The 10 Best Sports Headphones

Updated May 28, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Sports Headphones
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Whether it's the stock earbuds that came with your phone simply falling out of your head, or it's the wired or Bluetooth connection to your device somehow severing, few things can take you out of your workout as quickly as a sudden cessation of music. With a high-quality pair of sports headphones, however, you can exercise in style and comfort without any risk of losing your sounds. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best sports headphone on Amazon.

10. Philips SHQ4200/28 Sports

The Philips SHQ4200/28 Sports aren't going to win any awards for their sound quality, but given their small price tag and comfortable silicone ear caps, they're more than adequate for listening to your favorite tunes while you keep fit.
  • kevlar-reinforced cable
  • flexible auto-adjust neckband
  • water-resistance is lacking
Brand Philips
Model SHQ4200/28
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. SMS Audio On-Ear Sport

The SMS Audio On-Ear Sport might not offer the sleek, minimalist design of a pair of wireless earbuds, but they deliver rich, high-fidelity sound that the audiophile will appreciate. They also fold up for easy storage when not in use.
  • durable 40u rubberized coating
  • memory foam cushions
  • may be too tight on some heads
Brand SMS Audio
Model SMS-ONWD-SPRT-BLU
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Jaybird X3 Sport

The perforated in-ear supports on the Jaybird X3 Sport add breathability to an already comfortable design, so you can enjoy your music longer and with less distraction. You can even personalize your sound settings and store them on the buds themselves.
  • hydrophobic coating
  • dedicated app included
  • sound quality isn't great
Brand JayBird
Model 985-000580
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. JLab Audio Epic2 Wireless

The JLab Audio Epic2 Wireless feature an impressive playing time, with 12 continuous hours of use available on a single charge. Their IPX5 waterproof rating means that they are significantly resistant to splashes and sweat.
  • hard travel case
  • 1-year warranty
  • intrusive battery level alerts
Brand JLAB
Model EPICBT2-BLUGRY-BOX
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Plantronics BackBeat Fit

The flexible design of the Plantronics BackBeat Fit keeps them firmly in place in your ears, even at a high rate of motion. Their eartips are specifically intended to let external sounds in, so you can hear that oncoming bus.
  • 8 hours of wireless listening
  • on-ear controls for music and calls
  • not the most comfortable option
Brand Plantronics
Model BACKBEAT FIT, BLUE
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless

With a Class 1 Bluetooth connection, the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless provide exceptional audio quality, even compared with wired models. When the battery gets low, a fast, five-minute quick-charge will get you an additional hour of up time.
  • sweat- and water-resistant
  • four eartip sizes included
  • carrying case is too small
Brand Beats
Model ML8V2LL/A
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. TaoTronics TT-BH07

The TaoTronics TT-BH07 have built-in magnets (other than those involved with sound production) that allow you to stick the two earbuds together for storage when you're not using them. Their Bluetooth 4.1 connection is fast and secure.
  • five hours battery life per charge
  • cvc noise isolation
  • apt-x support for high sound quality
Brand TaoTronics
Model TT-BH07U
Weight 5.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. TaoTronics Wireless 5149762

A built-in ceramic antenna on the TaoTronics Wireless 5149762 allows for higher quality audio and more stable Bluetooth pairing than its competition. Its CVC noise cancellation technology cuts down unwanted ambient noise while clarifying mic input on phone calls.
  • up to 8 hours of battery life
  • flexible ear hooks for a snug fit
  • nano-coated for water-resistance
Brand TaoTronics
Model 5149762
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Sony MDR-AS200

If you're looking for stability in the ear and good sound quality, but you can't quite afford the added cost of wireless technology, the Sony MDR-AS200 are the perfect pair. They clip comfortably and securely on your ear, and feature 13.5mm high-sensitivity drivers.
  • water-resistant
  • angled earbud for better audio
  • cord extends over 1 meter
Brand Sony MDR-AS200
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Bose Soundsports

The wireless Bose Soundsports utilize the company's patented Stay Hear+ tips, which are uniquely designed to hold comfortably in your ear no matter how sweaty you get or how erratically you move. Their rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides 6 hours of continuous action.
  • inline mic and remote
  • support near field communication
  • available in four colors
Brand Bose
Model 761529-0010
Weight 12.6 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Sporting Sounds

If you find that you need to listen to music while working out, while running, or enjoying pretty much any physically demanding activity, then you know the agony of trying to do so with regular headphones. Most headphone designs, particularly those aimed at the audiophile market, are conceived around an image of the listener sitting peacefully in his or her favorite chair, enjoying a selection of music over a highball or two.

