10 Best Headphones for Running and Working Out in the Gym

Wally Nowinski
editor

Our personal audio experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our database of headphones and earbuds to find the best headphones for running and working out in the gym available in 2024. Here are the top 10 picks.

Our criteria for the best headphones for running and working out in the gym:

  • Exercise: We prioritized products that are wireless, durable, sweat resistant and unlikely to fall off during active movement. * Headphones: We limited our search to headphones and excluded earbuds.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized Earbuds or Headphones recommendation
Get your personalized recommendations

10 Best Headphones for Running and Working Out in the Gym

1
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wireless
Exercise: B+

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Expert Summary
The Youthwhisper Bone Conduction Headphones are a budget-friendly, open-enclosure choice that offers the unique benefit of allowing ambient sound in, making them ideal for outdoor exercising where you need to stay aware of your surroundings. They're wireless and sweatproof, suitable for an active lifestyle. While they excel in portability and build quality, they don’t provide noise isolation, which may be an issue in noisy environments. The sound quality is not their strong suit, so if you prioritize audio fidelity for music or immersive experiences, you may want to consider other options. They are also not the best fit for calls, gaming, or watching TV, but are very good for listening to books or podcasts. Their microphone is just fair; they offer a solid 8 hours of battery life but lack wireless charging and have a 2-hour charging time. They're durable, come with ear hooks, but don’t have an app for equalization or control customization.
Pros
  • Comfortable for long wear
  • Good build and control quality
  • Sweatproof and dustproof for exercise
  • Allows ambient sound awareness
Cons
  • Poor overall sound quality
  • Poor sound isolation
  • Not suitable for high-fidelity music
  • Limited battery life
2
BEST RATING
Podcasts & Audiobooks:
4.4
Wireless
Exercise: B+

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Expert Summary
The Shokz OpenMove headphones are bone conduction headphones, which means they rest on your cheekbones and transmit sound through vibration, allowing you to hear your surroundings, a feature that is ideal for outdoor runners and cyclists who need to be aware of their environment. They have good comfort and are very good in terms of build and mic quality, making them reliable for calls and meetings. However, they have poor overall sound quality and soundstage, so if you're looking for an immersive music experience, they might not be the best choice. They are sweatproof and dustproof, making them durable, especially for exercise. Their battery life for typical use is around 6 hours, and they lack active noise cancellation, which means they won't block out background noise effectively. If you prioritize situational awareness and plan to use them primarily for outdoor activities or in noisy environments where you need to hear outside sounds, they might be the right fit for you.
Pros
  • Comfortable for long usage
  • Very good microphone quality
  • Robust build quality
  • Good for calls and meetings
  • Sweatproof and dustproof
Cons
  • Overall poor sound quality
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Low battery life
  • Not optimized for gaming
3
Sennheiser

Momentum 4

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B

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Expert Summary
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones offer very good overall sound quality and excellent comfort. They come with active noise canceling and are suitable for extended wear with a long battery life. Their build quality and built-in controls are considered very good. These headphones are well-suited for music listening, calls and meetings, gaming, TV and video, and also for air travel due to their noise isolation capabilities. However, they may not be the best choice for exercise due to their over-ear form factor and size. They also provide an app for equalization and audio control customization, and they support high-quality codecs like AptX Adaptive for improved wireless audio transmission.
Pros
  • Excellent comfort
  • Very good overall sound quality
  • Active noise cancelling featured
  • Long battery life
  • App offers audio customization
Cons
  • Fair for calls and exercise
  • Large carry size
  • No wireless charging
  • Not sweat or dustproof
4
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wireless
Exercise: B

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Expert Summary
The Sony WH-CH520 headphones are a budget-friendly, closed-back, over-ear option, offering a wireless experience without the ability to connect via a wired connection. They are praised for their comfort and have a very good built-in microphone quality, making them suitable for calls and meetings, but may not be the best choice for critical listening purposes, as their overall sound quality is good but not exceptional. They provide excellent battery life, boasting up to 52 hours of typical use, and come with features like app control customization and an integrated microphone, but lack active noise cancelling. They are foldable for better portability and also come with virtual surround capabilities. However, they are not sweatproof or dustproof certified, which could be important if you plan to use them during exercise or in challenging environments.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Wireless with long battery life
  • Very lightweight
  • Highest comfort level
  • App allows sound customization
Cons
  • No active noise cancelling
  • Poor portability
  • Average durability
  • Latency may not suit gamers
5
BEST RATING
Air Travel:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B

