If you like to run outdoors to music or podcasts, you know that the fit of your earbuds is about as important as the fit of your running shoes. Nothing can break your flow more than earbuds slipping out of your ear due to sweat, rain, or moisture. Luckily, those days are long gone, and runners have never been so spoiled for choice when it comes to terrific wireless earbuds for tackling the hardest, windiest, wettest outdoor runs. Here are our top five picks to take along on your next workout.
Can you run in the new AirPods 3?
While certainly not marketed as a runner’s earbud, plenty of runners have reported good results with the new Airpod 3, which feature an improved shape to better stay put in your ears during vigorous efforts. I’ve yet to test-run the AirPods 3, but running in older versions resulted in slippage almost immediately after breaking a sweat. However, if AirPods 3 hit that sweet spot for your ear size, which Apple says should be most people, the sleeker new generation offers some features suited to runners, such as longer battery life (up to six hours); an IPX4 rating, which means they are more sweat-resistant than earlier versions; and improved sound quality, specifically better bass. AirPods 3 are priced at $179, while AirPods Pro cost $249 and offer both active and passive noise cancellation.
Game-changers: Aeroplex Aftershokz
Okay, these aren’t earbuds, but they do get big points for safety and situational awareness. After decades of running in headphones and earbuds, I’ve embraced Aeroplex from Aftershokz for every outdoor run since getting a pair this spring. These rely on bone conduction, that is, vibrations to direct sound to your auditory nerve, which leaves your ear canals open to hearing external noises – making them a smart choice for running with music without tuning out the world completely. Downside: This is a big compromise to sound quality, but it’s a fair tradeoff to be able to hear cars, dogs, people, and whatever else is around you. Certainly in some situations, you’ll want to cut the music totally, and Aftershokz streamlines that process with just a quick tap on a button on the left side of the device. These are pretty slim and lightweight (26g) and come with eight hours of battery life and an IP67 waterproof rating. Price: $129.95
All-around amazing earbuds
If you need sound-quality purity to help push you through those miles, here are some of this year’s best wireless earbud options:
PowerBeats Pro: These wireless earbuds from Beats are extremely comfortable, very lightweight, and come with an IPx4 rating for sweat-proof jogging. Their non-slip design with over-the-ear loops makes them a favorite among runners because they will never, ever fall out, all while enjoying decent sound quality. The Pro includes nine hours of battery life, and 24 hours with the charging case, plus a quick five-minute recharge gains 1.5 hours of playback when the battery is low. Original price: $249.95/Available now for $179.95
Jabra Elite: These are pretty incredible earbuds for the price ($80), even dubbed “the Apple AirPods for those who sweat.” Waterproof with an IP67 rating, 13.5 hours of battery with a portable charging case (4.5 hours each charge), and an in-ear heart-rate monitor round these out as truly perfect earbuds for serious runners. Quality bass and four microphones filter out background noise if you’re prone to making calls while running.
Jaybird Vista 2: These waterproof earbuds last eight hours on a single charge, two hours longer than the previous version. A charging case adds on an additional 16 hours of battery life. These earbuds are also IP68 moisture and sweatproof rated, with a secure fit that won’t slip. A double-tap changes between Active Noise Canceling and SurroundSense modes. Price: $200