Best workout headphones: the best earbuds for exercise, running and more

The best workout headphones for when you're on the move, from Sony, Beats and more

best workout headphones Bose SoundSport Wireless Sports Earbuds
(Image credit: Bose)

With the best workout headphones, smashing your daily workout will be easier than ever. These top-rated earbuds and headphones can help with that daily motivation boost to get out on a run or to get in the gym working on your fitness goals. Perfect for listening to your favorite podcast or blocking the world out with your album of choice, the emphasis on sound quality and comfort in this round-up of headphones is sure to impress.

There are a few crucial criteria to tick off when it comes to securing suitable workout headphones. The first is the suitability to a range of weather conditions, with a waterproof design ensuring that a rainstorm won't prevent you from listening to music on a run. Your headphones of choice should also be sweatproof, and capable of molding to the shape of your ear, to prevent them from becoming loose as you workout. 

There is truly an impressive range of workout headphones out there, from huge brands such as Sony and Beats, with successive versions of earbuds that have perfected noise-canceling technology and sleek stylish looks. And if you're on a general health kick and want technology that will help you smash your goals, take a look at our guide to the best fitness trackers.

The best workout headphones in 2022

Sony WF-1000XM4 True Wireless Noise Cancelling In-Ear HeadphonesLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WF1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

Best workout headphones that money can buy

Specifications

True wireless?: Yes
Type: In-ear
Battery life: 8 hours when using noise canceling tech
Noise cancelling?: Yes
Water resistant?: Yes
Microphone: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Supreme sound quality 
+
World-leading noise-canceling technology
+
Comfortable fit
+
Sleek look, case and controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be fiddly to properly adjust

You won't find a better pair of headphones for working out than these incredible  Sony WF1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds. Unsurprisingly given the manufacturer, these earbuds have unbeatable technology and results when it comes to sound quality, meaning that your workout will be better catered to than ever when it comes to music. 

Beyond sound quality, these headphones are also market-leading when it comes to noise-canceling features. It can't be emphasized enough just how valuable it is to have these headphones to take away the sounds of the city or cars whilst you're running or walking. Don't worry about the hazard that noise-canceling technology might create when mixing it with traffic either, as these buds can adjust to the noise levels around you, as well as still allow you to communicate, with the Speak to Chat function automatically lowering music when you speak.

The battery life here is also phenomenal, even if you are using the noise-canceling technology all day, with 8 hours possible in one sitting. From there, you can pop your earbuds into their sleek case for an extra 16 hours of use too, with the case also compatible with wireless charging stations. Oh, and if you're constantly forgetting to charge your earbuds before you head for a run, then these will save your routine, with an hour's worth of use enabled with just five minutes of charging. 

Sony WF-C500 True Wireless In-Ear Headphone

(Image credit: Future)

2. Sony WF-C500 Truly Wireless In-Ear Bluetooth Earbud Headphones

Best budget headphones from Sony

Specifications

True wireless?: Yes
Type: In-ear
Battery life: up to 20 hours
Charging time: 2.5hrs
Noise cancelling?: No
Water resistant?: Yes
Microphone: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Decent sound quality 
+
Can be used with Google Assistant and Siri
+
Water-resistant (IPX4)
+
Good price

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of bass if listening to music
-
Not full waterproof

Being the first major brand to introduce in-ear headphones back in the '80s, it's no surprise that Sony is still extremely impressive in this area. But its leadership position has also meant that the company's products can be on the pricey side. No more with the Sony WF-C500 True Wireless offering, which intends to go up against its cheaper rivals.

What we liked

The WF-C500s are budget, but Sony has kept the quality where it counts. When testing a pair of black (they are also available in white, coral orange, and ice green) buds, the first thing that struck us was the satisfying feel of the all-important charging case. It's plastic, so not exactly premium, but the way the earbuds slot into the magnetic groove certainly feels high-end.

That seamless fit extends to how they feel in the ear, snugly sitting without ever feeling like they're ready to fall out mid-lunge. The product comes with small, medium, and large buds to suit all ear sizes, but otherwise, simplicity wins out here. Even if the perfect headphones would be able to withstand a dip in the pool, it's also good to know that the IPX4 waterproof rating means they can withstand a little rain or sweat.

