These are the essential fitness features you need in a pair of true wireless earbuds

Need the perfect earphones to match your sporty lifestyle? The world’s leading professional audio brand for work and life, Jabra helps you understand the cutting-edge technology to look out for in the best active headphones

A man leaving the gym carrying a water bottle and wearing the Jabra Elite 4 Active
(Image credit: Jabra)

Whether you’re pumping iron in the gym, pounding the pavements doing your daily 5K or just looking for great-sounding headphones that will work everywhere from the streets to the night bus home, it can be hard to know what to look for when trying to find the best active earbuds.

Naturally, for any music lover, great sound is a must-have. But how do you guarantee you can actually hear your tunes in a crowded gym? How can you be sure your earbuds will stay in while you do your best Rocky skipping montage? What can you do to make sure your headphones will continue to shine sonically come rain or… sweat?

Well worry not. With the help of the sound engineering expertise of Jabra, we’ve put together this handy explainer for some of the unmissable technology and features you should be looking out for in the best sports headphones you can buy.

A woman doing an inverted yoga pose while wearing the Jabra Elite 4 Active

(Image credit: Jabra)

How do you find a secure, comfortable fit?

Naturally, you don’t want your earphones to pop out during your jump squats, nor do you want them to start to ache part way through that half marathon. That’s why finding workout earbuds with a secure, comfortable fit is so vital.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that, to be secure, earbuds must have hooks. However, this isn’t true. Both the Jabra Elite 4 Active and Elite 7 Active have an innovative ergonomic design that keeps them snug in your ear without the need for hooks. Meanwhile, the Elite 7 Active come with Jabra’s ShakeGrip technology, which offers an extra grippy Liquid Silicone Rubber that guarantees they’ll stay put even during the most vigorous exercise sesh.

Both the Elite 4 Active and Elite 7 Active earbuds also put comfort and style front and centre in their design. Their Ear Gels are made of soft silicone to give a super comfortable fit, while their tapered, rounded shape moulds to the shape of your ear to offer the perfect seal.

A man doing a flip in front of a stormy sky wearing the Jabra Elite 7 Active

(Image credit: Jabra)

What is IPX moisture-proofing?

When you’re looking for the best earphones for running, you want to be sure they’ll withstand the soggiest conditions the great British summer can throw at them. Well you can think about a high IPX rating as your headphones’ personal umbrella, helping them shrug off both showers with ease.

Short for ‘ingress protection rating’, the IP rating is an international standard that shows how vulnerable gadgets are to solid particles and liquid. If you’re taking your gravel bike out on a dusty trail or working up a sweat on the treadmill, a high IPX rating will ensure your earbuds won’t get damaged by grit or moisture, allowing you to train in absolutely all conditions.

This makes a high IPX rating a must when selecting the best sports earbuds. Fortunately, the Jabra Elite 4 Active and the Elite 7 Active have an IP57 rating, which means they can withstand dusty environments and being submerged in up to 1 metre of water. No matter how intense your workout, you know your headphones are hardy enough to handle it.

A man waiting to cross a busy street and activating the Jabra Elite 4 Active's HearThrough mode.

(Image credit: Jabra)

What is ANC?

If you want some peace while exercising in a crowded gym or just need a bit of focus time while you crank out some work, active noise cancelling (ANC) is an absolute must-have feature in a pair of earbuds. But how exactly does it enable a better workout?

Using audio-engineering smarts, ANC earbuds analyse the noise in your environment and dynamically cancel it out by applying an inverted signal to the audio that hits your ears. This means that the best sports headphones can block out intrusive noise, stopping anything getting between you and your music as you lift weights or hit the trails for that hike.

That’s one of the things that make Jabra headphones the perfect partner for the gym. With four and six microphones respectively, the Jabra Elite 4 Active and Elite 7 Active offer next-level noise cancelling to keep distractions at bay and help keep you in the zone. Meanwhile, the Elite 7 Active’s adjustable levels of cancellation mean you can dial up the ANC as needed to tackle any environment.

Need to hear what’s going on around you when running along busy streets? Then with a tap of a button Jabra’s transparency mode will let you hear what’s going on around you and remain aware of your environment.

A woman holding the Jabra Elite 7 Active in their case.

(Image credit: Jabra)

Features to look out for

Clearly here’s a lot more to a pair of the best fitness earbuds than this though: excellent connectivity and battery life are just as vital. One of the many factors that set the Jabra Elite 4 Active and Elite 7 Active apart is their use of Bluetooth 5.2 – which offers significantly reduced battery consumption – and a stonking 10 metre range. No more feeling tethered to your phone while you hop between gym equipment. And both models offer real flexibility, pairing with up to 6 or 8 devices respectively – whether they’re running Android or iOS.

Additionally, there’s no need to worry about your music dying part-way through a workout. The Jabra Elite 4 Active will give you 7 hours constant playback, while the Elite 7 Active will provide 8 hours. And once you count the charge in the case, their total battery life increases to an awesome 28 hours and 30 hours respectively.

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