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Article updated on March 12, 2024 at 9:00 AM PDT

Best Running Headphones and Earbuds for 2024

Whether you run marathons or take a quick jog, running headphones make a difference. We've tested the best headphones and earbuds for running to help you choose.

Our Experts

Written by 
David Carnoy
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
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Our Picks

$180 at Amazon
A woman using Shokz open-ear headphones during a workout
Best bone-conduction headphones
Shokz OpenRun Pro
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$180 at Amazon
Image of Beats Fit Pro
Best Apple wireless earbuds for sports
Beats Fit Pro
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$60 at Amazon
Image of 1More Fit SE S30
Good value open earbuds with ear hooks
1More Fit SE S30
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$180 at Amazon
Image of Shokz OpenFit
Best comfortable open earbuds with ear hooks
Shokz OpenFit
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$80 at Amazon
aftershokz-openmove
Best budget bone-conduction headphones for runners
Shokz OpenMove
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$36 at Amazon
soundpeats-runfree-red-background
Best value open-ear neckband-style headphones
Soundpeats RunFree
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$200 at Amazon
Image of Jabra Elite 8 Active
Best durable earbuds
Jabra Elite 8 Active
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$80 at Amazon
Image of JBL Endurance Peak 3
Best ear-hook style true-wireless earbuds under $100
JBL Endurance Peak 3
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$170 at Amazon
Image of Cleer Audio Arc 2 Sport
Best-sounding open-style earbuds with ear hooks
Cleer Audio Arc 2 Sport
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$249 at Apple
Image of Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)
Best lightweight noise-canceling earbuds for working out
Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)
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$58 at Walmart
Image of Sony CH-520
Top budget on-ear headphones
Sony CH-520
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$64 at Amazon
Image of Skullcandy Push Active
Best Skullcandy sport earbuds with voice commands
Skullcandy Push Active
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$149 at Amazon
Image of Apple AirPods 3rd Generation
Best open wireless earbuds
Apple AirPods 3rd Generation
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$130 at Sony
The Sony Float Run headphones have an open bud design geared toward runners
Best Sony open-ear neckband-style headphones
Sony Float Run
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$178 at Amazon
Image of Sony LinkBuds
Best AirPods alternative with an open design for runners
Sony LinkBuds
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$70 at Amazon
Image of Anker Soundcore Sport X10
Best affordable wireless earbuds with ear hooks
Anker Soundcore Sport X10
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$95 at Amazon
Image of Sennheiser Sport True Wireless
Best-sounding budget sports earbuds
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless
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$150 at JBL.com
Image of JBL Live Pro 2
Best AirPods Pro alternative
JBL Live Pro 2
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$187 at Best Buy
A woman running while wearing a pair of Bose Frames Tempo
Best audio sunglasses for sports
Bose Frames (Tempo)
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$180 at Amazon
Image of Beats Powerbeats Pro
Best Beats ear-hook style sport earbuds
Beats Powerbeats Pro
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$48 at Amazon
Image of Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS
Best cheap open earbuds
Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS
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$229 at Amazon
shure-aonic-215-version-2-0
Best-sounding sports buds for audiophiles
Shure Aonic 215 II
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$80 at Amazon
Image of Oraimo Open Ear Headphones (Currently Unavailable)
Best-sounding neckband-style open sport headphones
Oraimo Open Ear Headphones (Currently Unavailable)
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Which are the best headphones and earbuds for running?

It's hard to say what are the best headphones for running because it largely comes down to which models fit your ears best -- and stay on. That said, I like the Beats Fit Pro buds, which have integrated sport fins, the AirPods Pro 2 and the various Shokz bone-conduction models. The new Shokz OpenFit earbuds with ear hooks are good if you're looking for an open design with an integrated ear hook.

Over the years, I've tested dozens if not hundreds of headphones and earbuds while running. When we evaluate the best headphones and earbuds for running, we're looking for models that are designed to stay in your ears or on your head even when you're really pushing your pace. Your safety is also important, which is why we look for headphones and earbuds that allow you to hear the outside world so you can hear traffic. Many of the latest noise-canceling earbuds also have a transparency mode and some earbuds and headphones feature an open design.

