*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Just like buying any other gadget, choosing the right headphones for you can be challenging, and quite a confusing task, especially since the market and the varieties of headphones available are increasingly getting larger. Keep in mind, though, that the “perfect” set of headphones you may be using for your computer or music player may not be the ideal set to wear when running, playing sports, or working out.
When choosing the best sports headphones, here are some things that you should consider: sound quality, noise cancellation/noise isolation, comfort, durability, portability, fit, and any other additional perks each individual product has to offer.
The main purpose of headphones is of course, to listen to music or other audio sources. And what better way to find out whether the gadget provides high quality music than to test it out? Unfortunately, the majority of stores do not offer the consumer the opportunity to test out their headphones, that’s where we come in. We test them for you – and wrote our reviews for the top 10 best sport headphones to help you with your decision.
You’ll thank us later.
You may also want to read the specifications on the packaging first before buying, and look for descriptions like: noise cancellation, if it has clear and sharp tones, stable bass notes, and the like. This is important especially since you will be using the headphones when working out, running, or doing other strenuous physical activities. Also, you probably want a headset that will help cancel or block out the superfluous noises you can hear in the gym or when running or playing sports outdoors. Noise-cancellation is a nice perk, but tends to be a bit more costly. Earbuds and IEM’s are great for noise isolation, which works differently but achieves nearly the same result.
You may also want to consider the terms of return or exchange policy and the warranty (if there is one) in case the headphones break on their own or did not meet up to your expectations as promised. Our goal is to make sure this doesn’t happen in the first place. We find you the best sounding, most durable, and comfortable sport headphones you can buy – the final decision is up to you.
Our Top 5
You must keep in the mind whether or not your new headphones are comfortable or not. Although the description on comfort may be found on the packaging for some items, oftentimes, it can be misleading and it can vary depending on the shape of the head or ear, or the way the headphones are intended to be used. No label will advertise a lack of comfort, and intentionally turn customers away – that is why it is essential to read about first hand experiences.
When working out, it is inevitable for one’s headphones to get wet from sweat, or fall out from your head or ear, which can affect the performance and life span of the headphones and their durability. Nowadays, there are various types of headphones that are shockproof, sweat proof, and waterproof, and even those that you can clean after a sweaty workout session by simply running them under water. Unfortunately though, comfort and durability don’t come together in the cheapest products, because headphones that are more durable usually are a bit heavier or at least have a thicker cord. Suffice to say that you should choose one that suits your lifestyle. We prefer to find sports headphones that are the best of both worlds – they must be comfortable and durable enough for any athlete.
Depending on your need and preferred type, there is a wide variety of sport headphones to choose from. To narrow it down, here are a few that are popularly used:
- Circumaural: better known as “around-the ear”
- Supra-aural: “on-ear headphones”
- Canal-phones: also known as “in-ear” headphones
- Half in-ear headphones
- Active noise-cancelling headphones
- Wireless Bluetooth headphones
It is not as common to use the circumaural style of headphones because they tend to be more bulky than their smaller counterparts, which is less than ideal for an active lifestyle. The same goes for the supra-aural design, which can build up heat and even give you uncomfortable pressure depending on the clamping force. In-ear monitors are great when it comes to noise-isolation but they have a tendency to easily fall off when not fitted properly – therefore it is essential that they come with multiple ear tip sizes to ensure the best fit. Meanwhile, the half in-ear headphones have an effective design, great noise isolation, and bass response but can be a bit uncomfortable to wear for some people.
On the other hand, earbuds may be the cheapest of them all – these are usually included with your mp3 players or smart phones. Earbuds offer little, if any, noise isolation capabilities, and sound quality is usually mediocre at best. These headphones often fit the ear more universally, though they are not the most comfortable. We would generally never recommend a true set of earbuds for sports or any other purpose.
As for active noise cancelling headphones, they are battery-operated and utilize technology to actively block outside noise. Noise-cancelling headphones tend to weigh a bit heavier than the usual pair and can be more costly – not ideal for an athlete. The inline mic or control is perfect for those who prefer to answer calls or talk on the phone when working out as it comes with a built-in mic.
