Best wireless headphones for running

Second-to-none sound to keep you bursting with energy, these are the best wireless headphones of the year

wireless headphones for running

by Ryan Houghton |
Updated on

Break a sweat, feel the burn and push yourself to your absolute limits – great wireless headphones are a must for running. Keep your head in the game, focus on breathing, and let your favourite music fuel your every stride with some of the best headphones of the year so far.

From the greatest, most well-established audio brands, varying from high-end to great value, these are the very best wireless headphones of the year from across the internet, selected by our team of audiophiles for your viewing pleasure.

The best wireless headphones for running at a glance

Best wireless headphones for running - Sony WF-1000XM4 Headphones - View offer on Amazon UK
Best noise-cancelling headphones for running - Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II - View offer on Amazon UK
Best everyday headphones for running - Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) - View offer on Amazon UK ​​​​​
Best bone conduction headphones for running - SHOKZ OpenRun Pro Headphones - View offer on Amazon UK

From premium brands such as Bose, Marshall, Denon and more – whether you're looking for super-durable wireless earbuds with huge bass or you fancy delving into the soundscape of noise-cancelling headphones, we've got you covered and then some.

Best wireless headphones for running

For a truly nuanced, precise and comfortable - Sony's WF-1000XM4 headphones are a top contender for some of the best headphones of the year, standing alone in sheer quality and value.

With loud, hair-raising sound and thunderous bass, Sony has given runners a pair of stable earbuds that'll keep the noises and distractions of the outside world away and the music sounding staggeringly good.

Excellent for instant listening, a simple five-minute charge on the WF-1000XM4s supplies you with over an hour of charge, making it absolutely spot-on for the runner in need of music in a pinch.

Our only gripe with these headphones is the lesser-quality microphone - which has always been a problem for earbuds in general, but for most people mid-sprint, having a conversation is the last thing on your mind.

Pros

  • Spectacular sound
  • Comfortable and stable
  • Great battery life
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • Some microphone clarity issues

Best noise-cancelling headphones for running

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Rrp: $279.00

Price: $194.95
Alternative retailers
Adorama$148.00View offer
B&H Photo Video$249.00View offer
Walmart$279.00View offer

The latest generation of Bose QuietComfort technology rocks the active noise-cancelling headphones market with its bombastic, mighty sound. Gutting some of the bulk of its significantly chunkier previous iteration with a pocket-sized case and a slimmer earbud design - the Bose Earbuds II are by all means a complete innovation from its predecessor.

Light, comfortable and secure with a number of options to fit your ears perfectly - the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II fit like a glove - and once they're in, you'll quickly notice any and all sound in your vicinity melt away. Control the level of noise cancelling with the Bose app or customise your controls to quickly switch between levels of noise cancelling, giving you some peace of mind when you need it.

As for sound - the Earbuds II are among the best Bose headphones we've seen so far. Combined with excellent noise cancellation, leaving you with just the music and no external distractions, you can truly appreciate the absolute precision of Bose sound engineering. Not lacking in balance by any means - music on the Earbuds II is full, affectatious and searingly clean - where many bass-heavy earbuds blanket over musical subtleties, the Earbuds II celebrate them. Each snaring hi-hat and soul-stirring bass riff is simply perfect, they've never left us hungry for more, which is a rare feat for any earbud, and yet here we are.

Hit your stride with the simply phenomenal Bose Earbuds II - perfect for keeping your head in the game and your heart racing with your favourite music the way it was meant to be heard.

Pros

  • Second-to-none sound
  • Impeccable bass
  • Fantastic noise-cancelling

Cons

  • Battery life could be better at its price point

Best everyday headphones for running

It wouldn't be a true roundup of the best running headphones without mentioning Apple's excellent flagship wireless earbuds - the Apple AirPods Pro 2. These sensational earbuds nail precisely what we want out of great earbuds - terrific battery life, gorgeously designed, and of course - absolutely phenomenal sound.

With some of the smartest technology we've seen in earbuds to date, there's no end to the sheer amount of fascinating techy quirks and features the AirPods Pro 2 has - which are bound to sate any audiophile's hunger for innovative sound.

One of our favourite features of the Apple AirPods Pro 2, however, has to be its wonderful spatial audio - giving sound an invigorating depth unlike any earbuds we've ever used. Sounds come from multiple directions, placing you in the centre of your favourite performances instantly.

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 are also some of the most practical earbuds on the market, with some truly rapid charging at approximately one hour to get over 36 hours of use. For Apple users, these headphones become especially easy to use - unlike swathes of earbuds on the market, connecting is instantaneous, and Siri's call functions are genuinely useful, especially if you're amidst some intense exercise.

Loud, bold and comfortable - Apple's AirPods Pro 2 are some of the best Apple headphones ever made.

