The best running and training headphones in 2021

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No matter how much you love your premium on-ear headphones with stitched leather headband and closed back insulation, this is probably not the right set of cans to do a three mile run in the middle of the road. summer. The point: if you spend a lot of time running, you need a helmet designed for work. And while there are many great choices, the best running headphones will be comfortable, sound great, allow you to hear the world around you, and most importantly, stay safe where you put them as you bounce on it. dirt or pavement.

It’s 2021, so we’re not even ready to worry about wired headphones anymore; this ship has sailed. These days, you can get great wireless headphones at affordable prices, and they sound just as good as their wired headphone siblings.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you need real wireless headphones. Yes, models like Apple’s AirPods are all the rage right now and they can be really handy, but if you have a pair that doesn’t fit properly, you’ll be hard pressed to keep them in your ears all the way through. race. It’s not funny. If true wireless headphones aren’t your thing, there are also wrap-around wireless headphones as well as even bolder options like sporty in-ear headphones and sunglasses with built-in wireless speakers. We’ve rounded up the eight best options for you below.


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Better audio quality

Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra’s Elite line of headphones have always been excellent, and the latest model – the 85t – was a strong contender for the best audio quality award on this list. But in the end, it’s a slightly older model, the Jabra Elite Active 75t, which wins the prize.

Although they are about a year old, the Elite Active 75t are our favorite headphones. They sound great, with excellent audio quality and good active noise cancellation. Truth be told, it’s noise cancellation where the new 85t has a head start. With additional microphones and a better noise cancellation algorithm, they reduce background noise more effectively. But the new model is probably not worth the compromise when it comes to dust and water protection. If you wear them while you work, you need to be sure that they will protect you from the elements, and the Active 75t is rated IP57, while the 85t is a more modest IPX4.

And don’t overlook the fit. The Active 75t adapts securely to the ear, never coming loose despite the relentless blows that come from a long haul. The seal is also strong, so they are never uncomfortable or create a strange pressure when jostled in your ear. At the end of the line? If you’re looking for the best choice for true wireless headphones that won’t fall out during a run, go for the Jabra Active 75t.


Best training helmet

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Not only do the Powerbeats Pro deliver surprisingly good audio quality, but their design makes them a great choice for anyone worried about the safety of wireless headphones that will sit in your ear while you pound the ground for an extended period of time. . Hooks that wrap behind your ear keep these buttons firmly against your head, and nothing – nothing – will dislodge them.

Beats is now an Apple company, which might make you wonder how they’re different from AirPods. After all, they include the awesome Apple H1 Bluetooth chip also found in AirPods, which allows them to connect to your phone quickly and easily and maintain a rock-solid Bluetooth connection. The answer is simply that they sound better. Powerbeats are a better choice for audiophiles, or at least runners who want beefier sound from their headphones. You also get a massive nine hours of battery life on a single charge (and up to 24 hours when used with the charging case) and an IPX4 rating – not the best, but better than AirPods and certainly enough to survive. to sweat and rain.


Best noise canceling headphones

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple’s AirPods might not be designed for runners, but thanks to a smart design, most people find that they stay safe in their ears during intense workouts anyway. That said, your mileage may vary, so it’s a good idea to be prepared to return them if you find that they are not secure during certain tests.

AirPods Pro deserve a spot on this list for several reasons. First of all, you might be inclined to buy the AirPods Pro for daily use. These are great headphones for Apple users, providing the best overall experience if you are invested in Apple and iOS hardware. And they move on to training with aplomb. They are IXP4 rated, are suitable for sweat and rain (something the original AirPods can’t claim) and offer a solid 4.5 hour battery life (24 hours total when used with the case) .

But it’s all hiding the head: Apple’s AirPods Pro offer what might be the best active noise cancellation of any earphone. And you can turn on transparency mode which lets you hear ambient noise even when noise cancellation is on, a great mix of features.


Best bone conduction headphones

AfterShokz Aeropex

If you want to listen to music while you run but nothing is blocking your ear canal, then this bone conduction headset is for you. The AfterShokz Aeropex wraps around the back of your head, hangs over the top of your ears, and plays audio by vibrating the cheekbones right in front of your ears. Your ears are perfectly clear, so there is absolutely nothing interfering with your ability to hear what is going on around you.

