We extensively tested 35 pairs of sport headphones for runners—models that let you enjoy your music while also hearing the world around you. We’re positive that the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 2100 is the best set of running headphones because it’s comfortable and easy to use, it sounds better than any unsealed headphones we’ve heard, and it has a record of durability.
Our pick: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 2100
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 2100 earbuds are very comfortable, easy to use, and good sounding—they have less sibilance and more bass than any unsealed earbuds we’ve heard. The band between the two earbuds is long enough to accommodate any head size yet short enough that the slack won’t snag or bounce noisily when you’re jogging. The BackBeat Fit 2100 has a battery life of seven-plus hours, so the pair will last for a week of training runs before you need to charge. The new model offers better water resistance and a more secure fit than its predecessor, and the unsealed earbud design allows you to hear your surroundings so that you can stay safer when running outdoors.
Runner-up: Urbanears Stadion
If our top pick is sold out, the Urbanears Stadion is a solid choice that sounds good and fits comfortably. All of us on the test panel approached the unique design with trepidation but ended up pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the Stadion headphones were, and how much we liked them. The coiled cord between the earbuds eliminates any cable noise and keeps them securely in place, but it might not work as well for someone who has an exceptionally large or small head. The controls are large and easy to use, despite being positioned behind your head. The battery life of seven-plus hours means you’ll need to charge only weekly. The fit issues for larger and smaller heads and the lack of a battery-life indicator kept this model from our top spot, but the Stadion is otherwise a nice pair of running headphones.
Budget pick: Zagg iFrogz InTone Wireless
If you run only on occasion and don’t want to invest much money into running headphones, the Zagg iFrogz InTone Wireless set is a great choice. The InTone Wireless earbuds fit in your ear similarly to Apple EarPods and cost about the same, but unlike the EarPods, these earbuds are wireless and water resistant. The remote/Bluetooth transmitter clips to your shirt with a clever magnetic clasp that also doubles as cord management for storage. The IPX2 rating means that these headphones aren’t designed for anyone who sweats heavily, but they are more water resistant than the earbuds that may have come with your phone. These earbuds have a battery life of five-plus hours, but the package doesn’t include a charging case, so you need to find a USB hub to recharge this set.
Also great: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 is hands down the most enjoyable set of earbuds we’ve tested for runners. These earbuds keep all the best aspects of our top pick, the BackBeat Fit 2100—including sound quality, water resistance, and fit—but get rid of the cable that runs behind your head. Fully customizable controls and a five-hour battery life round out an excellent running and listening experience. However, this is Plantronics’s first attempt at true wireless earbuds, and the company’s inexperience shows in the 3100’s charging-case design. The case adds another 10 hours of battery life, but docking the earbuds properly and getting a full charge can be tricky. Although we didn’t experience problems ourselves, early owner reviews report issues with battery life and Bluetooth. That was enough to keep us from recommending this pair as our top pick.
Why you should trust us
In addition to having tested literally hundreds of headphones as Wirecutter’s headphones editor—and having done so for other publications such as Home Entertainment, Home Theater Magazine, and Sound & Vision—I’m a passionate runner in my free time. I’ve run races ranging from a marathon to a 5K, and I go for a quick 5-miler at least once a week even in the blazing Los Angeles summer, so I run with our picks on a regular basis.
My articles have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and Time, and on Good Morning America, the BBC World Service, and NBC Nightly News. In other words, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what’s out there and what’s worth your time and hard-earned money, and I am committed to finding gear that will make you happy.
For this guide, I also worked with an expert panel that consisted of a mix of runners, experienced audio reviewers, and professional trained musicians with a wide variety of ear and head shapes.
Who should get this
Running headphones are for people who prefer to do their jogging outside and thus need to be able to hear their surroundings to stay safe. Whether you’re dodging traffic in a city or avoiding wildlife in rural areas, it’s important to know what’s going on around you. Women who run alone especially understand the relevance of this. If instead you do your running on a treadmill and need to seal out external gym noise, check out our wireless workout headphones guide for our recommendations.
We’ve found that most runners prefer wireless headphones: You don’t have to put up with cable snags or tuck excess cord down your shirt to keep it from banging around. But you do need to remember to charge Bluetooth headphones. If that’s not something you want to deal with, or if you prefer a cable, take a look at our wired workout headphones guide; we list a few unsealed options that will work for runners perfectly well.
