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Best sport headphones 2020: running and workout earbuds

Powerbeats Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Most of us need music for a motivational boost in the gym or on the trail. Whether you're lifting weights or running out in the countryside, workout headphones can give you the push you need to go the extra mile.

After testing a number of models, we think the best sports earbuds for working out are the Jabra Elite Active 65t. They fit well, sound great, and last a long time on a charge. Apple iPhone owners may prefer the AirPods Pro, which have noise cancelling and are a cinch to pair with Apple's smartphone. 

Here are our current favorite earbuds for sports and exercise.

Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Future)

1. Jabra Elite Active 65t

Best totally wireless sport earbuds

Incredibly comfortable
Doesn't budge during runs
15-hour battery life
Accelerometer for run tracking
In-app audio customization
Charging case is annoyingly difficult to open
HearThrough can't be disabled while tracking runs

Cut the cord with Jabra's Elite Active 65t wire-free sweat-resistant earbuds, which are the best sport headphones for working out. We found that they stayed in place even during the most strenuous exercises, have built-in run tracking, and let you customize the audio through Jabra's app. With excellent fit and 15-hour battery life, the Elite Active 65t are the best totally wireless Bluetooth earphones you can buy for running.

Read our full Jabra Elite Active 65t review.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

2. AirPods Pro

Best sport earbuds for iPhone owners

Modern, functional design
Great active noise cancelling
Expanded, easy to use controls
Comfortable semi-custom fit
Great sound
No companion app
Battery life could be longer

Apple finally made a version of AirPods that you can wear to work out, making these the best sport headphones for iPhone users. With built-in sweat- and water-resistance, interchangeable ear tips and a new Transparency Mode, AirPods Pro are perfect for working out, whether you're in the gym or on the trails. Apple also added more controls and active noise cancelling is great for when you want to block everything out.

Read our full AirPods Pro review.

Powerbeats Pro

(Image credit: Future)

3. Powerbeats Pro

Best Totally Wireless Sport Earbuds for iPhone

Magically seamless setup, just like with AirPods
Lengthy battery life
Well-balanced sound
Comfortable, stable fit for running
Bulky charging case

Apple's Beats by Dre brand offers an AirPods alternative with the sporty Powerbeats Pro. The wire-free, sweat-resistant earbuds hook around the ear for stability and use Apple's H1 chip (also found in Apple's AirPods Pro) for seamless integration with iPhones. With more than 24 hours of battery life (9 hours in the buds and 18 in the charging case), these earbuds are a no-brainer purchase.

Read our full Powerbeats Pro earbuds review.

Jaybird Tarah Pro

(Image credit: Jaybird)

4. Jaybird Tarah Pro

Lengthy battery life and a personalized audio profile

Lengthy battery life
Personalized audio profile
Customizable fit with fabric cord
Device powers down automatically when not in use
No setting to allow more ambient noise

Jaybird's Tarah Pro look just like Jaybird's other Bluetooth sport earphones, but don't be fooled: This set offers 14-hour battery life, which will carry you through a week of workouts, commutes and phone calls to family and friends. A customized audio profile setting in the Jaybird app fine-tunes the sound so it's perfectly tailored to your ears. The Tarah Pro are the performance athletes of running earbuds.

Read our full Jaybird Tarah Pro review.

Jaybird Vista

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Jaybird Vista

Totally wireless sports buds for runners

Well-balanced audio
Companion app with several EQ settings
Stable and sturdy design
Super-compact charging case
Competitive price
Short battery life

The Jaybird Vista is a remarkable choice for sprinters who want dynamic sound and on-ear stability minus any cables. Underneath the durable, waterproof shell are powerful 6mm drivers that deliver bass-forward sound to fuel workouts. Fit is also customizable with Jaybird bundling a variety of ear tips and fins to accommodate different ear shapes. The charging case (0.7 ounces) is nearly as light as the buds (0.2 ounces) themselves, so you’ll be able to charge and run without ever feeling weighed down.

Read our full Jaybird Vista review.

