Running aficionados, from joggers to extreme marathoners, will all agree that no headphone is created equal. When it comes to running, you’ll want just the right fit that isn’t phased by the rigors of the track, trail or road. That ultimately means finding the kind of gear that will boast an excellent sound and performance, durability and longevity.
Here are the best Bluetooth wireless headphones for Running on the market in 2017
There is a constellation of headphones that populate the Bluetooth headphones space. Functionality aside, what separates them is their practicality. For a lot of us, we look for headphones that won’t budge or wobble while we run. We want headphones that are fixed and fit the shape of our heads perfectly. While finding the perfect fit can be a bit of a challenge, sometimes it merely comes down to design.
In-ear headphones are typically the form that string behind the head or neck and insert directly into the ear. The structure that connects the two earphones can often be a wire or a plastic bar of some sort. This design does away with any cumbersome wires that may drape along the neck or get tangled in our hair or clothing. However, some variations can seem a bit challenging to navigate when on a tough run. With nothing affixing the headphones to the ears, there’s still the possibility of the earphones falling out of place during a run.
Over the ear headphones have a more rigid structure connecting the two earphones with a bar or wire that runs behind the ears and typically behind the head or neck. Because the headphones is fixed to the cranium and behind the ears by running over the top of the ears, you’re less likely to encounter problems with the earphones falling out. But because it is more rigid, you’ll encounter one size fits all designs that don’t necessarily fit all sizes.
The drawback can be manifold. Perhaps you lose one of the pieces. Or there still can be those moments when an earpiece falls out. And not all earpiece shapes are perfectly molded to fit the shape of our ears.
1. Jaybird X3
The Jaybird X3 is a reasonably priced in-ear headphones. The latest generation of Jaybird X series is lightweight and forward-thinking. How so? You can customize the sound to your needs. Having an ability to finesse the nuances of the EQ while you run is something you don’t see too often in this sphere of tech.
But Jaybird does it fluidly and seamlessly. The X3 is compatible with all Bluetooth platforms and runs an accompanying app that uses iOS 9+ and Android 4.4. Don’t worry about skipping unless of course, your Bluetooth source is too far from the actual headphones. Otherwise, this pairs nicely with your devices and takes the road like a champ.
As far as durability and functionality go, the X3 is well-equipped to meet the challenges any strenuous workout might throw at it. It has 8 solid hours of battery life. So after a full charge, this one won’t conk out on you in the middle of a workout. It also is sweat proof and it even has a microphone should you want to take an incoming call while you pour it all out on the track or treadmill.
Cons are few unless you’re a hardcore audiophile. No noise canceling and given that these are in-ear headphones, you may occasionally run into instances where the earpieces slip. But it is a solid piece of sports tech and it only retails for $129.
2. Bose Soundsport Wireless Headphones
No list about top tech for audio would be complete without a mention somewhere about Bose. They’ve managed to populate a lookbook of sound systems, accessories and all around tech that never fails to satisfy audiophiles. Here is no different as the brand moves into the sports and fitness sphere with the Soundsport Wireless. It like most of the Bluetooth headphones on the market is a lightweight and compact headphones. The design is in-ear but comes with an added plus of StayHear+ design that helps to secure the earpieces in the ear.
Personalization is the main focus of the Soundsport. The accompanying app allows you to connect with ease, using any given number of Bluetooth platforms. So getting started is quick and painless. They retail for $149.95.
3. Bose Quiet Control 30Bose makes two appearances on this list with a pricier take on its in-ear wireless headphones. The Quiet Control 30 features noise cancellation. So it takes your listening experience seriously. Bose puts the option of controlling how much of your environment you hear at your fingertips. Equally balancing the levels of your music with your surroundings is all up to your own personal liking. The Quiet Control 30 uses a neckband and in-ear design that separates it from the simple in-ear design of the Soundsport.
Here you still have the three sizes of QC tips to keep your earpieces in your ear. But you also have a neckband that does away with the Soundsport’s cable. This one also boasts longer battery life with up to 10 hours on a full charge.
As far as connectivity goes, the Bose app makes it easy to pair your devices. But it is also NFC enabled for added perks. The Quiet Control 30 retails for $299.95.
4. Monster iSport Victory
This wouldn’t be a credible list of top Bluetooth headphones for running without some sports brands wading into the fray. Enter Monster. The brand has taken to crafting a solid piece of tech with flying colors. The iSport Victory sits perfectly in Monster’s solid line of Bluetooth headphones. Here we have an in-ear style with adjustable tips for securing your earpieces.