How we picked
First we sifted through the offerings of more than 100 headphone companies to see what new running headphones they’d released recently. Then we consulted a number of reviews on tech and audio sites such as CNET, Engadget, and PCMag, as well as on sports and lifestyle sites like Men’s Fitness, Runner’s World, and The Active Times to see what athletes liked. From there, we looked at customer reviews on Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailer sites to see what actual owners had to say. As we read, we looked for models that had the most important features of good running headphones.
• An unsealed design that allows you to hear some external noise is of utmost importance for safety when you’re running outside.
• Sweat and water resistance is a must for running headphones. Standard headphones aren’t built to withstand the beating that running headphones can take, so their warranties likely won’t cover moisture damage.
• Comfort is always important, but especially with running headphones. If they bang against your head, fall out, chafe, or snag, you won’t want to use them. The best running headphones are the ones that stay on and out of your way.
• Ease of use matters more than usual in this category. You don’t want to have to stop jogging just to skip a track or adjust the volume. A good pair of sport earbuds has an intuitive remote that you can use without much thought.
• Brand reliability is key because, if something goes wrong, you want to know that the company involved will be around to stand behind its product.
• A warranty of at least one year against sweat damage is critical. Workout headphones are designed to get a little moist on occasion, and a good company backs up its build with support and replacement if something goes awry.
• The sound quality should be solid and not distracting. Running headphones are a piece of sporting equipment, so in this category we’re a little more forgiving of sonic flaws. Additionally, the unsealed design that makes running headphones safer also can make bass notes more difficult to hear. Some companies try to compensate by applying EQ to unsealed headphones accordingly. Ideally, you’d have both great fit and great sound, but when in doubt, comfort comes first.
• Call quality is only a minor concern. You should be able to take a quick call and get back to your run. Although wind noise, traffic noise, and sweat in the mic can cause difficulties for any headphone mic, problems are far more likely in running headphones. But we don’t recommend taking important calls while knocking out a 5K anyway, so in our research and tests, when it came to calls, we looked for intelligibility rather than perfection.
We called in every model that met these criteria (and either had positive reviews or was too new to have any feedback) for our expert panel to evaluate.
How we tested
First, we put all of our contenders under the scrutiny of our expert panel. We asked the panelists to consider the fit, comfort, ease of use, and sound quality of each model and to rank their top picks. This step eliminated a lot of poorly designed headphones and allowed us to focus our endurance tests on earbuds we’d actually want to use.
Our panel favorites moved on to our fitness and stress tests. On a sunny Los Angeles day, we took to the track and ran half a mile with each pair. I took a lot of notes, paying attention to tugging, chafing, and which headphones, if any, fell out. I considered wind noise, cable noise, and the ability to hear external noises, too. I wore sunglasses to see how well each pair fit for glasses wearers. We sweated a lot. This step reduced the field further, but we weren’t finished testing yet.
To check durability, I held each set by the earpieces and tugged sharply a few dozen times to simulate snagging and pulling off the head. Then I tested water resistance by powering the headphones on, spraying every headphone pair thoroughly using a water-filled utility misting bottle, and pressing the remote buttons to see if any water would leak in. I repeated this process every 10 minutes for an hour, and then I listened to each pair for any negative effects. (Yes, I endured numerous wet-willies for you.)
And finally—because all of that wasn’t enough—I tested sweat resistance. To simulate performance under very sweaty conditions, we used data from a scientific study of marathon runners to calculate the average salt content of sweat and made a saltwater mixture corresponding to the study’s highest recorded levels. I then powered all the headphones back on and used our misting bottle to spray them with our sweat proxy. After making sure to wet the remotes thoroughly, I mashed all the buttons again. Because sweat damage is largely due to the accumulation of salt (rather than moisture) affecting the electronics, for this test I sprayed every 15 minutes or waited until the headphones were fully dry before spraying again. I did this four times and then checked the performance. The headphones all had that salty, coated feeling like your skin after you’ve been in the ocean, but we got some definitive results.
Endurance trials complete, I considered the price, tested for basic call quality, and took each of our potential top picks on a 5-mile run to see if any hidden issues surfaced. Finally, we were ready to declare our winners. Whew!
A word on fit
Fit is an important part of purchasing any set of in-ear headphones, but when you’re logging miles of runs, fit becomes even more critical. Manufacturers have come up with all kinds of solutions to make their earbuds stay put, and the success of those innovations varies widely. What works perfectly for one person’s ears may feel like torture to another person’s. As a result, in our panel testing, finding a consensus on fit was particularly difficult in this category. Sometimes the fit affected only comfort, but other times the fit altered the sound, too.
