The Best Running Headphones In 2017
If you love running, you know that the key to having that extra energy is music. Even when you think you are done, a good song can always pump you up and push you further. So in order to get the most out of it, you need to have some good headphones. But not just any, you need the best running headphones because you want them to fit as well as your shoes. Bad headphones can really ruin your workout.
Before running to the store now, there are key features to pay in mind. For example how much you are willing to pay, are you mostly running at the gym or do you have your own preference. Such as wireless over wired. For that I have put together a list of main features to check before purchasing headphones for running. I have also listed a number of the best running headphones in my experience.
Jaybird X2 Best Running Headphones
Wireless bluetooth headphones are widely popular and Jaybird is a company that has truly brought it to the masses. They are the company that first came out with the BlueBuds X the first good wireless sports headphone.
However that was years ago and they have now released the Jaybird X2, which are in our opinion the best running headphones by far. Literally everything about them is good. Ok well maybe not the price $126. But then again you get what you pay for! We have also picked them as our favorites under the best gym headphones article!
So what exactly makes them so good for running? First the fit. It comes with 6 pairs of different size foam ear tips and 3 pairs of fins. So the shape of your ear shouldn’t be an issue, just need to find the right pair. For me, I had to wear them in a way that the cords come from around the top of my ear, not underneath it. This way the headphones sit really tight in my ears.
The amazing fit also provides a great sound isolation, which improves sound quality. Only issue I have is that the sound isolation is actually so good, I can barely hear anything going on around me. So it is good to keep paying attention to your surroundings while running with them. The Jaybird X2 have a nice optimized bass and clarity. It hasn’t been overemphasized like on cheaper headphones. So it is great for all music genres.
And lastly from running point of view, the X2 are also sweat proof. Sweat is the number 1 reason of headphones breaking so these will last a long time. Jaybird also gives it a lifetime sweat-proof warranty.
Now the Jaybird X2 are also wireless bluetooth headphones. And in my eyes, they are the best wireless headphones on the market. The main issue with cheaper options is the wireless connectivity. It tends to break. The Jaybird X2 doesn’t have that issue. They will literally stay glued to your smartphone. They also have a range of 10m / 30ft so if you are planning to run on the treadmill, then you can just keep your smartphone in a gym bag next to it.
All those features combined are what make Jaybird X2 the best running headphones by far. But again, the $126 price tag is quite frightening. If you have the money to spend on headphones, then I would advise to get them. They are a great investment for running. For more information you can also check out our Jaybird X2 review.
Skullcandy is a company that has been known for budget friendly headphones with great bass. Their Skullcandy Method earphones are specially made for exercising. They have a moisture resistant design that is perfect for running, superb bass and even better price. That package makes it the best budget headphones for running.
The Skullcandy Method earphones come in 3 different colors: gray, bright yellow and blue. The main design focuses on keeping the headphones tight in ears. They come with 2 different size eartips that fit snugly in ear canals. So you wont have to worry about them coming out in the middle of running. As I mentioned, the earphones are also sweat resistant. So moisture is not going to break them.
Also another reason why I have picked them as the best running headphones for budget is because they have also got a single button remote on the cable. I find that pretty useful while running as it makes it simpler to switch between music. There aren’t any volume buttons on it though so volume has to still be changed on the phone.
I would say that the Skullcandy Method is more for bass lovers. As with most cheaper headphones, the bass levels are really intense. Honestly it will find a way to boost the lows on genres what barely have any bass naturally. The good thing though is that it doesn’t overpower vocals, they still remain crisp and clear. But if you are more into classical music then these might not make you happy. I’m more into electronic dance music and pop while running so I kind of prefer the extra bass. So overall these $30 earbuds are a really good buy if you are on a budget. Our review can also be found here.
JBL Reflect Mini BT
The JBL Reflect Mini BT is a fantastic wireless bluetooth earbud that is available for $80. It is actually my second favorite bluetooth earbud, after the Jaybird X2. So it is definitely a great option if you are looking for something cheaper than the Jaybirds.
The JBL Reflect Mini BT earbuds are available in 4 colors: black, blue, pink and teal. Like with most wireless headphones, the cable is meant to be worn behind the head. JBL has also added reflective strips to the cable. Perfect for being seen while running in the dark. The earbuds also come with 2 types of eartips: standard silicone in-ear and tips with winged fins. The winged fins will keep the earbuds more secure in your ear. Some people don’t like the way they feel though so its cool that JBL has also included the silicone tips. The earbuds also have an IPX4 rating, which means that they are sweat and water resistant. PS that does not mean you can take them swimming! It is mostly for sweat really.
The cable has also got a 3 button remote control with a mic. The middle button accepts calls and handles playbacks, the other two are for volume. I sometimes get calls that I need to answer during running so I like having the option to use that without having to take out my phone.
Besides the great design and build quality, the JBL Reflect Mini BT also provides a very nice sound. I have tested it with both bass heavy hip hop and more classical rock. The headphones adapted really well with both types. If the song had a lot of bass then the JBL produced nice deep bass. It even kept it when increasing the volume. With milder songs the headphones keep the smoothness. If there are drums in the background then it brings them out a little more. The earbuds sound is overall really well balanced. It doesn’t have a crazy huge bass so you can really listen to anything with them.
According to JBL and my own experience, the battery life is around 7-8 hours. Enough for 3 running sessions easily. Also be sure to turn them off when you are done. They don’t switch off automatically. So if you leave them turned on, the battery will deplete pretty fast.
I would recommend the JBL Reflect Mini BT wireless earbuds to everyone who want something other than the Jaybirds. It is a nice cheaper option which isn’t worse at all. The build quality and sound are all on par. Only difference perhaps is the connectivity but the difference isn’t that big. So if you are looking for well priced wireless earbuds for running, then the JBL Reflect Mini BT is a great choice. Plus we have written a review on our thoughts about the JBL Reflect Mini BT’s here.
What Features To Look For
There are loads of headphones available but not all of them are good for running. All of them will probably work but they will either feel uncomfortable or break really fast. So below are the main features to look for.
1. The headphones have to be sweat proof/moisture resistant. Anything else will not work. Sweat/moisture is the number one destroyer of headphones. So if you value your money, get headphones that will last as you will be sweating while running.
2. In-ear bud tips and fins. Needless to say, the best running headphones are in-ears. Over-ears will be too bulky and they can fall off your head, which will be annoying. I mean they can work but only if you are running on a treadmill. Now make sure that the in-ears come with different size earbuds. This way the headphones will fit you perfectly and wont fall out. The best ones also have ear fins which will make the headphone glued to your ear.
3. Remote control on the cable. This isn’t a must but it makes your running much more comfortable. 99% of the time you will be using a smartphone and people will call. Having the remote control there will make it easier to pick up those calls. Plus you can use it to skip songs without having to take your smartphone out.
Wired Or Wireless Headphones
Choosing between wired and wireless headphones comes down to personal preference and budget. Wireless headphones do cost more so that will set a limit. I personally prefer wireless as they provide me more freedom of movement. Especially when I need to take the phone out my pocket. If you aren’t as addicted to reading every message you get on your smartphone though, then wired headphones might actually be enough.
Another thing to consider is if you have an iPhone 7 which sadly does not have a headphone jack. I mean yeah you can use the adapter but it will make things bulkier. So a wireless headphone is probably a better option then.