Bose Sport Earbuds review: running headphones deliver premium performance at a reasonable price

Impressive sound and comfort makes these babies ideal for most workout types

Bose Sport Earbuds
(Image credit: Bose)
T3 Verdict

Bose Sport Earbuds have all the qualities of a great pair of fitness-focused earphones, and will see you through all types of workout. Audio is excellent and comfort levels are higher than their bulky looks would suggest

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Very comfortable

  • +

    The usual Bose sound and build quality

  • +

    Lee bulky than their predecessors

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    …But still pretty bulky

Bose Sport Earbuds review in a sentence: it’s been a long wait for Bose’s new running headphones/workout earbuds… but it's been worth it. 

The self explanatorily-named Bose Sport Earbuds keep the great sound and secure fit of SoundSport Free, their predecessors, but greatly reduce the amount they protrude from your ears. Whilst Bose Sport Earbuds are by no means the most compact true wireless buds around, the SoundSport Free looked outright ridiculous

Everything else has been tightened up, too. The Sports Earbuds are not just smaller, lighter, and sleeker than their predecessors, they are also even more comfortable, have slightly better audio quality and longer battery life. This makes them one of the best running headphones you can buy and, thanks to Bose's usual attention to sonic and design detail, also among the best true wireless earbuds out there, although clearly they really come into their own as workout earbuds.

Bose Sport Earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

BOSE SPORT EARBUDS: PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Due to the company’s legacy as a high premium brand, Bose products usually come with a bigger price tag than those you’d find slapped on rival products. But that’s not so much the case with the Sport Earbuds.

Available to buy now from most major retailers, these buds cost £180/$160/AU$249.95. While they’re not the cheapest out there, they are mostly inline with the mark up of similar products available from other audio brands. Perhaps most significantly, they are noticeably cheaper than Beats Powerbeats Pro – a sensible move, if you ask us.

Before we move onto design, we should also note that they come in a choice of three different colourways: blue, white or black. Not very ground breaking perhaps, but a pleasing enough range of finishes. 

Bose Sport Earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

BOSE SPORT EARBUDS: DESIGN AND COMFORT

As we mentioned earlier, Bose took its sweet time shrinking its wireless buds’ size down to a level that was on par with the more compact designs found on the market today. But we’re not ones for dwelling on the past, so instead, let’s focus on how much of an improvement the Sport Earbuds are over the super bulky SoundSport Free that came before them. 

Boasting a completely cable free (true wireless) setup with IPX4 sweat and wet weather resistance, we’ve got a fresh, condensed size around that of a thumb (which is still, admittedly a little bigger than many other buds out there right now). Nevertheless, they’re ultra lightweight, comfortable and look great in the ear.  

In true Bose style, these new buds ooze style; a classic yet premium design that features the firm’s new StayHear Max tips. Coming in three different sizes to fit all types of ears, these tips have been designed with nothing but comfort in mind. They work via an umbrella-shaped tip alongside an extended flexible wing that have been designed to not only ensure there’s nothing but silky soft silicon touching your ears (unlike a hard plastic like many other earbuds), but they stay wedged firmly in place no matter how much you shake your head. It’s this clever design that makes these buds feel extremely comfortable and lightweight during use, and thus ideal for sports and fitness, even running. 

Bose Sport Earbuds

(Image credit: Bose )

BOSE SPORT EARBUDS: SOUND

The Sport Earbuds boast something Bose calls an “acoustic port design”, which means they are able to deliver an impressively big sound despite their small-ish size. In addition, there’s an innovation called volume-optimised Active EQ, which effectively works to boost the lows and highs of the audio automatically so it stays nice and balanced while you’re listening to it, even at high volumes.

These features work brilliantly to ensure audio performance on the Sports Earbuds is top notch. We kind of weren’t expecting anything less from Bose, though as we;ve been following this audio company for many years and they;ve yet to let us down in the  audio performance department. 

As with most Bose products, these buds offer a great, bass-rich and balanced sound, helped - we are sure  - by the StayHear Max tips design that we mentioned earlier. You can feel during use that this really helps to deliver deeper and more impactful low notes in the music thanks to the tighter seal created between the ear canal and the earphone. We take our hats off to Bose yet again for innovation. Fantastic stuff!

Bose Sport Earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

BOSE SPORT EARBUDS: FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE

After using the Sport Earbuds on a regular basis, it’s fair to say that these earphones don’t fail to impress. Alongside top audio quality and a secure and comfort fit, you’ll also find that the Bluetooth connectivity is solid. We didn’t experience any interruption in connection, not once. 

One drawback, however, is that there is no noise cancellation tech here, which - for this price - would certainly be nice. Especially considering other fitness-focused buds, such as the Jabra Elite Active 75t, have it. That aside, you’ve still got the StayHear Max tips which help isolate noise a little. Coupled with high quality sound and a premium look and feel, this helps make up for it...kind of.

So how about battery life? Well, each charge will give you around five hours of use, which - for us - is enough to power most workouts. If you’re an endurance athlete looking for a pair of wireless buds to see you through an ultra marathon, though then these aren’t the earphones for you. 

When it comes to charging, the Sport Earbuds need to be placed in the included charging case that - if charged - will automatically rejuice the buds, providing two full charges. This equates to more than 10 hours of use. Another welcome feature is the rapid charge capability, which will give you up to two hours of playback time in return for a quick 15-minute charge. Super convenient if you’ve forgotten to charge your buds before a run.  

Bose Sport Earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

BOSE SPORT EARBUDS: VERDICT 

Thanks to an impressive lineup of features - be it high-quality audio, reliable connectivity and amazing comfort - all packed into a stylish and premium design, the Bose Sport Earbuds have the traits of a great pair of earphones that will see you through all types of sports. While battery life could be better, it’s unlikely to impact you unless you’re an endurance athlete booking for something to power you through hours of running or cycling. 

These buds aren’t the cheapest but they’re not the most expensive either. If you’re a regular runner or general fitness fanatic looking for true wireless earbuds that are going to be comfortable, great sounding and long lasting – all while staying in your ears no matter how hot and sweaty you get – then the Sport Earbuds are worth every penny. They aren't the very best you can get, but Bose fans will love them.

Lee Bell
Lee Bell

Lee Bell is a freelance journalist & copywriter specialising in technology, health, grooming and how the latest innovations are shaking up the lifestyle space. From national newspapers to specialist-interest magazines and digital titles, Lee has written for some of the world’s most respected publications during his 11 years as a journalist.