Wireless headphones, many of which have Bluetooth capabilities and are cordless, and allow more movement for the user, but require charging and may be subjected to interference regarding aural quality and connection.
Just like clothes and shoes, the right set of sports headphones is not a one size fits all. It is best to consider how you are going to utilize them and how often you will be using them. Knowing how to choose the best sports headphones benefits not just professional athletes, but also the less serious athletes or even the casual gym-goer. The best sports headphones are more often than not the most well rounded in overall quality – they must be durable enough for greater than usual wear-and-tear, they need to be comfortable so as not to distract from a workout, they must fit properly, and they must sound great.
1. Sony XBAH3 Review
The Sony XBAH3 Hybrid 3-way driver in-ear headphones are some of the best in-ear monitors you can find for under $300.
With the 3-way driver unit installed, the sound quality is quite impressive. It has a deep, satisfying bass, smooth and radiant mids, crystal-clear highs, and a smooth frequency response. The treble is bright and well-extended. They produce a clear, undistorted sound in an ample amount of volume, comparable to large headphones (but in a small and portable package). Plus, these headphones offer a noise-cancelling feature that does a good job of blocking out unwanted ambient noise.
Although a bit larger in size than what is accustomed, these headphones are comfy enough that you can listen for up to six hours without getting uncomfortable. They sit shallowly in your ear, due to the slightly awkward design, but they stay in your ears even if you move around a lot. Basically, the fit and feel of these headphones might take a bit of time to get used to, but they’re definitely worth the superb sound quality.
The Sony XBAH3 in-ear monitors offer a comfortable and secure fit with their adjustable ear hangers. It comes with three silicone earbuds in three sizes just in case you want a more customized fit for optimum comfort and audio quality. Not only that, it also comes with two detachable tangle-free cables, with one offering an in-line remote for easier control and the other one being just a regular cable. The in-line remote adjusts the volume and track control for iPods, iPads, and iPhones, while also featuring a built-in microphone for accepting incoming calls. Everything comes in a supplied compact pouch to store your headphones and all its accessories.
Durability isn’t a problem with these headphones because they’re well-built and very sturdy. The design offers an air of confidence, quality, and sophistication, if that’s even possible for a pair of headphones. Everything about these in-ear headphones is top-end. Overall, the Sony XBAH3 headphones are top-notch and the perfect companion for audiophiles.
This same review can also be found in our Best Headphones Under $300 list.
2. Phaiser BHS-750 Review
If you’re looking for the best wireless headset around to get you through your most grueling run or workout, your search is over. Phaiser Sports earbuds have been getting great reviews and for all the right reasons.
“Pure, clean sound with high trebles and some deep bass – you’ll think you’re wearing a studio quality headset…”
One common problem with earbuds is that they tend to come out when you move a lot, and you do that when you run. Jaybird solved this dilemma with by using patented ear cushions designed for sports activities. The patent pending X-Fit design also allows wearing over and under the ear – this design ensures a comfortable, secure fit.
Sweat and rain destroy even the most high-end headphones out there, but not Bluebuds X. Constructed with lightweight but durable materials and imbued with Liquipel Sweat Repellant Nano Technology, you can take this pair wherever you want to go and whatever you want to do.
Studies say that a good training outfit inspires, and Bluebuds X addresses that with a minimalist but attractive style. Available in either Midnight Black or Storm White, these earbuds are designed not to contrast your running apparel but to complement it. Bluebuds X shows that you mean business.
You need to hear those high trebles and low bass. That’s why you buy headphones in the first place. And Bluebuds X’s Shift technology won’t disappoint. Pure, clean sound with high trebles and some deep bass – you’ll think you’re wearing a studio quality headset. It trumps many of the leading brands, hands down.
Rewriting the Bluetooth native codec through Shift was the first step in improving sound on wireless connection. Bluebuds X also ensures skip-free listening through its patented SignalPlus technology. You can now put your music device anywhere within signal limits – on your body or inside your gym bag and still get excellent sound without the pauses and stops that many other products are notorious for.
This same review can also be found in our Best Earbuds For Running list.
