you.

If you’re looking to fully upgrade you’re running tech, then you can check out Stuff’s guide to the best GPS sports watch for top-tier trackers for activity and fitness.

What are the best running headphones?

We think the Jabra Elite 7 Active (buy now) earbuds are the best earbuds for most people. Lightweight and contoured to fit the ear, a rubberised coating keeps them firmly in place while the bassy audio adds a punch to your workout playlist.

Other running headphone recommendations

  • Best cheap running headphones: Urbanista Athens (buy now)
    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.
  • Best premium running headphones: Technics EAH-AZ80 (buy now)
    Excellent all-rounder wireless in-ears that balance clean sound with convincing ANC, and deliver a secure yet comfortable fit.
  • Best Apple running headphones: Beats Fit Pro (buy now)
    Competitive battery life, rich sound and a lock-tight fit put the Beats Fit Pro among the best running headphones around.
  • Best bone-conduction headphones for running: Shokz OpenRun Pro (buy now)
    Delivering better audio than any bone-conducting rival, the OpenRun Pro also go the distance on battery life and lightweight comfort.

How to choose the best running headphones

When buying running headphones, there are several key factors to consider that can enhance your running experience and ensure you choose a pair that suits your needs.

As you’ll likely be wearing these while running or working out, there are a few different features that you’ll need to look out for that set these apart from the best wireless earbuds.

As such, you’ll want to opt for headphones specifically designed for running or sports activities, as these lightweight and ergonomic designs will provide a secure and comfortable fit when active.

This means they will, hopefully, stay in place during your exercise without causing discomfort or falling out.

As running is a sweaty activity, you’ll want to choose headphones that offer sweat or water resistance. Look for an IPX4 or higher rating, which ensures they can withstand sweat and light rain.

Finally, if you plan to run outdoors, consider headphones with safety features such as ambient noise passthrough or earbuds that allow some external noise to be heard (such as bone-conducting headphones). This will help you stay aware of your surroundings and potential hazards while running, such as cars approaching from behind.

How we review the best running headphones

We’ve reviewed dozens of running headphones over the years, so you can trust our recommendation when it comes to deciding which pair to buy.

We usually spend a week or longer reviewing a set of running headphones, testing out the comfort and fit, sound quality, battery life and connectivity. We’ll take them when we go out running or to the gym, to see how secure the fit is, and whether they really are up to the rigours of a workout.

We’ll also tech out any new software features, such as EQ customisation, virtual assistants and transparency modes to see if they’re worth the extra money they’re no-doubt commanding.

Once we’ve experienced every aspect of the earbuds, we’ll compare them with rivals, give them a star rating and add them to this buying guide (if they deserve a place).

For more information on Stuff’s rating and review process, read our page on how we test products.

The best running headphones you can buy today:

Stuff Jabra Elite 7 Active review buds outside case

1. Jabra Elite 7 Active

Stuff Says…

Durability, endurance and a secure, wing-free fit: these bassy fitness ‘phones offer plenty for the price – even if their ANC is beaten by the best

Tech spec:

Battery: 8 hours (earbuds), 22 hours (case) • ANC: Yes • Driver size: 6mm • Weight: 5.5g (per earbud), 44g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 • Water-resistance: IP57

Like a determined heptathlete, these Jabra earbuds try to do it all. Lightweight and contoured to fit the ear, a rubberised coating keeps them firmly in place, without the use of silicone wings. Taking on the steeplechase? IP57 water-resistance means they’re good for a dunking.

The sound signature is bassy out of the blocks, but fire up the Sound+ companion app and you can balance things a bit. Warm and punchy by default, the Elite 7 Active give your PB playlist plenty of low-end energy, even if the overall presentation lacks a little nuance.

Passive noise isolation is good, with ANC on hand to hush background rumble even further. Transparency works as intended, with the option to tweak ANC levels via the app. That said, the Elite 7 Active deal less well with infrequent sounds.

Staying power is impressive: eight hours is stretched to a total of 30 with the charging case, which puts battery life up there with the best in this price bracket. You can find better-sounding earbuds for similar cash, but not without sacrificing sweat resistance. For the money, the Jabra Elite 7 Active are a well-made, well-rounded pair of true wireless in-ears that get plenty right.

