For those of us not lucky enough to live near outdoor greenery, getting “in the zone” when you go for a run can be really tricky.
Constant noise from pedestrians, road traffic, building works and general goings on in the world is often a huge distraction.
As a result, many of us street athletes have taken to listening to music as we run - not only is it motivational to have some thundering guitar or heavy bass beats in our ear when zooming along, but it works to focus your mind and block out surroundings.
What earphones work best for this purpose, we hear you cry? Well, never fear: here are our top five Bluetooth buds that are absolutely perfect for running - waterproof and sitting snug in your ear, they won’t let you down.
If you’d like to know the thought process behind our choices and find out what features we thought about when choosing, simply consult the Buyer’s Guide! We’ve laid it all out for you, section by section, in easy to understand terms.
Anything we haven’t covered there, or any lingering queries you might have, could be answered by our Frequently Asked Questions section. Having taken the most common inquiries from other runners, perhaps yours will be one of them!
Want To Get Running Wire-Free, ASAP? Here’s Our Top Pick:
OUR TOP PICK
From audio giant Beats come the Powerbeats Pro Wireless earbuds, designed to perfectly meet the needs of the music-loving athlete. Boasting incredible sound quality and perfect staying power, they were an easy choice for the number one spot.
Staying secure no matter what, the adjustable ear hooks are lightweight enough to be comfortable and fit comfortably over your ear - an added level of security and stability that AirPods would not offer you!
Thanks to their reinforced design, they are resistant to water and sweat, meaning they’re more than capable of keeping up with you and staying where they are as you run or during tougher workouts.
With track change and volume controls on each earbud, as well as integrated microphones with voice control and auto play/pause, they offer a truly wireless experience - no more do you have to mess with your phone as you run!
Thanks to the Apple H1 headphone chip, paired with Class 1 Bluetooth connectivity, they offer an extended range and rarely drop out or lose connection; compatible with both iOS and Android devices, you’ll have no trouble hooking up to your phone.
- Available in a variety of cool colors
- Totally wireless, high performance music with the Apple H1 chip
- iOS and Android compatible
- Adjustable, secure fit ear hooks
- Definitely on the expensive side!
Very affordable when compared to some of the higher-end pairs on our list, the Backbeat Fit 2100 earbuds from Plantronics are incredibly comfortable, with a soft, flexible ear loop that stays secure during the most rigorous of runs.
Stay totally visible in the dark thanks to the reflective finish on both sides; the Always Aware ear tips have been designed to allow in ambient sound, so that you can enjoy your music and stay completely aware of your surroundings at all times.
Boasting up to seven hours of wireless charging power, these Bluetooth headphones will last for plenty of runs before you need to refuel them. IP57 certified as waterproof and sweat-resistant, they will be absolutely fine in wet conditions, even rain!
Thanks to the My Tap feature, you can create a timer, start a stopwatch and even pick your favorite playlist directly from the earbuds, without having to interrupt your run to fumble around on your phone. It’s practically magic!
Lightweight and comfortable to wear, as well as staying firmly in place, there’s no worry of them falling out, and they also won’t become too heavy or hurt your ears as you run. They really are a fantastic pair of earbuds for runners of all abilities.
- Added nighttime visibility with fluorescent strips; Always Aware tips allow in ambient noise to keep you safe
- Solid 7 hour battery life
- My Tap feature allows you to control your music and choose playlists, without the use of your phone
- Sweat and water resistant, IP57 certified durable
- Not the best sound quality - you get what you pay for there
Another more manageable option, price-wise, are the Tozo T10 wireless earbuds, capable of delivering a powerful base, mellow mid ranges and clear highs thanks to their 8mm speaker driver, which is 1.77 times larger than that of the average ‘bud.
Thanks to their advanced Bluetooth 5.0 technology, these bad boys support stable, constant sound transmission and one step, instantaneous pairing every single time. Run with your favorite tracks, totally uninterrupted for the whole time.
