Finding the best wireless running headphones is about more than sound quality. It’s how do they fit? Can I use one to still hear things around me? Do they have enough battery life for a full marathon??
For years my iPod kept getting smaller, but my headphones remained pretty much the same with an annoying cord that hit me in the face or pulled. Seriously, it’s an investment I waited FAR TOO LONG to make.
Bonus points because now running headphones even work with your GPS watch if you don’t want to carry a phone!
In the last two years, I’ve seen a massive improvement in wireless headphones for running and thus was ready to really make some recommendations.
Best Wireless Running Headphones
This list is a combo of my experiences and the top recommendations I received from a couple hundred runners on Instagram!
- Jaybird Vista Wireless Earbuds (and Vista2)
- Aftershokz Air
- JBL Wireless
- Powerbeats Pro
These aren’t just researched, they’re real world tested and approved earbuds for running that don’t fall out.
Many years ago I tested out one of the first mp3 headphones from Sony (which are also good for swimming) and I swear tons of people are still looking at that review, so apparently these headphones do stand the test of time.
And recently, Sony sent me another pair of their greatly updated wireless earbuds. I have done a full review of the Sony earbuds on YouTube, but am not including them here because I don’t think they’re the best.
Best Bone Conducting Headphones
This is an interesting headphone option that uses bone conduction to eliminate the need for buds inside your ears and allows you to be more aware of what is happening around you.
Both David and I were shocked at how well we could hear using them! The major downside was he can’t wear them with his bike helmet and I run in to issues wearing them with my sunglasses because the ear hooks didn’t allow me to comfortably get the stems alongside them on my ear.
- Feel very lightweight and flexible
- 8 hour battery life
- Sweat resistant (meaning not for swimming)
My friend Charlie of The Runner Beans wears them all the time and is a big fan because they’re comfortable and she feels stay put well.
And if you find them cheaper than noted above, jump on it!
Best Earbuds for Running (my current fav)
When I was looking to change things up, these were the first one’s I considered. They’re designed for us sweaty runners and based on all the feedback I’ve received work incredibly well.
I was nervous about something that didn’t curve over my ear (what I require in wired headphones), but everyone swore they would stay in…and guess what they absolutely do!
I have done a full video review of the Jaybird Vista if you want to see more details.
The one major thing I caution is they block out ALL NOISE. So I wear only 1 on a trail, I keep the volume low on the roads and love them in the gym. I will say however, if I try to use them for phone calls the other person tells me they pick up too much of the noise around me, especially wind.
BUTTTTTT the brand new JayBird Vista 2 has options for noise isolating.
You can now turn on ambient sound and to me this was exactly like wearing the Aftershokz.
- Both models come with charging cases that are small, so you can recharge on the go if needed
- The Vista 2 reports a 24 hour battery life
- Audio quality is great and you can find your preferred levels via the app
Jennifer wears them daily and swears they’re one of the best things she’s done.
Running with Airpods Pro – $150
After some consideration, initially I ended up buying these because I felt like I knew without a doubt they would work for phone calls…and if I’m spending $150 I just want one good thing.
- The new Airpods have sizeable ear tips, where the old ones were just hard plastic
- I actually like the ways these fit in my ear canal
- They are the best option for making phone calls as they better filter out ambient noise
- Also, now has active noise canceling (not ideal for running, but good for planes)
- 4.5 hours playing time
- 5 minutes in the case will recharge for another 1 hour of play time
Do AirPods fall out while running?
While I could NEVER get the old wired apple headphones to stay in, I didn’t have any issues keeping my Airpods in my ears. Maybe it’s because there’s no chord swinging and pulling them out, no idea.
I wore them for runs over 2+ hours and they stayed in just fine.
Unfortunately, I noticed with the original Airpods that as the runs got longer they started to hurt a little bit. I think that hard plastic inside the ear as you sweat just starts to cut a little bit.
Best Overear Headphones for Working Out
JBL Wireless Headphones — $48
These are not true wireless earbuds, as a cord connects them behind your neck.
But for many of you that’s preferred to not lose an earbud.
David has stolen these from me and they are now his go to. This is the downside to having fun gear …you have too much and then someone else uses it and you’re like “hey I want that!”
- 10 hours of playtime
- More secure fit for many with the little hook
- Reflective cable
There is a newer version, but it has a wider strap that sits behind your head, which I’m not a fan of.
So this is basically your cheapest wireless running headphones option. And yes it still technically has a wire, but not connected to anything besides the earphones.
Best Sound Quality Running Headphones
Beats Powerbeats Pro – $199
A sport earbud that’s focused on both a secure fit and audio quality.
Beats by Dre is well known for their focus on audio, but many of their past ear headphones have been too bulky or just not an ideal fit for athletes.
The big issue is going to be if you like the fit of this style of earbud. After that it’s a great ride.
- 9 hours of battery life
- Ear hooks for more secure fit
- Control all kinds of features of each earbud independently
- A little bulkier and a little pricier than the other earbuds listed above
Best Cheap Wireless Headphones for Running?
You probably noticed that most of these are $100 or over and honestly that’s why these are in the best category.
As someone who is NOTORIOUSLY bad about spending money and wanting to save, I can just say in this case it’s really worth getting a good pair.
Break the cost down over many years of running, many miles of running and many many hours not spent frustrated at the dead battery, poor fit or poor sound.
Add it to your runner gift list and tell Santa you’ve been extra good.
BUT 100% there are always options!
Running earbuds under $100:
- Jabra Elite 3 – Great brand, has noise canceling and up to 7 hours battery life
- Treblab 3 – Similar earhook design as the Powerbeats
Are headphones or earbuds better for running?
Both have benefits, so it depends upon your running style and needs.
Some runners like the wire better because it provides them with insurance that they won’t lose a headphone and because the controls are often on that wired piece making it easier than remembering 1 tap or 2 to make a change with earbuds.
Earbuds are great for eliminating yet another thing hitting you on the neck or bothering you as the miles progress.
One drawback to earbuds that I’ve noticed is if I turn them off for too long during the run then they shut down to conserve battery.
That’s great in theory, but sometimes when I try to reconnect them it’s a fail. They sometimes need to go back in to their case to get them to reset and have both earbuds connect again.
Are Wireless Headphones Good for Running?
I’d say they’re the best.
But of course you can run into issues if for some reason it doesn’t want to stay connected via Bluetooth or they run out of battery, not an issue with a traditional cord pair.
Most runners will be surprised to find that plenty of these wireless models are earbuds that don’t fall out while running. It can take some adjustment with the rubber pieces provided and simply getting used to the feel.
Admittedly, at first I just wanted my old school over the ear sport headphones, but after a few runs without that cord slapping around I knew I needed to adjust.
Looking for more reviews to find the best things for your run?
Checkout our full page of my must have running gear reviews and guides to save you time searching and money! I share what’s worked for me and fellow runners, along with what wasn’t worth the price tag.
A few common requests:
Have you tested out any other wireless headphones you loved?
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