The best workout headphones and earbuds, according to fitness pros

Trainers and coaches share their favorite — and best performing — headphones for running, working out and more.
Image: Wireless headphones
Wireless headphones make struggling with cords while you're working out a thing of the past. Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images/iStockphoto
By Locke Hughes

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Music plays an essential part in a fantastic workout. But all too often, tuning in while working out involves getting frustrated with tangled cords, sub-par sound, or earbuds that slip out at the worst possible moment. Getting a solid pair of workout headphones — whether wireless, true wireless or wired — is one way to elevate your fitness routines.

In our search for a symphonic solution, I scoured the market reviews and went to my favorite trainers to find out what they use to listen to music during workouts. Below are the results — a mix of headphones and earbuds ranging from higher-end options to more reasonably priced pairs.

1. Cleer Audio Ally

Let's start with my favorite headphones. Whether I’m running, working out, or working on the computer, I’ve found that these wireless headphones offer a fantastic audio experience. When I remove them from my ears, the music will stop, and when I place them back in, it starts again seamlessly. The silicone tips are easy to clean, while ear wings tuck into the ear to help keep them in place during workouts.

2. Jaybird Vista True Wireless Bluetooth Sport Earbuds

NBC News contributor Whitson Gordon considers these the best fitness wireless earbuds. The Jaybird Vistas come with IPX7 water resistance, "meaning they’re water-tight even when immersed in up to one meter for as long as 30 minutes," he wrote. "I wouldn’t recommend dunking them in the water, but if you tend to sweat a lot while exercising, these’ll hold up well. And if they don't, Jaybird's warranty covers damage from perspiration. Couple that with a small hook on each "bud that keeps it in your ear while running, and you’ve got a workout buddy that won’t quit on you."

3. AfterShokz Trekz Open-Ear Conduction Headphones

“I love Aftershokz for running because they use bone conduction tech, so they don’t actually sit in your ears. They sit in front, near your cheekbones, which allows you to hear both your music and outside sounds like cars coming, sirens, and people behind you.” — Amanda Capritto, personal trainer and health coach

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(Also consider the latest from AfterShokz: AfterShokz Xtrainerz)

3. Apple AirPods

“I was worried they’d get slippery with sweat and pop out as I was running down the road. But these buds have stayed put in my ears throughout four-mile runs and at-home dancing sessions. Plus, the sound quality is phenomenal — I always feel like I’m listening to music on a sound system. The best feature: Siri is fully integrated. So, to place a call, play a song, ask for a joke, etc., all I have to do is double tap one of my pods.” — Amelia Pavlik, barre and cycling instructor at Exhale Atlanta

4. Jabra Elite Sport

“These earbuds are easy to use, stay put in my ears, and offer more than three hours’ worth of playback time. Plus, they offer a full fitness experience: They connect with the Jabra Sport Life app, which has a built-in heart rate monitor, activity tracker, automatic rep counter, race pace calculator and more.” — Lynette Pettinicchi, Pilates instructor

5. Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones

These Beats by Dr. Dre headphones are another personal favorite. This pair is certainly an investment, but I’ve had them for years and they have yet to let me down. They offer high-quality sound as well as comfort thanks to the customizable earhooks. They’re also sweat- and water-resistant to stand up to your toughest workouts, and offer up to nine hours of listening time on one charge.

6. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

Another recommendation from Whitson Gordon is the Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Neo. They "sport a lightweight build that is IPX7-rated water resistant (sweating while wearing them is okay)," he wrote. "They won’t sound quite as good as the premium options above but they’ll certainly do the job."

7. Sony Extra Bass Active Sports In-Ear Buds

Looking for a more budget-friendly option? This wired headphones option from Sony wraps around your ears and the loops are adjustable to help you find the perfect fit. They're also highly rated and relatively much more affordable than the options above.

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