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The best running headphones 2022: top workout earbuds to soundtrack your run

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Included in this guide:

the best running headphones you can buy today
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The best running headphones need to tick a few boxes. They should stay in place no matter how vigorous your workout is and they need to make your music sound good – with plenty of bass. That way you don’t have to worry about them falling out or spend your time tinkering with the audio settings. Instead, they can keep your mind occupied while you run and, hopefully, boost your performance, too. 

We’ve tested a range of running headphones, including over-ear cans, earbuds and bone conduction headsets, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. Bone conduction headphones, like the Shokz OpenRun (formerly called the Aftershokz Aeropex), leave your ear canals open so you can hear the world around you – but at the expense of sound quality. And, while running earbuds like the Powerbeats Pro offer superior sound, they can make it harder to hear hazards as you run.

We've put these headphones to the test on long, slow runs, sweaty hill climbs, and intense speed drills to make sure they don't bounce, rub or come loose, and have the battery life to keep running as long as you do. For our pick of the very best running headphones you can buy, you'll find everything you need in the guide below.

The best running headphones

Black Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones

The Shokz OpenRun are some of the best bone conduction headphones you can buy, and a great choice for running (Image credit: Aftershokz)

The best running headphones all-round, for indoors and out

Specifications
Weight: 26g
Battery life: 8 hours
Heart rate monitor: No
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable and stable fit+Helps situational awareness
Reasons to avoid
-Low volume compared to the competition-Vibrations sometimes noticeable

The OpenRun (originally called the Aeropex) is the top-end headset from Shokz, which changed its name from AfterShokz in December 2021. The company specializes in bone conduction headphones that allow you to enjoy your favorite music without blocking out the sounds of cars, cyclists and other potential dangers around you, and the OpenRun demonstrates that safety doesn't mean compromising on sound quality.

The OpenRun uses vibrations to direct sound to your auditory nerve, leaving your ear canals open so you can still hear the world around you. It's a significant upgrade from its predecessor, the Shokz Trekz Air, with a lighter weight that means it's barely noticeable when you're running, and an improved IP rating that makes it safe to wear even in the rain.

You might be able to feel the vibrations ever so slightly when you crank the volume up high, but if you want to be aware of your surroundings while you train, the OpenRun is hard to beat.

Read our full Shockz OpenRun review

Black Beats PowerBeats Pro true wireless headphones

The Beats PowerBeats Pro have an excellent non-slip design and good sound quality, backed up by great battery life (Image credit: Beats)

The best running headphones for long training sessions

Specifications
Weight: 20.3g
Battery life: 9 hours
Heart rate monitor: No
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Good, clear sound+Immaculate fit
Reasons to avoid
-Case is fairly bulky to slip in a pocket-Limited noise isolation

The latest true wireless earbuds from Beats, the PowerBeats Pro, are supremely comfortable, sound decent and (at least during our testing) never, ever fall out and will keep you entertained for even the longest training runs thanks to their nine-hour battery life.

They're ideal for running thanks to their close-fitting ear hooks and IPX4 sweatproof rating, as well as nifty additions, like the pressure-reducing micro-laser barometric venting hole, long battery life, and their superior sound quality. 

Where we found the Powerbeats Pro to perform their best is in near-quiet environments, like your office, your home or your gym. Because you can use hands-free Siri, they’re great for setting timers in between sets and placing calls to friends and clients. 

Take them outside for a run and these Beats headphones still do the trick thanks to their energetic sound.

Read our full Beats PowerBeats Pro review

Black and yellow Sennheiser CX Sport headphones

Silicone fins help the Sennheiser CX Sport stay firmly in place while you run (Image credit: Sennheiser)

The best no fuss running headphones with fantastic audio

Specifications
Weight: 15g
Battery life: 6 hours
Heart rate monitor: No
On-ear controls: No (in-line remote)
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic audio quality+Sports-friendly design
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest option on the list-Mids could be richer

If you need your running headphones to sound fantastic, then these wireless earbuds from Sennheiser might be the best choice for you.

They boast a lively, bass-heavy presentation, and a comfortable fit. If you're powered by energetic, bassy music then the Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earphones can really bolster your running performance through sound quality alone. 

They don't come with a heart rate monitor, but the inclusion of ear fins make sure they stay firmly in place and sporty a neon color scheme means they look good and stand out – you're unlikely to ever lose these.

With a battery life of six hours, they're great for your average running session, or even your daily commute – but marathon runners will want to look elsewhere. 

Read our full Sennheiser CX Sport review

White Amazfit PowerBuds Pro true wireless headphones with charging case

The Amazfit PowerBuds Pro can track your heart rate while you're running (Image credit: Amazfit)

The best running headphones with added heart rate tracking

Specifications
Weight: 6.7g
Battery life: 30 hours
Heart rate monitor: Yes
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Bass-heavy sound for running+Good active noise cancellation+Posture-protecting tech
Reasons to avoid
-No over-ear loops-High heart rate readings

With the Amazfit Powerbuds Pro, you won't need separate pairs of headphones for working and running – they'll serve you equally well at your desk, or pounding the streets. 