3. BeoPlay H3 Review
For music enthusiasts with high standards, one could sift through the premium segment and find BeoPlay H3 from the House of Bang & Olufsen. It comes in 4 colors and these sets have been carefully designed to match the design of the iPhone. Its portability and durability make it perfect for travelers, athletes, sports enthusiasts, and generally people who are on the go almost all the time.
The designer Jakob Wagner has made an astounding accomplishment with the BeoPlay H3. Its design is kept roundish and the tip of its jack is flat. The earpieces are made from aluminum. The remote control allows you to adjust the volume, and when you push the button long enough, you will be able to pause the current song being played. The remote control reacts fast to your commands.
The earbuds come in 4 various sizes. Bang & Olufsen has also considered phone calls in mind when crafting this pair of earphones and integrated a microphone into the remote control. The package contains a special flight adapter which you could use during one of your flights to connect to the aircraft’s onboard radio and TV.
One does not have to place the cable in a disorderly manner when storing the set in the box. There is a mounting where one could neatly bind the cable around in place. The earphone has a diameter of 23 mm and weighs 16 grams.
BeoPlay H3 emits crisp crystal clear sound even at high volumes. The recipient could understand the speaker loud and clear, and vice versa, so phone calls will not be a problem with the BeoPlay H3 earphones. A 10.8-mm driver has also been developed for the earphones which produces clear sound, so you get to enjoy all of your favorite songs and various music genres without any trouble. However, the only downside to this sleek pair of earphones is that they are not exactly sweat proof, so they are not really advisable to bring along if you plan to strenuously exercise, or do any vigorous activity around water.
4. Powerbeats 3 Review
The Powerbeats headphones happen are our highest rated in this category. With the Bluetooth 4.0 +EDR Wireless functionality and the comfortable fit, it is very easy to forget these headphones are being worn during your workout. These headphones happen to be some of the most simplistic to use; Bluetooth pairing is very easy and works with just about every device we tested it with.
One cool feature is that it allows pairing of up to two different devices at the same time. Having to pair and then repair with multiple devices is a thing of the past; this handy functionality allows you to answer a phone call, and immediately switch back to your other device to continue enjoying your music, uninterrupted.
The Powerbeats are easy to use with the controls conveniently located on each of the ear cups; Volume, shuffle, Bluetooth, and call answering are all buttons easily made accessible to the user. The buttons are shaped in a certain way that just feels right, and it becomes very easy to figure out which is which in a short amount of time.
By now you must be wondering, how is the sound quality? Music sounds pretty awesome to say the least. We took these headphones for a spin with various types of music and they did not disappoint. If you like that deep thumping bass, these headphones are for you. Surprisingly, the mids and highs were clear and also sounded fantastic. The Powerbeats Headphones are not limited to one genre of music.
If you are looking for a pair of comfortable, and durable headphones that sound excellent and are easily paired with your Bluetooth device, the 66 Audio BTS+ Sports are for you.
This same review can also be found in our Best Workout Headphones list.
5. Monster Octogon Review
Just like the Bose earbuds above, the Monster iSport Victory earphones provide a secure and comfortable fit. Also built with sweat-resistant material, the iSport Victory’s have one additional perk – they can literally be washed with water whenever you feel they need a good cleaning. I don’t know about you, but this was a definitely plus for me. The durable flat cord design, which includes a microphone and inline remote, helps prevent any tangling or tears.
“…music is detailed and exciting to listen to with the Monster iSport Victory earbuds…”
Similarly to the Bose SoundSport’s, the iSport Victory’s utilize their SportClip design – which happens to be a fancy name for their winged stabilizers – to ensure a secure fit during movement. This allows for a secure, comfortable, and tight seal. Noise isolation may even be slightly better on the iSport Victory earbuds – if you plan to use your earbuds while running or feel you need to hear what is going on around you, the seal on these may actually be to good and you’re probably better off going with the Bose SoundSport headphones above.
The Monster iSport Victory’s accomplish what the SoundSport earbuds couldn’t – a very deep, yet refined bass response. With excellent noise-isolation and some powerful drivers, these earbuds sound equally great when listening to bass heavy music such as rap, hip-hop and reggae, as they do with other genres, including rock, jazz, and classical music. The mids and highs are precise and never shallow. Overall, music is detailed and exciting to listen to with the Monster iSport Victory earbuds. As mentioned above, just keep in mind that these earphones do an exceptional job at blocking out outside noise – and if you plan to use this for a workout in a city full of traffic for example, it may be difficult to hear cars or other noise.