We're a little more active than that, and we need a set of cans that will sound great and stay comfortably in place even if the big one finally strikes. Until recently, that was a little too much to ask from the industry, but the sports headphones on our list paint a very different picture.

The first thing that makes a sport headphone unique in the marketplace is its security. I don't mean that the headphones will somehow safeguard themselves against hackers (not that they would need to). I mean that they stay securely in place while you run, jump, tumble, and scramble all over whatever gym, field, or track you call your space.

Some of them stay in place by means of a rubberized ear molds that add light pressure to your outer ear for leverage. Others have thin rubber wedges around the amplifier that work like corks in your ear hole to cancel out sound while keeping the bud in place. Some models wrap around the backside of your outer ear and connect both buds with a plastic band that stretches across the back of your neck, while another group works like any other supra-aural headphone, sitting on top of your ear with enough pressure to stay put.

Hit The Road, Jack

You probably have enough experience with headphones at this point in your life to make an informed decision based on comfort alone. The market is evolving all around you, however, so certain investments may prove wiser than others among tech like these headphones.

Take Apple's recent decision to eliminate its headphone jack from the latest editions of the iPhone, for example. In many past cases, the industry has gone the way that Apple goes, and it's only a matter of time before manufacturing of wireless headphones catches up to the demand that Apple just created, and that they look poised to continue to push.

All those wireless headphones on the market will lead to other phone makers following suit, and soon the headphone jack will be a thing of the past. So, whether you're an Apple acolyte who already has their shiny new, jack-less iPhone, or a late adapter Android user, a set of wired headphones is a decidedly weaker investment today than it was just a few months ago.

If you plan to cut the cord, that ought to cut your options on our top ten list almost in half. From there, you can make your initial decision based on headphone type. Supra-aural headphones, which are the kind that sit over your ears without totally enveloping them, promise better sound quality than the in-ear bud models on our list, though some of the buds have superlative sound-cancellation capabilities. The bigger cans also tend to be a little less comfortable over time and a lot bulkier in transit.

The buds on the other hand, whether or not they're attached by a wire or a plastic band of their own, are immensely easy to transport in a gym bag, and they stand to incur less damage in the event that they do slip out of your ears and go tumbling to the ground. By virtue of their lightness compared to the larger headphones on this list, they protect themselves more effectively.

Over The Ears And Through The Years

A lot of the technology we use today was born in the military. Headphones are no different, as they were used originally as a communications device to relay sensitive messages across secure lines. Of course, the idea of relaying messages by no means of encryption beyond a certain radio frequency seems absurd, but there was a time when that was enough security.

Those early headphones in the first few decades of the 20th century carried a dangerous charge to them, and if an operator reached up to adjust the painfully uncomfortable headset, there was a good chance he would receive quite a shock for his effort.

That design was refined both in the military sector and by the private sector's telecommunications industry, where switchboard operators utilized headphones to help them rout calls effectively and privately. The music industry had a small hand in their development as well, though the use of headphones in personal stereo systems wouldn't become popular until the 1960s.

From the 60s onward, headphone designs became more and more sophisticated, particularly in music studios, where engineers sought to evaluate as much of the sound as possible before recording it from tape to vinyl.

Then, a magical little invention hit the streets in 1979. That was the year that Sony introduced the Walkman portable cassette player. The junky, aluminum-banded headphones that it came with became a symbol of the 1980s, and they were the first headphones of any time to become absolutely ubiquitous among American households.

More than 20 years later, Apple introduced the iPod and its now infamous little white earbuds. Those buds became a status symbol for a few years, eventually giving way to a wave of custom looks and a hearkening back to older styles of headphones. Along the way, runners and athletes of all stripes sought adaptations to take their music along for their workouts, and the cans and buds you see on this list found a market.



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Last updated on May 28, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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