Our panelists ranged widely in ear shape, head shape, and ear-canal size. Our goal was to find options that would work well for the most people possible, so if one set of headphones felt good to all of our panelists, we knew we were on to something. That said, since no two people have precisely the same anatomy, no single pair of running headphones will work perfectly for everyone.
We highly recommend trying on headphones before you commit. Look for retailers (such as Amazon) that allow you to return or exchange, and save the packaging until you’ve had a chance to test your new earbuds out. Shake your head around, jump a few times, and give your running headphones the same sort of trial run that you would a new pair of sneakers. Size up your headphones with the same care you would take for any other piece of sporting equipment, and you’ll reap the benefits of a seamless transition into your routine.
Our pick: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 2100
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 2100 is a great set of headphones for runners. BackBeat Fit earbuds have consistently ranked among our favorite running headphones—thanks to their impressive comfort, ergonomics, and resistance to sweat, rain, dust, and questionable techno music—and this model takes all the best parts of its predecessors and adds customizable, easier-to-access controls, better water resistance, and a more secure fit.
The BackBeat Fit 2100 earbuds feel lightweight and stable—you can just pop them onto your head and go. A hook over the ear and a small wing just inside the outer ear keep each earbud in place. The hook is mildly flexible but could pose a problem for people with very large outer ears. None of our panelists had an issue with that, but if you know you’re an outlier, you should take note prior to ordering the BackBeat Fit 2100. However, the hook is slender enough that glasses wearers should be able to run with both the BackBeat Fit 2100 and their specs without problems, and the wing is flexible enough that it should be comfortable for most ear shapes.
The reflective coating on the sturdy, rubberized band that passes behind your neck adds to your visibility on evening jaunts. The control buttons are large, making them easy to use while you’re running. The right earbud powers the set on and off and handles play/pause, track forward/back, call answer/end, and activating your digital assistant (such as Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa). The left earbud defaults to volume control, but you can alter it in the BackBeat app to perform two of the following options: activate a digital assistant, trigger a stopwatch, give a battery-life status report, tell the current time, set a timer, play an Apple Music or Spotify playlist, or toggle mute. You can set one action for a single tap and another for a double tap.
The BackBeat Fit 2100 excels at sweat resistance. Over the past two years, I’ve worn an earlier version of the BackBeat Fit headphones on at least 400 miles of runs in hot Los Angeles weather, on rainy days, and for long, sweaty training runs, and they are still just as great as the day we first tested them. According to Plantronics, due to a newly redesigned button and physical liquid barrier system, the BackBeat Fit 2100 is even more water and sweat resistant. Despite being lightweight, these headphones feel sturdy and substantial. If anything does go wrong, Plantronics backs this pair with a one-year warranty in the US. (The company has different warranty durations in other countries, so check what the packaging says if you are buying overseas.)
Although the BackBeat Fit 2100 has a claimed battery life of seven hours, your results may vary depending on the volume level and how many calls you take. It’s easy to know when it’s time to charge again, as an icon on your mobile device can display how much charge the headphones have. You can customize the left-ear button-tap system to trigger a voice that tells you how much listening time is left. If you run out of juice and are in a hurry, the pair’s quick-charge feature will give you one hour of use after only a 15-minute charge.
As for the sound, the BackBeat Fit 2100 is one of the few pairs of unsealed earbuds that our panel actually liked. Plantronics clearly took the open design into account when tuning this set: Whereas most unsealed earbuds we’ve heard have had only overtones of bass notes, the BackBeat Fit 2100 actually had some bass frequencies that we could hear. Consonants and high-hat sounds didn’t pierce loudly, and songs with dense instrumentation didn’t blur into a mishmash of sound. Most sealed workout earbuds will reproduce more bass than these (it’s just physics), and bass-heads may find themselves disappointed. But this is a concession we’re willing to make if it helps you avoid being sideswiped by an unheard car.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
For the most part, the BackBeat Fit 2100 is fantastic, but we have a minor quibble. If you run with a scarf in cold weather or have a high collar on your jacket, the thick, rubberized cable that connects the earbuds may occasionally brush against it, but we never felt as though the earbuds were tugging or at risk of falling out.
Runner-up: Urbanears Stadion
If our pick is sold out, or if you hate the cable bounce that occurs with most headphones, the Urbanears Stadion offers a unique alternative with easy-to-use controls. Although it may look a bit odd at first, the Stadion’s coiled-cable design hugs your head and largely eliminates the all-too-common and annoying cable bounce. It’s surprisingly comfortable, and the coils have a reflective material that will help you stay visible at night.