Most of the models on this best list are true-wireless earbuds, but I've also included some neckband-style wireless headphones that feature bone-conduction technology or just have an open design. These types of headphones are popular with runners and bikers because they fit securely and their nonoccluded design allows you to hear the outside world.

Read more: Best Wireless Earbuds

Best running headphones and earbuds of 2024

$180 at Amazon

Best bone-conduction headphones

Shokz OpenRun Pro

AfterShokz has changed its name to Shokz and released new ninth-generation bone-conduction headphones that offer slightly improved bass performance compared to the company's earlier flagship model, the Aeropex (now called the Shokz OpenRun). That makes the OpenRun Pro the best bone-conduction headphones you can get right now, although they still can't match the sound quality of traditional headphones.

Bone conduction wireless headphones don't go on your ears -- they actually deliver sound to your ear through your cheekbones. The big benefit of this technology as a safety feature for running is that, thanks to its open design, you can what's going on around you -- traffic noise in particular -- while listening to music or having a phone conversation (yes, they perform well for voice calls).  Also, some race coordinators don't allow runners to wear anything in their ears, which is where headphones like this come in handy.

The OpenRun Pro has a lightweight, wraparound titanium frame and is rated for up to 10 hours of music playback and you can get 90 minutes of battery life from a 5-minute charge (they have a proprietary charging cable instead of USB-C, which is unfortunate). I found them comfortable to wear but you may occasionally have to adjust them on your head to relieve potential pressure points. While they do offer a bit fuller sound with more bass (an incremental improvement, not a huge leap forward) like other bone-conduction headphones, these are strongest in the midrange where voices live. They're very good for podcasts, talk radio, newscasts and audiobooks. A hard carrying case is included as well as foam ear tips that you can jam into your ears to get better bass performance (most people use those tips sparingly). 

Note that Shokz makes other, more affordable bone-conduction headphones, including the OpenRun, if you don't want to shell out for its current flagship model.

$180 at Amazon

Best Apple wireless earbuds for sports

Beats Fit Pro

While the Beats Fit Pro technically aren't AirPods, they're built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro (yes, Apple owns Beats). Unlike Beats' earlier and less expensive Studio Buds and new-for-2023 Studio Buds Plus, the Beats Fit Pro include Apple's H1 chip and has most of the AirPods Pro's features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio and Adaptive EQ. I'd venture to call them the sports AirPods you've always wanted.

$60 at Amazon

Good value open earbuds with ear hooks

1More Fit SE S30

1More makes a couple of open sports earbuds with ear hooks. The  buds are the flagship ($130) and feature a little better sound than the Fit SE S30, have a more premium design and are fully waterproof (IPX7 rating). I like the fit a little better on the step-down S30, which is IPX5 splash-proof (can sustain a spray of water) and costs half the price, making it a better value.

The case is bulky and feels a little cheap (the lid is flimsy) but the buds themselves seem sturdily built and the ear hooks are nice and flexible. They have 14.2mm drivers that output decent but not great sound (there's a bit of distortion at higher volumes), which is par for the course for these types of open buds that sit on top of your ears and fire sound into them. They're also good but not great for voice calling. A companion app for iOS and Android allows you to tweak the sound with an equalizer and you can update the buds' firmware. The buds are available in black or white and offer up to 10 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels.

$180 at Amazon

Best comfortable open earbuds with ear hooks

Shokz OpenFit

Shokz, the company formerly known as AfterShokz, has long been the leader in bone-conduction headphones. Models like the OpenRun Pro, which deliver sound to your ear through your cheekbones, are popular with runners and bikers who like to leave their ears open for safety reasons. However, Shokz's new OpenFit model, the company's first true wireless earbuds, doesn't use bone-conduction technology. They have an open design that fires sound into your ears using custom speaker drivers, which Shokz dubs "air conduction" technology.