Sound is bass-heavy, which we prefer while working out, and the active noise cancellation effectively masks office sounds when you need to concentrate.

The Powerbuds Pro also monitor your heart rate while you exercise, and sync this data with the Zepp Health app on your phone. Data from any other Amazfit fitness trackers and smart scales will be collected in the same place, so you can easily track trends.

When you're at work, the Powerbuds Pro can also check the position of your head in relation to your spine to determine whether you're slouching and putting yourself at risk of back and neck problems further down the road.

They're not quite perfect (heart rate measurements were consistently higher than those measured by our chest strap monitor, and there are no ear hooks to hold them securely as there were with the original Powerbuds), but they're an excellent choice if you just want one pair of earphones for all purposes.

Read our full Amazfit Powerbuds Pro review

Black Adidas RPT-01 on-ear headphones

The Adidas RPT-01 are on-ear headphones that won't budge even when you're working hard thanks to their springy ergonomic headband (Image credit: Adidas)

The best running headphones with a marathon battery

Specifications
Weight: 209g
Battery life: 40 hours
Heart rate monitor: No
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Rugged design great for sport+Fantastic battery life+Simple and easy-to-use controls
Reasons to avoid
-Design is an acquired taste

If you're looking for some rugged running headphones, the Adidas RPT-01 could be a good fit – sure, not everyone wants to wear on-ear headphones while working out, but the breathable design of these Adidas cans means you won't overheat.

The knitted headband and ear cushions can even be removed and washed after particularly sweaty sessions. Plus, with a 40-hour battery life, they'll last you for multiple marathons. 

While the sound quality isn't the finest we've ever heard, the RPT-01s are suitably loud and bassy, which is something you'll want to push you through that final lap. They're certainly the best running headphones we've tested with this form factor.

Read our full Adidas RPT-01 review

Jaybird X4 running headphones

If you're looking for a set of running headphones on a budget, the Jaybird X4 give a good fit and impressive sound for relatively little cash (Image credit: Jaybird X4)

The best affordable running headphones

Specifications
Weight: 14.7g
Battery life: 8 hours
Heart rate monitor: No
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Excellent adaptable sound+Durable and compact design
Reasons to avoid
-Proprietary charging dock-Button lag

Now committed to a yearly refresh of the popular mid-range model, the Jaybird X4 manage to outdo both the previous Jaybird X2 and Jaybird X3 wireless Bluetooth earphones, with an upgraded IPX7 water-resistance rating. Whether you're sweating buckets or running doggedly through the rain, the X4 will be able to cope.

The Jaybird X4 running headphones also sound surprisingly good. Jaybird's excellent app provides easy EQ customization as well as the ability to make your own sound profile, with various ear tip sizes to boot. A great all round choice for runner who don't want to skimp on sound – or be wary of the weather.

Alternatively if you're after an even more premium experience, the Jaybird Tarah Pro earbuds offer higher-quality audio and materials for a somewhat higher $159 £139 / AU$229 price tag.

Although we're still big fans of the Jaybird X4 headphones, take a look at the Jaybird Vista true headphones further down the list – they're our top pick if you're in the market for a pair of true wireless earbuds. 

Read our full Jaybird X4 review

The Under Armour True Wireless Flash headphones

The Under Armour True Wireless Flash true wireless headphones allow you to hear ambient noise as you run to help you stay safe (Image credit: Under Armour)

True wireless running headphones that let you hear ambient noise

Specifications
Weight: 16g
Battery life: 5 hours (25 with case)
Heart rate monitor: No
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Snug fit+Plenty of battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No heart rate monitor-Hefty carry case

The Under Armour True Wireless Flash running headphones are a solid entry into the true wireless market, with strong audio, ergonomic design, and a hefty battery life (25 hours, including the case's four extra charges) to last throughout the week.

There are also two smart noise technologies that help these earbuds stand out. Tapping the left earbud once will activate Talk-Thru, which quietens audio for momentary conversation or when you need to be on alert, while Ambient Aware (tap the left earbud twice) recreates outside noise using external microphones.

UA has gone for stamina rather than convenience with these running headphones though, and the charging case can feel bulky to carry around – especially during exercise. You also won’t get any speed charging features here, meaning you shouldn’t wait until five minutes before a workout to plug the case into the wall.

Read our full Under Armour True Wireless Flash review

Black Jabra Elite Sport true wireless headphones

The Jabra Elite Sport true wireless running headphones include hear-through tech, so you remain aware of pedestrians and cars around you (Image credit: Jabra)

The best running headphones to monitor your workouts

Specifications
Weight: 17.9g
Battery life: 4.5 hours
Heart rate monitor: Yes
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Truly wireless+They come with a charging case
Reasons to avoid
-Only 4.5 hours of battery life-Very firm-fitting, can be painful

There’s wireless, and then there’s true wireless, and the top-end Jabra Elite Sport are the latter. Beyond the cordless design, the headline feature of these running headphones is the Hear Through tech, which allows you to control the way the buds let in or filter out ambient noise – with just a quick button press. This is great for staying alert if you run outdoors.

