How to Choose the Best Headphones for Running

Can you run with big headphones? Yes, even though the topic is sensitive among most runners. Running can be a lonely sport regardless of where you choose to run. It can be on a treadmill indoors or outdoors on rough terrain. Some beat the monotony with partners, but most people run alone.

You can end the monotony in various ways, including buying headphones to listen to your favorite playlist, podcast, or audiobook. If you prefer running with some music on, consider getting yourself quality headphones that provide quality sound with noise cancellation.

Choose the perfect fit so you won't get distracted from your run by having to adjust your ears all the time. Some people feel that headphones are bulky, but if you buy the right pair, you will have all the entertainment you need with minimal or zero distractions to your running performance.

Perhaps with the sound from your music or pep talk from your audiobook, you might find yourself motivated to over-perform. Are there safety and health concerns you should worry about when running with big headphones?

Before settling for the first headset you see in the market, consider the following features that almost guarantee your safety when running in the urban streets.

How to Pick a Good Set of Running Headphones

You will find many impressive features when buying headphones for the first time. Unfortunately, not all are suitable for running. Let's help you narrow down the choices.

Comfortable Fit

Headphones come in a box, and you probably won't get to fit one in the stores or while shopping online to determine if it fits comfortably. It's one of the purchases that are perhaps one-size-fits-all.

But this is a misguided perception. Headphones come in various sizes, and you should be keen to know if they can be adjusted to fit your head. To be safe when considering your options, try renowned brands like JBL, Bose, and Sony, among others, that offer high-end products.

Never pass up the chance to try a pair of headphones at a physical store. However, if it's an online purchase, look at the terms of sale; perhaps there's a clause that accepts a replacement if one doesn't fit.

People that wear glasses also need to ensure that the headphones sit perfectly without interfering with the glasses. 

Water Resistance

Running is an addictive sport, and sometimes not even the rain can stop you from going outdoors for a run. If this has ever happened to you, solve it by buying water-resistant headphones.

Check the IP rating of your headphones before buying them. Don't go into the rain hoping to sing along to your favorite tunes with a set that doesn't have an IP rating. The market has many options; the IPX4 is water resistant but isn't waterproof.

It means it can soak in water if you expose them to heavy rains. But if you have the money, you can go for superior IP ratings like IPX7, which can handle up to one meter of water for 30 minutes. The IPX8 models can go even deeper underwater and still play your music.


The noise-canceling feature is necessary if you are planning to run outdoors. It will help you focus as it doesn't allow background noise from the outside. As a result, you will stay focused on the run with fewer distractions. But while this is an advantage when running in an isolated area, it can be a safety problem for urban streets filled with other road users and heavy traffic.

Be alert if your running path includes crossing the road. Sometimes deserted areas harbor the most harm. Other options that cancel noise include bone-conduction headsets. Even though you will compromise on the audio quality, your ears won't be covered.

How to Pick a Good Set of Running Headphones


In these modern times, it should be obvious that wireless headphones have taken over the audio world. And the reasons are plain why your next headset should be wireless. Besides not having to deal with entangling wires getting into your way every time you move, they are easy to put on and remove.

But there's a downside. They require batteries and regular charging. Before stepping out for a run, ensure they have a full charge to last during your workout. But this shouldn't be a major concern if you buy a high-end product. You will be surprised how one charge cycle can last.

Audio Quality

However appealing some headphones might look, not all offer quality sound. It can be disheartening to discover you have been compromising your audio quality because you settled for a budget wireless headset.

This is how it works.

The audio quality of headphones has limitations set by the codec it uses to suppress audio files as it transmits them wirelessly to the receiver. As a result, wireless headphones struggle with sound fidelity compared to wired headphones. 

New technology uses aptX and AAC to boost audio quality on wireless headsets, but they still can't compare to the quality you will receive when using wired headphones.

Bluetooth headphones from popular brands will give you the perfect experience you are looking for if you are just an average listener. In addition, wired headphones from the same popular brands will give you a studio-production-level experience.

If you have the money, you can buy high-end products as the difference isn't that far apart if your aim is running and your ear is untrained for quality audio.

Battery Life

If you must buy wireless headphones, battery life is non-negotiable. Even though new technology keeps improving battery life, there is still that slim chance that you can buy one that doesn't last before you must charge it again.

At a minimum, you should buy a wireless headphone that can keep a charge for up to 20+ hours. Some superior models last up to 40+ hours, ensuring long battery life and even come with a fast-charging option.

How To Care for Your Headphone

How To Care for Your Headphone

The good news is that wireless headphones don't require much care. So besides cleaning and ensuring they have enough charge, you won't have many maintenance concerns. But be sure not to drop them or expose them to fires, water, and dust.

Your running headphones are exposed to outside elements like dust and water at some point. Regular cleaning after every use should be a habit. You also expose them to sweat as you run along.

The simplest way to clean your wireless running headphones is by using alcohol on a cloth and rubbing them smoothly. It will keep the odors and germs away.

While headphones are personal items, it's okay sometimes to let your friends or family borrow them. However, always clean them first before wearing them if you have shared them with another person.


For the few people who can't enjoy a run without headphones, ensure that you buy the best quality to have fewer distractions and focus on your running. Can you run with big headphones? Choose the one with noise cancellation, battery life, and high audio quality.

A comfortable headphone protects your ears and is built to withstand outdoor elements like rain, snow, and dust. But, of course, if you feel uncomfortable wearing over-ear headphones, you can always try the bone-conduction headsets or earbuds and still enjoy your run outdoors.

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