Why is Monster on this list? These are robust, sweat and weather resistant earbuds that go the distance. You get 8 hours of battery life to take you through a heck of a workout should you decide to do so. And while you’re at it, nothing will get in the way of your progress. A microphone comes with the set for taking incoming calls. No more stopping your run to look at a screen.
Instead, you can focus on where you are in your workout. The iSport features two sound profiles, warm up and sport. Both will set the tone for your run, your stretch or your cooldown. The iSport retails for an attractive $99.95.
5. LG Tone Active Plus
The LG Tone Active Plus is another take on the neckband in-ear combo. LG has long been a stalwart in the electronics game, only being eclipsed by rival and fellow Korean brand Samsung. Here LG hopes to have no peers. The Active Plus boasts a superior dynamic range in case you want your playlist to play through at its most pristine potential. But these superior audio drivers are only par for the course for a brand of LG’s ilk.
The real question is how does LG stack up in the fitness industry? Admirably. The Active Plus boasts a whopping 13 hours of battery life on a single charge. But that’s only the beginning. These aren’t a delicate pair of headphones. Instead, these durable headphones resists sweat and inclement weather conditions, rendering your tunes in impeccable sound quality without batting a lash.
The only drawback to the neckband design is the rigidity of the neckband itself. If you can overlook that one niggling element, then this one is a winner. It retails for $179.99
6. Mpow Cheetah Bluetooth 4.1
The Mpow Cheetah fits in the lower price spectrum of headphones. Here is a gobsmackingly affordable set of in-ear headphones that sit in the $30 range. Why might you be interested in something like this? Well, if your workout is as tough and hard on you as you would hope, chances are it’s tough on your gear as well. And cycling through one pair of pricey headphones after another can rack up a fortune in the long run. So opt for something that gets the job done without causing you worry about how much you’ve invested.
The Cheetah comes with the standard bells and whistles you’d expect for a headphones of this price…and more. Yes, it’s sweat proof. Yes, it has a solid 8 hours of battery life. But get this: it also has a microphone for those moments when you want to take incoming calls during your workout. And it features AptX Bluetooth stereo sound.
Sound dynamics are above average. Unless you want to propel yourself front seat and center in the London Philharmonic or hear the deepest subs from your favorite rap and trap playlist, this will get you through your run effortlessly. These are compact and can be rolled up after you’ve used them. And the design uses a behind the neck grip for better hold. They retail for $31.63.
1. Apple Powerbeats 3 Headphones
Apple makes its first appearance on our list with their behind the ear set the Powerbeats 3. They’ve found a way to elongate the life expectancy of your battery life with a specially designed Bluetooth chip, the W1. The results speak for themselves: 12 hours of uninterrupted listening pleasure. And that listening pleasure is only heightened by the fact that Apple spares no effort in eking out the best in dynamic range at this price.
The question is, does the Powerbeats 3 play fair with the other Bluetooth platforms? Sure, we know that Apple has a penchant for making its tech and gear exclusively compatible with iOS platforms. Not the case here. It’s easy to pair to not only your iOS devices but Android as well. Given that Samsung has made it something as simple as a click to connect its Bluetooth headphones to an iOS device, Apple has gone the same route.
Comfort takes a hit, however with the earpieces. The edges are slightly difficult to finesse and manipulate. But they remain in the ear and won’t slip during your run. These are top sellers for Apple. They retail for $199.95.
2. Plantronics Backbeat Fit
The Plantronics Backbeat Fit is a simple yet stellar design. This just goes to show that all of the top of the line future innovations that some brands clamor for don’t necessarily make an exceptional headphones. Instead, Plantronics goes for the jugular with a pared down headphones featuring a lightweight structure, over the ear design and a behind the neck grip. The result is a headphones that stays in place and renders the sound in solid quality.
Its other bells and whistles are respectable as well. The Backbeat takes off where its predecessors stumbled. Firstly, at only .85 ounce, it is one of the lightest designs on the list. But then consider equally that it packs a lot of perks into the design: a built-in microphone for those incoming calls, sweat-resistant design, 8 hours of battery life, 6 hours of talk time, can connect up to 8 devices, and the earpieces are built to allow in ambient noise.
Given that the Plantronics Backbeat is rather minimalist when it comes to incorporating excessive tech, it also pulls its price down into the lower price bracket. So here you find an excellently priced, lightweight piece of gear that won’t bog you down during your run. It retails for $129.99.
3. ADV.Sound Evo XADV.Sound has endeavored to take on the Bluetooth market with flare and panache. They’ve not disappointed in their previous outings (a Bluetooth speaker and headphones). Now they go a step further with the Evo X, their valiant take on Bluetooth fitness gear. The Evo X comes in an over the ear design that keeps the gear fixed to the listener’s head. No slipping and sliding here. And thankfully the ADV.
