Finding the best running headphones is tricky. You need something that will stay in place as you move, withstand any sweating, and provide great sound quality on top of that. Thankfully, there are some great options on the market – in this article we'll run through our pick of the best running headphones right now.
For any creatives out there, running can be the perfect break. Allowing you to clear your mind, really think out that project you've been working on and get you moving and away from your computer – running can help boost creativity with ease. So for those who need a high tempo soundtrack to keep them going, what are the best running headphones?
That's the question we're here to answer, with options for everyone, no matter what your priorities are. Do you want wireless running headphones so you won't get tangled up, or is the fear of running out of battery enough to make you go for a wired pair? Do you prefer compact running earbuds or do you get on better with over-ears? And how much do you want to spend? There are also some incredibly affordable running headphones for those on a budget; headphones that offer unbeatable sound quality, and even options that allow outside sound in to keep you safe on the road.
So for anyone looking to battle creative block and soundtrack their exercise routine, scroll down to find out how to choose the best running headphones for you and see our picks of the top options.
The best running headphones at a glance
Short on time? Here's a summary of our list:
- Best running headphones overall: Sennheiser CX Sport
- Best true wireless running headphones: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
- Best wired running headphones: Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones
- Best over-ear running headphones: Bose SoundLink II Wireless Headphones
- Best running headphones with noise-cancellation: Sony WF-1000X
- Best bone conduction headphones: AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones
- Best cheap running headphones: Anker Soundbuds Slim
Choosing the best running headphones
There are a number of factors to consider if you're going to find the best running headphones for you. Are they sweat-proof? Will they remain comfortable on long runs? Will they stay in when you reach your max pace? These are all crucial questions to consider.
And of course, the best running headphones won't just be useful for when you go for a jog, any good pair of running headphones will work for a gym workout, practising football or just generally exercising.
Past that there are a number of other things to think about. Would you prefer to have over-ear headphones or running earbuds? Would you rather have noise-cancelling or be able to hear what's going on around you? Do you want a light pair that won't drag you down or are you willing to add weight on for increased sound quality?
No matter which of the above factors is most crucial for you, we've listed options to fit any needs below. And alongside being excellent running headphones, these will all also be great while you're working or getting stuck into a creative project.
Which are the best running headphones?
The Sennheiser CX Sport are the best running headphones right now, all things considered. These wireless running earbuds blend a level of affordability and excellent sound quality to take our top spot. But for other needs there is a host of other choices that will be right for you. For those on a budget, the Anker SoundBuds will resonate with you or for those who like to be able to hear what's going on around them, the AfterShokz Trekz Air will be perfect.
We've listed our absolute top choices for running headphones below.
Our number one pick for the best running headphones has to be the Sennheiser CX Sport. With the word 'Sport' in the tile you would hope these would be a pair of headphones that can keep up with your active lifestyle – and you would be right. Where these running earbuds really succeed is in their sound quality. They push a bass-heavy performance while still holding up in the mids. Yes, they aren't going to compete with the very top headphones out there, but when it comes to a pair of running headphones, the CX Sport will consistently surprise you with their quality.
With a battery life of six hours, these might not be the ideal choice for marathon runners but for any casual jogger or gym-goer, it will be plenty. Combine that with the affordable pricing on offer and you've got a number one pick.
For some people, the most crucial part of a pair of running headphones will be the sound quality. If you're one of those people, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 will be for you. They are quite a simplistic looking pair of running earbuds and carry a price tag that's higher than some of the other options on this list, but those issues are more than made up for by the excellent sound quality pushed out through these. At this price tag it will be hard to beat sound quality like this. Pair that with a lightweight, comfortable design, and you've got a solid choice for anyone trying to make the ultimate soundtrack for their workout.
There is nothing worse than being midway through a run and then suddenly... your wireless headphones run out of battery. So how do you combat this issue? Wired headphones. Our pick for the best wired headphones for running goes to the Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones. Coming from one of the biggest names in audio, these headphones can deliver crisp highs, deep lows and will really help immerse you in your exercise. While they do stay in with ease and will rarely fall out, some may find the wires to be an annoying issue while running. If you fear this will cause an problem for you, try one of the other options on this list. Not bothered by cables but find charging a chore? These will be the best choice for you.
There is a certain comfort in wearing over-ear headphones. Some find they stay on better and they provide a better all-round soundscape. If you fall into the category of people who love an over-ear experience, the Bose SoundLink Wireless Headphones II will be an ideal choice. Firstly, they sound great, offering an excellent level of sound quality. Although they don't offer ANC, they do a surprisingly good job at blocking out sound.
The over-ear format means they are able to pack in more battery power, lasting for around 15 hours. These will be one of the better choices for those looking not just for a pair of running headphones but really, a pair of headphones for every part of life.
The Sony WF-1000X have a lot going for them. They offer some excellent sound quality, the carry case doubles as a charger, the battery life has some impressive stretch (lasting up to nine hours) and most importantly, they offer noise cancellation to block out the outside world if you like to be alone with your thoughts and music.
If you have the funds to spend on these headphones they could well be one of the best pairs of running headphones on the market, especially with the added benefit of Google Assistant or Siri activation. However, they do cost a fair bit more than most other options on this list – the black version is cheaper than the gold, though.
For those who want a pair of running headphones but worry about not being able to hear what's going on around them, AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones are a logical choice. Unlike any other pair of headphones on this list, these do not go over or in your ear, and instead they sit just outside of your ears, working through bone conduction. If you regularly take part in organsed races where normal headphones are not allowed, you'll be able to wear these.
This has a benefit and a drawback. You'll be fully aware of your surroundings and be able to run much safer. However, due to not actually being in your ears, these headphones will feel much quieter than any other option on this list. While they might not be the loudest choice, they are easily one of the most comfortable running headphones on the market and will feel lightweight even when you've been running for a long period of time.
If you're looking for a pair of running headphones without breaking the bank, Anker's SoundBuds could well be the way to go. Frequently falling well under £20, these headphones don't require a big investment and yet, they offer a surprisingly great performance.
They're Bluetooth-enabled, have a comfortable ergonomic fit that won't fall out while running and can be used on a full charge for up to 10 hours. And above all of that, despite the cheap price tag these running headphones sound pretty great. Yes, they can't compete with the more expensive options you'll see above but at this price, they'll certainly be surprising you.