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Expert Summary
The Bose Quiet Comfort 45 headphones offer very good overall sound quality and are particularly well-suited for music, calls and meetings, and air travel, thanks to their excellent noise isolation and comfort. They also excel in portability since they're foldable and have a compact carrying size. These over-ear, closed-back headphones are wireless but come with a detachable cable, offering flexibility in how you use them. Although they have a premium price and are optimized for both Android and Apple devices, their performance for gaming and TV is poor, potentially due to latency issues. Suitable for prolonged use, they have an impressive battery life of over 20 hours. However, they may not be the best option for exercise due to their design and lack of sweatproof certification.
Pros
  • Very good overall sound quality
  • High comfort level
  • Effective noise cancellation
  • Good build quality
  • Foldable for portability
Cons
  • Not suitable for exercise
  • Limited gaming and video performance
  • No sweat or dustproof certification
  • Absence of lossless codec support
6
Audeze

Maxwell

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B

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Expert Summary
The Audeze Maxwell are premium closed-back over-ear headphones with both wireless and wired capabilities. They offer very good overall sound quality, with an impressive soundstage and imaging capability, making them excellent for immersive music, gaming, and TV/video experiences. Comfort and build quality are also rated very high, along with mic quality, which benefits calls and meetings. The headphones support LDAC for high-quality audio over Bluetooth and feature a detachable cable, a boom mic for clear communication, and an app equalizer for sound customization. They are substantial in weight and size, so they aren't ideal for exercising or use on-the-go. While they aren't specifically optimized for Android or Apple, they do work well with either, and the battery life is lengthy, allowing for prolonged use. However, they may not be the best choice for those seeking optimal noise isolation or portability, and there's no mention of sweat or dust resistance, which could be a consideration for some users.
Pros
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Comfortable over long periods
  • Superior build and microphone
  • Long battery life
  • Useful app features
Cons
  • Not optimized for exercise
  • Poor portability score
  • Heavyweight design
  • Limited noise isolation
7
Marshall

Major IV

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B

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Pros
  • Excellent overall sound quality
  • Good comfort
  • Very good build quality
  • Long battery life
  • Supports wireless charging
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Not optimized for gaming or TV
  • Charges in 3 hours
  • Medium weight
8
Sennheiser

450BT

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B

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Expert Summary
The Sennheiser 450BT headphones, released in early 2020, are a good option if you're seeking high-quality sound with the convenience of both wired and wireless connectivity. They have closed-back, over-ear design, are foldable for portability, and are priced in the lower midrange. With a good comfort score, these headphones may be suitable for long listening sessions, and their very good build quality makes them a durable choice. Active noise cancelling is included, enhancing the experience in noisy environments such as air travel, where they're rated as best for use. The 450BT also offers aptX Low Latency, optimizing them for video content by minimizing delay, though they might not be the top choice for exercise, given their form factor. Notably, the microphone quality is very good, which is a plus for calls and meetings, and they offer a long battery life of about 27.5 hours. They come with an app that provides an equalizer and audio controls, boosting their versatility. However, if your primary use is gaming, these may not be ideal due to potential latency issues with wireless headphones in general.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Very good microphone quality
  • Active noise cancelling included
  • Foldable for better portability
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Music performance only fair
  • Not suitable for exercise
  • No wireless charging
  • Moderate weight
9
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B

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Pros
  • Comfortable over-ear design
  • Excellent mic quality
  • Durable build
  • Intuitive built-in controls
  • Long battery life of 60 hours
Cons
  • No active noise cancellation
  • Heavy at 158 grams
  • Not foldable, less compact
  • Sound quality is good, not exceptional
10
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B

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Expert Summary
The 1More Sonoflow headphones have a closed, over-ear design with both wireless and wired capabilities. They're positioned at a lower midrange price and feature good overall sound quality and very good build quality, but only fair microphone quality. The soundstage is also fair, suggesting a decent but not exceptional spatial audio experience. They're comfortable, provide excellent noise isolation, and come with a detachable 1.2-meter cable. The headphones support LDAC for high-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth and they're optimized for both Android and Apple devices. For music listening, they score well, but they may not be the best for calls and meetings, gaming, or TV and video due to the fair mic quality and poor scores in these use cases respectively. They excel in noise isolation, making them great for air travel, and with a 40-hour battery life, they're ideal for extended listening sessions. The headphones are foldable for portability, have a large carrying case, an app equalizer, and customizable controls. They offer features like sweat resistance and active noise canceling which makes them versatile, though they're not certified as dustproof or sweatproof.
Pros
  • Very good overall sound quality
  • Active noise cancelling available
  • Foldable design for portability
  • Extended battery life for use
  • App offers equalizer customization
Cons
  • Mic quality is only fair
  • Not optimal for gaming or TV
  • Quite heavy compared to others
  • Poor calls and meetings performance