The best running headphones of 2018

Run to the beat of your favorite music with the best running headphones

best headphones jabra sport elite

dt best of 150 dishwashersLet’s face it, even the best headphones aren’t always the right choice when it comes to listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts while running. We’ll gladly trade a bit of audio quality in favor of something smaller, lighter, and more durable. It doesn’t hurt if they are resistant to sweat, dirt, and rain either. Make them simple to interact with while on the move and you’ll likely have a winning combination.

Fortunately for runners, there’s a wealth of Bluetooth-enabled headphones that meet that description these days, many of which excel when it comes to comfort, sound quality, and fitness tracking features. The selections below are the best headphones for running but also kick ass for general fitness, too.

At a glance

Product Category Rating
Jabra Elite Sport Best running headphones overall 4 out of 5
Plantronics BackBeat FIT Boost Edition Best around-neck pick Not yet rated
Urbanears Hellas Best for the in-ear hater Not yet rated
Anker SoundBuds Sport Best no-frills pick Not yet rated
V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless Best for both running and everyday use 4.5 out of 5
Beats PowerBeats 3 Best for iPhone users Not yet rated
Jaybird Run Best for noisy runs Not yet rated

Jabra Elite Sport

The best

Jabra Sport Elite
Ted Kritsonis/Digital Trends

Why you should buy them: Between fitness tracking, sound quality, battery life, and full wireless design, the Elite Sport is decked out with every feature serious athletes would want.

Jabra’s Elite Sport fit like a glove and keep your workout goals in sight.

Who they’re for: Runners who want the best mix of sound, features, and durability

How much they cost: $220

Why we picked the Elite Sport:

When looking for headphones you can wear while running — or engaging in any exercise — you’re likely looking for the lightest and least cumbersome option that also sounds great and has excellent battery life. Jabra’s fully wireless Elite Sport headphones are all the above and are some of the best fully wireless headphones we’ve had the pleasure of testing. They are waterproof, offer great performance, and have a flexible-yet-secure– fit that puts them a cut above most other true wireless earbuds on the market.

In terms of performance, not only do the Elite Sport sound great, the lack of a wire eliminates that annoying jostling sound you get when wearing a pair of wired headphones that tend to ruin your listening experience. The lack of wire actually allows them to stay firmly in place in your ears too, as there isn’t an annoying cable pulling on them while you run.

Jabra went an extra step in making them great for runners by putting a heart rate monitor in the right earpiece and when paired with Jabra’s Sport Life app, the headphones provide heart-rate readings during workouts — you can even add and track specific workouts for more in-depth statistics.

The 4.5-hour battery life should be plenty to get you through your runs or gym workouts but the inclusion of a charging case makes powering them up while on-the-go a cinch. To top it off, these buds are IP67 waterproof, so rainy runs are a go.

Read our full Jabra Elite Sport review

Plantronics BackBeat FIT Boost Edition

The best around-neck pick

Plantronics BackBeat FIT headphones

Why you should buy them: The wrap-around design gives the BackBeat FIT Boost Edition improved battery life when compared to most true wireless models, and the included charging case helps keep them powered up while on the go.

With improved battery life and a comfortable wrap-around design, the BackBeat FIT Boost Edition headphones are great for runners.

Who they’re for: Those looking to run a bit more safely in urban environments.

How much they cost: $160

Why we picked the BackBeat FIT Boost Edition:

With eight hours of battery life, a compact and lightweight design, and above average sound quality, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT Boost Edition make it easy to like wearing a wrap-around headphone. Throw in its extra durability with sweat and waterproofing, plus an included charging case, and you get a winning combination for runners who aren’t looking for a true-wireless earbud. Plantronics even includes a six-month subscription to the Pear Personal Coaching app (iOS/Android) for good measure.

Beyond that, the BackBeat FIT also features an unsealed design that can truly improve safety. This style of headphone allows runners to listen to their audio motivation of choice while still allowing a bit of outside noise in, as well. This helps to keep them more connected with their surroundings, making them more aware of traffic, other pedestrians, and unexpected obstacles while working out.

Urbanears Hellas

The best for the in-ear hater

best running headphones urbanears hellas active 1

Why you should buy them: Comfortable and stable, the Hellas are made for high-intensity workouts and include a washable headband and ear cushions.

Lightweight, comfortable, and backed by incredible sound, the Hellas are a solid option for runners or gym rats, alike.

Who they’re for: Runners who prefer the fit and feel of over-ear headphones to in-ears.

How much they cost: $83

Why we picked the Urbanears Hellas:

Urbanears is known for making affordable headphones that offer great sound quality and are comfortable to wear — and the Hellas are no exception. Outside of its sonic benefits, they also give athletes the option of removing its washable ear cushions and headband, which is a very useful feature for a headphone sure to see its fair share of sweat.