JLab JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds

(Image credit: JLAB)

6. JLab JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds

Best budget wireless sport earbuds

40+ hours of Bluetooth playtime (with case)
Ambient listening modes
Ergonomic, sweat-resistant design
Strong bass performance
Bass Boost mode muddles sound
Controls are too touch-sensitive

JLab's sturdy wireless JBuds Air Sport earbuds provide fitness buffs with the performance and versatility they seek. The pliable hooks wrap firmly around the ears to maintain a stable fit. JLab’s bassy profile doesn’t skimp on the low end, hitting your ears with energetic sound that rushes through your body like a can of Red Bull before a workout. You’re also getting up to 6 hours of playtime on a single charge (not including 34+ hours via charging case), which is more than enough juice to refuel your energy levels when fatigue sets in.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Go

(Image credit: Master & Dynamic)

7. Master & Dynamic MW07 Go

Great sound and fully wireless with a good charge

Fantastic sound
Water resistant
Distinctive and sturdy design
Strong battery life
Charging case only holds one full charge
Connectivity is wonky

Master & Dynamic’s MW07, the company's first attempt at wireless sports earbuds is a successful one that houses strong sound and battery life in a premium, durable shell. The MW07 Go carries the same 10-millimeter beryllium drivers as its pricier predecessor, the MW07, ensuring crisp, warm sound that keeps the energy going on long runs. These buds are one of the fancier-looking models out that have water resistance, meaning excessive sweat won’t damage their appearance or circuitry. Getting 10 hours on a single charge is a huge bonus for forgetful types. However, the charging case only holds one full charge (12 hours in total), so you’ll need to check the battery levels after every workout.

Read our full Master & Dynamic MW07 Go review.

Adidas RPT-01 Wireless On-Ear Sports Headphones

(Image credit: Adidas)

8. Adidas RPT-01 Wireless On-Ear Sports Headphones

Durable on-ear sports headphones with impressive sound

Flexible and sustainable design
User-friendly control knob
Up to 40 hours playtime
Customizable sound
No carrying case
Feels uncomfortable after an hour of use

Adidas isn’t a brand you think of when discussing sports wireless headphones, but the RPT-01 has the design and features to demand your attention. These on-ear cans share the same durable aesthetics as the company’s running shoes, wrapped in a stylish, strong mesh fabric and IPX4-rated water-resistance protection. You can even remove and wash the ear cushions and inner headband. Sound quality is where the RPT-01 showcases its dexterity with Adidas launching a companion app featuring multiple EQ settings that fine-tuned to select music genres and sound great. We just wish a carrying pouch came with the purchase.

JBL x Under Armour True Wireless Flash Earbuds

(Image credit: JBL)

9. JBL x Under Armour True Wireless Flash Earbuds

Indestructible wireless earbuds for outdoor activities

Damage-proof construction
Strong audio performance
Two ambient listening modes
25 hours of total battery life
Bulky housing and charging case
Lag while watching videos

The JBL x Under Armour True Wireless Flash Earbuds is a collaborative effort from JBL and UA. Design-wise, the buds are built from super-durable plastic with IPX7-rated coating that protects the internals from water damage. The aluminum charging case is even more durable and stores four extra charges. Outdoor exercisers will enjoy active sound highlighted by strong bass, along with two transparency modes (Ambient Aware and TalkThru) to stay aware of their surroundings; each mode amplifies environmental noises to hear distractions clearly.

What to look for when buying earbuds for working out

Since you'll be breaking a sweat in these headphones, you'll want to look for water- or sweat-resistant devices. Some simply say they can withstand water and sweat, and some are IP-certified. If you want to know you are protected, look for headphones with at least an IPX7 rating, meaning they're resistant to water and sweat.

You'll also want to look at the design of the headphones and consider how you want to wear them while working out. They should not only be easy to wear, but also stay on your head without the need for constant readjustment. For earbuds, look at how many ear inserts and wings the pair comes with, to give you the best fit option. Some people may prefer over-ear or on-ear headphones because they tend to do a better job of blocking noise, but some prefer earbuds for their secure fit and lightweight portability.

Be sure to check for an inline remote, which will let you easily control your music without pulling out your smartphone. Completely wireless fitness earbuds allow you to control your music with taps on the earpiece rather than a remote. Some headphones are device-specific; make sure you get a pair that's fully compatible with Android and iOS.

If you're considering wireless sport headphones, make sure they have the endurance you need. Some people need headphones with only 6 to 8 hours of battery life to last through a week of workouts, while others might want a device with extended longevity to get through long runs, bike rides and hikes.