Best Running Headphones 2023

A set of black over-ear adidas headphones resting against a brown towel.
Credit: adidas

Having a set of the best running headphones can help you push your training that little bit further by keeping you motivated through music, podcasts, or simply the radio.

However, with an array of different sizes and styles available, it can be hard to know what exactly it is you're looking for from a set of headphones for fitness. We'd argue, though, that the features to look out for are actually quite simple.

For running, you'll want something lightweight to remain comfortable during your session, and to avoid feeling weighed down as you exercise.

You may also find that noise-cancelation headphones can help you focus, particularly on your breathing, although there is some debate about whether they make you too unaware of your surroundings.

Whatever it is you're after though, we've got you covered with our list of top picks based on their price, reviews, and features, covering an array of different types of headphones in the process to help you select the ideal pair.

Whether you're after some of the best running headphones under 100 in these adidas Sport RPT-01, or a pair of wireless earbuds, like these Beats PowerBeats Pros, we've got you covered right here.

Stick around as well because we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding headphones to help you figure out which set is right for your running needs.

Without further ado, here's our list of the best running headphones available now...

Best running headphones

  1. Beats PowerBeats Pro
  2. adidas Sport RPT-01
  3. Apple AirPods Pro
  4. Sennheiser CX Sport
  5. Bose SoundSport Pulse
  6. Mu6 Ring
Beats PowerBeats Pro product image of a pair of ivory-coloured wireless headphones with over-ear hooks.
click to enlarge
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Credit: Beats

1. Beats PowerBeats Pro

Best in-ear running headphones

Weight: 11g per bud
Quoted Battery Life: 9 hours
Noise Control: Sound Isolation
On-Ear Controls: Yes

The PowerBeats Pros have been designed with running and fitness in mind as they come with secure-fit ear hooks to help keep them in place as you walk, jog, or sprint your way through a killer cardio session.

Moreover, they are both sweat and water-resistant so should suit anyone who enjoys completing triathlons for example as they combine both running and swimming into one sport.

Another key feature of these headphones is that they have volume and track controls on each earbud and autoplay/pause capabilities which can help as you don't have to worry about getting your phone out to change the song as you run.

Read More: Best running shoes

adidas Sport RPT-01 product image of a pair of black knitted over-ear headphones.
click to enlarge
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Credit: adidas

2. adidas Sport RPT-01

Best over-ear running headphones

Weight: 209g
Quoted Battery Life: 40 hours
Noise Control: Sound Isolation
On-Ear Controls: Yes

adidas is one of the top sports brands in the world, usually synonymous with making amazing sportswear, but they also manufacture these high-quality on-ear headphones as well.

The headphones boast an impressive 40 hours of battery life which would even last if you ran multiple marathons back to back, so you shouldn't need to worry about your headphones dying on you whilst you exercise.

The headband and ear cushions are knitted which makes these headphones relatively lightweight, and they can even be removed and washed if you've completed a particularly sweaty running session.

All in all, if you enjoy running and like this particular style of headphones, then the adidas Sport RPT-01 might just be your answer.

Read More: Best running shoes under 100

Apple AirPods Pro product image of a pair of white Airpods inside their charging case
click to enlarge
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Credit: Apple

3. Apple AirPods Pro

Best premium running headphones

Weight: 5.4g
Quoted Battery Life: 24 hours
Noise Control: Active Noise Cancellation
On-Ear Controls: Yes

You have probably heard of Apple and might even own a number of their products, but what you might not know is that the AirPod Pros make for some great running headphones thanks to a number of key features which help make them ideal for working out with.

At just 5.4g, they are extremely light and Apple boasts their headphones come with a 24 battery life which should last you during both short sprints and even ultra-marathons.

Their active noise cancellation should maintain your focus on the sound as you run, helping you concentrate on your breathing and form whilst trying to smash your best 5k time.

Ultimately, the AirPod Pros are a great bit of kit to run with and are particularly useful if you own an iPhone already and are looking for the most compatible Bluetooth earbuds to go with it.

Read More: Best running watches

Sennheiser CX Sport product image of a pair of black and yellow earbuds with a cable to wrap around your neck
click to enlarge
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Credit: Sennheiser

4. Sennheiser CX Sport

Best running headphones for audio quality

Weight: 15g
Quoted Battery Life: 6 hours
Noise Control: Sound Isolation
On-Ear Controls: Yes (on Neck Cable)

If one of the most important factors in choosing a suitable pair of running headphones is the audio quality, then these Sennheiser CX Sports could be a great choice for you.

Sennheiser boasts that these earbuds come with superior bass quality to help boost your running performance, particularly if you enjoy listening to lively, bass-heavy songs along the way.

Although not on the ear, these earbuds do come with volume and song controls on the cable that can be worn around the neck, designed to give you a bit more security in case they fall out whilst exercising.

With a 6-hour battery life, they should last for beginners and more serious runners looking to run for longer, but also for everyday use like commuting to and from work.

