For many runners, their headphones are just as important as their sneakers. After all, few things get your arms and legs pumping faster that a great song.
Until recently, wireless headphones received a bad rap because of short battery life, poor sound, and interference. But thanks to improvements in Bluetooth connectivity, design and battery technology, today's wireless headphones have come a long way.
So, if you've recently got tangled in your ear wax covered headphones and thought it might be time to upgrade, check out these five wireless headphones and earbuds that are ideal for running and exercise.
Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless
With 12 hours of battery life, Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless are ideal for distance runners, especially those wanting pumped-up tunes to carry them through a marathon or ultra. Powered by Apple's new W1 chip, they connect to iPhones quickly and consistently. (They work just fine with non-Apple devices when connecting via standard Bluetooth.)
Initially, the Powerbeats hefty design takes a little getting used to and their secure-fit ear hook design can be confusing to put in. But once fitted they're snug, comfortable, and don't require re-adjusting. While not as inconspicuous as other wireless headphones on the market they have great acoustics and strong bass.
- Big bass and powerful output
- Long battery life at 12 hours per charge
- Four sizes of soft ear tips for a personalised and comfortable fit
- Five-minute charge gives you one hour of music
- Can take calls
- Hefty over-ear design
Moisture can cause in-line controls to be intermittent
Bose SoundSport Pulse wireless headphones
Bose is one of the most respected, trusted and beloved brands when it comes to audio speakers and headphones. The SoundSport wireless headphones not only produce excellent audio, but their durable sweat resistant build makes them great for a good run.
The silicon StayHear+ Pulse sports ear and wing tips keep them secure in your ears, while a gentle seal improves audio quality. The inline microphone and remote lets you answer and end calls, play and pause tracks and adjust volume – without reaching for your phone. Pairing to your Bluetooth device is easy with voice prompts.
- Tangle free rubber cord
- Built-in heart rate sensor
- Compatible with apps like Strava, MapMyRun, and Runkeeper
- Great audio quality
- Bulky ear pieces protrude from the ears
- Six-hour battery life means you'll be charging them more than you'd like
- Non-adjustable cord length, but it does have a clip
Jabra Elite Sport Wireless
These are lauded as the most technically advanced true wireless sports headphones on the market, but they're more like earbuds because of their completely cordless design.
Besides good sound, they feature full playback controls, a microphone for phone calls, and even a heart rate monitor to track how hard you're running. Personalised, real-time guidance with the integrated Jabra Sport Life app also helps runners get the most of each workout.
- A range of ear fins provide a snug in-ear fit
- Three-year replacement warranty against any damage from sweat (when registered)
- Hear Through technology pipes in traffic sounds when running outside
- More than a headphone with a built-in heart rate monitor and other fitness tracking features
- Tiny play/pause and volume controls on the earbuds can be challenging to use at first
- Three-hour playback per charge
- For the best experience earbuds should be worn together
Jaybird X3 sport headphones
These eight-hour battery life, micro-sized headphones promise to be water resistant – a must for runners who work up a sweat at the thought of a workout. The patented sports ear fins hug into the top, back and lower surface areas of the ear providing a super-secure comfortable fit for any ear shape and size.
A unique feature is the headphones' multipoint Bluetooth technology that allows you to pair and connect your buds with two different Bluetooth devices simultaneously, meaning you can listen to music from your laptop and take a call at the same time.
- Double hydrophobic nano coating and redesigned super-tight seams mean they can take a beating
- Eight-hour battery life
- Customise your sound output with the Jaybird MySound App
- Adjustable earbuds including a range of fins and rubber and foam buds
- 15 minutes of quick charge gives you one-hour of playtime
- Connectivity dropout when phone is not in close range
- Sound mixer can be confusing
- No in-built noise-reduction technology
Nuforce BE Sport3
More affordable than many wireless headphones in the market, Nuforce BE Sport3 are one of the best wireless headphones money can buy. Made using aluminum, they feel solid and feature a durable design that's resistant to rain, sweat and dust.
The SpinFit TwinBlade ear tips on these headphones offer stability, noise isolation and a secure fit. While there are no health trackers or apps with these headphones, pairing with Apple or Android devices is easy and painless.
- Interchangeable ear tips and ear wings with multiple colour and size options
- 10-hour battery life
- Magnetic earpieces that stick together when not in use prevent tangling
- Easy-to-use inline playback controller
- The playback controller and in-built remote is heavy and weighs the headphones down
- Lack of standout features like in-built heart rate monitor
Check out the gallery above to see the best headphones to hit the road with.
The goal of one day completing an ultra-marathon inspires running fanatic Laura Hill to clock up the kilometres each week. With a day job in the corporate world, Laura loves nothing more than lacing up her runners and hitting the pavement to clear her mind and challenge her body.
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* Executive Style were provided with the Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless, Jaybird X3 sport headphones and Nuforce BE Sport3 to road test.