The Best Running Headphones - RunBuzz

The Best Running Headphones


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Aside from my GPS watch and my running headphones. I get questions about equipment recommendations all the time, so I thought I would take a second and share my thoughts, just in case you’re looking for the perfect gift for the runner in your life or want to reward yourself for hitting one of your milestone goals.

My hands-down favorite headphones for running are Aftershokz Trekz Air. However, there are other great headphones for running and workouts. Check out below the pros and cons of some of the best running headphones available on the market. I've covered both premium headphones and budget-friendly headphones, it will help you to compare the features and make the right decision before buying a new pair of running headphones.

Premium & Affordable Headphones for Runners

The Best Bone-Conduction Headphones

Aftershokz Trekz Air 

Aftershokz Trekz Air is one of my favorite headphones, I can recommend to all the runners. Early bone-conduction headphones were not the best solutions for runners, however, Aftershokz Trekz Air has a well-deserved place among the other top-notch headphones for runners.

Pros of  Aftershokz Trekz Air

  • First of all, it is a great option who struggles with classic earphones that quite often do not sit well in the ears, (especially the small ones). These headphones conduct sound through the bones in your cheek and upper jaw to the inner ear. Therefore, you can enjoy open-ear listening and don’t have to test different sized earbuds trying to find those that cause less pressure and fatigue, and simply don’t look awkward.
  • As far as the sound is transmitted via bone conduction, it allows open-ear listening and increases situational awareness. This is a great option for running outside, hearing the noise around can help prevent problems when running against the traffic, and reduce the risk of being mugged.
  • Sweat, dust and moisture-proof, so you can run in any weather conditions.
  • The design is lighter(30g) than one of the previous models, so you won’t feel any discomfort while using it in a long-distance run.
  • Finally, the Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones are compatible with PC, MAC, Android, iOS and the battery lasts for 6 hours of continuous playback

Note: Bone-conduction headphones like Aftershokz Trekz Air are approved for use in all road races under the UK Athletics Rules of Competition.

Cons of Aftershokz Trekz Air

  • The sound is loud and clear, however, when you run through the noisy street with cars beeping and taxi drivers yelling, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the music as with the traditional or noise-canceling headphones. 

The Best Ear Hooks for Runners

JLab Epic Air Sport

If you are searching for something more classic than bone conduction-headphones with ear-open design, I recommend JLab Epic Air Sport or Powerbeats Pro. They are comfortable and secure for any type of workout and running. Let’s have a closer look at its key features and benefits.

Pros of JLab Epic Air Sport

  • The main perk of JLab Epic Air Sport is 10-hour battery life, plus 60 extra hours provided by the charging case. With the help of this case, you can also charge other devices, including your phone.
  • JLab Epic Air Sport headphones are extremely comfortable. They come with seven sets of silicone ear tips and a pair of Cloud Foam tips that reach farther inside for better noise cancellation. You can easily find your perfect fit to enjoy the long hours of listening. In addition, over-the-ear hook gives maximum security during the running and any type of workouts. 
  • With JLab Epic Air Sport you can enjoy a good quality sound in three different modes: JLab Signature, Balanced and Bass Boost modes. This way you’ll be able to adjust the sound for the music genres you like.
  • You can activate Siri or Google Assistant, and easily accept or reject calls just with a touch. You’ll also like the Be Aware Audio mode which makes the sound during the call more natural and helps you stay aware of your surroundings.
  • These headphones are sweat, dust and splash resistant due to the IP66 rating.

Cons of JLab Epic Air Sport

  • The charging case is a bit bulky and won’t sit well in a pants pocket. 
  • A full recharge of the buds takes more than two hours, and recharge of the case takes more than four hours.

Powerbeats Pro


Pros of Powerbeats Pro

  • Powerbeats Pro headphones have a superb design with secure-fit ear hooks. They are steady and comfortable in the ear and don’t cause in-ear pressure while listening to music.
  • Powerbeats Pro earphones can brag about the rich sound with deep and punchy bass and great noise isolation. In other words, you’ll experience a premium listening experience.
  • You can control music with the help of a playback control button and the volume rocker. However, if you have Siri activated, you can easily use hands-free controls.
  • The headphones are sweat and water-resistant (IPX4) to keep you always with your favorite tracklist during the tough workouts and long-distance running.
  • The listening time of Powerbeats Pro on one charge is 9 hours but with the case, you get more than 24 hours. Most of all I like the Fast Fuel charging. By plugging your earbuds for 5 minutes you get 1.5 hours of playback. 

Cons of Powerbeats Pro

  • The main disadvantage of Powerbeats Pro is interrupted connectivity. Many runners complain about disconnects while running in crowded areas.  
  • The carrying case is sort of cumbersome and not convenient.
  • The USB-A charging cable is another thing to improve. Wireless or USB-C charging is much more convenient.

