Not all headphones can take a beating. If you have a pair that isn’t sweatproof, there’s a good chance they’ll die on you if halfway through a run or workout. And if they don’t fit your ears, well, they’re probably not going to stay in, either.
Sport headphones add a new dimension to your workout. They’re light, comfortable and designed to stay securely in your ears during high-intensity intervals. So if you often find yourself lifting weights, running on the roads or trails or doing a total body workout, it’s time to swap out your basic buds for a pair that goes the extra mile.
Just released in June 2021, the Vista 2 are the next generation of the Vista, which were our previous pick for "best overall" wireless earbuds for running. The Vista 2 look basically identical to their predecessors, but Jaybird made them better in just about every way. They have noise-cancellation and transparency modes, improved battery life and they're even more rugged; the Vista 2 have an IP68 rather (instead of IPX7), making them fully dustproof and fully waterproof. Jaybird made the charging case more durable (IP54 rated), too. Like before, the Vista 2 are compatible with a companion app that allows you to change the EQ settings.
The UE Fits are different from all other wireless earbuds because they give you a completely custom fit. They use what Ultimate Ears calls its Lightform technology where each earbud has built-in LED lights and a big gel-filled eartip. You place the earbuds in your ears, connect them to your smartphone and then you trigger a custom molding process via a companion app. The LED lights heat up the gel and, after 60 seconds, the earbuds are perfectly molded to fit in your ears and cannot be unmolded. The UE Fits don't have a ton of other features, but if you're looking for wireless earbuds that will absolutely fit in your ears, this is them.
Note: The UE Fits normally cost $249, but are frequently on sale for less than $200.
The Soundcore Life P2 are our pick for the best budget wireless earbuds for running. They cost less than $50, which is cheap for wireless earbuds in general, but they deliver significantly more. They have a IPX7 water-resistance rating, which is pretty much the best you're going to get, and they have an excellent battery life. They also charge via USB-C.
Other Headphones We Like
The Jaybird Vistas are the predecessors to the 2021-released Vista 2s — and Jaybird still sells them as affordable alternatives. They're IPX7 rated, meaning they are very resistant to water and sweat. Their lightweight design makes them feel like they’re not even in your ears, and the carrying case is slimmer than that of the competition. And they are compatible with a companion app that allows you to change the EQ settings.
These “pro-level” AirPods are the first wireless earbuds that Apple has ever made that are sweat-resistant, which is great news for runners, as well as noise-canceling, which is great for everybody else. They have a silicone ear tip so they fit tighter than Apple’s regular AirPods. On the sort-of downside, they have the same battery life as regular AirPods (and even less life when noise-canceling is turned on).
Released in late 2020, Bose's new Sport Earbuds are smaller and sleeker versions of the company's previous SoundSport Free earbuds. Each earbud has up to five hours of battery life, with a charging case that provides up to 10 extra hours. They are available in three different colors: Triple Black, Baltic Blue, and Glacier White.
The Powerbeats Pro are similar to the AirPods Pro because they’re both made by Apple and have the same H1 chip that makes it easy to pair with an iPhone. Runners, in particular, will appreciate the large ear hooks that grip and hold the earbuds in place. The nine-hour battery life — with up to 20 extra hours from the carrying case — is unmatched, though said carrying case is huge, making these less than ideal for everyday wear. They’re also more expensive than the competition.
These are sport-focused versions of Klipsch's second-generation T5 wireless earbuds. The Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport still are some of the best-sound wireless earbuds you can buy, but they've been designed with a new ear-piece and come with a number of new eartips and earwings to better fit in your ears. Maybe the most striking feature is its charging case; it's water-tight and basically drop-proof, but more importantly it's integrated with little gel beads to soak up moisture; you can place your earbuds right back in the case after your workout and they'll dry themselves out.
Released in mid-2021, Master & Dynamic's MW08 Sport are slightly higher-end versions of the company's MW08 wireless earbuds. The "sport" versions look, fit and work mostly the same — yes, they have active noise-cancellation — but they add a couple improvements to justify the $50 price bump. They support wireless charging (a first for M&D). The earbuds are made out of more scratch-resistance sapphire glass (rather than ceramic). And the charging case has a Kevlar finish. The only other difference is that they come with foam tips (as well as silicone tips) to provide more fit options. Funny enough, the "sport" versions have the same sweat-resistance rating (IPX5) as the regular MW08. They also don't come silicone earwings, like the company's previous sport-focused wireless earbuds, the MW07 Go (below), for an even more secure fit.
The MW07 Go are quite a bit different from Master & Dynamic's 2018-released MW07. They aren't made of the same "premium" materials, with M&D opting for a more rugged TR90 composite material, and they’re 15-percent smaller and lighter to help the better stay in your ears while working out. Many people will also prefer the MW07 Go over the company's newer MW08 Sport (above) because of their higher water-resistance rating (IPX6) and the fact that they come with silicon earwings (again, to provide a superior fit). Plus, the MW07 Go are almost half the price.
The Sony WF-SP800N are unique on this list because they are wireless earbuds that are designed for working out, but they also have active noise-cancellation similar to the company’s flagship WF-1000XM3. The Sony WF-SP800N don’t quite have the sound quality or noise-cancelling abilities of the WF-1000XM3, however, because they lack the same QN1e processor. That said, they’re significantly cheaper.
These are “active” versions of the Jabra Elite 75t that were released earlier in 2020. What that means is that they’re identical in every way, except they’re more water-resistant, they have a stickier coating so they stay in your ear better, and they’re slightly more expensive. Aside from that, these are some of the best all-around wireless earbuds you buy in 2020.
Google released the Pixel Buds A-Series in mid-2021 and subsequently discontinued the more expensive Pixel Buds (second-generation). The newer models look and fit exactly the same, but strip away some of the premium features (like wireless charging and swipe controls) to bring down the price. These are excellent wireless earbuds for working out thanks to their small size, earwing design and water-resistance rating (IPX4). (You can use them with your iPhone, but they are best suited for Pixel owners because of their Google Assistant integration.)
Affordable Alternatives that Aren't "True" Wireless
Released in late 2020, the Beats Flex are the next generation of the BeatsX wireless earphones that were first released in 2017 — but they're significantly cheaper. They also charge via USB-C and have been integrated with Apple's W1 chip, which helps them fast-pair with your iPhone or iPad. However, it's not Apple's newer H1 chip that has been integrated into the newest AirPods and AirPods Pro, meaning the Beats Flex do not support hands-free Siri.
The Powerbeats are the next generation of the company’s Powerbeats3 Wireless that were released in 2016. The new Powerbeats have been integrated with Apple’s H1 chip for fast pairing with your iPhone, just like AirPods and AirPods Pro, but it also enables them to charge faster and get significantly better battery life. As far as design, fit and sound, the Powerbeats are essentially more affordable, neckbud versions of the truly wireless Powerbeats Pro.