Priced at just $83, the Urbanears Hellas won’t break the bank either and since they weigh just 4.5 ounces, you might even forget you’re wearing them at all, despite the fact they’re on-ears. An intuitive swipe interface on one of the ear cups makes it easy to adjust volume, change tracks, or pick-up incoming calls, while the 14-hour battery life ensures you’ll get through multiple workouts before needing a recharge.

Read our full Urbanears Hellas review

Anker SoundBuds Sport

The best no-frills pick

best running headphones anker soundbuds sport 1

Why you should buy them: If you’re on a budget and don’t need a suite of features, Anker’s SoundBuds Sport is the perfect, straightforward option.

Designed for use at the gym, these headphones are inexpensive but help you get the job done.

Who they’re for:Runners on a budget who still want wireless connectivity

How much they cost: $30

Why we picked SoundBuds Sport: 

These headphones offer wireless connectivity, eight hours of battery life, and are sweat-proof, making them well suited for use at the gym or an outdoor run. They offer three sizes of silicone tips to help find the right fit capable of keeping them stable in your ears and they’re even equipped with noise-canceling technology.

Best of all, however, is the fact the Anker SoundBuds Sports are incredibly easy on the wallet, selling for just $30. That makes them the perfect choice for runners who aren’t looking for a lot of fancy features or simply don’t want to spend a lot on a pair of headphones — after all, with as much beating as these are going to take, it doesn’t hurt to pinch pennies when you can.

V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless

The best for both running and everyday use

best running headphones v moda mattelo wireless

Why you should buy them: The Forza Metallo Wireless stays put regardless of what activity you’re engaged in while wearing them

The Forza Metallo Wireless' fit can be modified to suit your needs.

Who they’re for: Those who want a single pair of headphones for use during any activity

How much they cost: $130

Why we picked the V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless:

The water-resistant V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless are a straightforward pair of earbuds that put excellent sound quality at the forefront, with a round and warm sound signature that pairs well with virtually all genres. However, sound quality alone isn’t enough to make them a good pick for your workouts. To keep them in your ears, a wide assortment of sport fins and tips are included. Almost any listener will find a perfect seal and they’re made from a soft rubber compound that ranks them among the most comfortable in-ears we’ve ever encountered.

These earbuds have also been built to survive rain and sweat and are a perfect companion for workouts, rainy commutes, or any other outdoor activities that beg for a crisp and clear soundtrack. Even the rainy clime our Portland, Oregon office is located in was no match for these durable headphones.

Read our full V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless review

Beats PowerBeats 3

The best for iPhone users

best running headphones beats power beats3 1

Why you should buy them: The PowerBeats 3 offer superb sound quality, plenty of booming bass, and Apple’s W1 chip which makes pairing them to your smartphone an absolute breeze.

Effortless pairing, great battery life, and tried-and-true Beats sound quality make the PowerBeats 3 a great companion for iPhone users.

Who it’s for: Runners who carry their iPhone with them while working out.

How much they cost: $160

Why we chose the Beats PowerBeats 3:

While the PowerBeats 3 is a worthy headphone option for any runner, it’s especially attractive for iPhone users. This is due mainly to the fact the PowerBeats 3 uses the same W1 chip found on the AirPods, allowing them to effortlessly pair with Apple devices. But unlike Apple’s AirPods, these headphones are also sweat and waterproof, while also offering a 12-hour battery life.

The PowerBeats 3 offers Beats’ signature sound quality, which includes more bass than almost any other sports-focused pair of headphones. Ear hooks are also included, providing extra stability and a better all-around fit — a welcome feature for any style of runner.

Jaybird Run

The best for noisy runs

jaybird run

Why you should buy them: The Jaybird Run’s novel mono listening mode keeps you aware of your surroundings

The Jaybird Run are fully wireless headphones that perform well regardless of where you run.

Who it’s for: Those who run in busy environments

How much they cost: $180

Why we chose the Run:

While we love the privacy noise-canceling and sound-isolating headphones provide, running outdoors or in busy environments while wearing headphones like these can be potentially dangerous. However, Jaybird designed the Run to give you both the absorbing listening experience noise cancellation provides, as well as options for wearing them safely at times you need to be distraction-free. The company included a special one-ear mode, which allows runners to listen to their favorite tracks in mono while maintaining the ability to hear what’s going on in the world around them.

A one-touch control button allows users to take calls, play and pause music, and skip tracks, as well as to activate Siri or Google Assistant. On a single full charge, you’ll get roughly four hours of battery life but the included portable charging case provides two full recharges on the go, for a total of 12 hours of usability per charge. Best of all, thanks to the case’s quick charging, just five minutes in the case provide an hour of play time, so those with dead earbuds can quickly charge them while they stretch or put their shoes on, and then be ready to go.

Finally, there’s the Run’s Find My Buds feature. Say you’ve misplaced your earbuds — or, however unlikely, one falls out — you’ll be able to locate lost buds from inside the Jaybird App.

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