Best Running Headphones 2021: Top-Rated Wireless Jogging Headphones7 min read
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When you’re hitting the pavement, you want some solid tunes to keep you going through even the toughest miles. But you don’t need in-ear earbuds to keep your workout playlist going during a run—over-ear headphones are a solid option if you want gear that won’t budge, slip, or run out of battery life while you’re just hitting your stride.
The best headphones for running deliver comfort, performance, and a sturdy fit that will work for runners at any level. Get yourself a reliable wireless pair that offer enough high-quality audio and noise cancellation, so you can enjoy them even when you’re off the road.
What Are the Best Wireless Headphones For Running?
There are many factors to consider before choosing the best pair of running headphones for you, but in general, they should be lightweight, have a secure but comfortable fit, and hold up to both sweat and the elements. Here’s what else you should know.
Fit and Design: Earbuds are a popular workout choice since they fit so well in the ear, but the best on-ear and over-ear headphones can be just as secure for running. Consider how long you’re going to be running for, which may help narrow down your choice even further. If you care more about getting totally immersed in sound during your run, choose over-ear headphones (they also tend to slip less than on-ear headphones too).
Battery Life: You don’t want your headphones to die in the middle of a run, so battery life matters. While totally wireless earbuds have smaller battery life (they tend to top off at five hours), the best wireless over-ear and on-ear headphones hold as much as 70 hours of runtime on a single charge. This also means less charging time, so you can go on multiple runs or use your headphones more frequently without needing a boost.
Waterproof Rating: Sweating during a run is a given, and if you run outside, there’s always the chance of the stray rainstorm or other tough weather conditions. A headphone’s IPX rating shows how much dust and moisture it can handle without getting damaged. Look for headphones with at least an IPX4 rating, which means they’re dustproof, sweatproof, and water-resistant.
Bluetooth: Don’t get distracted by tangled up wires during your run—choose a pair of wireless headphones that work over Bluetooth, and that maintain a good connection to your phone no matter how much you move.
Audio Quality: Music can be the best motivation to push through your run, so you obviously want your headphones to deliver on high-quality sound. All of the picks on our list have rich, full audio you can enjoy long after the run is over.
1. Bose Noise-Cancelling 700 Headphones
BEST SOUNDING HEADPHONES
Bose’s 700 should be your first choice if you care about having the best-sounding headphones for your runs. Not only do the 43 mm drivers deliver crisp highs and deep, full bass, we love the design of the tilted earcups, so they’ll feel comfortable yet secure as you move.
Want total immersion during your workout? The 700s have eight microphones with feed ambient noise from the outside into your ears along with your music, creating a transparency mode that rivals the AirPod Pro. We recommend them if you want a completely distraction-free run that’s just focused on the music—not only do they feature 11 active noise cancellation modes, but you can connect to Spotify and discover new music by tapping and holding the earcup.
But there are a few tradeoffs to killer sound: the 700s only list an IPX4 rating, which is will hold up fine to sweat, but might not be able to handle if you get caught in a sudden downpour. They’re also a fairly heavy option, weighing in at 8.8 ounces, so they’d work better for short runs than marathon training.
Though they may not be as streamlined as some of our other picks, they’re a worthy choice if you’re an audiophile that wants to get the most out of their workout playlist.
2. Beats Solo Pro
Already going on runs with Apple AirPods? Try out the Beats Solo Pros instead.
Apple’s custom H1 chip in these headphones works similarly to AirPods, allowing them to pair instantly with any iPhone or Apple device. They won’t induce much lag when you’re switching songs, so you can focus on your stride instead of wondering when the song will change or if your call will drop. You’ll get a stronger connection that won’t be a drain on your battery life, too.
With “Fast Fuel”, a quick 10-minute charge provides three hours of playback, meaning you can quickly get back on track if the battery dies. These headphones also allow you to take calls, control your music, and activate Siri hands-free, which is a great feature if you don’t want to be fiddling around with controls on your phone.
While they have a sleek, streamlined design, some reviews say they tend to slip a bit while running. It makes sense, since they’re 9.4 ounces, which is on the heavier side for a pair of workout headphones, but we still recommend them for their bright, immersive sound quality.
If you prefer on-ear headphones to earbuds, but want a more secure Bluetooth connection and battery life, the Beats Solo Pros are a great option for longer runs.
3. Jabra Elite 45h On-Ear Wireless Headphones
While we love Jabra’s top earbuds for running, they also offer some pretty excellent budget-friendly headphones runners will enjoy, with a comfortable design, long battery life and customizable sound.
If you ever feel like headphone earcups make you sore when you’re already into your run, look no further—these Jabra’s have soft and moldable memory foam cushions to ensure outstanding comfort and fit. They’re also surprisingly lightweight compared to bulkier headphones in this category, at just 5.64 ounces, and are rain-resistant.
Jabra says these wireless headphones can produce up to 50 hours off a single charge, and you can use them for 10 hours at a time on just a 15-minute charge, so you’re never more than a few minutes away from good quality audio.
Speaking of audio: headphones with customizable sound are just starting to become more prolific, but Jabra’s can finely adjust how you experience your tunes through a simple hearing test with Jabra’s MySound app on your phone. But even if you don’t love the listening profile it gives you, the audio quality sounds great with 40mm drivers, even without the equalizer.
The Jabra Elite 45’s will cover all your bases if you want solid over-ear headphones for running without a ton of other bells and whistles.
4. Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones
Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones have great sound and superior noise cancellation, but all the extra features packed in make these the most versatile headphones for running. They’re super lightweight and comfortable too and the grippy headband stays put.
We’ve tested multiple headphones from Sony, including their previous iteration the WH-1000XM3, which topped our list last year as the best noise-cancelling headphones. With two microphones on each earcup, they capture ambient noise and automatically adjust it to your environment. But they really upped their music game too, with a “Digital Sound Enhancement Engine” that automatically upscales digital files for more pristine listening, which we’ve found is crisp and well-balanced no matter the genre.
You can also use the “Quick Attention” feature during a run to lower the volume by holding your hand over the ear cup. It connects to Alexa or Google, so you can play your music, check the temperature and more, all hands-free. Reaching for your phone can distract you during a run, which makes these all great features for running or working out.
Despite their size, one drawback is that these headphones only get up to 30 hours of battery life per charge. That’s still on the higher end, but not as much as others in this category. They do allow for a 10-minute charge for five hours of playback, if you’re desperate for a run and need to power up quickly.
Sony’s WH-1000XM4 have all the hands-free features you’d want in a pair of good running headphones, but their noise cancellation features and audio quality push them over to being great headphones overall.