What are the best headphones for running?
My earbuds keep falling out, and my over the top headphones don't stay on. I would also prefer ones that can handle a fair amount of sweat.1
I don't run, but my wife (who is a runner) likes in-ear headphones the best. Note these are not the same as ear buds, which rest in the cup of the ear; they sit inside the ear canal instead, and as such are much better situated to withstand ejection.
I've been using the Sennheiser PMX series of headphones for running over the last few years. I've gone through a couple sets of them during that time, but they still have kept up very well. My favorites are the PMX80s (http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-PMX80-Sport-Behind-Earphones/dp/B001GT185K/). I've not had any issue with them. The sound is of good quality and they hold in well while running.
A couple nits I've had: 1.The plastic covers over the drivers can come off so you need to be careful. 2. They seal extremely well to your ears, however, sometimes sweat gets behind them and makes a crackling noise until you get the sweat out of your ear. (I've mostly only had this problem when on a treadmill instead of outside). The sweat itself hasn't damaged the headphones at all though.
Besides those issues, I've been very pleased with these headphones.
Sony Ultra Lightweight Vertical In-the-Ear Headphones ($7.68) are awesome. I have been using them for years. I think the model number changes sometimes but they've been available since I can remember. After they've been used continuously for about a year, sometimes the cord on one side seems to get loose and you can no longer hear out of one ear, but then replacing it costs less than $10. They are so cheap you don't feel bad about getting them sweaty (they don't have any soft parts either), they don't fall off because they have a headband, and the sound actually goes into your ears instead of outward for everyone to hear (they are good for plane travel and not disturbing your neighbors too).
I've found that Sony MDR-J10's handle sweat well and sound alright. Not for audiophile runners, but I'm guessing audiophile headphones don't handle the wear and tear that these stand up to. They stay in my ears well enough, but will break away if the cord gets caught in my uncoordinated thumbs while running.
I find myself quickly annoyed by most headphones I've tried but had good luck with the Philips SHS8100/28 Earhook Headphones. The audio quality is perfectly adequate and the bass isn't overbaked. More importantly, they aren't displaced at all by the sometimes jarring movements necessary when hopping curbs, etc. A word of caution about running in the city though.. these seal really well and make ambient noises (approaching traffic, bikes, etc) harder to hear. A few extra glances around your shoulder are advised.
I really like yurbuds. They fit over top of existing headphones, though most of the options that you can purchase from the website come with a pair of in-ear earbuds. They twist in and have never fallen out on me. I just upgraded to the ironman version recently and have never fiddled with them once I start running. I run half marathons and did a full marathon earlier in the year, in the rain, and had no issues with my music the whole time training and running the race.
If you run regularly in races, they are often at many of the expo shows that happen before the race and will be willing to let you try a pair on. They have sizes in the blue/pink versions, but the ironman have a softer gel that fits with any size ear.
Jaybird JF3 Freedom bluetooth wirelsss earbuds - great sound: deep rich bass and high mid range sound. I dont use them for running, but I use them for all the P90X workouts. Based on this experience I would recommend for running since they stay in place (without earhooks) which allow you to wear sunglasses at the same time.
I use the Sennheiser Adidas CX 680i Sports headphones. They have stood up to months of trail running, mountain biking and hiking. They stick in your ear nicely, and they have these (removable) rubber hook things that fit on the inside of your ear.
I have broken so many pairs of ear buds, and most of them stunk for running or working out. These have been really good for me.
I've been wanting to get in on these IRONBUDS Kickstarter project for a while... seem like they would be perfect for running.
Motorola S10-HD are stereo bluetooth headphones. Once you go cordless, have essential controls right at your fingertips (ears), you will no go back. They strike a good balance of sound insulation and being aware of your surrounding. Batteries are last long enough to be a non-factor unless you leave for multiple days and cannot charge there.
I use Skullcandy INK'D earbuds. Tight fit, good sound, $15.
The correct answer is NONE. Running and music may safely be combined when indoors on a treadmill, or on a dedicated path. Certainly not when running on a road or sidewalk. More and more laws are being enacted to restrict the use of earphones and headphones on and near roads.
