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 (July 2019)

  • We predict some of these earbuds will be on sale during Amazon Prime Day. Make sure to follow our Amazon Prime Day guide for the latest earbud deals. 
  • Bose has unveiled the new Bose Earbuds 500, which are going on sale in 2020. They will offer a slimmer design with sweat- and water resistance, and they'll support both Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Stay tuned for our upcoming review of the new  UA True Wireless Flash Project Rock Edition, the new wireless buds from Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Under Armour. 

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

Reasons to Buy
Incredibly comfortable
Doesn't budge during runs
15-hour battery life
Accelerometer for run tracking
In-app audio customization
Reasons to Avoid
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

Reasons to Buy
Magically seamless setup, just like with AirPods
Lengthy battery life
Well-balanced sound
Comfortable, stable fit for running
Reasons to Avoid
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

Reasons to Buy
Lengthy battery life
Personalized audio profile
Customizable fit with fabric cord
Device powers down automatically when not in use
Reasons to Avoid
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.

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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.