Read More: Best running watches under 100

Bose SoundSport product image of a pair of black and red headphones with a cable to wrap around your neck
click to enlarge
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Credit: Bose

5. Bose SoundSport Pulse

Best smart running headphones

Weight: 17.9g
Quoted Battery Life: 6 hours
Noise Control: Sound Isolation
On-Ear Controls: Yes (on Neck Cable)

Bose offers two SoundSport headphones in their range, but the ones we're focusing on are the slightly more expensive SoundSport Pulse editions which come with a built-in heart rate monitor to help track how hard you're working as you run.

The SoundSport is compatible with NFC-enabled smartphones and music devices, and if you download The Bose Connect app, you can share music with more than one pair of headphones, making them a great option if you regularly run with a buddy.

They also come with StayHear+ tips designed to remain secure and comfortable in your ears, even during high-intensity sprint sets.

On the whole, if you're looking for a pair of running headphones that offer the signature sound quality of Bose and a secure fit to keep them safe as you exercise, then these could be an ideal choice.

Read More: Best fitness trackers and watches

Mu6 Ring product image black and red set of open-ear headphones.
click to enlarge
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Credit: Mu6

6. Mu6 Ring

Best open-ear running headphones

Weight: 35g
Quoted Battery Life: 9 hours
Noise Cancelling: No
On-Ear Controls: Yes

A unique headphone set, Mu6 Ring places small speakers directly in front of your ears, keeping your ear canal free so you can still hear the world around you when exercising.

Simply opting for a small set of speakers stops you from feeling any kind of tickling sensation through the vibrations of a bone construction set. Furthermore, these headphones are incredibly lightweight, which should improve the comfort levels when exercising.

Overall, these unique running headphones look to be an excellent pick if you're looking to stay in tune with the world as you exercise.

Read More: Best marathon shoes

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

With so many different brands and styles to choose from, you probably have a few queries about running headphones, but we're here to clear up some of the most common questions.

Are running headphones worth it?

If you are into your running then yes, they definitely should be worth it.

Although a lot of headphones and earbuds featured on this list are designed for sports, they're all extremely versatile and should be suitable for everyday use like traveling to work or when you're just sitting back and listening to your favourite podcast.

We'd even argue that some of our top picks make for a great wireless gaming headset as well if needed. So, while you may be buying primarily for running, you're bound to get a ton of use out of your headphones elsewhere as well.

Even though the price tags may vary, they will most likely be a good investment, especially if you plan on running more than once a week.

How can you work out if running headphones will fit?

Most headphones these days are adjustable in some form and are therefore typically marketed as a one size fits all bit of kit.

Earbuds typically come with a variety of different-sized bud inserts to fit practically every sized ear out there, so you shouldn't need to worry about whether your earbuds will fit when you buy them.

Are wireless running headphones easy to connect to?

Wireless headphones tend to work via Bluetooth connectivity and can usually be paired to your device in the device settings.

It is worth noting however, not all headphones are compatible with every device out there, so you need to pay attention to what they can and can't connect to in order to avoid any disappointment after purchasing a pair of headphones.

Do you need your phone with you to use running headphones?

Most wireless headphones or earbuds require a parent device such as your phone in order for them to play music, podcasts, or radio.

However, there are some devices available that come with built-in storage to allow you to save music, for example, onto them so you don't need to carry your phone with you whilst you exercise.

There are also some smartwatches with similar storage capabilities, so can simply connect your running headphones to your watch to listen to music instead.

How long do wireless running headphones take to charge?

The time it takes to charge wireless headphones can vary depending on several factors, including the specific headphone model, the capacity of the battery, and the charger being used. On average, we'd say it typically takes 1 to 2 hours to fully charge most wireless running headphones. However, some models may require more or less time.

As a result of this, it's important to refer to the manufacturer's instructions and specifications for your specific headphone model to get the most accurate information about charging times. The user manual or product packaging should provide details on charging times and best practices for ensuring the longevity of the battery in your headphones.

Are over-ear or earbud running headphones better?

This will ultimately come down to personal preference.

Over-ear headphones have the advantage of having bigger speakers which should deliver better sound quality, however, they're also heavier and can result in your ears overheating. By contrast, earbuds are lightweight, but you may find them uncomfortable to wear, especially whilst running.

We feel earbuds may be the slightly better choice for running, but it's really down to you to decide.

Is it safe to run with headphones in?

It's completely acceptable to wear headphones whilst running as they can provide that extra source of entertainment you might need to keep you running for longer. However, there's an argument to be had for leaving them at home for your own safety.

Like using the phone whilst driving, headphones provide a distraction to your surroundings, which can make it tricky at times to keep on top of all the potential hazards around you.

Therefore, we'd perhaps argue against wearing headphones if you typically run down busy roads or congested pathways. However, you won't necessarily need to worry about this as much in quiet, open spaces.

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