To take advantage of these benefits, though, you’ll need a good pair of running headphones, designed to stay in place, deliver fantastic sound, and with sufficient battery life to last the distance!
With such a range of styles and brands on the market, it’s not always easy to decide on the type that will suit you best.
That’s why I’ve designed this guide to help!
First, I’ve outlined the features to look for in headphones for running and discussed the different kinds available.
Then I’ve listed 9 of my favorite models, and the reasons I recommend them.
So let’s get started!
The 9 Best Running Headphones in 2023
What to Look for in Headphones for Running
Running with headphones should make your training more enjoyable – not distract from it – so comfort is key!
Some of my clients like wireless earbuds with over-ear hooks or other features to help hold them in place during strenuous activity, whereas others prefer smaller earbuds that sit inside the ear canal.
A few also like traditional overhead earphones because they find them more secure, although others have said they find them uncomfortably warm during longer runs.
The type you choose really is a matter of personal preference and I have included a few different styles in this guide to help you weigh up the pros and cons of each.
Related Article: The 9 Best Wireless Earbuds for Running
Other things to think about include:
#1: Battery Life
If you’ve ever been halfway through a long run only to have your headphones die on you, you’ll know what an important consideration this is!
That’s why I recommend looking for a pair offering a battery life of at least 5 hours on a single charge.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the 9 best running headphones in this guide all meet this criteria.
What’s more, several of them can be recharged from their cases, often giving you many extra hours.
In the specs for these models, I’ve listed two different figures for battery life – one relating to the actual headphones, and the other to the additional number of hours available from the case.
#2: Noise Canceling
Good noise cancelation is a popular feature in headphones and I love the feeling of being totally immersed in music, with no outside distractions.
This is best achieved by earphones that sit very snugly in the ear canal.
But completely blocking out environmental sounds can be unsafe when you’re running outdoors and isn’t something I’d recommend.
In order to hear traffic and other people around you, either opt for headphones with a looser fit or choose a model offering ambient mode.
This allows you to block out noise when running on a treadmill, for example, but to hear the world around you when training outdoors.
#3: Water Resistance
Some level of water resistance is important in running headphones, helping protect them from sweat or unexpected showers!
I’ve included an IP (Ingress Protection) rating in the specs for each of the models below.
This rating is made up of two numbers, the first relating to protection from dust (often an ‘X’, meaning there’s no data available) and the second to water resistance.
The best running headphones should have a water resistance rating of at least 4, as this means they’re protected against splashes.
Water protection ratings of 7 or more indicate that the headphones can even be submerged in water, but only for a limited time and only to a certain depth.
The 9 best Running Headphones
Battery Life: Buds: 8 hrs, Case: 24 hrs, Noise Canceling: Yes, Water Resistance: IP68 (IP54 for the Protective Case)
|Very compact||Case is slippery|
|Quick charge (5-minute charge for one hour)||Quite a bit of wind noise|
With brilliant battery life plus protection against water, sweat, and dust, this is a tough pair of headphones for running that you can take out for a full day on the trail!
They are also impact resistant and protected against freezing conditions, plus they use ‘Surroundsense’ technology to keep you aware of your environment – an important safety feature for any outdoor run.
The design is sport-specific and the ear wings – along with three sizes of interchangeable ear gels – helped me get a great fit, so they stayed comfortably in place from start to finish.
Battery Life: Buds: 5.5 hrs, Case: 12 hrs, Noise Canceling: No, Water Resistance: IPX4
|Volume automatically adapts to surroundings||Open design means very little bass|
|Speak-To-Chat function pauses playback when you speak||Yawning or face-scratching can unintentionally pause playback|
|Multipoint connection to pair 2 Bluetooth devices||Case is hard to open|
These were originally designed to let gamers stay connected with their surroundings while listening to online content, but the unique open-ring design is perfect for outdoor running, too.
Very small and lightweight, these earbuds come with 5 differently-sized silicone rings, so it’s easy to get a very snug and secure fit.
One of my favorite features, though, is the ‘Wide Area Tap’ which allows you to tap on your face instead of the earbud to control playback – a far easier option mid-run!
Battery Life: 50 hrs, Noise Canceling: No, Water Resistance: N/A
|Super comfortable||Basic, no-frills design|
|Multi-device connection||Not water-resistant|
|3 colors available|
If you want a pair of overhead headphones but don’t have the big bucks to invest in the Beats Studio3 (below), these make a great alternative and deliver surprisingly good sound for the price.
The battery life will easily see you through your longest runs and the quick charging gives you up to 90 minutes of playback for just a 3-minute charge.