I was impressed by how lightweight (8.3 grams) and comfortable they are -- they have one of the best ear-hook designs I've tried (Shokz calls it a Dolphin Arc ear hook). It's soft and offers just the right amount of flexibility to conform to the shape of your ear, with "dual-layered liquid silicone that provides a pliable fit," according to Shokz. The earbuds also sound quite good for open earbuds, though not quite as good as Cleer's Arc 2 Open Ear Sport earbuds ($170) which also have an ear-hook design.

$80 at Amazon

Best budget bone-conduction headphones for runners

Shokz OpenMove

Shokz's OpenMove bone-conduction headphones list for $80. The OpenMove headphones have some small design upgrades over their predecessors. I found them comfortable to wear, and while the sound isn't great, it's relatively good for a bone-conduction headphone. Again, keep your sound quality expectations in check or you'll be disappointed. They're very good for listening to podcasts, audiobooks and news broadcasts while you run. I tend to listen to XM radio while running. 

This model charges via USB-C and includes a simple carrying pouch. Battery life is rated at up to six hours.

$36 at Amazon

Best value open-ear neckband-style headphones

Soundpeats RunFree

After releasing the RunFree Lite neckband-style open sports buds last year, Soundpeats has come up with a new, upgraded version with a more flexible and comfortable design and better sound. Like its predecessor, the buds sit just outside your ears and fire sound into them from small speakers with 16.2mm drivers. The sound quality still isn't the greatest, but this new model does offer better clarity with slightly better bass definition. They're just fine for casual listening.

They're nice and lightweight, and they fit my head securely -- the headphones' design feels more premium (by that I mean less cheap). Equipped with Bluetooth 5.3, they're IPX4 splash-proof and are rated for up to 14 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels. Expect to get less than that, because you'll likely play these at high volume levels, especially outdoors where you'll encounter more ambient noise. They also work decently for making voice calls but don't expect business-class performance. 

$200 at Amazon

Best durable earbuds

Jabra Elite 8 Active

Equipped with six microphones instead of four, slightly improved adaptive noise canceling and wind-reduction technology along with a higher durability rating, the Elite 8 Active looks, feels and performs like a modestly upgraded version of the Elite 7 Pro and Elite 7 Active. Jabra is billing them as the "world's toughest earbuds," and based on our tests (they survived several drops without a scratch), that may very well be true.

$80 at Amazon

Best ear-hook style true-wireless earbuds under $100

JBL Endurance Peak 3

JBL has upgraded its ear-hook style sport earbuds for 2023. Available in black or white, the Endurance Peak 3 buds offer better battery life (up to 10 hours with four extra charges in their case) improved voice-calling performance and an IP68 rating that makes them fully water- and dust-proof. They also have an Ambient Aware transparency mode and Talk Thru mode that can automatically lower your music's volume level and open up the buds to the outside world. That means you can have a conversation with someone without removing the buds from your ears.

They stayed on my ears very securely during runs and I thought they sounded quite good, though they do have a bit of bass push (i.e. they have powerful bass). Just be aware that if you don't get a tight seal, sound quality will be significantly worse. Also, like other earbuds with ear-hook designs, the case is on the beefy side. That said, the buds do seem durable and if you get a good fit, they're an excellent and less pricey alternative to the Beats Powerbeats Pro. I also thought the touch controls worked well; I was easily able to toggle through the sound modes.

$170 at Amazon

Best-sounding open-style earbuds with ear hooks

Cleer Audio Arc 2 Sport

Cleer's original Arc earbuds were solid sport earbuds that featured decent sound for open-style buds that sit on top of your ears and fire sound into them. This new-for-2023 model steps up the sound quality and offers additional refinements and feature upgrades, including a new "enhanced" charging case with UV sterilization and multipoint Bluetooth connectivity (Bluetooth 5.3), all of which make for a significantly improved product.

Cleer says the Arc 2 Sport buds feature "greater flexibility for improved comfort," and I did find them more comfortable to wear than the original Arcs. That said, not everyone loves this style of open earbuds, which lets sound in so you can hear ambient sound around you for safety purposes.