This same review can also be found on our Most Durable Earbuds list.
6. Sony XBAH1 Review
If you’re planning to jog, run, go to the gym, or just hang out with your friends while listening to music, the Sony XBAH1 earbuds would be the perfect companion for you! The Sony XBAH1 earphones are extremely durable and comfortable, making them some of the perfect sports earbuds.
It does all this without sacrificing its stellar sound quality with its full and crisp sound, thanks to its hybrid driver units. The bass is precise, deep, and incredibly satisfying. The mid to high ranges achieve a perfect tonal balance — they sound clear and are never muddy or drown out the sound. The in-ear seal surprises you with exceptional noise-blocking capabilities, helping you keep your music to yourself.
The design looks sleek and edgy with its black and red flat cables. The flat cords help reduce tangles so you don’t have to worry about the dreaded tangled cords when you pull them out of your bag, which is a huge plus. The in-ear design keeps it safe and secure as you work out.
Portability shouldn’t be a problem, considering that the small, compact size of the earbuds makes it much easier for you to just grab them, stash them in your bag, and run out the door in no time! These earphones are made to endure intense physical activities, therefore making them very durable.
The Sony XBAH1 comes with seven set of ear tips to choose from, with three special foamy noise-isolating silicone tips and four regular, hollow silicone ones. Plus, it also comes with extra foamed silicone earbuds in three sizes so that they’ll sit perfectly comfortable in your ears. They all come in a small pouch to help keep your earbuds and all its accessories in one place.
The bottom line is: If you’re a sports enthusiast looking for a pair of lightweight earbuds that have a powerful sound performance and an appealing design, then look no further, because the Sony XBAH1 will be pretty tough to beat.
7. Jaybird X3 Review
If you are looking for a good pair of Bluetooth earbuds under $50, the Jaybird Sport earbuds are your best option. For the price, they provide some high quality, well-rounded sound, and do not become muddied or distorted with increased volume, which happens to be one of the most common complaints we’ve heard when using a cheaper set of headphones or earbuds.
If you can spare the few extra bucks for the 66 Audio BTS+ Bluetooth headphones we reviewed above, and don’t mind the circumaural design, the step up in music quality that they will provide is definitely worth it if you are a music buff like me.
The Jaybird Sport earbuds do not have any active noise cancellation capabilities, but they still do a pretty good job at blocking out most external noise. In a busy city you could easily drown out the ambient noise with these earbuds; if you happen to be in traffic or a variety of other situations in which you need to be able to hear what is going on around you, that is not a problem either, and can be accomplished by slightly lowering the volume.
- Sweat Resistant
- Designed with the athlete in mind
- Bluetooth pairing is easy
- Built in microphone
- Best audio-quality you can find under $40
Included in the design is a microphone, enabling you to take calls if you happen to be interrupted during a run. If you’re looking for some high quality Bluetooth headphones for running or working out on a budget, the iKross A2DP Sport earbuds are your best option.
This same review can also be found in our Best Bluetooth Headphones for Running Guide.
8. SOL REPUBLIC 1101-33 AMPS Review
Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of great headphones which provide high quality sounds and an overall amazing auditory experience, and are also priced below $100. Although many of today’s top-rated headphones can cost even more, there are actually well-known brands which sell high quality products for less than that, but with the same, or comparable features as those with a higher price tag.
One of these products is the SOL REPUBLIC 1101-33 AMPS in-ear headphones, a great piece of technology that can be appreciated by people of different lifestyles, from students, casual sports players, to professional athletes.
The specifics of these headphones reveal the secret why it provides a world-class listening experience. With regards to comfort, the SOL REPUBLIC 1101-33 AMPS was designed to be worn as in-ear headphones. The ear tips harnesses the Stay Fit design which accurately matches the actual shape of the ears, therefore helping it fit snugly and ensuring that it would not slip off — great for people who like to listen to music while running or while working out at the gym. Along with this, the ear tips make it possible for any listener to enjoy incredible sounds with bass that you could actually feel. There are four sizes of ear tips available that can be used, depending on the user’s preference.
