Some of the best running earphones to plug in and help you stay motivated when you are hitting the road, the gym or the muddy fields in the park.
For months you’ve been packed into a gym, but now it’s time to liberate yourself from this musk-soaked arena and take your workout outdoors as spring is here.
If you are planning on lacing up a pair of running shoes and strapping a smartphone to your arm for some musical motivation, a decent pair of sports headphones might just be a worthy investment - these will keep you company on the long road to fitness, offering – so we hope, anyway – decent sound, a fit that stands up to the vibration and bumps of running and resistance to your ruggedly, manly ear-sweat.
Combining a secure, comfortable fit with the sound performance to keep serious audiophiles happy, we've tested and selected the running headphones that should be top of your shopping list in 2015.
Suffer from ‘headphones slipping out your ear’ syndrome? Well Skullcandy has the solution, a nifty new ear gel tech that apparently makes these buds ’30%’ more secure. Now, we’re not sure how this is calculated, but we’ve tried them out and they do stay jammed into our ears very well. They’re sweat resistant too, plus they sound pretty good. Especially for the low price.
£24.99 | Skullcandy
Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless
While they may be pricey (£199? Ouch), these really are some of the best running buds you can buy. First off, as they're wireless, there are no tangly cables to get caught up in your running kit. Sound quality is superb, but it's the nifty heart rate monitoring tech that steals the show. All the data these 'phones collect is beamed back the great iOS and Android app for further perusal.
£199 | Jabra
Sennheiser OCX 686G Sports
High output drivers deliver super sounding noise, while a clever mix of cable routing and ear canal coupling reduces the background noise, letting you focus on your tunes and gym session. Ear clips keeps the bud secured even when you're running at speed and a reinforced cable adds an extra hit of durability.
£79.99 | Sennheiser
With a IP64 rating, the sporty buds are resistant to water, sweat and rain, so you can really push them during your workouts. The cord is designed to be tangle proof and the 10mm acoustic drivers pump out some good sound. They're small, light, comfortable and come in a pretty natty yellow and black colour.
£39.95 | Veho
Yurbids Inspire Limited Edition
Looking for some running buds that won't budge? These are for you. Twistlock tech keeps everything in place, sitting snug in your ears. Multiple caps are included, a set for noise isolation for example and the cord is constructed from Kevlar. The sound isn't the best though, lacking bass and vibrancy, but they get the job done.
£84.95 | Yurbuds
Sol Republic Relays
If it's fashion you’re concerned about, then it’s difficult to look past these stylish headphones. There are, for now, white, black, blue and yellow options in the range, and they sound great too. Thanks to their FreeFlex technology they are also easy to put in with a universal fit, and stay secure in your ears no matter how tough the workout.
£59.99 |Sol Republic
Monster iSport Strive
Adding to the already impressive iSport arsenal comes the Monster iSport Strive. The ear hook design and lightweight cable do a fantastic job keeping them in place, and all without relying on an in-ear bud to do most of the work. They're also cheaper than many similar designs yet offer better build quality and a longer life expectancy, and a great overall sound quality.
Supporting wireless audio streaming from Bluetooth-enabled devices, these headphones are sweatproof and have an integrated amplifier to deliver great sound quality. The seven-hour rechargeable battery pack makes them suitable for you marathon runners, while integrated controls and microphone make them perfect for on-the-go use. Oh, and they have a reflective back band, so you're visible for safe workouts in the dark.
£79 | Denon
Taking in-ear headphones to a new level, Bose have covered their earbuds with a hydrophobic cloth that keeps sweat out while not restricting the sound quality and flow. They come with an in-line mic and an extension cable, just in case. The buds come in three sizes and the phones also come with a Reebok arm band made of breathable fabric with a pocket for your keys and loops to keep extra wire out of the way. Your complete gym audio package is now sorted - you're welcome.
£129.95 | Bose
These headphones are nominated in the T3 Awards 2014 - get voting now!
These headphones are the definition of all-in-one. They have their own built-in 8MB mp3 player, more than enough for your workout, and so eliminate those pesky cables that inevitably get in your way. An optional silicon casing makes the headphones fully waterproof - FX claim you can even take them swimming, but not sure we're brave enough. You can also programme a personal trainer to shout words of encouragement and motivate you during your workout, really making gym time a breeze.