With a new six-axis motion sensor, you can actually control the buds with head gestures -- you answer calls by nodding and skip tracks forward by turning your head to the right and skip back a track by turning your head left. Thankfully, those motion controls can be turned off if you don't want to use them. 

These are among the first buds to support Qualcomm's aptX Lossless format if you're one of the few to have an Android device that supports that audio codec (plenty of Android phones support aptX Adaptive). Since these aren't high-end noise-isolating earbuds, you probably won't be able to tell the difference in sound quality (I couldn't) but all that aside, these do sound very good for open-style earbuds. They lack a bit of oomph to their bass but they're punchy enough, offer good clarity and don't distort at higher volumes. They also played sufficiently loud. 

They have an IPX5 water- and sweat-resistance rating, which means they can withstand a sustained spray of water, and battery life is very good at up to 8 hours on a single charge, plus there are a little more than three additional charges in the slim but still somewhat bulky charging case. It's big compared with an AirPods charging case but svelte compared with other cases that house this style of earbuds.

These offer respectable performance for voice calls, but callers did say they heard a certain amount of white noise when I spoke to them from the noisy streets of New York -- that whooshing sound is the by-product of the earbuds' noise-reduction efforts. 

$249 at Apple

Best lightweight noise-canceling earbuds for working out

Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)

As long as you can get a good, secure fit, the lightweight AirPods Pro (2nd generation) make excellent earbuds for running and feature a top-notch transparency mode that allows you to hear the outside world (they now come with extra small ear tips for those with very small ears but Apple still doesn't have XL tips for those with larger ears).

$58 at Walmart

Top budget on-ear headphones

Sony CH-520

Sony released its new entry-level CH-720N noise-canceling headphones in 2023. They're quite good, but if you can't afford them (they list for $150), the company's new budget on-ear CH-520 headphones are an intriguing option for only around $40.

They lack noise canceling and are pretty no-frills, but they feature good sound for their price, are lightweight and pretty comfortable for on-ear headphones, and also have excellent battery life (they're rated for up to 50 hours at moderate volume levels). Additionally, they have multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you can pair them with two devices simultaneously, such as a smartphone and computer, and switch audio. Voice-calling performance is decent, though not up to the level of what you get with the CH-720N. 

Note that there's no wired option -- this is a wireless Bluetooth-only headphone. The CH-520 offers balanced sound overall with decent clarity. The bass has some punch to it but doesn't pack a wallop, and you're not going to get quite as wide a soundstage as you get from Sony's more expensive over-ear headphones. These definitely sound better than Sony's previous entry-level on-ear headphones and sound better than I thought they would. I tried the white color but they also come in blue and black.

$64 at Amazon

Best Skullcandy sport earbuds with voice commands

Skullcandy Push Active

With so many new wireless earbuds and headphones being released on what seems likely a weekly basis, it's not easy for companies to differentiate their products in the marketplace. Skullcandy hopes its new voice-driven platform, Skull-iQ Smart Feature Technology, will do just that. Similar to the Apple AirPods' "Hey Siri" feature, Skullcandy's version allows you to say "Hey, Skullcandy" to issue hands-free voice commands without touching a button. Skull-iQ debuts on the sports-oriented Push Active and the $80 Grind Fuel, which will be firmware updatable via the Skullcandy App.

With their ear-hook design, they're essentially a more affordable version of the Beats Powerbeats Pro, and they fit my ears slightly better than the Powerbeats Pro. I'm not usually a fan of ear-hook style buds, but this is one of the better ones. 

The Push Active True earbuds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, are IP55 splashproof, have built-in Tile Finding Technology and are rated for up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge at moderate volume levels. 