The Aeropex is the most recent and premium model from AfterShokz. It sounds significantly better than the AfterShokz Air – the previous model – and in fact, they sound pretty good, but still fall short of the Jabra Elite Active 75t or Powerbeats Pro. AfterShokz makes up the difference with an IP67 rating capable of handling fairly extreme conditions as well as a robust eight-hour battery life.


Best waterproof headphones

Jaybird Vista

Jaybird refers to the true Vista wireless earbuds as “earth-proof” which means that they are drop and crush resistant in addition to being IPX7 waterproof and meeting some of the standards. robustness MIL-SPEC STD810G. In other words, just try to break these things. It’s reassuring for the headphones you might have stuck in your ears during a marathon.

Just one complaint: if the Vista passes MILSPEC tests for shock, vibration, humidity, and even “desert sandstorm conditions,” as Jaybird puts it, then why does it have an IPX7 rating, where the “X” means it has not been tested for dirt, dust and sand? We would prefer to see a clearer note.

Nonetheless, aside from being built like a tank, they also sound great and are quite comfortable to wear, with your choice of three different ear tips and a removable fender tip that helps keep it in place at all times. security. You get six hours of battery life on a charge and an additional 10 hours from the charging station. Jaybird also rounds things off with a handy mobile app that gives you an equalizer to fine tune the sound profile, a rarity audiophiles should appreciate. And if you misplace the headphones, you can also use the app to find them, much like Apple’s Find My service for AirPods.


Best value

Anker Soundcore Spirit 2

With the median price of wireless headphones around $ 140, it’s good to find a quality pair of headphones that are similar in price to the Anker Soundcore Spirit 2. Although they cost $ 30, you can often find it reduced to $ 20 – you’d be hard pressed to find a better value.

This is especially true because these wrap-around connected headphones sound surprisingly good, designed with super-elastic material that increases bass response by up to around 50% compared to other headphones. They also fit securely with wings that hold them firmly in your ears. Because the battery is contained in line rather than in the headphones themselves, like in true wireless models, you get 14 hours of battery life with the Soundcore Spirit 2.


Best open back in-ear headphones

Adidas RPT-01

In general, we don’t recommend wearing traditional in-ear (or over-the-ear) headphones during intense training sessions like running outdoors. But there are always exceptions, and the Adidas RPT-01 is one of them. With the Adidas branding, the RPT-01 is obviously designed with fitness in mind – they are compact on-ear pods that are more comfortable for some people who are annoyed with inserting headphones into the ear. , but not as bulky as the larger on-ear models. .

They also feature a breathable open back design that lets you hear the outside world. They sound as good as the best headphones, but with deeper bass than you can get with the tiny speakers inserted into your ear canal.

The removable and washable knit ear pads and inner headband are functional, of course – they’re going to really sweat, and being able to wash them is awesome. But the knitted fabric also looks great, so much so that you’ll want to wear them even when you’re not running. These headphones have another compelling advantage that you won’t find in smaller headphones – 40 hours of battery life. Unlike headphones, you will be able to go for weeks on a single charge.


Best Bluetooth Sunglasses

Bose Frames Tempo

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include a pair of audio sunglasses in this roundup. As crazy as it sounds if you’re unfamiliar with the genre, there are several designs to choose from, including Amazon Echo Frames, JLabs JBuds Frames, Flows and those sunglasses from Bose. The concept is simple: speakers integrated into the arms of the glasses (technically, the pivoting arms of the glasses are called “temples”) play audio in your ear without needing to insert anything in your duct. auditory. Much like bone conduction headphones, audio frames keep your ears clear so you can hear the world around you.

Bose Frames Tempo have an aggressively sporty look, so while they’re a matter of taste, they’re likely to appeal to runners and cyclists alike. The sound quality won’t blow you away, but you’re not buying an audiophile experience with Bose Frames; you pay for the simplicity of not having to juggle headphones and sunglasses when you go for a run. You also don’t have to worry about sweat or rain as they are IPX4 rated.

You also get eight hours per charge and fast charging in one hour via USB-C. And to help get the perfect fit, these come with no less than three interchangeable nose pads. It’s better than most prescription glasses you could buy.

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