Pros

  • Excellent stability
  • Impeccable battery charging
  • Fantastic sound

Cons

  • Touch controls are somewhat awkward

Best bone conduction headphones for running

SHOKZ OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction Headphones
Price: $179.95

For those who prefer to keep their wits about them whilst running, SHOKZ OpenRun bone conduction headphones might just be the perfect headphones for you. Without even entering or covering the ear, the SHOKZ OpenRun Pros transfer sound via bone conduction, leaving your ears open for the sounds of the wide-open world. For some, noise-cancelling is a must for exercise - especially at the gym, but it also leaves you at risk of being unable to hear your surroundings - an oncoming cyclist, or an approaching car, sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry.

With the SHOKZ OpenRun bone conduction headphones, you can forget about that eerie feeling of someone behind you, cross roads with ease and stay safe while breaking your PRs - and with its excellent battery life and weightless comfort, you'll never be without your essential running tunes.

Of course, with the lack of in or over-ear functionality, the SHOKZ OpenRun Pros lack the sophistication of true earbuds, with a huge amount of bass being ultimately lost due to the technical limitations of bone conduction headphones - becoming somewhat disappointing for those who favour great music over the sounds of the outdoors.

For those that are in dire need of great fitting, weightless and non-noise-cancelling headphones that are perfect for running, there's no doubt that the SHOKZ OpenRun Pros are some of the best on the market.

Pros

  • Excellent technology
  • Great battery life
  • Perfect comfortability

Cons

  • Weaker bass due to bone conduction headphones limitations

Best durable headphones for running

For all-around solid earbuds worth investing in, the Jabra Elite 7 in-ear earbuds are simply excellent for the price. Active noise cancellation, a safe, secure and comfortable fit, and plenty of phenomenal sound - the Jabra Elite 7 earbuds are simply perfect for running.

After our in-depth Jabra Elite 7 review, we truly got to grips with just how brilliant these headphones are for the money. With a wonderful glossy waterproof coating, tough rubber earbuds, and a snug body that easily slots into your ear without becoming bulky or obtrusive, the Jabra Elite 7 earbuds look the part and most certainly feel the part.

We found that our only issues with the headphones we had were largely with the app, which became slightly irritating to use, to say the least, but this is a minor inconvenience for what are great value running headphones.

Read our full Jabra Elite 7 Active earbuds review.

Pros

  • Excellent sound
  • Great value
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Some app configuration issues
  • Noise cancelling isn't perfect

Best Marshall running headphones

Marshall Motif A.N.C earphones

Rrp: $199.99

Price: $146.63
Alternative retailers
Walmart$177.97View offer

Practical, affordable and powerful - the Marshall Motif ANC headphones are perfect for the music enthusiast on the go who's in dire need of terrific bass and a secure-fitting earbud that'll stand the test of a tough run.

Gorgeously designed with Marshall's signature leathery texture and hallmark 'M' adorning each earbud, the Marshall Motif's, despite their new technology, capably harkens back to Marshall's roots and classic rock n' roll aesthetics, making them some of the most unique-looking earbuds we've came across.

As we found in our Marshall Motif earbuds review - the sound on these headphones is full of complexity and richness - with rarely a moment of subtlety lost amongst the Motif's heavy bass and sheer volume.

Coupled with Marshall's sublime active noise cancelling (helped along with a snug and secure fit), you've got yourself some stellar running headphones that'll get you rocketing across the finish line. Don't settle for subpar audio quality, these reasonably priced headphones are simply perfect for anyone.

Read our full Marshall Motif A.N.C earphones review.

Pros

  • Excellent design
  • Comfortable, easy to use
  • Fantastic Marshall sound engineering

Cons

  • Some app issues

What's the best brand of running headphones?

Amongst hundreds of audio tech brands, there's a huge range of headphones that are perfect for running - but who makes the best running headphones? Obviously, there's no brand that is absolutely superior when it comes to making great running headphones, but there are certainly some brands worth keeping an eye on.

SHOKZ is an excellent company for running-oriented technology, so if you're something of an exercise fanatic - you should absolutely consider checking out their bone conduction headphones. For true sound quality, however, brands such as Bose, Marshall, Apple, Sony and Jabra are excellent at creating secure, reliable headphones with phenomenal sound.

Wired vs wireless headphones for running - what's the best?

When it comes to running or any form of exercise, for that matter - wireless headphones are absolutely superior in pretty much every way. For concerned audiophiles who much prefer the comfort of a 3.5mm AUX cable to a Bluetooth pair of earbuds - it's important to know that Bluetooth technology has made vast leaps over just the past few years, and sound quality is now almost indistinguishable between wired and wireless.

This is the best possible news for fitness enthusiasts, as you really cannot beat the freedom of wireless running - it's simply astounding and is more than worth switching over for.

Are Apple headphones good for running?

Apple headphones, over recent years, have become steadily more comfortable and secure for listeners in motion - but they're not all that brilliant for running. The Apple AirPods 2, however, with their in-ear bud, are simply perfect for remaining in your ear throughout your workout routine.

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Ryan Houghton is a tech writer and reviewer for What's The Best, specialising in PCs and gaming. He is a keen PC gamer and an avid reader.

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