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+




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+




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




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




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




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




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




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

HD 250BT

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wireless
Exercise: B




Expert Summary
The Sennheiser HD 250BT headphones, released in May 2021, are over-ear, closed-back, and of a budget price. With wireless capability and dynamic drivers, these headphones offer very good overall sound quality and mic quality, as well as very good scores for durability and built-in controls. They have a 25-hour battery life but don't support wireless charging, requiring 3 hours for a full charge. They are sweatproof certified for those who exercise. Notably, they have AptX Low Latency support, enhancing their aptness for gaming and TV/video experiences by reducing audio lag. They do not have active noise cancelling, but the closed-back design provides a degree of noise isolation. The HD 250BT is equipped with an integrated mic, foldable design for portability, and an app that allows equalizer and audio controls customization. They are not optimized specifically for either Android or Apple, making them versatile for various device users. However, their comfort during air travel is considered poor, and they are not dustproof or sweatproof certified.
Pros
  • Very good overall sound quality
  • Good microphone quality
  • Low latency with AptX LL
  • 25-hour battery life
  • Foldable for portability
Cons
  • Not suitable for exercise use
  • Poor portability score
  • Fair noise isolation
  • No wireless charging
9
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B




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
10
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Exercise: B




Expert Summary
The JLab Go Work Wireless headphones are a budget-friendly choice tailored for work, with an emphasis on call and meeting quality. They offer wireless convenience with a foldable boom microphone that isn’t removable but can be tucked out when not in use. These headphones are designed for a comfortable over-ear fit and deliver good overall sound, though with some limitations they may not be the best option for music aficionados. They don’t feature active noise cancelling, which can be a compromise if you are in noisy environments. With up to 45 hours of battery life, they are great for long workdays, but may not be the first choice for those looking for enhancement features like virtual surround sound during gaming or watching TV.
Pros
  • Comfortable for extended use
  • Excellent microphone quality
  • Very good build quality
  • Top-notch built-in controls
  • Can be used wired or wireless
Cons
  • Sound quality not the best
  • Poor soundstage and imaging
  • No active noise cancelling
  • Not optimized for music