IPX8 certified waterproof as a result of the nano-coating, they can be totally submerged up to one meter deep for a maximum of 30 minutes without succumbing to any damage - now that’s seriously sweat resistant, if you ask us.
With a total playtime of 6 hours on a single charge, which increases to a huge maximum of 30 hours total when you make use of the charging case, you’ll always have music to accompany you - the case itself offers fast USB-C charging!
Back to full power after just an hour and a half (or two hours if you use a wireless charger) you’ll be able to utilize them even if you’ve forgotten to plug them in recently - just pop them in the case for 20 minutes and you’ll be good to go for your run!
- Very budget friendly, especially considering the quality
- One step pairing, Bluetooth 5.0 technology
- IPX8 waterproof - perfect for those vigorous workouts
- Imcredible sound quality for the price and size!
- Not great when far away from your phone
From tech wizards Sony come their contribution to the world of wireless earbuds - the WF-XB700, which are packed full of extra bass to provide you with a truly immersive sound experience and still stay safe while you run.
Up to nine hours of battery life on one single charge means that you’re ready to run on several occasions without needing to refuel; just 10 minutes of charging in the event that you forget means you’ll have 60 minutes of playback.
Their IPX4 rating is demonstrative of their water, sweat and rain resistance, meaning you can keep on moving to the music even when the weather takes a turn for the worst, or during your most aggressive workouts.
Available in either bold black or natural navy, these low profile, comfortable buds fit perfectly in your ear; thanks to the Ergonomic Tri-hold structure and multiple earbud options, you’ll be able to ensure they stay secure no matter how fast you’re running.
Simple button controls and an integrated microphone mean phone-free music changing and phone calls are easy enough to achieve; the USB-C charging port is great for fast charging when you’re in a hurry.
- Certified IPX4 sweat and water resistant
- Extra bass for impeccable sound quality
- Great seal in the ear, blocks sounds without being unsafe
- Internal mic and music controls on the buds themselves
- Cannot be used separately - must have left and right bud running at all times
You know you’re going to get quality sound when you choose Bose - that’s just a given. The Sport earbuds also guarantee a secure, snug fit when you run, as well as the standard superb music playback. They’re pricey, but a worthy investment.
Customize the fit to sit perfectly in your ear thanks to the StayHear Max tips included, offering you the option of three different sizes; none of them will hurt your ears, and even during the hardest runs, they won’t fall out or let you down.
Weather and sweat-resistant, the IPX4 rating gained from the waterproof materials these earbuds are wrapped in protects the internal components from any moisture, so you don’t have to worry about the rain (or when things get a bit..steamy).
Phone calls are loud and crystal clear, a result of the beamforming microphone array, which separates your voice and makes it distinguishable from your surroundings. The person on the other line can hear you at all times, even when running!
No need to get your phone out, or struggle to hit buttons on the side of the ‘buds - the capacitive touch interface means you can swipe up and down to control the volume, tap to play or pause, skip, answer calls, and much much more.
- Gain 2 hours from a 15 minute quick charge when on the go
- Bose lifelike sound for beautiful, lifelike audio
- Customized fit with StayHear max tips
- Simple, easy touch controls - no buttons!
- Battery life is lower than other buds at 5 hours
Best Bluetooth Earphones for Running Buying Guide
Why Earphones, Not Headphones?
You might notice that this article is specifically for earphones and not headphones, and find yourself wondering: why is that?
Well, it is our opinion - some may disagree - that headphones are completely inappropriate for running. Here’s why:
- Heat: For starters, the big cushioned pads that cover most headphones would be awfully warm after just a few minutes of running, quickly absorbing a whole lot of sweat and probably causing you to overheat on especially hot days!