$149 at Amazon

Best open wireless earbuds

Apple AirPods 3rd Generation

Take one look at the new design of the third-gen AirPods ($141), and the first thing you'll probably think is: "Those look like the AirPods Pro without ear tips." You wouldn't be wrong. While they're more fraternal than identical twins, the AirPods 3 are shaped like the AirPods Pro, with the same shorter stems and pinch controls as those of the Pro. Aside from the design change, which should fit most ears better than the AirPods 2nd Generation (though not very small ears), the biggest change is to the sound quality: It's much improved. Also, battery life is better, and the AirPods 3 are officially water-resistant.

Since they're open earbuds, they let some sound in, so they're not as good as the AirPods Pro 2 for both listening and making calls in noisy environments. They do a nice job reducing background noise during calls and picking up your voice clearly.

$130 at Sony

Best Sony open-ear neckband-style headphones

Sony Float Run

Sony's Float Run is a unique take on "off-ear" headphones, which is another way to describe open earbuds that sit away from your ears. I can't say these have the greatest sound -- the bass is underwhelming -- but they fit my head securely and comfortably. They're designed for folks who don't like to have earbuds jammed into their ears, and runners who want to hear the outside world for safety reasons. 

As their name implies, these oversized IPX4 splash-proof buds "float" above your ears and fire sound in their direction. They're lightweight, weighing 33 grams, and deliver up to 10 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels. They have a decent microphone for voice calls and the physical controls are easy to access on the left ear hook, which sits behind your ear. I wouldn't use these for critical listening, but they are well-designed for runners (a carrying pouch is included). I'd like to see them cost a little less, but hopefully, we'll see some discounts in the future.

$178 at Amazon

Best AirPods alternative with an open design for runners

Sony LinkBuds

The LinkBuds are, in a sense, Sony's answer to Apple's standard AirPods. While they don't sound as good as Sony's flagship WF-1000XM5 noise-isolating earbuds, they offer a discreet, innovative design and a more secure fit than the AirPods, as well as good sound and very good voice-calling performance.

Like the third-gen AirPods, their open design allows you to hear the outside world -- that's what the ring is all about. That makes them a good choice for folks who want to hear what's going around them for safety reasons or just don't like having ear tips jammed in their ears. They also have a few distinguishing extra features, including Speak to Chat and Wide Area Tap. Instead of tapping on a bud, you can tap on your face, just in front of your ear, to control playback.

They're IPX4 splash-proof and thanks to their fins -- Sony calls them Arc Supporters -- they lock in your ears securely and work well for running and other sporting activities.

$70 at Amazon

Best affordable wireless earbuds with ear hooks

Anker Soundcore Sport X10

The Soundcore Sport X10 have an interesting design with rotating swiveling ear hooks that flip up when you're using them and flip down when you want to set them in their charging case, which has a smaller footprint than a lot of buds with ear hooks. 

As long as you get a tight seal, they sound good, with powerful, punchy bass and good detail. They also have active noise canceling, which is effective but not as good as Sony's or Bose's noise canceling. They're also fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating, which means they can be fully submerged in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours with an additional three charges in the charging case.

$95 at Amazon

Best-sounding budget sports earbuds

Sennheiser Sport True Wireless

The Sport True Wireless earbuds are essentially Sennheiser's CX True Wireless earbuds with sport fins (for a more secure fit) and better durability. They have an IP54 rating that makes them splash-proof and dust-resistant. The CX True Wireless (IPX4) doesn't offer dust resistance.

These aren't noise-cancelling earbuds but they do have an awareness mode that allows ambient sound to leak into the buds so you can hear what's going on around you for safety reasons. They use Bluetooth 5.2 and have support for the AAC and AptX audio codecs. Battery life is rated at up to 9 hours at moderate volume levels with an additional two charges in the charging case (there's no wireless charging).

Featuring clean and well-balanced sound with punchy bass, they sound very similar to the CX True Wireless and CX Plus True Wireless.

$150 at JBL.com

Best AirPods Pro alternative

JBL Live Pro 2

Over the years, JBL has put out some decent true-wireless earbuds, but nothing that really got me too excited. That's finally changed with the arrival of the Samsung-owned brand's new  and  buds. Both sets of buds -- the Live Pro 2 has stems while the Live Free 2 has a pill-shaped design -- offer a comfortable fit along with strong noise canceling, very good sound quality and voice-calling performance, plus a robust set of features, including multipoint Bluetooth pairing, an IPX5 splash-proof rating and wireless charging.

The Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 are equipped with the same 11mm drivers, six microphones, oval tubes and oval silicon tips. Aside from the design, the biggest difference between the two buds is battery life; the stemless Live Free 2 is rated for up to 7 hours, while the Live Pro 2 is rated for 10 hours. The Live Pro 2 is available in four color options.

Editors' choice
$187 at Best Buy

Best audio sunglasses for sports

Bose Frames (Tempo)

The Bose Frames are one of those products you have to try in order to fully appreciate -- or dismiss. The concept is that you're getting a decent pair of sunglasses with a pair of headphones that don't actually go in your ears. Rather, integrated micro speakers in each arm direct a beam of sound to your ears. That design could be appealing to people who don't like having headphones in or on their ears and also offers a degree of safety for runners and bikers who want their ears open to the world.

Bose has updated its line of audio sunglasses with three new models, including the Tempo sports model, which offers better sound and battery life than the more traditional-looking Tenor and Soprano. The Tempo has better specs all around, with USB-C charging and larger 22mm drivers. It also delivers up to 8 hours of battery life.

Their sound is definitely improved from the original Frames. Bose says the Tempo plays "deeper and louder -- loud enough for cycling at 25 mph -- while [you're] still able to hear traffic and your training partners." They're sweat-, weather-, scratch- and shatter-resistant, according to Bose, and fit under most protective helmets. (I had no problem using them with a couple of bike helmets.) They also work really well for making calls, thanks to a new dual-microphone system. Optional lenses are available for $39 and you can order prescription lenses through Lensabl.

$180 at Amazon

Best Beats ear-hook style sport earbuds

Beats Powerbeats Pro

The Beats Powerbeats Pro earbuds have been on the market for a few years but remain popular and are now available in several color options. Their jumbo charging case is a notable drawback, but they offer many of the same features as Apple's AirPods 2 (they're equipped with Apple's H1 chip) and have better sound so long as you get a tight seal (they should fit most ears well). There's no active noise canceling, but battery life is strong at up to 9 hours and they're IPX4 splash-proof.  

Note that the Powerbeats Pro are frequently on sale, so you should only buy them if they're substantially discounted.

$48 at Amazon

Best cheap open earbuds

Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS

What makes these Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS buds special is that they sound surprisingly good for open earbuds -- they're pretty close to what you get from Apple's AirPods 3 for sound. On top of that, they support Sony's LDAC audio codec for devices that offer it. Not too many cheap open earbuds have good sound, but these Soundpeats have good bass response and clarity. They're also good for making calls and have a low-latency gaming mode. Battery life is rated at 5 hours at moderate volume levels, and these are IPX4 splash-proof.

$229 at Amazon

Best-sounding sports buds for audiophiles

Shure Aonic 215 II

I liked Shure's original Aonic 215 true-wireless earbuds, but they were buggy and Shure pulled them off the market. From a design standpoint, the second-generation earbuds are essentially identical, but not all the performance kinks have been smoothed out. 

Weirdly, they're kind of the audiophile equivalent of the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They have a hook that wraps around the top of your ear, and they stay in my ears very securely (even more securely than the Powerbeats Pro earbuds). Like that Beats model, they have a jumbo charging case. Even though it's technically bigger than the Powerbeats Pro's case, it doesn't feel bigger, perhaps because it's slightly thinner.

What's interesting about them is that the Bluetooth module is detachable. (I liked the physical control button they have instead of touch controls.) As the name implies, the Aonic 215 True Wireless Noise-Isolating Earphones incorporate Shure's SE215 buds, the $99 model in its line of earbuds that have detachable cables. The modules, which can be bought separately for $189, are designed to drive any Shure earbuds that have a detachable cable, including the $899 SE846.