The hooks that thread over your ears are flexible and narrow enough that you can wear the Stadion with sunglasses. Plus, the silicone stabilizing wings grip without irritating, even on longer jogs. A battery life of seven-plus hours should get you through a week of running on a single charge, and the controls are large, intuitive, and easy to reach, despite being positioned behind your head.
The Stadion sounds quite good, although in an attempt to compensate for the unsealed earbuds, Urbanears may have boosted the bass frequencies too much: In our tests, these headphones sounded a bit muddy in the bass-guitar range and lacked sharp definition in hip-hop basslines. That’s a trivial complaint, however—especially considering the Stadion’s sound versus much of the competition. The unsealed earbud design lets in a significant amount of external sound, so provided that you keep your volume levels reasonable, you’ll have no trouble hearing what is happening around you. Finally, a one-year warranty from Urbanears protects you if you encounter any problems.
Two minor issues kept the Stadion from claiming our top spot. First is the way this pair can fit for people on the far ends of the hat-size spectrum. For larger heads, the cable can stretch too far and gently but consistently pull on the earbuds. We aren’t sure whether the coils would relax over time, but you likely don’t want to have to wait that out. As for people on the smaller-headed side, the cable may have too much slack, and the remote can bounce annoyingly. I have a tiny noggin, and I found that, by resting the remote on top of my ponytail, I could resolve the issue. For anyone with short hair and a small head, the remote can bounce up and down as if it were on a Slinky attached to your skull. Not so nice.
The other bummer is that you don’t get a precise battery indicator, on the headphones themselves or on your phone. The single LED on the Stadion can flash white or red to signify whether the battery is over or under 40 percent capacity, but how far over or under is a mystery. In other words, if the light flashes red, you should probably give the headphones a few minutes to charge before heading out the door. It’s a little annoying for people who don’t like having to remember to plug in their headphones after just a few jogs. For everyone else, however, the Stadion is a fantastic choice.
Budget pick: Zagg iFrogz InTone Wireless
If you run only short distances, or if you don’t run frequently enough to want to invest much money into running headphones, the Zagg iFrogz InTone Wireless pair is for you. These headphones are easy to use, designed to handle some sweat, and cheap. Just be prepared to charge them frequently—five hours of battery life go by quickly.
The earbud design on this set looks really familiar: If the Apple EarPods were water resistant and connected to a little Bluetooth transmitter, they’d pretty much be the InTone Wireless. Not only is the fit similar, but the sound and price are as well. In other words, if you’ve been running with the EarPods that came with your iPhone and you want to replace them with something wireless and inexpensive, go for the InTone Wireless.
The remote/transmitter clips to a shirt or a sports bra via a magnetic loop. It’s surprisingly unobtrusive, and in our tests it didn’t bounce around too much. The controls are large and easy to use, and the ingenious magnetic loop can work as handy cable storage, too. The cords from the remote to the earbuds are light and thin enough that they don’t make much noise, and the earbuds let in a great deal of external sound, so you’ll always hear your surroundings. Plus, a one-year warranty will cover you if anything breaks.
The InTone Wireless offers a five-hour battery life in actual use but can stay in standby mode for 10 hours, and the set goes into standby mode pretty quickly. If you pause your jog or forget to turn the headphones off for whatever reason, you likely won’t lose much of your remaining battery life. You still need to charge the set relatively frequently, but if you tend to run for 30 minutes two or three times a week, that shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
We found some notable flaws in the InTone Wireless. First, if you run without a shirt, you won’t have a place to clip the remote because the cord isn’t long enough to clip to your shorts. Second, the sound quality lacks bass frequencies: Very deep bass notes don’t sound as good as on our top picks, as only their overtones come across. Anyone familiar with the EarPods sound can expect to hear something similar. Speaking of EarPods, if you have larger ear canals in which the EarPods design doesn’t stay put, neither will these earbuds. Finally, the IPX2 rating means that you can drip sweat on these but not drench them. That said, all of those flaws are forgivable considering the price.
Also great: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100
If you love to run outside while listening to music, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 delivers the most freeing experience by far. With no cable connecting the earbuds, the true wireless design of the BackBeat Fit 3100 feels as close to wearing no headphones as we’ve ever experienced. These earbuds fit securely no matter how bouncy your stride, with a rubberized hook over each ear and loop-like wings to keep them in place. With a rating of IP57, they are water and sweat resistant, and they sound better than almost all other unsealed workout earbuds we’ve tested. However, this is Plantronics’s first true wireless earbud model, so we want to be careful about recommending it too quickly. A handful of early reviews have mentioned concerns, which we plan to keep an eye on and will discuss below.
