How To Choose The Right Wireless Earbuds For Runners

Black man starting running outdoors listening to music with headphones. Young male exercising with city scape at the background.

Logging the miles can sometimes be a lonely affair. That’s why music is one of one the best running partners out there.

In fact, maybe next to quality running shoes, a pair of headphones is a must.

With your favorite tunes in the background, you’re less like to focus on the physical strain and more likely to keep going.

In today’s article, I’ll walk you through the various factors and features to consider when choosing wireless headphones for running and share my top choices for different budgets and tastes.

The Main Things To Keep In Mind

Not all headphones are suitable for running, even if they’re wireless.

For example, headphones that don’t stay in place while moving around are more than a headache than anything else. And if they aren’t sweatproof, they’re probably not going to last a while.

At a minimum, a proper pair of earbuds for running should have comfy ear tips to keep them in place, can easily connect with any phone via Bluetooth, and has a battery life that can withstand a couple of long runs—at a minimum.

Here’s a shortlist of the most important features to pay attention to when choosing Bluetooth earbuds for running:

  • Sensitivity
  • Safety
  • Fit
  • Durability
  • Sweat Resistant
  • Connectivity
  • Controls
  • Battery Life
  • Noise Isolation
  • Price & budget

Let’s break down each.

The Benefits of Wireless Earbuds For Runners

First things first, why should you even consider going wireless?

In my experience, the IDEAL running headphones should be true wireless earbuds.

When you go wireless, you won’t have to worry about adjusting the wires, and that will help you stay focused on the task at hand.

Sure, some wireless earphones can be slightly expensive—even overpriced at times—but if you can afford them, then they’re worth every dime because in the end, what matters most is comfort and quality—everything else is gravy.

What’s more?

Workout earphones add a new dimension to your runs. They’re comfortable, light, and designed to stay firmly in your ears during high-intensity intervals.

Now let’s look at the features to pay attention to when choosing running earbuds.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity describes how much sound can the earphone produce for one milliwatt of the electrical signal.

The higher the sensitivity, the higher the sound you’ll get, ranging from 80 to 110dB.

To stay safe while logging the miles, choose running earbuds with a mid-range level of sensitivity—a frequency of 20Hz – 20KHz is ideal. Anything above the limit not only shuts you off from your environment but can also cause serious damage to your ears. And you don’t want that.

Safety

When running outdoor, safety, not music experience, should be your main priority.

That’s why it’s key to use a pair of earbuds with safety features, such as Ambient Aware mode or running-friendly ear tips that allow noise in.

Fit

You could have the most expensive earbuds in the world, but they are worthless if they don’t stay securely in your ears.

In fact, few things are worse when running than having to stop every few strides to fix your earbuds or pick them off the ground because they are popping out and falling off.

Here’s the bad news. Proper fit depends on your unique ear size and shape. While some earbuds are designed better, eventually, finding the most suitable earbuds is a matter of luck.

For true wireless running earbuds, the need for a secure fit is even more important because if one pops out while running, it can easily be lost.

Durability

Few things are worse than finally finding the perfect pair of running earbuds, only to discover that they’re already showing some durability issues after just a few weeks of use.

Sweat Resistant

When you run, you sweat, and you sweat a lot. This can quickly compromise sound quality and, in some cases, even completely ruin your earbuds. And for electronic devices, sweat is even worse than water.

At the very least, make sure that your earbuds are resistant to sweat. And if you like to run outdoor, whatever the weather conditions, they need to be water-resistant, too.

For that, check the Ingress Protection, or IP, Code. This describes the product’s ability to resist water, amongst other things.

Look for earbuds with an IPX of 5 or 6. Of course, this won’t offer protection against prolonged submersion, but it’s more than enough for sweat and/or rainy runs—the higher the number, the better the rating.

Photo of amazing young sports lady sitting with earphones outdoors and meditate.

Connectivity

The earphones should be compatible with running apps like RunKeeper, Runtastic, MapMyRun, and Edmundo.

Some of the good ones may even help you monitor your heart rate while you work out.

Controls

One of the best features of some wireless earbuds is the ability to directly access the control panels on your smartphone.

Less than ideal brands won’t offer any controls, making it a must to you use your smartphone to fine-tune the volume or hop a track.

Some of the expensive ones may even include control pads or buttons on the earpiece itself that you can use to adjust volume, skip a tune, take phone calls, or issue voice commands. Some even allow you to pause the playlist automatically the moment you pull an earbud out of your ear.

As a rule, the controls should be conveniently accessible and plainly identifiable. In general, you should be able to adjust volume, skip tracks, pause and resume music playback, fast-forward, or even take calls or issue vocal commands.

Battery Life

Another key feature to consider when choosing wireless earbuds for running is battery life, which is the most evident weakness of the true wireless category.

Wireless earbuds rely on Lithium-ion batteries, the same type of battery used in laptops and smartphones.

High-quality earbuds can last up to 10 hours on a full charge, while many below-average ones only go up to three or four hours of continuous listening. The average maximum battery life of any pair of wireless running earbuds decreases over time.

Noise Isolation

This is the tricky part.

If you’re looking for earbuds to use in the gym, places that tend to be loud, having a pair with good noise isolation is key.

But when running outdoor, noise isolation can be problematic because it shuts you off from what’s happening around you.

That’s why you should get earbuds that let some noise to get through so you could stay alert to your surroundings. You can also opt for smaller ear tips that don’t fit so tightly to let more noise in.

How Much Should I Pay For Running Earbuds?

You can find many cheap wireless earbuds on the market, but if my experience has taught me anything, they’re not worth it.

As a rule, go for good-quality Bluetooth earbuds from trustable brands.

A decent-quality pair of Bluetooth earbuds can be found at about 70- to $80 dollars.

The high-end true wireless options can set you back anywhere from $150 to $300.

To help you on your quest, I’ve selected a few brands that I think will give you the most bang for your buck.

The Jabra Elite Active 75t

By far, and according to my experience and research, the Jabra Elite Active 75T is the IDEAL pair of truly wireless earbuds for running.

With a battery lasting over seven on a single charge, few earbuds are as good as this one.

These earbuds are designed with a comfortable and secure fit for a hassle-free and smooth experience.

What’s more?

The sound quality is fantastic, especially when you adjust the EQ in the Jabra Sound+ app.

The sound quality is top-notch, dynamic, and crisp.

As for water and dust protection, the Jabra is rated I57, which means that they should withstand a monsoon or sandstorm.

Beats Powerboats Pro

Another pair of running earbuds that comes with raving reviews is the powerboat pro.

The earbuds last for nine hours on a single charge.

They also come with a unique design in that they push upwards and into the inner ear, while the hooks offer support from above.

This brand is also designed with volume controls music/call controls on both buds.

Aftershocks Trekz Air

If safety is a big issue while running, then you’ll love Aftershocks Air’s open-ear design.

Although the sound quality pales in comparison to the two previous brands, this pair of earbuds offer a unique, decent-quality audio experience with an incredibly comfortable fit.

The design is also unique. These earbuds come with a semi-rigid band that connects around the back of the head.

This brand relies on bone-conduction headphone technology. Instead of sending the sound waves through the air to crush the eardrums, this technology diverts them through the bones.

What’s more?

With an IP55 rating, Aftershock Trekz Air is a pair of running earbuds you can trust when it’s raining outside.

Conclusion

There you have it!

If you’re looking to get a pair of wireless running earbuds, then today’s article should get you started on the right foot. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep Running Strong.

David D.