£109 | FX
Monster iSport Freedom
These wireless 'phones are designed with runners in mind, thanks to the sweat and water resistant design and complete lack of wires. As with most of Monster's products, the bass is loud, sound crisp and they're reall quite loud. An adjustable strap is handy for getting the fit just right and they can be charged up through Micro-USB.
£229.95 | Monster
Jaybird Bluebuds X
Wires can interfere with your stride. These Bluetooth beauties, the smallest wireless running headphones you can buy, also add great touches like voice prompts to help with pairing and a sweat-resistant, Liquipel coating. Marathon runners will appreciate a battery life of eight hours.
£150 | Jaybird
Powerbeats by Dr Dre
We can't help but feel it's a slight shame that you can't adjust the fit of the Powerbeats. They sound phenomenal, and as you'd expect from Beats, they look the part as well, coming in a variety of snappy colour combos. If they fit your ears, you won't be disappointed.
£120 | Beats
Philips SHQ5200/10 ActionFit
Weighing in at just 3.5oz, one of Philip’s latest contenders in their ActionFit range enters the ring, hoping to change our perception of over-head sports headphones. The SHQ5200s feature a non-slip silicone headband, whilst the Kevlar-reinforced cable splits into two to protect your device against any sudden snags. The ear pads are extremely comfortable and absorb sweat, but can be detached and thrown in the washing machine alongside your other gym gear. These cans also house 40mm neodymium drivers which promise an impressive bass response.
Philips SHQ4200 ActionFit
Neckband headphones have often received mixed reviews, so the new SHQ4200s have a bit of a hill to climb. The headband is lightweight and flexible, whilst the design ensures enough pressure to keep these firmly in place. It’s waterproof, too, so they’ll handle sweat and rain without a glitch. Equally impressive is the sound, which serves bass-heavy music very well indeed. The result: a superb pair of fitness headphones that, for once, sound and feel as good as they look (well done, Philips).
Yurbuds Inspire Duro
Using “TwistLock” technology Yurbud claims these will not fall out and, after testing, we couldn’t argue with that, though the fit doesn’t always feel secure, which can be a tad off-putting. The shape of the flexible buds apparently means they “avoid nerve-rich areas” – so that’s good – but their sticky, silicone surface picks up scum like nobody’s business. However, a quick wash under a tap cleans them. Unlike many of its rivals, the Yurbuds let in ambient noise, which is good if you like to know what’s going on around you. However, the trade-off is that the audio can lack vibrancy.
On these excellent buds lasso-style hangers adjust around your ears. Along with a choice of four sizes of silicone bud, this provides a secure fit during intense running seshes. Weighing just 10g, they’re barely noticeable in your lugs, although part of the reason they’re so light is that there’s no remote control included. The narrow earpieces use armature drivers instead of dynamic drivers, producing a crisp, clear sound with strong vocals and bass that doesn’t distort even at higher volume levels. Some of the best sounding sports headphones around.
Sennheiser Adidas PMX 685i
We were big fans of Sennheiser and Adidas’ neckband-style PMX 680 in-ears, so with a slimmer frame and remote this update feels even lighter as well as being easier to use under a cycling helmet*. Despite the streamlined look, it still feels very durable. As the remote is connected to the left side of the headphones, you might notice a bit of a pull if you thread them underneath a jacket, but the buds do stay put. On the sound front it’s the same 120dBs of power as before, but the frequency response has improved, giving a richer, more detailed sound. The bass remains lacking, though.
*We don’t recommend cycling with earphones in but hey, they’re your brains
Pioneer’s “skull fit” design lives up to its billing: these ear-hooked ’phones clamp around your ears with no intention of letting go until you’re ready to take them off, yet are comfortable at the same time. The adjustable buds mean you have control on the fit and the amount of sound that fills your eardrums. the 9mm speaker units produce a supremely bassy sound, making them ideal for up-tempo workout music. They’ve been designed with extreme sports enthusiasts in mind – hence the rugged build and suction-like grip – but they’re also suitable for a jog around the park.