Aside from the design, the SOL REPUBLIC 1101-33 AMPS in-ear headphones also have other features, which make it a great music companion to have. It features a three-button microphone for sending and receiving calls, and also allows the users to skip songs in their music player through a music control feature.
The headphones are also compatible with most devices that support Windows, Android, and Apple, with its 3.5-mm jack. All in all, with features that you can only find in extremely expensive headphones available in this product for a significantly lower price, buying one is an awesome deal. Customers who have bought the product have always talked about its crisp, loud, and clear sound quality, a characteristic that is always sought after not only by music experts but also by people from all walks of life and who just want to enjoy good music.
9. JVC HAM55X Review
JVC HA-M55X is among today’s best sports headphones. In its price range – less expensive than other leading brands – this head gear can absolutely compete with its style, comfort, and sound quality.
The HA-M-55X comes in two stylish sets of colors — black and red, and white and red. Its headband is metal that is layered with foam and an outer plastic covering. The ear cups are also cushioned in the same manner and are large enough to enclose your whole ears; this provides the headphones awesome noise-isolation capability, and it also helps minimize sound from leaking out.
The ear cups are adjustable but hold firmly even in extreme angles, and only a violent shaking can remove it. The whole head gear itself weighs light at about 12 ounces. All of these make it comfortable to wear for an extended amount of time, so you can enjoy your music more even while doing your daily fitness routine.
Aside from its noise-isolation capability, the HA-M-55X’s 50mm Neodymium driver units deliver supreme deep bass sounds. With its frequency range of 8-23000 Hz, it doesn’t only serve your ears the deepest sound, but also all the different ranges of voices in your tunes that you would otherwise miss in some other earphones and headphones.
To add to the stylish design, comfort, and stunning sound quality, this headphone is also built for durability and portability. Its rubber protectors are tough, and also give its sturdy (yet sexy) appearance. It is also equipped with robust and thick 1.2 meter cord (pure copper), long enough to connect to your iPhone in your pocket, but short enough to avoid the hassle of coiling or trying to untangle a knotted cord.
Overall, the HA-M-5XX, at a comparatively low price, is definitely more than worth it. This is highly recommended to those who want to enjoy their music outdoors without having to spend much on expensive headphones.
10. Jarv NMotion Review
With the large variety of sports earphones available — ranging from products with an amazing sound performance to others that are super comfortable and stylish at the same time — it could be difficult to find the perfect pair for you. Fortunately, the Jarv NMotion earbuds combine all these characteristics and more, making it a great choice for people who are constantly on the go.
The superior sound quality makes it great for people who are audiophiles as well as sports enthusiasts. It has a clear treble sound and a deep bass that sounds very pleasing to the ears. The noise-cancelling feature cuts out any unwanted background noise. The quality is definitely excellent for a pair of sports earphones. Not only that, but the earphones have a very comfy and secure fit, so you won’t have problems about it randomly falling out as you run. The three earbud tips that come with the earphones give you a more comfortable and customized fit. Also, it comes with two detachable ear hooks that help keep the buds in place.
One great feature of the Jarv NMotion earbuds is its Bluetooth capabilities. With this, you will be able to listen to your music with your gadget safely tucked away in your bag as you work out. You’ll also be able to enjoy your music tangle-free, which is a big plus for people are very active. In addition, the built-in microphone allows you to take incoming calls hands-free. The battery can last for up to 5 hours. The micro USB charging port that comes with it is pretty durable and can charge up your earbuds quickly.
The design is very lightweight; you’ll hardly be able to feel it when you’re wearing it. There’s a variety of colors to choose from, and the cords are long enough to not be uncomfortable. It has a built-in control unit with a volume, pause, play, and answer function that makes everything much easier for you.
Overall, these earbuds offer a simple and practical but still stylish approach to sports earphones. Combined with great sound quality and Bluetooth connection, the Jarv NMotion is probably the best earphones for people who like to move, go on intense workouts, or simply listen to music anytime, anywhere.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]