2. JBL Reflect Flow Pro

Stuff Says…

With a secure fit, spacious sound, smart features and solid noise-cancelling, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro are up there with the best headphones for sporty sorts

Tech spec:

Battery: 10 hours (earbuds), 20 hours (case) • ANC: Yes • Driver size: 6.8mm • Weight: 7g (per earbud), 63g (case) • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 • Water-resistance: IP68

When it comes to sporting audio, JBL’s Reflect Flow Pro deliver in every meaningful respect. They might not be the sleekest earbuds, but they are lightweight and water-resistant. Find the right combo of tips and fins and the Reflect Flow Pro will reward you with a twist-lock fit that’s surprisingly comfortable yet reliably secure.

Capacitive touch surfaces are perfectly responsive, protected from accidental inputs by raised rims. Controls can be customised through the partner app, where you’ll also find voice assistant settings, a fit test and EQ adjustment options. The earbuds also benefit from auto-pause smarts.

Audio is spacious and dynamic by default, balancing rich bass with crisp mids and treble tones. They don’t lack low-frequency oomph, but nor do they drown out the details – leaving room for your tunes to breathe. ANC helps a lot, hushing background noise with minimal hiss, while Ambient Aware gives the option to let the outside in.

Switch off ANC and you’ll get a test-winning 10-hour battery life. The charging case is larger than most and weighty at 63g, with a lid that feels less than premium. But it does harbour a further 20 hours of juice – and support wireless charging for easy refuelling.

Best running headphones: Beats Fit Pro

3. Beats Fit Pro

Stuff Says…

Competitive battery life, rich sound and a lock-tight fit put the Beats Fit Pro among the best running headphones around

Tech spec:

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

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.

Technics AZ80 review lead

4. Technics EAH-AZ80

Stuff Says…

Excellent all-rounder wireless in-ears that balance clean sound with convincing ANC, and deliver a secure yet comfortable fit.

Tech spec:

Battery: 4.5/16 hours (ANC) • Driver size: 10mm • Weight: 7g/50g • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3

OK, so the AZ80 aren’t primarily designed for running or workouts – but their unique shape and fit make them a fantastic choice all the same. We could comfortably jog or head to the gym without them falling out, and the extensive selection of silicone ear tips in the box ensure all ear shapes and sizes should be able to get the same experience.

They’re otherwise well equipped, with effective noise cancelling, wind-reducing microphones that make for clear voice calls, multipoint Bluetooth and respectable battery life. LDAC connectivity and excellent sound quality make them brilliant for at-home listening, too.

Shokz Openrun Pro headphones review lead

5. Shokz OpenRun Pro

Stuff Says…

Delivering better audio than any bone-conducting rival, the OpenRun Pro also go the distance on battery life and lightweight comfort

Tech spec:

Battery: 10 hours • ANC: N/A • Weight: 29g • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1 • Water-resistance: IP55

With an open-ear design, bone conduction headphones are safer for running and riding on city streets. Normally, that greater awareness requires you to sacrifice sound quality. But while the OpenRun Pro can’t compete with the very best in-ears on clarity, they narrow the gap by delivering the best audio of any bone conduction ‘phones you can buy.

Following the familiar Shokz formula, the OpenRun Pro use vibration drivers built into over-ear hooks. At just 29g, the whole package is exceptionally light. And despite sitting loose behind your head, the slim band holds firm at full sprint.

There’s still an inescapable muddiness to the audio, but the mid-range benefits from more presence then previous efforts, while high notes have improved definition. There’s no low-end rumble, but bass enhancers add more weight to round out the sound, while a dedicated Vocal EQ mode can be activated through the app to sharpen speech.

Cranking up the volume results in the best bass, but also a mild tickle and notable sound leakage. Still, with eight hours of battery life achievable when listening at 90% volume, the OpenEar Pro represent a step up from rivals – and closer to the par set by sporty wireless in-ears.

6. Urbanista Athens

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

Tech spec:

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

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.

Best running headphones: Jaybird Vista 2

7. Jaybird Vista 2

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

Tech spec:

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

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.

Best running headphones: Bose Powerbeats Pro

8. Beats Powerbeats Pro

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

Tech spec:

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

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.

9. AirPods Pro

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

Tech spec:

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

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.

10. Philips TAA6606BK

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

Tech spec:

Battery: 9 hours • ANC: N/A • Weight: 35g • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 • Water-resistance: IP67

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.

Profile image of Chris Rowlands Chris Rowlands Freelance contributor


Formerly News Editor at this fine institution, Chris now writes about tech from his tropical office. Sidetracked by sustainable stuff, he’s also keen on coffee kit, classic cars and any gear that gets better with age.

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