To safely run outside, it’s important to hear your surroundings, and the BackBeat Fit 3100’s unsealed design allows ambient sound to reach your ears while still letting you enjoy your music. You can find other true wireless headphones designed to block external noise, which is good for use in the gym, but the lack of situational awareness with those models prompted us to rule them out for this guide.
The design of the BackBeat Fit 3100 pair is simple and intuitive. While other earbuds require you to spend time swapping out tips, wings, and cable ties to get the perfect fit, with these headphones you just hook them over your ears and then pivot the wing and earbud into each ear canal. The earbuds are lightweight, and the grippy rubber on the hooks and wings holds the buds securely, even when you’re sweating up a storm. There’s no cable to bounce, snag, or annoy you, which also means there’s no tugging at your ears.
The sweat- and water-resistance rating of IP57 means these earbuds can handle a lot of liquid abuse, whether that’s from perspiration or running in the rain. We tested these with both real and simulated sweat while pushing buttons, and they passed without any issues. Of course, they’re still electronics, so you should always wipe them down and allow them to dry fully before charging them. If something does go wrong, Plantronics covers the BackBeat Fit 3100 with a one-year warranty in the US.
The five-hour battery life of this pair ties for the longest we’ve seen from true wireless earbuds. That’s enough for most training workouts, but moderate-pace distance runners may need more time to complete a longer haul like a marathon. The included charging case provides an additional 10 hours of use time. If you forget to store the earbuds in the case, the quick-charge feature can give you one hour of play time after only 15 minutes of charging. Most phones display the set’s battery percentage next to the Bluetooth-connection symbol, and the headphones state the amount of battery left when you power them on.
Like the Apple AirPods and the Jabra Elite 65t pair, these earbuds automatically power off when you place them in their case. However, it’s important to fully seat them in the charge case to ensure that the connectors touch. This can be tricky, since the light indicators on the earbuds are tiny; it’s possible to think that you have them positioned fully in the dock when you actually don’t. Pausing and double-checking their alignment with a firm push or wiggle before zipping up the case is a minor extra step, but for some people it could prove annoying in the long term.
Also, the case is a bit larger than average for true wireless earbuds (although it still fits easily in a pocket), and it stores the left earbud on the right and the right earbud on the left. It sounds silly, we know, but it’s just counterintuitive to unzip the box and then have to put the earpieces in on the opposite sides.
The controls on the BackBeat Fit 3100 work the same as on the BackBeat Fit 2100: The right earbud features a large physical button that handles power, play/pause, track forward/back, call answer/end, and activating your digital assistant. The left earbud has an equally large touchpad that you can customize in the Plantronics BackBeat app to control volume or perform two of the following actions: recite the battery status, activate your digital assistant, start or end a timer if you’re tracking splits, set a timer, tell you the time, play a Spotify or Apple Music playlist, or turn mute on or off. Both controls are easy to use and to find when you’re midstride.
The sound quality is exceptional for a set of unsealed workout headphones. This is one of the few such pairs (including the identical-sounding BackBeat Fit 2100) that our panel actually liked listening to. Due to the physics of how sound travels in unsealed earbuds, the BackBeat Fit 3100 doesn’t have a ton of bass. But unlike with many unsealed earbuds, the bass notes on this pair were actually audible to us. While bass fanatics might be disappointed, most people won’t mind, especially when the sacrifice is in the name of safety.
Overall, we loved the experience of running with the BackBeat Fit 3100 so much that we considered making this set our top pick. Nowadays these are the earbuds I reach for every time I head out for a jog, and I haven’t experienced any problems in my testing. However, they do represent Plantronics’s first foray into true wireless, which is a notoriously tricky style of earbud to make well—and an even more difficult style to get right on the first attempt. A small number of early adopters have reported problems with battery life or connection, so we decided to take a watchful approach. The battery concerns may be due to the case and powering-off issues we mentioned above, and a firmware update may solve the connection concerns. So far, in the instances where problems have occurred with the BackBeat Fit 3100, the earbuds have been so new that the buyers simply swapped them out where they originally purchased them. We want to see how all of this plays out over the long term before we consider bumping this pair up to our top-pick slot.