- Noise Restriction: Yes, in-ear buds are great at noise canceling, but so long as you keep them at a sensible volume, you’ll still be able to remain aware of your surroundings enough to not bump into anyone or get hit by a cyclist - the same cannot be said for over-ear headphones, which pretty much muffle everything, proving quite dangerous, especially in urban areas
- Loose Fits: Headphones are designed to rest comfortably over your fragile outer ear, not compress, staying firmly on your head without hurting… that is, until you start to run, and they get thrown off your head at speed - they won’t be tight enough to properly commit to your run with confidence, unless you feel like breaking your expensive equipment by sending them flying!
Is Bluetooth Necessary - Can I Use Wired Earphones?
Again, nobody can stop you from doing this, but it’s a big risk - for one, it restricts your movement in as much as you’ll need to avoid pulling them out, and they have the potential to get caught on your arms or fall out as you’re in motion.
Furthermore, your phone is then attached to your earphones, which means that if they fall out or get yanked from your ear, your precious cell (probably with a glass screen, too, right?) is at risk of taking a fall to the hard ground, too. No thanks!
Features To Consider:
Running is not an easy sport, nor a gentle one: once you get moving and hit your stride, your feet can hit the floor with quite a thud. You want earbuds that can put up with a little rough and tumble, not flimsy cheap ones that can’t handle the bumps.
Moreover, in the event that they do accidentally meet the concrete, they should be strong enough to withstand the fall unscathed - at least internally, though the harder the outer surface is the better, so as to protect the fragile innards!
Size and Shape
Whilst some earphones take a one-size-fits-all approach to the fit, others are customizable by using different sizes and shapes of inner buds - the material of these, as well as how large or small they are, will determine how well they stay put.
Likewise, earbuds that are low profile and discrete are best, as not only will they prevent your hearing from being totally blocked out (which is dangerous and could lead to injury) but they will also add very little weight, not at all affecting your run.
Depending on how long your runs are, you want the earphones to last for the whole duration, there and back. A good few hours of life at the very least is what you should be looking for, so you don’t have to recharge them too regularly.
Speaking of charging, the time they take to reach full capacity again is also important - in the event that you want to go for a run ASAP but forgot to refuel them, you don’t want to be hanging around too long before you can head out!
As much as you don’t want to admit it, running is a sweat-fest and even your ears can end up soaked by the end of a particularly powerful stint. Your earbuds should at the very least be water resistant, protecting those all-important electricals.
Similarly, they should also be able to stay firmly in place when sweating occurs, and not slide out of your ear in the event things get a little warm and moist in there. Sorry for the mental image, but it simply has to be said!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do AirPods fall out when you run?
According to this thread on r/runninglifestyle, it is very much an individual situation - for some runners, AirPods are perfect exercise companions and they don’t budge an inch, whereas others find they slip and slide all over the place.
It is worth noting that Apple now provides caps for the AirPods (sold separately, of course) that help you to adjust the fit and make them feel more secure when out on a run, which could very well improve the situation.
Can I run in the rain with Bluetooth earphones?
It absolutely depends on the earphones in question! For instance, AirPods are not notably water-resistant, nor does Apple make any claims about that, so it is not advised to take them out in wet weather without proper protection.
That being said, you can certainly get water-resistant earphones, as demonstrated by those we have featured on our list from the likes of Sony, Beats and Bose, which would definitely be much better suited for a rainy run, if that’s your cup of tea.
Why do elite runners not listen to music?
This seems to be a widespread claim that is more hearsay than fact - a lot of “professional” runners swear by music, audiobooks or podcasts for company on their runs, so it’s actually all about personal preference.
For some talented athletes, music can mess up their pacing unless the beat is perfectly matched; others prefer to run with a friend or as part of a group, preferring conversation (albeit sometimes breathy or yelled) over music as they go.
If you like running with music and find it helpful or motivating, then don’t worry, and definitely don’t be discouraged or feel it will affect your progress. Whatever works for you, works for you - don’t think about what the others are doing, no matter how elite!