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Best Sport Headphones 2019: Running and Workout Earbuds

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.

Completely wire-free options from Jabra and Jaybird offer more features at lower prices than in years past, and corded competitors offer more security if you're afraid to lose an earbud while running. We tested several sports earbuds from the most popular brands to see which are worth your money.

News and Updates (October 2019)

  • Apple just unveiled AirPods Pro, the $249 sweat-resistant alternative to regular AirPods. The new earbuds feature noise cancellation and a new in-ear tip design that can be customized with different sizes. AirPods Pro go on sale Oct. 30.
  • Plantronics' latest totally wireless sport earbuds, the $150 BackBeat Fit 3150 and $150 BackBeat Fit 3200, are on sale now. The two share many of the same features, including a charging case that offers up to 24 hours of battery life, but differ in eartip design (the 3150 isn't quite as fitted). Stay tuned for full reviews of both earbuds to see which is worth buying.
  • Jaybird's new truly wireless earbuds, Jaybird Vista, are on sale now. These fitness earphones rival Jabra's Elite Active 65t in sound, design and battery life. Check out our full Jaybird Vista review.

Here are our current favorite earbuds for sports and exercise.

Best Totally Wireless Sport Earbuds

Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Future)

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 wire-free sweat-resistant earbuds, which are perfect for working out. With excellent fit and 15-hour battery life, the Elite Active 65t are the best totally wireless Bluetooth earphones you can buy for running.

Best Totally Wireless Sport Earbuds for iPhone

Powerbeats Pro

(Image credit: Future)

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 isn't making fitness-focused AirPods yet, but its Beats by Dre brand makes up for it 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 second-gen AirPods) 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.

Best Wireless Sport Earbuds

Jaybird Tarah Pro

(Image credit: Jaybird)

Jaybird Tarah Pro

Best Wireless Sport Earbuds

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.

Best Totally Wireless Sports Buds for Runners

Jaybird Vista

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Jaybird Vista

Best 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.

Best Budget Truly Wireless Sport Earbuds

JLab JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds

(Image credit: JLAB)

JLab JBuds Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds

Best Budget Truly 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

These sturdy wireless 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.

Durable On-Ear Sports Headphones with Impressive Sound

Adidas RPT-01 Wireless On-Ear Sports Headphones

(Image credit: Adidas)

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.

Indestructible True Wireless Earbuds for Outdoor Activities

JBL x Under Armour True Wireless Flash Earbuds

(Image credit: JBL)

JBL x Under Armour True Wireless Flash Earbuds

Indestructible True 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

This collaborative effort from JBL and UA stands out as one of the market’s most versatile true wireless models, blending signature facets together from both consumer brands. 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.

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What to Look For

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.