The on-the-go charging case provides 13.5 hours of battery life in total, but with just 4.5 hours available from a single charge, slower marathon runners will probably want to jog on – although for 99% of your training, this won't be an issue.

Although not marketed for swimming, they’re also IP67 certified water resistant. The companion app also utilizes the built-in heart rate monitor to enhance your workouts, along with the internal accelerometer to monitor your reps of squats, lunges and the like.

These are expensive buds, but the amount they can do is incredible – for many, they'll be your go-to choice for your new running headphones.

Read our full Jabra Elite Sport review

Gray Shokz Trekz Air bone conduction headphones

The Shokz Trekz Air running headphones are a cheaper alternative to the OpenRun, are super comfortable, and deliver almost the same sound quality (Image credit: Aftershokz)

The best running headphones for ultimate comfort

Specifications
Weight: 29.7g
Battery life: 6 hours
Heart rate monitor: No
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Exacting design+Comfortable and stable fit
Reasons to avoid
-Ear 'tickle' sensation-Sound quality is lacking

If you don’t want to spend big on the company’s OpenRun running headphones, the Shokz Trekz Air offer many of the same features and overall audio quality for significantly less money.

Although not as compact or light in terms of their design, the Trekz Air do come with an IP55 rating, making them fit for sweaty workouts. Adopting the signature wraparound titanium frame, their 30g weight is distributed well to ensure they’re comfortable to wear and stay in place.

Pairing with devices over Bluetooth, these running headphones feature controls to adjust volume and a mute button to make it quick and easy to cut music in busy environments or if you need to have a conversation. 

Sound quality is as good as you’ll find on bone conduction headphones, although in busier environments, they’ll struggle to be heard. At full volume, you might experience some of the tickling sensation familiar with bone conduction, so these are best used at moderate volumes.

Offering six hours of battery life, the Trekz Air also come with a quick-charge feature that will get you an hour of listening time in just 15 minutes of charging.

Read our full Shokz Trekz Air review

Navy blue Mu6 Ring running headphones

The Mu6 Ring headset places a small speaker in front of each of your ears so you can hear your music or podcasts while remaining aware of noises around you (Image credit: Mu6)

The best multipurpose headphones for running and general use

Specifications
Weight: 34g
Battery life: 8 hours
Heart rate monitor: No
On-ear controls: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Light, open design+Comfortable during exercise+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Not waterproof-Recharges via Micro USB, not ideal for everyone

The Mu6 Ring headset leaves your ear canals free so you can hear the world around you, but unlike the Aftershokz running headphones we've tested, it doesn't use bone conduction. Instead, it simply positions a small speaker in front of each ear, which means you don't get the annoying tickling sensation of something vibrating against your cheekbone, but there's also a lot more sound leakage.

The headset is lightweight and comfortable though, and didn't budge no matter how hard we worked during our training sessions. It works well for listening to music and taking calls at your desk as well, and never starts to rub or bite. It keeps running for around eight hours on a single charge, so can keep you entertained for an entire day of Zoom meetings. 

It's good value too, costing considerably less than similar style bone conduction headsets. If you can live with the sound leakage, then it's well worth considering.

Read our full Mu6 Ring review

What should I look for when buying running headphones?

Battery life, awareness, and on-ear controls are three key factors in choosing a good pair of running headphones. Battery needs to see you through at least one run before you need to recharge – ideally a few – which means those used to shorter runs should be looking for headphones capable of going five hours or more on a single charge. Those who can spend all morning running need to find headphones capable of 10 hours or more.

Do you run on the road, in the park or on a treadmill? If you run outside, you might want to consider bone conduction headphones which don't sit inside your ear canal. The sound quality isn't as good, but you can hear potential hazards around you.

A number of running headphones have on-ear controls. Whether you need these or not is down to personal preference, but they're important if you don't like getting your phone out to skip tracks or change settings. 

Of course comfort and fit is hugely important too, but you can assume all of the picks on this list will stay in place – even if we do think some are more comfortable and secure than others.

What type of headphones are best for running?

If you're running somewhere busy, bone conduction headphones that leave your ear canals open will make sure you can hear pedestrians and traffic around you, whereas earbuds with soft silicone 'fins' will block out more sound while remaining firmly in place while you run.

Do headphones fall off when running?

Yes, many on-ear headphones will fall off, so you'll need a pair that are specially designed for sport. They should be sweat-proof so they don't become slippery, with a springy headband to hold them in place. Alternatively, check out a pair of running earbuds or a bone conduction headset.