Yes, you can a get good workout hitting the treadmill at the gym. If you want the best running experience, though, getting some sun and a little wind on your face will make for a much more enjoyable time. While some people prefer running while basking in the sounds of streets, nature, and the people that occupy them, others enjoy pounding the roads and trails with their favorite playlists providing a welcome distraction from the grind. Of course, tuning out the world while you run through busy streets and traffic-heavy roads isn’t the safest thing, which is why the best running earbuds integrate features that allow you to clearly hear ambient noises, so you stay aware of your surroundings.
These are the best wireless earbuds to wear during your runs.
If you want a sub-$100 true wireless option, these earbuds deliver a good sound that’s clear, crisp, and detailed, albeit without the deep thumping bass that many folks prefer in their earbuds. We like it for running, however, because the ear tips aren’t sealed, allowing ambient sounds to pass through clearly enough that you can stay aware of what’s going on around you. Because it’s not sealed, it also doesn’t have that footstep-amplifying effect you can get with sealed earbud options, which can be impossibly annoying during runs.
Another reason we like it is the unique fit, which uses c-shaped wings to secure itself to your ear opening. That fit is adjustable, as well, requiring you to simply twist the earpiece clockwise or counterclockwise to loosen or tighten the hold. Suffice to say, this is way more comfortable than those ear hook designs. Other features include six hours of playback, IPX4 water resistance, and running-friendly gesture controls.
Anker has several options along this price point that we like for running. Our favorite, however, is this true wireless model, which uses swiveling ear hooks that rotate 210 degrees for plenty of adjustability, allowing it to dial in the fit much better than a lot of hook-style earbuds out there. Audio is pretty good, with a surprisingly deep bass and plenty of detail, complete with active noise cancelling if you want to listen in peace. If you want to hear ambient sounds since you’re running outdoors, you can wear it a little loose and simple rely on the hooks to secure it, which works reasonably well. If you’d rather not sully the listening experience, it also offers a transparency mode that allows you to stay more aware of your surroundings while you’re running. Despite the rather low price, this is fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating, too, all while delivering eight hours’ worth of playtime between charges.
While there are quite a few options in open-ear true wireless earbuds, we’ve grown fond of this model for its combination of affordable price and more adaptable fit. They probably based the design on Bose’s open model below, as it also uses a tapering hook to secure behind the ears, albeit with one changes: they added a swiveling hinge along the hook, making it easier to adjust the overall fit. Simply put, we found it more comfortable.
It’s not completely open, by the way, as the larger size tends to cover some part of the ear canal. Since it simply hovers above it, though, it still allows ambient sound to slide through mostly uninterrupted. Plus, the position seems to be a lot better for listening to music, as the 16.2mm drivers produce quite a satisfying wound with plenty of bass and volume. Features include IPX5 water resistance, seven hours of runtime, and gesture controls.
These true wireless earbuds rest on top of your outer ears, so ambient sound can enter ears directly without anything in its way, allowing you to hear the world at large, loud noises and all. It hooks over the back of the ears with the earpiece sort of clipping it in to create a secure hold that stays in place, no matter how fast you pick up the pace. Problem is, it’s not that easy to find the right way to put it on, especially since people have different anatomies. Basically, expect to put in a bit of time adjusting it here and there until you find a comfortable position (or one that you can tolerate, at least), as the exact fit will vary from person to person.
Because it sits right outside the ear canal, the listening experience feels more akin to hearing speaker audio than traditional earbuds. The sound is surprisingly good, with Bose doing a superb job of ensuring it puts out clear, detailed audio across the lows, mids, and highs. We also like the gesture controls that allow you to control playback easily without taking a break from your run.
If you prefer completely open ear pathways while you listen to music, audiobooks, and podcasts during your runs, bone-conduction earphones offer an excellent option, as they deliver sound to your ears by sending the signals through your cheekbones. Shokz’ ninth-generation flagship model offers arguably the best-sounding audio in the category. Although it still pales in comparison with traditional earbuds when it comes to music (it’s okay, but that buzzy vibration takes getting used to), it’s very good for podcasts, audiobooks, and other spoken-word recordings. Plus, the lack of any hardware directly in your ear makes for a comfortable feeling.
The actual earpieces are worn at the top of the cheekbone right outside the ear, with each side secured using hooks that curve around the back of your ears. Both sides are connected by a band, by the way, so they’re harder to lose compared to true wireless options. Even if you accidentally knock one side over, chances are, it will just hang behind your neck, instead of making you spend the next 10 minutes trying to find it on the ground.
Unlike many options in this list, the Beats Fit Pro is a sealed pair of earbuds. However, it does offer a very good transparency mode that reliably lets ambient sounds in if you activate it. That means, it works much like an open pair of earbuds, albeit you’ll have to use up some extra battery life to enjoy it. We especially like it because of that, as it allows you to use transparency mode when you’re outside, then switch to full ANC to block out noise during those days you train at the gym instead, making it a more versatile option. Do note, figuring out where sounds are coming from may take a little getting used to with the transparency mode, but you get the hang of it once you’ve used it enough times.
It produces stellar sound, courtesy of a dual-element driver and the same H1 chip used in the AirPods Pro, so audio quality is very comparable to Apple’s best-selling earbuds. We also love the flexible wingtips that hold the earbuds in place securely by simply tucking it into the upper section of the ear. Features include three swappable ear tips, gesture controls, and up to six hours of battery life.