Wireless Headphones and Exercise

If you work out, there’s a good chance you listen to music while you’re doing it. There’s nothing like listening to fast-paced, upbeat song to keep you going when your body starts to feel tired. Research has shown that music has a positive influence on how we respond to fatigue, our breathing rate, and our muscle movement and coordination.

But have you ever tried running with the Apple EarPods? Or lifting weights while wearing some bulky Beats headphones?

Exercising with standard earphones or headphones always gets complicated, and can do more harm than help. The cord can become tangled and interrupt the flow of your arm movements, or sweat in your ears might cause earbuds to fall off.

In this post, we want to recommend the 5 best wireless headphones for running and your workout sessions.

Key Points to Consider in Buying Headphones for Exercising

Comfort – One of the most important considerations for any set of headphones: are they comfortable? Since they will be resting on your ears and head, some of the most delicate parts of the body, you want to make sure you can keep them on for extended periods.

Build Quality – Headphones need to be strong and durable. They need to withstand the wear and tear of other objects in your backpack, and from being used daily.

Audio Quality – Of course, at the end of the day headphones are about how good the audio or music sounds. While all of our headphones have a good standard output, we also place a high significance on the audio clarity.

Affordability – Everyone has a different budget and you want to make sure that you choose a pair that doesn’t break the bank account.

Battery Life – Bluetooth headphones aren’t much use when they die in the middle of each workout. We chose headphones that lasted a long time, and some that only needed to charge for a few minutes to get an hour of charge.

Additional Features – Do you plan on being around water and need it to be waterproof? Do you need a cord just in case, maybe one with a microphone and volume controls?

Let’s take a look at some of the best wireless headphones you can buy for running or exercising in general.

Jaybird X3 Bluetooth Wireless In-Ear Earphones

If you’ve ever heard of Jaybird, then you know they have a track record for making bluetooth headphones. The Jaybird X3 is no exception, building on the legacy of the X2.

The Jaybird X3 Wireless uses a neckband-style design with a smaller profile than its predecessor. The cable management clips make a comeback, allowing you to shorten the length of the cable to your desire. This can come in handy when you’re running and you don’t want the neckband cord to get in the way. The plastic shell feels rigid and strong.  

The Jaybird uses a 6mm driver, helping it pump some loud and clear signals. The bass feels loud and strong, but the mids and highs are balanced well. The actual headphones can be fitted with a silicone or foam tip. The foam tip helps create better noise isolation and friction with your ears, helping it stay inside. In addition, the X3s are sweat-proof, so even if you’re drenched from running, they should stay inside.

The Jaybird also has a few additional features that give it an edge against its competitors, including a promised 8-hour battery life, a short charging cycle, a volume rocker and microphone, and a MySound App that lets you customize your sound settings on your smartphone.

While this may seem steep for some, you’ll be hard pressed to find better wireless headphones to workout with.

Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Earbuds (Updated 2017 Version)

There are actually two Jabra Elite Sports: one released in December 2016, and one released on July 2017. The latter has an additional 50% battery life, and is the one we reviewed.

If you want “true wireless headphones” similar to the Apple AirPods without being locked to Apple, check out the Jabra Elite Sport. The design is based off the Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition in-ears, but without the cord in between. A heart rate sensor is also implemented in the left earpiece, allowing you to keep a check on your heart rate as you exercise. The playback controls are built into the headsets as well.

The Elite Sport also has an IP67 waterproof rating, which means the headphones can stay submerged for about a half hour under a couple feet of water (as long as it’s not saltwater), and the updated battery boasts 4.5 hours of playback before charging.  

The Elite Sport has a tight base and great sound quality, but the silicone tips that come with them won’t be enough to create that isolated sound. Fortunately, they should work with any standard silicone earbud cover. One cool feature of the headset is its built-in noise reduction- which switches audio to the earbud with the least background noise.

Bose SoundSport Wireless In-Ear

Bose has established a solid reputation for sound isolation and comfort, and the Bose SoundSport In-Ears are for the sporty audiophile.

Similar to the Jaybird X3, they feature a wingtip that should fit comfortably into the contour of your ear. They also feature an inline remote and microphone, at an additional cost. The SoundSport doesn’t have the same level of water-resistance as other headphones, but it still has a “weather and sweat-resistant design.”

The Bose SoundSport Wireless In-Ears deliver some clear signals. Bose has always been good at balancing the lows, mids, and highs, and having some punchy bass. It’s worth noting that they also tend to use the same drivers as their open earbud counterparts.

The Bose SoundSport Wireless In-Ear are comfortable and deliver some great sound quality. 

Beats By Dre PowerBeats3 Wireless In-Ear Headphones

Beats by Dre have gained worldwide popularity, endorsed by the most popular celebrities and producers and having been bought by Apple. But it has always gotten a reputation for having a lackluster quality in material and sound design. The PowerBeats 3 puts all that to rest.

The PowerBeats feature two rectangular buds with earhooks and a wire between them that can rest on the back of your neck. The battery can get you 12 hours of continuous play, but more importantly, you can charge it for five minutes for an hour of charge. This can be super useful when you’re going for a quick run and don’t want to wait around. Note that some people have run into issues finding a good fit for their ears.

The audio quality puts other Beats products to shame, and ends the stigma of a less than stellar sound quality. The tones felt warm and rich, especially in the lows and mids. The PowerBeats 3 has a chance to go up against some of the more professional, high-end headphones.

JLab Audio Epic 2 Wireless Sport Earbuds

Finally we reviewed JLab’s latest entry into its Epic line of wireless earphones, the JLab Epic 2. JLab has two earbuds with earhooks that wrap around the ear and connect through a cord that dangle behind your neck. It also has an inline microphone and control where you charge it with a micro USB.

The material is IPX5 waterproof rated, meaning it won’t get soaked in rain or sweat. JLab claims the battery is tested to last up to 12 hours. We thought the JLab offered some of the most comfortable earpieces, but that could also be due to the numerous rubber tips they provide.

The JLab Epic 2 delivers some punchy, heavy bass, more than some of the other headphones we tested. These headphones get loud. The mids and highs take a backseat to the bass, but they still sound clear and present when turned up.

The JLab Epic 2 is a solid choice for someone looking to keep their budget low while getting some head-thumping bass during their workout. 


Final Thoughts

That wraps up our list of best wireless headphones for running, or exercising in general. All you really need are headphones that have long battery life, a robust design, and a balanced soundstage. Whichever you choose, as long as you choose from our list, you should have your bases covered.

If we had to choose, and it’s so difficult because there are so many great ones, we would choose the Jaybird X3 Sport Bluetooth Headset. Out of all our choices, the Jaybird is the only one that hits all our expectations and meets our criteria for a truly great exercising experience, all while staying affordable. A search online shows that countless audiophiles and headphone publications online agree with us.

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree or disagree? Which ones do you have, or want the most? Let us know in the comments.