The Best Fully Wireless Earbuds

Jaybird Vista

Pros of Jaybird Vista

Pros of Jaybird Vista
  • Jaybird Vista’s headphones have a very comfortable design both for people with big and small ears. Instead of the classic silicone ear tip, these earbuds have a fully connected casing with an ear tip and fin. In the box, you’ll find three different sizes of ear tips and fins, and choose the one that fits better.
  • The Vistas are crush-proof, fully-waterproof and sweatproof. The Jaybird Vista has an IPX7 rating, which is quite rare for earbuds and means that the earbuds can be immersed in 1m of water for 30 minutes. It is one of the best weather-resistant options.
  • JaybirdVistais not only a secure solution but light, each earbud weighs 6 grams. The case weighs only 45g and, unlike Powerbeats Pro and Jabra elite, it is very convenient to carry in the pocket.
  • With Jaybird Vista you get 6 hours of listening from one full charge and 10 extra hours from the charging case. You can also charge earbuds for 5 minutes and get one hour of playback.
  • The sound quality is pretty good with juicy bass. You can also download the iOS or Android and use the customizable EQ feature to optimize the sound to your personal preferences. 

Cons of Jaybird Vista

  • There's no transparency mode to hear the sounds of your surroundings. 

Jabra Elite 75


Pros of Jabra Elite 75

  • The Elite 75t earbuds are more comfortable than the Elite 65t due to their small design. They sit snugly but don’t cause pressure inside your ear canal. 
  • The call quality is excellent, people will hear you loud and clear. This one of the main pros of Jabra Elite 75t due to the improved design with the two microphones at the front and the back of each earbud. 
  • The earbuds last 7.5 hours on a single charge, and if you add the charging case, you’ll get a total of 28 hours. You can also use a quick 15-minute charging feature which gives up to one hour of playback.
  • Jabra Elite 75 has a handy slider for regulating how much of the outside noise you want to hear while listening to the music or having a call.
  • Just with one touch you can reach out to  Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant, answer or reach call, pause or play. Basically, all the common tasks of fully wireless earbuds are covered and you can enjoy seamless phone calls, and running while listening to your favorite songs or Runbuzz podcast.

Cons of Jabra Elite 75

  • You might find that the bass is a bit too strong, fatiguing and overwhelming. So, you’ll have to try to optimize the sound and regulate the levels of bass to your liking with the help of the Jabra Sound+ app. 
  • Controls could be confusing, you’ll have to memorize which control to press, to press, twice or press once and hold.
  • If you are addicted to the hand-free assistant option, it might take time for you to get used to double press on the right earbud if you need the help of Alexa, for instance.

Headphones for Runners on Budget

Most of the headphones mentioned above are quite expensive. If you’re searching for something  more easy on the wallet, consider Anker Soundcore Liberty Air or Anker SoundBuds Sport. These earbuds can't brag about a lot of fancy features, yet work well during the workout and running.

Anker SoundBuds Sport

Pros of Anker SoundBuds Sport

  • Anker Soundbuds Sports is a secure and light solution, weighing just 12.4g (0.44 oz). So, you may not even notice them. In general, they are quite stable in your ears during the training. You can choose one of three pairs of silicone tips that will fit your better.
  • The Soundbuds are equipped with CVC 6.0 noise-canceling technology and provide a clear sound while having a call or  listening to the different genres of the music.  
  • The Anker SoundBuds Sport has a decent battery life of eight hours, which easily beats such premium options as Jaybird Vista and Aftershokz Trekz Air.
  • The earbuds are IPX4-Rated and can survive rain or the splash of your sports drink. 

Cons of Anker SoundBuds Sport

  • If you search for a boosted bass, the SoundBuds might be not powerful enough to satisfy your sound needs.
  • Although there are three classic S/M/L tips, they are a bit thin and squishy and don’t fit any type of ear. In other words, there's a chance that earbuds may drop out during the tough workouts or running.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air

Pros of Anker Soundcore Liberty Air

  • If you're searching for a cheaper alternative but don’t want to compromise the comfort of your ears, Anker Soundcore Liberty Air is an optimal solution. Although, there are no fins in addition to the tip or hooks and you’ll just get five pairs of silicone tips to choose from, the earbuds are quite secure and comfortable. 
  • Due to the Graphene-enhanced design, the earbuds have a surprisingly good sound.
  • The built-in microphones are designed with noise-reduction technology and ensure a clear sound during the call.
  • Anker Soundcore Liberty Air is IPX5-rated, so running in the rain is not a problem for these earbuds.
  • Anker Soundcore Liberty Air also works fine with voice assistants Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa.

Cons of Anker Soundcore Liberty Air

  • So-so battery life is the main turn off of this model. The Soundcore Liberty Air's battery life is only 5 hours, plus 15 extra hours in the charging case. The battery may last even less, depending on your volume levels.   
  • The Bluetooth 5.0 doesn’t work seamlessly, so you may experience annoying connection issues just like with Powerbeats Pro.
  • The on-ear controls have the same issue as Jabra Elite 75. It will take some time for you to get used to controls and memorize all the taps and holds. 

What do you think? Do you have a pair of headphones that you love (or hate)?

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Happy running!

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About the Author Steve Carmichael

Steve is a RRCA / USA Track and Field Certified Running Coach who has helped thousands of runners since 2010. He coaches online as well as locally in the Columbus, Ohio area. He is host of RunBuzz Running a top rated running podcast with 150+ episodes available for free on all major podcast apps. Steve resides in Lewis Center, Ohio with his wife, kids, and dog.

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