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Best headphones for running

Power your workouts with music

By

Deia Z.

Deia began her Crutchfield career in 2010, as a sales advisor in the Spanish/International department. Crutchfield's hands-on sales training quickly converted her interest in photography into a full-fledged hobby. After five years in sales advising customers on choosing the best A/V and camera gear for their needs, she is happy to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for top-notch gear as an A/V writer.

More from Deia Z.

Man running with Bose headphones

Research shows that music can motivate you to power through tough workouts and to have fun in the process. With music moving you along, you're less likely to focus on physical strain. So you'll push yourself harder and exercise longer.

As a runner, you're going to need comfortable headphones that stay in place and out of your way. Here are some tips on how to find the best sports headphones.

Safety first

headphones in bright colors for safety

Headphones in bright colors with reflective accents, like the JBL Reflect Mini BTs, increase your visibility.

When you're running with headphones, it's important to be aware of what's going on around you. Sports headphones with an open design let in ambient sounds to keep you tuned in to your environment.

Powerbeats 2

Headphones like the Beats by Dr. Dre® Powerbeats 2 wireless have an open design to let in ambient sound so you can keep track of what's going on around you.

They have to be tough

Built to endure rigorous workouts, sports headphones are moisture-resistant so they won't be damaged by sweat or rain.

Water-resistant sport headphones

Moisture-resistant sports headphones are built to withstand your active lifestyle.

Comfort and fit are key

Earbuds are the best style of headphones for working out, because they don't add extra weight. But regular earbuds tend to fall out of your ears if you run or move around a lot.

Sports headphones are specially designed to stay in your ears. They come with soft silicone tips in different sizes to ensure a secure, comfortable fit in nearly anyone's ears.

Yurbuds Focus 400 behind-the-ear and Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones

Some sports headphones, like the Yurbuds Focus® 400s, have bendable supports that go around your ears for extra stability. Others, like the Bose SoundSport, have tips with special extensions that brace the earbuds against your outer ear to keep them in place.

Sports headphones like the Yurbuds Liberty Wireless, have special ear tips designed to avoid nerves and pressure points inside the ears, for continued comfort during long runs or workouts.

Yurbuds uses their own TwistLock® technology to ensure a secure, comfortable fit.

Stay in control

When you're on a roll with your workout, the last thing you want to do is stop in the middle of what you're doing and pull out your device to skip a track or adjust volume. Most sports headphones have inline remote controls. If you need to take important calls, make sure to get a pair with an inline microphone that works with your phone.

Klipsch AW-4i with inline remote

Inline remote controls help you can stay focused on your workout when you need to skip a track.

Avoid cord entanglements

Sports headphone cables are extra-durable and have a flat, tangle-free design, so you can toss them into a gym bag without worrying about damaging them. You'll also find them to be a more manageable length than regular earbud cords. Some sports headphones even come with a shorter cable you can use if you wear your device on an armband.

JBL Reflect Mini BT

Flat cords keep tangles to a minimum.

Tired of dealing with cords altogether? Try a wireless pair

Wireless sports headphones have built-in Bluetooth® for wireless music streaming. A short cable connecting the earbuds runs behind your head, with an inline remote on one side, positioned near your ear.

Keep in mind that Bluetooth headphones won't work if their built-in batteries aren't charged. You'll need to plan ahead to keep the tunes pumping throughout your run.

JBL Reflect Mini BT In-ear wireless Bluetooth® sports headphones magnetic closure

Some wireless headphones have magnetized earbuds that stick to each other when you're not using them.

Don't forget about good sound

A lot of design considerations go into making a pair of headphones suitable for running and other tough activity. Of course, it's just as important they sound good enough to keep you motivated.

Brands like Klipsch, Bose®, JBL, and Beats by Dr. Dre® all have a solid reputation for good sound. Westone, a manufacturer of professional on-stage monitors and reference headphones, has spent decades mastering in-ear audio technology and design. Their Adventure Series ALPHA sports headphones have been featured in Outside Magazine and on Gizmodo and Audioholics.com. They come highly rated for their durable design and sound quality.

If you're not sure, check customer reviews before you settle on a pair, to see what others have to say about their sound.

Beats by Dr. Dre® Powerbeats2 Wireless review

Headphone reviews from our customers have separate star ratings so you can see at a glance how others rate sound quality, comfort, and other factors.

Last updated December 29, 2015

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