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Tune out the world and crank up the jams with the best earbuds

On-ear and over-ear headphones sound great and come with all sorts of conveniences, but there’s no way you’re fitting them under your bike helmet, and you know they’re going to bounce right off your head anytime your workout (or yard work) gets busy. Whether you’re a commuter, an athlete, or simply an all-around active sort, in-ear headphones are a must-have for keeping the soundtrack going without getting in your way.

Related: Our favorite over-the-ear headphones and in-depth headphone reviews

We’re not talking about those those muffled Storm Trooper-looking Apple Earpods or whatever came with your phone, though. You deserve better. Something with quality performance, stability, and maybe a bit of individual style. Heck, you can even go wireless with your ‘buds now. As such, we’ve collected a few of our favorite recent additions to the wide world of in-ear headphones. Some cost a mint, and some barely bend your budget, but all will make you a happy camper next time you hit the pavement.

The Best

Audiofly AF180 ($500)


Yes, they’re expensive, but these in-ear beauties from Audiofly are among the best you can get, and this kind of quality begs a pretty penny. The mention of in-ear monitors might conjure up thoughts of a rock show, which is appropriate given the Audiofly AF180 take center stage on almost all accounts. The high-end headphones swap standard dynamic drivers for a four-pack of tiny balanced armatures, and in doing so, manage to deliver warm mids and vividly-accurate treble without sacrificing any bass in the process. Perhaps most importantly, these babies smooth over the snappy bite commonly associated with balanced-armatures but still deliver glorious detail and brilliant dynamic expression. The glossy, wrap-around design is one of the most attractive in its class, too, offering an admirable level of passive noise isolation and comfort to match. The deep spacing and brilliant detail across the sound stage make them as apt for Radiohead as Ray LaMontagne. Read our full review here.

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