Headset performance has improved (they're now stereo rather than mono for calls) and they now have an IPX4 splash-proof water-resistance rating. They have clean, well-balanced sound with nicely defined bass -- but they just don't have a ton of bass.

$80 at Amazon

Best-sounding neckband-style open sport headphones

Oraimo Open Ear Headphones (Currently Unavailable)

The one downside to bone-conduction headphones is that they just don't sound great for music and tend to fall short most noticeably in the bass department. Oraimo's Open Ear Headphones look like a bone-conduction model but instead have speakers built into them that fire sound into your ears. That sound is better than what you get with bone-conduction headphones (it's bigger with better bass performance). I wouldn't say they sound quite as good as decent noise-isolating earbuds, but the sound is quite respectable and has a nice open quality to it because these are after all "open" headphones.

The Oraimo is more expensive than some similarly styled open-ear headphones you can find on Amazon. But these did seem durable and also are good for making calls, with solid background noise reduction. This style of headphones isn't for everyone (some may find them slightly uncomfortable after longer listening sessions), but they do stay on your ears securely and allow you to hear the outside world for safety reasons. Battery life is rated at 16 hours at moderate volume levels and they're splashproof.

Other running headphones and earbuds we tested

Earfun Free Pro 2: We used to have the EarFun Free Pro 2 earbuds on this list. They're still available at a discount and are decent earbuds for running but EarFun has released the new EarFun Free Pro 3 buds, which are a definite upgrade.

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Factors to consider when buying sports buds with ear hooks

Budget

Before anything else, you'll want to figure out how much you're willing to spend on new wireless sports buds. The quality of value-priced earbuds and headphones continues to improve, so you can find good affordable sports buds for less than $75. The premium models, which offer better build quality and performance, tend to cost more than $100 and sometimes more than $150.

Noise-isolating or open design

Sports buds are available in a few styles. Some come with silicone tips that are designed to create a tight seal in your ear and keep sound out (they have a noise-isolating design). Others have an open design with the buds resting on top of your ears, firing sound into them. The noise-isolating style typically gives you better sound with stronger bass while the open design has the advantage of allowing sound in for safety reasons.

Ear hooks or not

Some sports buds feature designs with integrated ear hooks or sports fins. Both help keep the buds more securely on or in your ears. They are not essential to getting a secure fit (there are buds with no ear hooks or fins that fit some people securely), but they do help. That said, not everybody finds these types of designs comfortable.

Fit, aka comfort

It's key that sports earbuds  fit your ears not only comfortably but securely. They should offer a comfortable fit that allows you to wear the earbuds for long periods of time without any irritation.

Durability

You want sport buds that hold up well over time, so look for models that we note have sturdy build quality and a good water-resistance rating.

Return policy

It's critical to buy your sports at a retailer that has a good return policy, in case you have buyer's remorse. Some people who are having trouble deciding between two models sometimes buy both, try them out for a few days, and then return one.

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Running headphones FAQs

Is it better to listen to music when running?

It's a matter of personal preference, but a lot of people like to listen to music, podcasts or even audiobooks while running to spur them or to take their mind somewhere else, which can help you forget how much you're exerting yourself. Some people don't like to hear themselves breathing heavily either.

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Are on-ear or over-ear headphones better for running?

Full-size over-ear headphones tend to be more comfortable than on-ear models for everyday use, but on-ear headphones allow for more airflow, so they're arguably better for running. Both stay on your head equally well. A few models offer some water and dust resistance, but most over- and on-ear models don't have water resistance like virtually all earbuds do.

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Which headphones are good for marathon running?

If you're running in a race, you'll need to check whether you're allowed to wear headphones and if so, what kind. Often, you're allowed to use only headphones that leave your ears open. That means bone-conduction models are permitted but little else.

If there aren't any headphone restrictions, you're going to want something that's light, comfortable to wear and also features good battery life. Something that has an open design or transparency mode is also critical. You're going to want to hear some sound around you and also not have your ear occluded, which may cause you to hear each footfall, which can be irritating. Some earbuds models like the AirPods Pro 2 feature good venting that prevents that problem.

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