This is for a very good reason, one I have personal experience with: 25 years ago a runner wearing earphones was waiting for the light to change at an intersection, then proceeded to run across the wrong side of the intersection. I was just entering the intersection on my motorcycle, having timed the light perfectly, only to suddenly find a runner in front of me.
I hit the brakes and horn and veered to miss the runner, but she kept going, never hearing the huge amount of noise my horn and tires were making. I was unable to avoid slamming into her. I had a very rough landing, was knocked unconscious, and almost slid into oncoming traffic.
When I woke in the hospital, two police officers were standing at the foot of my bed. They asked if I knew what had happened, and I told them everything I could remember. My memory ended a moment before the impact. I didn't remember the collision itself or anything after.
They next told me she was declared dead at the scene. My blood pressure crashed and I passed out for a few moments. When I came to again, they said something that's been burned into my memory ever since: "It was not your fault. The witnesses and the evidence at the scene make it clear you did everything possible to prevent the collision. The earphones she was wearing and the volume setting of her music player combined to make her oblivious to the danger she was in. She was negligent to the point that she essentially committed suicide, and used your motorcycle to do so." They said more after that, but my mind had locked up trying to process that last sentence.
Even now, a quarter of a century later, this memory still wakes me, my heart thumping and my hands shaking.
I don't really care if your use of earphones while running kills you. The Darwin Award needs candidates. But I do care that you may inflict needless trauma on others as you exit the gene pool; loved ones and strangers alike.
Please think beyond your musical pleasure to consider your listening environment.
If you are running well away from traffic, then perhaps one of the other answers may prove useful.
@BobC : Well, indeed. The OP wasn't asking about headphones for running outside, just for running in general. I submitted a recommendation, but I personally never use headphones while running outside (only on a treadmill). Sorry for your experience--sounds terrible.
@maria: Glad to hear it!
The vast majority of runners do at least some running on or near roads. So to me, "running in general" means "running near roads".
Anywhere moving vehicles and people mix, collisions are going to happen. Runners are seldom hit from the front, since the eyes often will provide enough warning to avoid a collision. Most runners get hit from the back or side, where the ears are the main warning source. Intentionally reducing ear sensitivity while running anywhere near traffic is literally suicidal.
I'm also a runner (a triathlete), Treadmills and oval tracks hurt my knees, and I tend to trip on trails and sidewalks, so I do much of my own running on roads. I often see other runners wearing headphones, and when I can, I talk to them and tell my story. They remove their headphones 100% of the time, at least until I'm out of sight.
There is no safe way to combine music and traffic with running (or bicycling). Just being a runner or bicyclist on a road is hazardous enough without making it worse by adding music.
The music a road runner hears is often their own requiem.
I reviewed the VoxLinc bone conduction headphones earlier this year. They are over-the-ear style, but they don't go inside or over your ear, so they actually stay put rather well.
The headphones are designed for athletes such as joggers and cyclists who do their thing near roads and cars. You can hear the music via the bone conduction technology while still being able to hear your surroundings.
We didn't specifically test for heavy sweat, but the design of these headphones should make the sweat pretty much irrelevant.
I agree with the cheap/disposable route, sadly. I've had experience with Sennheiser, Etymotic. I find these will keep the earbuds in the ear, but I've had other problems, due to the nature of sweat and motion, namely with the jacks breaking and the connection with the cord and earbuds. Leaving only one ear working. The other issue relates to BobC's story - the more expensive noise blocking headphones are probably not safe.
The Apple ipod earbuds are lower build quality and bad audio quality, but at lower volume they barely block traffic noise. And they seem to have lasted just as long as the more expensive choices, when they have broken, I don't feel bad throwing away $100 headphones. I suggest finding a route that allows running in a park with no intersections.
I want to second the Sony MDR-J10 headphones. I actually think they're a great selection for a "cool tool" in general. I've been using them for well over a decade now and at $8 a pair, I have a set in my car, my office, home, etc. They're incredibly comfortable, WAY more comfortable than ear buds, and they stay in while jogging or running around. I really can't speak highly enough about them. I wish they'd make a pair with an in-line microphone for making calls on an iphone. (Sony does make the DR-J115, but it needs an adapter to work with a 3.5 mm jack).
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