Charging is also good, with the 20 hours of battery life promised when combining the 10 hours of earbud life with the case's own charge offering more than enough juice for most people. You can also refresh in a pinch, with 10 minutes plugged in giving you an hour of listening.

What could be better

While the functionality and feel of the Sony WF-C500s impressed us, the audio quality was a bit lacking. Perhaps ideal for turning on a podcast or using the hands-free calling to speak with your mom while you're jogging, listening to music was a little lackluster due to the lack of bass. That said, while we had no luck rectifying this with the extensive EQ presets and customization in the Sony Headphones app, things sound different to different ears.

The single-button controls also took a while to get used to, with the instructions on which spot or combination would perform which function flying out of our brain as soon as we left the house. 

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Bose SoundSport Wireless Sports Earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

3. Bose SoundSport Wireless Sports Earbuds

Best affordable workout headphones

Specifications

True wireless?: No
Type: In-Ear
Battery life: 6 hours
Noise cancelling?: No
Water resistant?: Yes
Microphone?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Carrying case included
+
Good audio experience
+
A great price 

Reasons to avoid

-
No smart assistant compatibility
-
Not noise canceling
-
Relatively low battery life

If you already own a pair of earphones that you use to listen to music or conduct your work calls, and really just want an item that you can use solely for working out, then these Bose SoundSport Wireless Sports Earbuds will do a great job at an equally great price.

With up to six hours of battery life and a sweat-resistant and weatherproof design, these earphones have all of the essentials covered when it comes to working out. Beyond that, they also have an emphasis on audio quality at an affordable price, and comfortable tips that will stay in place even as you work out. 

Image of Marshall noise canceling headphones which can be used for working outLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Marshall)

4. Marshall Motif True Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

Best stylish workout headphones

Specifications

True wireless?: Yes
Type: In-ear
Battery life : 20 hours
Water resistant: Yes (IPX 5)
Microphone?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Effortlessly stylish design and case
+
Very comfortable and stay put
+
Great sound quality
+
Excellent, simple controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Might not be durable enough for more adventuorus workouts 

Having a pair of headphones that are stylish enough to wear on your commute and to the gym is a hard task, but these Marshall earbuds deliver on all fronts, including when it comes to sound quality. 

We tried these Marshall earbuds out to see if they would be suitable for exercise, as well as succeeding as looking good in the ears, and found that the noise canceling technology, combined with the stellar quality of sound, made for a great match when walking, jogging or running. With one long tap, you can turn the noise canceling technology on and off, allowing you to zone back into the world easily, like if you need to navigate a busy road during your run, and to block out distractions the rest of the time.

The case and earbuds themselves are unbelievably sleek, with a design that is easy to carry with you as you exercise. You can also benefit from 20 hours of charge at a time, which is plenty to last you for a week's worth of workouts. We also thought the fit was excellent, with no danger of the earbuds falling out unless you were doing a very intense activity. 

Jaybird Vista True Wireless In-Ear Headphones

(Image credit: Jaybird)

5. Jaybird Vista True Wireless In-Ear Headphones

Best workout headphones for adventurous workouts

Specifications

True wireless?: Yes
Type: In-ear
Battery life: 6 hours
Noise cancelling?: No
Water resistant?: Yes
Microphone?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Carrying case included
+
Fully waterproof design

Reasons to avoid

-
No smart assistant compatibility
-
Not noise canceling
-
Relatively low battery life

These fully waterproof earbuds should be at the top of your shopping list if you love to get a little more adventurous when you workout, with excellent sound quality and features to see you through even the toughest of excursions. There are three different interchangeable ear gels provided when you purchase the Jaybird Vista earbuds, which you can use to work out the absolute best fit for you.

The fully waterproof and sweatproof IPX construction means that even in the pouring rain, these earbuds will have your back. They also withstood repeated shock, vibration, drop and crush tests, and came out still functioning, which is pretty impressive. If you're really out there with your workouts, then also bear in mind that these buds can withstand tropical humidity, hurricane-force water, and desert sandstorm conditions.

Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones

(Image credit: Beats)

6. Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones

Best Beats workout headphones

Specifications

True wireless?: Yes
Type: In-ear
Battery life: 9 hours
Noise cancelling?: Yes
Water resistant?: Yes
Microphone?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Siri built-in
+
Carrying case included

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Secure up to 9 hours of listening time for working out or walking with these swish Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds. Available in six colors so that you can really make this purchase your own, and with a reinforced design for sweat and water resistance during tough workouts, you'll be enamored with these earbuds from the first use.

The earhook design of these earbuds really goes the extra mile to ensure that they stay put, with multiple eartip options so you can find a true fit. As with the top-rated earbuds, another amazing feature of these earbuds is that they can gain up to 1.5 hours of charge after just five minutes. That's welcome news to anyone who has one device too many to remember to charge up at night.

JBL Reflect Flow In-Ear Wireless Sport Headphones

(Image credit: JBL)

7. JBL Reflect Flow In-Ear Wireless Sport Headphones

Best workout headphones for battery life

Specifications

True wireless?: Yes
Type: In-ear
Battery life: 10 hours
Noise cancelling?: No
Microphone?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Carrying case included
+
Works with Bixby, Google Assistant, and Siri

Reasons to avoid

-
No smart assistant compatibility
-
Not noise cancelling

These truly wireless earbuds are a great opportunity to get genuinely great sound quality at an affordable price and charge that lasts you all day. The JBL Reflect Flow earbuds are great for sporty types who want a workout companion they can rely on at any time when they want to head out for a run. They can power a whole week's worth of workout without needing to return to charge, with 10 hours in the bank, as well as an additional 20 hours when using the charging case.  

There are plenty of handy features to make your workout itself seamless too. That includes the ability to change tracks and manage calls handsfree, as well as an Ambient Aware mode that filters in the sounds you need to hear, and enable you to converse without taking out your earbuds. The JBL Reflect Flow earbuds are nice to look at too, with multiple color options available.

How to choose the best workout headphones

best workout headphones Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones

(Image credit: Beats)

The first step when it comes to workout headphones is to pin down exactly what you're going to use them for, and then work on the specifics from there. For example, if you want earbuds that you can use for swimming, ensure that the technology enables that before deciding on your favorite pair. If you love to go hiking and think that your earbuds might need to contend with working at high altitudes, then head straight for picks with those capabilities. 

After you have earbuds suited to your activities, then think about the practical features that mean the most to you. This is especially crucial when it comes to battery life. If you know that you're forgetful when it comes to charging your devices, opt for earbuds you can charge up for only a few minutes before you can use them for an hour.

Style and fit are another thing to factor in as you checkout, considering you'll be wearing these earbuds everywhere you go. If you tend to struggle to get earbuds to stay in place, then a pick with plenty of adjustable eartips will be great to allow you to get to an ideal level of comfort. 

How to clean sweat from workout headphones

The design of workout headphones is often intricate, making the task of cleaning them after a gym session a little more challenging. The most important thing to remember when cleaning your headphone is to be as gentle as possible, so as not to damage the delicate inner workings of your earphones, and to prevent expensive replacements from having to be purchased.

If sweat is your nemesis when it comes to cleaning, start by wiping down the exterior of your headphones with a slightly damp cloth with water, ensuring that you're only making contact with the casing and dry immediately after with a clean cloth. If your earphones are waterproof, you can afford to be more intensive with your cleaning, and apply the same process to your in-ear buds, which are often interchangeable in size, and dry them immediately after too. 

Are Beats good workout headphones?

Beats are a great choice when it comes to selecting high-quality headphones, though not every type of earhooks or buds are suitable for working out. The product that made this round-up, the Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones, are designed for working out in mind, and therefore an excellent choice. The ear hook design is one of the most comfortable and secure designs around, plus they have excellent battery life and all-important sweat and water-resistant qualities.

Browse more workout headphones...

If you still want to assess all of the options out there to find your truly perfect fit for working out, these are the retailers we would recommend heading to:

Molly Cleary
Molly Cleary

Molly is the Ecommerce Writer for Livingetc and spends her time searching the internet for the next best thing for your home as an expert in lifestyle shopping and consumer trends. When she's not writing, she would most like to be swimming in the nearest sea/ocean or getting through her never-ending pile of novels.

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