Very lightweight and with soft, comfortable earpads and head cushioning, I found these easy to wear for extended periods and they stayed put throughout my runs without shifting at all.
Battery Life: Buds: 6 hrs, Case: 18 hrs, Noise Canceling: Yes, Water Resistance: IPX4
|Balanced sound with great bass||Expensive|
|Easy setup with accompanying app||No multipoint pairing|
|Playback pauses automatically when you remove an earbud|
From a company with a reputation for producing consistently excellent audio equipment, these headphones offer superior sound, along with noise canceling that adjusts itself automatically so nothing distracts you from your music!
Ideal for running on the treadmill and immersing yourself entirely, they feel very secure and come with three pairs of ear tips and three pairs of stability bands that keep them firmly in place without feeling annoying.
You can customize the sound just the way you like it using the equalizer within the app and I found it easy to control playback with the touch-sensitive stalks.
Battery Life: Buds: 6 hrs, Case: 24 hrs, Noise Canceling: Yes, Water Resistance: IPX4
|Excellent noise cancelation||Limited features for non-iOS users|
|Immersive sound||No multi point pairing|
These headphones feature customizable spatial audio, which uses dynamic head tracking to allow you to enjoy sound from every direction (it’s great for enjoying post-run movies, too!).
They come with a selection of ear tips to help you get the right fit – including, unusually, an extra small pair – and have a chip built into the charging case to help you keep track of them with Precision Finding (iPhone users only).
One of my favorite features is the ability to change the volume just by swiping up or down on the stem – it does cause the earbuds to loosen a little but is still easier than using buttons mid-run.
#6. Best Running Headphones with Earhooks – Shure AONIC 215 TW2 True Wireless Sound Isolating Earbuds
Battery Life: Buds: 8 hrs, Case: 24 hrs, Noise Canceling: No, Water Resistance: IPX4
|Excellent sound quality||Case is bulky|
|Sound-isolating technology to block noise||Expensive|
|Variety of sleeves provided for a perfect fit||Uncomfortable if worn with glasses|
Headphones with ear hooks are my absolute favorites for running as I find them the most secure and comfortable, so I was excited to put these through their paces.
The good news is that they didn’t disappoint.
In addition to staying in place throughout my run they delivered rich, clear sound and deep bass, with excellent battery life making them suitable for extended training sessions.
I also liked the intuitive ShurePlus PLAY app that makes it easy to fine-tune the sound and customize the user-friendly, behind-the-ear button controls.
Battery Life: Buds: 9 hrs, Case: 27 hrs, Noise Canceling: No, Water Resistance: IP54
|Clear sound with plenty of bass||Bulky case|
|Awareness mode for safety|
These premium-looking earbuds from Sennheiser come with a great selection of ear adapters and fins, making it easy to get a very secure, personalized fit so you can run without distraction.
The sound is very customizable, too, with the unique ‘Adaptable Acoustic’ feature allowing you to choose between open or closed ear adapters to either stay aware of your environment (but minimize body noise like breathing) or block outside sound.
The overall build is durable and dust-resistant, which – coupled with the excellent battery life – makes these headphones as great for trail running as they are for the road.
Battery Life: 22 hrs, Noise Canceling: Yes, Water Resistance: Not rated
|Use Apple’s W1 chip for a consistently stable connection||Geared more toward iOS users|
|Support spatial audio||Expensive|
|Fast Fuel feature – a 10 minute charge for 3 hours of play|
I was already familiar with these headphones prior to this review – my son has a pair and I have a habit of borrowing them regularly for my runs as the sound is just so good!
They are also very lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods, although it’s worth noting that they are not rated for water resistance so it’s probably not a good idea to wear them once things start getting sweaty!
Easy to fold to a compact size and with a hard storage case included, they have on-board controls built into the left ear cup which I find very easy to operate mid-run.
Battery Life: 10 hrs, Noise Canceling: No, Water Resistance: IP55
|Open ear design for safety outdoors||Less bass than earbuds|
|Very secure fit||Some users may find the vibrations uncomfortable|
Bone conduction headphones work differently from earbuds – they leave your ears open to environmental noise and transfer sound through your cheekbones instead!
This is a very safe option if you want to be aware of the traffic and people around you, although the sound quality is somewhat thinner than other styles of headphones/earbuds, and the bass is distinctly lacking!
Nevertheless, they are comfortable to wear (if you don’t mind the sensation of the vibrations) and ideal if sensitive ear canals mean you need to avoid traditional earbuds.
The 9 best Running Headphones: Key Takeaways
Finding a comfortable pair of headphones with great sound can make your training so much more enjoyable and really help those miles fly by!