Sound team has thought of creature comfort during your workout. It doesn’t just end with the fit. Built-in controls for listening allow you to run without fiddling with your device. It uses Bluetooth 4.1 and has a battery life of 5 hours for your listening or even talking time for calls.
While the battery life could use a boost, the frequency response is a solid 20Hz to 20kHz. This is a very respectable range, given that the vast majority of Bluetooth speakers offer about the same. Unless you are looking for dynamic surround sound, you’ll be happy with the sound here. And generally speaking, you’ll be happy because the Evo X doesn’t force you or your wallet to splurge. It retails for $59.99.
4. Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate
We don’t typically lump Under Armour into a category populated by brand standards for audio gear. But here’s the exception. Under Armour has widened its lookbook from workout clothing and gear to tech. Look no further than Under Armour’s forward-thinking collaboration with JBL. The Heart Rate is a masterful piece of work, combining JBL’s sensibilities about achieving excellent performance with Bluetooth and Under Armour’s singular fingerprint for athletic gear.
These over the ear pieces use a cable that drapes across the nape of the neck, resisting any temptation to get tangled up in your hair. Furthermore, the patented ear tips keep these babies locked in place.
JBL has a winning relationship with Bluetooth sound devices. Here is no different. Excellent dynamic range couples effortlessly with a personalized app that does everything from fitness tracking to tweaking just how you hear your tunes.
And Under Armour for its part is fond of putting the athlete first in order to achieve his best potential. So don’t worry about your headphones running down because it’s succumbed to your sweat or bad weather. It keeps ticking defiantly. The Heart Rate gets your blood pumping through wind or rain. And it retails for $199.95.
1. Here One
Here One hopes to steal the thunder of brand giants Samsung and Apple with its completely wireless earbuds. They’ve endowed these earbuds with as much tech as one can hope to cram into two little ear pieces. In fact, they like to consider all the other competition in the crowded Bluetooth market as simply headphones.
Here One for its part has given the two little ear buds a grocery list of options: six microphones for filtering out ambient noise as you please, huge sound dynamics that plumb the depths of bass frequencies and scale up for your heavenly highs, and sweat resistant design to make sure that you can go as hard in the paint as you like during your workout.
Talking has never seemed so fluid and seamless as with the Here One. Simply tapping the ear buds engages your incoming or outgoing calls. However, this is where Doppler’s Here One encounters some hefty drawbacks. Background noise may filter into your phone conversations. And talking as long as you like isn’t an option. Battery life is a minuscule 2 hours.
But if you whip through a standard workout under a 2-hour session, the Here One offer the most pristine sound quality and performance you will find on the market. Where they falter in endurance they more than make up for in dynamic explosive performance. Call them the sprinter of Bluetooth earbuds. They retail for $299.
2. Bragi The Dash
Bragi’s The Dash is rather braggadocious (pun intended) in claiming they’re the best of their breed on the market. These earbud pairs certainly are no slumps. They pack 4GB of storage in addition to Bluetooth connectivity. So performance is only limited to your playlist’s potential. The low end is tremendous thanks to the Dash’s bass response. Your tunes will get a kick in the pants while you sprint through your workout.
But you won’t be able to get distracted by your music either. The fitness tracker will keep you focused on your workout goals. But here’s the kicker: these earbuds are fully waterproof. Sweat won’t remotely phase this pair. The downside is not all earbuds are created equal. Make sure you have a strong, good fit. They are on the pricier side of the food chain. They retail for $299.
3. Samsung Gear Icon X
Samsung’s Icon X also ventures into the wire-free earbud scuffle. The Icon X is formidable, packing 4GB of storage and Samsung’s always forward-thinking connected apps. What’s more, the earbud pair has a built-in heart rate monitor. Your earbuds go above and beyond ordinary fitness trackers in keeping accurate tabs on your resting heart rate and your workout pulse. Couple that with Samsung’s constellation of fitness apps and you can tailor your workout to the conditions of the day.
The earbuds are touch-sensitive. Swiping alone is sufficient to navigate through your options and controls. And never fear, the Icon X is not exclusively compatible with Android. It is both Android and iOS ready. You also have an ambient mic feature so as not to completely cancel out all the surrounding noise of your environment. Your workout just got an upgrade. The Icon X retails for $199.99.
Ask yourself how functional, durable, and dynamic they are. Then ask will they add to your workout or impede it. And never feel duped by the idea that the higher the price the better the gear. Winners come in all shapes and sizes.