Running can be a lonely and monotonous activity, so it is understandable that many runners use music to distract their minds and exercise for as long as possible. They also use music to motivate them and help maintain a rhythm in their strides. Some of us remember running when the only choices where you carry along a walkman radio, or a bulky CD player. Luckily, those days are long gone!
These days we have access to music from a number of different possible electronic devices while we are on the move, whether it be while we are just traveling or engaged in casual or intense exercise.
The device is just part of the equation — a valuable asset to the listening experience is a good set of reliable headphones and there are so many to choose from. What is important, when listening to music while on the move is to still always be aware of your surroundings. Music is good as a distraction and motivator but do make sure that you are safe when running outdoors. There are a growing number of accidents resulting from people using electronic devices as they go about their day to day business, so much so that the nation of Switzerland for example, has had protective pads installed around lamp posts to protect people who bash into them while walking, listening to music or texting, and then resulting in injury. In fact, we recommend never having music or podcasts streaming to the headphones while you are in a high traffic area.
Back to headphones and running. There are many good headphones to choose from. Think about your typical headphones, and what style you like to wear (around-the-neck, around-the-ear, earbuds, etc.) Also, give some thought to the running sunglasses you like to wear — if your glasses tend to have long, bulky arms, you may want a more low-profile headphone or earbud.
Here are some worth considering. All listed are compatible with sports activities, but their prices can vary quite a bit.
Best Running Headphones / Earbuds
Skullcandy Method Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are ideal for use during even intense exercise, as it has a sweat resistant design. You will also be able to receive calls and control your music using its built-in remote capability. This device provides wireless listening for up to 9 hours with a charging time of 90 minutes and a wireless range of up to 33m. To tempt buyers the manufacturer also offers a 2-year guarantee, thereby demonstrating their confidence in these headphones. This device has a Duallock Fit design to keep the earbuds secure in the ear during rigorous exercise. The Skullcandy Method Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are available in black only and come with Micro USB to USB charging cable and standard ear gels (small, med) x 2. These nifty headphones are also quite light and only weigh 48g. Find here.
Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB80BS Bluetooth Headphones are available in black or blue. These headphones have an ergonomic ear-hook design that is compatible with all varieties of smartphones. It features a microphone, remote control and volume control. Why are these headphones highly suitable for runners? Because they are sweat and water resistant and thus are practical for outdoor runners experiencing the full spectrum of weather conditions, and are rated at IPX5. These headphones take up to 2 hours to charge and will provide up to 7 hours of music once fully charged.
When you buy the Sony Extra Bass Bluetooth headphones you will also receive: a USB cable, carrying pouch, length adjuster, earbuds, warranty card, operating instructions and a reference guide. Find here.
Samsung IconX Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are probably the headphones to beat in terms of features for runners. One drawback is, however, they are only compatible with Android smartphones. Regardless, their feature list is quite impressive. The Samsung IconX Wireless Bluetooth headphones along with providing music, have a built-in fitness tracker that can monitor speed, distance, duration of exercise, calories burned, vigorous intensity zone, heart rate and performance. Please be mindful that the manufacturers warn against using the device to monitor heart rate for health diagnosis purposes, though. The package they come with also offers a variety of sizes so the user can mix and match between sizes of both eartips and wingtips to ensure the best fit. These headphones feature a built in 4GB of memory that can be used to store music and play it without requiring an external source.
The battery life of these headphones can provide: music for up to 3.8 hours, music with workout for up to 3.4 hours, Bluetooth audio streaming for up to 1.6 hours or Bluetooth audio streaming with workout for up to 1.5 hours.
The Samsung IconX Wireless Bluetooth headphones come with a charging case, earbuds, eartips (small, medium and large) wingtips (small, medium and large), USB connector, USB cable, a Quick Start Guide and comes with a manufacturer’s guarantee for 3 years. They don’t have the battery life of the others, but they make up for it in the compact size. Find here.
BOSE SoundSport Headphones are available in a range of vibrant colors. These headphones are exceptionally light, weighing in at only 18g and are sweat resistant. The Bose SoundSport headphones also are convenient to operate with their one-touch control to change music.
Bose claims that these headphones are reliable during exercise and will stay in place due to the StayHear tips which conform to the shape of ears. They also feature a hydrophobic cloth that covers each speaker element thereby preventing sweat and water getting in and ensuring quality audio sound.
Bose provides a SoundSport headphone model that is compatible with Android phones and a separate SoundSport model that is compatible with iPhones, so please do be careful when ordering to ensure you get the proper model for your needs.
Bose SoundSport headphones come with StayHear interchangeable ear tips x 3 and a carry case. With an incredible brand name like Bose backing them, you know these headphones will deliver. Find here.
Jaybird X3 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are another popular gadget for runners as it has a number of useful features, firstly for their sweatproofing and water-resistance which means they can be used in wet weather conditions. The Jaybird X3 also has a fast charge facility that provides 1 hour of battery life after only 5 minutes of charging. Its full battery life is impressive, providing up to 8 hours of listening.
The Jaybird X3 is quite versatile as well in terms of connectivity as it can connect to smartphones, MP3 players or any computer that has Bluetooth connection capability and has a range of 10m. It provides flexible listening by allowing pausing and skipping of tracks too. These headphones also have a built-in microphone that allows for incoming and outgoing calls. They comes with: a carry pouch; small, medium and large ear fins; and shirt slips and cable management clips. It has a manufacturer’s guarantee for 1 year. Find here.
Run Technology, in Addition to Running Headphones
Getting good running headphones are just a start to helping technology support your run training. Don’t miss our piece on the run watches on the market today. It is great that phones have apps for tracking your runs, but in our experience there is nothing like a built-for-purpose running watch to help manage your works and give you convenient precision when trying to train better. Also, if you need to spend part of your year training indoors, we did a roundup on treadmills. They have come a LONG way in recent years, so at a minimum take a peek at what is out there. Maybe you live in a northern climate, or perhaps you just like the convenience of working out at home. Either way, you want to invest in a treadmill that you will actually use.
The most important thing, though, is to be active — and in our experience, good headphones make doing that just a little easier.