The Best Headphones for Working Out

Table of Contents

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of forgetting your headphones at home, you’ll know that no workout is complete without a pair. Being able to listen to music while working out has the ability to change an awkwardly quiet atmosphere into your own private motivational concert.

Everyone has a go-to gym playlist to pump themselves up and curated playlists on Spotify and Apple Music make it easy to find motivation while working out. No matter what you choose to listen to, being able to escape into a different world while working out is an important aspect of hitting the gym. So why should you settle for a pair of dinky earphones that constantly fall out or large chunky headphones that suffocate your ears?

There’s an endless world of headphones out there and choosing the best pair for working out isn’t always an easy task. Is on-ear or in-ear the better option? Should you get wireless or wired? Are they noise cancelling? How comfortable are they? How’s the sound quality?

Buying the Best Workout Headphones for Your Ears

If you love to run, play tennis, enjoy a yoga class — basically any activity that requires a lot of movement — in-ear headphones, also known as earbuds, might be the better option for you. They tend to stay in place better than over-the-ear headphones, and because of how small and lightweight they are, they allow you more freedom while you move.

On the other hand, if you’re one of those people who have very particular ears and earbuds never seem to stay put, there are a lot of gym specific on-ear headphones these days that are lightweight and even water-repellent.

1. Editor's Pick: Beats Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones

1. Editor's Pick: Beats Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones
  • Adjustable secure fit ear hooks
  • Built-in music and mic controls
  • Apple H1 Chip for effortless pairing with Apple devices
  • Multiple colour options
  • Expensive
  • Minimal bass

Built from sweat- and water-resistant materials, Beats Powerbeats Pro headphones come with multiple earclips so you can adjust your headphones to workout with ease.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Beats headphones. Although they’re known for their popular over-the-ear headphones, these small earbuds top our list as the best headphones for working out.

Each earpiece has a battery life of up to nine hours and are equipped with voice capability, volume and track controls, and are made from sweat- and water-resistant materials to give you a high-quality, high-performance headphone.

2. Best for Running: Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones

2. Best for Running: Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
  • Inline mic and remote
  • Comfortable around-the-neck fit
  • Large earbuds
  • Buttons hard to push

These Bose SoundSport headphones are the perfect balance between wireless and wired headphones. If you don’t want to be attached to your phone but are nervous about losing a small earbud, these headphones feature a small cord that drapes over the back of your neck to make sure that your headphones aren’t going anywhere.

Sweat and water resistance paired with up to six hours of battery life and StayHear+ tips combine to give you a lightweight, durable and sturdy set of headphones that provide quality sound and easy wireless connection.

3. Best On-Ear: JBL Under Armour Sport On-Ear Headphones

3. Best On-Ear: JBL Under Armour Sport On-Ear Headphones
  • Soft, breathable earcup fabric
  • Removable ear pads
  • Durable design
  • Heavy
  • Not ideal for people with glasses

These JBL Under Armour headphones use breathable ear cushions to help you stay nice and dry while maintaining a secure grip to prevent them from sliding all over your head.

The best part? These headphones feature a BionicHearing technology that turns down your music and turns on speech optimized noise-cancelling mics so you can have a conversation between sets without having to take them off.

4. Best Budget: JBL Endurance Run Wired Headphones

4. Best Budget: JBL Endurance Run Wired Headphones
  • Durable design
  • Includes multiple eartips
  • Clear sound
  • Shirt clip not included
  • Short shelf life

With a Fliphook design, magnetic earbuds and a IPX5 waterproof rating, these lightweight headphones were made to keep up with you through every workout.

Keeping things old school, these JBL wired headphones feature a two-way design that allows you to wear your headphones normally or throw them over your ear for a more secure run.

They're built to withstand high-intensity workouts so no matter the weather, these lightweight, sweat-proof headphones have magnetic earbuds that automatically separate the wires so you don't have to spend a ton of time detangling them.

5. Best Noise Cancelling: Mpow M30

5. Best Noise Cancelling: Mpow M30
  • Durable
  • Inline mic and remote
  • Comfortable
  • Active EQ
  • Large earbuds
  • Buttons hard to push

Key Specs

Weight: 226.8 g
Dimensions: 2.86 x 2.54 x 2.86 cm
Battery Life: Six
Noise Cancelling: No
Water Resistant: Yes

The Mpow M30 includes three different sized ear tips to help you find the perfect fit to get the best noise reduction and best sounding headphones you can possibly buy.

Although small in size, these Mpow M30 earbuds can pack a punch. With a unique ergonomic design, these headphones work to disperse pressure in your ear and cancel out background noise all while providing great sound and powerful bass.

Worried about the earpiece falling out or not fitting properly? Not to worry, the Mpow M30 is available in multiple sizes and offers small, medium and large ear tips so that you can customize your headphones to your ears.

Things To Consider When Shopping For Headphones

When shopping for headphones, one of the most important elements to consider is how they fit on your head and in your ears. If your headphones constantly slide around, fall out of your ears or squish your head, it can be a huge pain in the butt that distracts you from your workout.

To avoid buying uncomfortable headphones, look for earbuds that have removable and adjustable elements such as the earpiece itself, supporting wings or removable (and washable) cushions. This will allow you to customize your headphones to your head and unique ear shape to ensure your headphones are as comfortable as they can be.

Durability

Considering you’re going to be moving around while working out or travelling to and from the gym, you want to make sure that your headphones are made from high quality materials in case you drop them or they happen to get knocked around.

Headphones that come with a carrying case and are covered by a warranty are two easy ways to make sure that your headphones are well protected.

Sweat Resistance

Headphones, especially over the ear headphones, need to have some form of water-resistance or protection to them. Regardless of if you barely sweat or always end up looking like you just took a shower, buying headphones with water-protection is an important feature to help protect all of the tech inside of your headphones.

Portability

If you commute to the gym, or did in a pre-COVID world, the last thing you want to do is add another large, potentially heavy item to your gym bag that you’re forced to lug around with you.

When shopping for headphones keep in mind the size and weight of each product so when the time comes to haul yourself back to the gym, you’ll have no issue bringing your headphones along.

Sound Quality

Last but certainly not least, is the sound quality of your headphones. Yes your headphones may look cool, but how does the audio sound? The whole point of your headphones is to be able to play music or listen to other audio formats, so it’s important that you buy headphones from a reputable brand to make sure that you don’t spend valuable money on a pair of headphones that constantly cuts in and out.

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Making sure that you have a solid and reliable pair of headphones for when you workout can turn a boring workout into a great one. Regardless if earbuds or over the ear headphones are your jam, when shopping for your next pair of headphones, remember to look for quality sound, durable materials, water-resistant elements and soft, adjustable earpieces to get the most out of your headphones.

Are your favourite headphones on our list? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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