Why you should use an armband
Bluetooth can’t travel through water, which is what makes up most of your body. So, no matter how great the signal strength may be on your headphones or device, if you put them on opposite sides of enough water, the signal will drop. Indoors, Bluetooth radio waves bounce off walls and objects to get around your body. That doesn’t work outside quite as well, especially in wide open spaces such as fields. So we highly recommend using an armband or waist pack, rather than a shorts pocket, for stowing your music device.
Not only is an armband better for your phone (pockets can get sweaty), but it also gives those Bluetooth waves a clear path to travel. If you find that you get a lot of signal drops, before giving up on a favorite pair of earbuds, try wearing an armband or switching your armband or waist pack to the other side of your body. If the headphones’ transmitter is on the opposite side of your body from where you wear your device, all that body water may cause interference. An armband or waist pack is an inexpensive investment that ensures fewer connection issues and also protects your phone from sweat damage.
What to look forward to
Plantronics have announced an updated version of our true wireless running headphone pick, the Backbeat Fit 3100. The Backbeat Fit 3150 have similar looks and controls but all new guts; with improved Bluetooth connection, a longer 6 hour battery life per charge (plus an additional 16 hours in the charge case) and an IP57 water and sweat resistance rating for $150. We hope to give these a thorough test run and post our results soon.
AfterShokz Bluez 2: We have never been able to get bone-conduction headphones to sound any better than a tiny, tinny pair of speakers hanging in front of our ears. The Bluez 2 headphones are no exception. Bone conduction is an interesting concept, and the Bluez 2 is built sturdily, but we couldn’t get this pair to sound good enough to make us happy.
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium: This set had a weird fit that tickled our faces as we ran, and it sounded worse than the speaker on an iPhone. We love the idea, but nobody on the panel has ever been able to get a satisfying experience from a bone-conduction design.
Apple AirPods: These headphones aren’t sealed, but they aren’t rated as sweat resistant, either—and because Apple’s warranty doesn’t apply to water or sweat damage, if the AirPods short out, you’re out of luck.
Avantree Jogger Pro: Our first time around, this was the only set of unsealed Bluetooth headphones in the category, and it was rather disappointing. Although these headphones were indeed very light, they felt as flimsy and breakable as a Happy Meal toy. They didn’t produce much volume to speak of, and the bass was nonexistent. As with the AfterShokz models, the sound wasn’t too far from music coming through the speaker on an iPhone.
Bose SoundSport: Not quite sealed enough to block out sound but not quite unsealed enough to give you a sense of your environment, the SoundSport wireless headphones ended up being a bit of a letdown. Although the sound was okay, with decent mids and highs and slightly blobby bass, the fit and design kept this pair out of the running. The cable had a grippy quality that snagged on my shoulder as I turned my head, occasionally tugging the earbuds and requiring repositioning. The buttons on the remote also had an odd wiggle when I pressed down; they felt like remote-control toggles as opposed to buttons. This tactile aspect meant that pressing the controls while I was running took more concentration. And the non-removable wings irritated my ears.
Jabra Elite Active 65t: We love the Jabra Elite Active 65t true wireless earbuds for workouts and the occasional casual jog, but frequent runners should stick with our running picks. Although the Elite Active 65t design is able to use internal mics to pick up your surroundings, that feature is better suited to conversations than situational awareness; the awareness effect is not entirely directional and could be a safety hazard when you’re near traffic. Additionally, the mics can pick up some wind noise on blustery days. And as with all sealed earbud-style headphones, you still get a “thump thump” sound when you hit the pavement with your feet. All of these downsides aren’t a big deal when you’re indoors, but when you need to count on hearing your surroundings to avoid, say, getting squished by a car, they’re not ideal.
Monster iSport Intensity: The downfall of the Intensity is the cable—it’s too long, and it thumps when it bounces. Not only that, but a remote on one side of the cable and a Bluetooth transmitter on the other side add weight. That weight, combined with the cable’s grippy texture, creates a situation in which the minute you turn your head, the cable snags and pulls the earbuds out of your ear canals. In our tests, the Intensity had a fun sound quality, but it worked well only when we were sitting still, and that’s not what we want out of running headphones.
1. 16 Best Headphones for Running Today (Upgrade Your Run Now), Headphones Addict
2. Cliff Joseph, 7 Best Running Headphones | Best sport & fitness headphones, Macworld, January 23, 2017
3. Jeff Dengate, 12 of the Best Wireless Headphones for Running, Runner’s World, April 18, 2017
4. Alex Colon and Will Greenwald, The Best Bluetooth Headphones for Running, PCMag, March 14, 2017
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