The best sports headphones for your workout

The Active Times

Finding the best workout headphones

(Photo: Wavebreak Media)

Sweatproof, slip-free personal sound systems for rocking your fitness routine.


When you're working out solo, good music is the perfect partner. It can motivate you, inspire you, and carry you through pain to new personal bests. But it's hard to find headphones that can stay on through—or survive—a solid sweat session. After all, sweat can ruin more delicate headphones.

Not to worry, though. Several companies are taking note, making water-resistant, sweatproof headphones that can handle a marathon or a brutal CrossFit regimen, and even rinse clean when the work is done.

There are a few important considerations when choosing fitness headphones, namely fit, sound quality and where you'll use them.

For indoor workouts, like the gym, in-ear headphones are the best. You want them to block out all the ambient noise—grunting, weights clanking, the incessant whir of stationary bikes and treadmills—to focus on the task at hand. In-ear headphones fit snugly into the ear canal, like earplugs, preventing those outside noises from interrupting your flow. Because they better seal off the ear, you can keep the volume lower on your mp3, iPod or smartphone, allowing you richer sound without blasting your tunes.

If you’re running or cycling outside, open-back earphones—especially earbuds, clip-ons and some neckband designs—that sit just outside the ear canal allow you to hear some ambient sounds, like traffic and other potential hazards (a bear on the trail, perhaps) to keep you out of harm’s way.

For workout headphones to be good, they need to sound great—deep and clear bass notes, tonal clarity and rich, sharp highs—and be stable during exercise, otherwise you’re wasting time fiddling with gear, the workout suffers, and you’re frustrated. Almost all headphones are sold with several pairs of ear tips—many with antimicrobial treatments to reduce the buildup of bacteria—that allow the user to dial in the best fit, no matter the activity. Add the structural back up of an ear clip, hook or neckband, and those personal speakers aren’t going anywhere.

These are 8 of the best workout headphones available. We ranked them based on sound quality, apparent durability, online consumer reviews and price. When you add it all up, it comes down to value. Where two different headphones had comparably good sound and one cost twice as much, we ruled in favor of the cheaper pair.  Where the price was in the same range, the better-performing pair takes the cake. It's that simple. We believe that all will stand up to sweat, stay in your ears and deliver top-notch sound through workout after workout. So queue up your playlist, and get ready to rock out on your workout.



Sennheiser Adidas CX685 Sports

(Photo courtesy Sennheiser)

Sennheiser Adidas CX685 Sports

For $70, the CX685 provide exceptional sound quality. The in-ear design creates an acoustically closed environment, ideal for a busy gym when you need to focus on your program. The small adjustable ear fin design hooks comfortably under the contour of the outer ear to keep a comfy fit, and the sound even and clear. In-line volume control allows for on-the-fly adjustment. Sennheiser was a head above the competition in terms of overall performance and price.

Currently $66.50; amazon.com

(See also: Are Beats by Dr. Dre worth the price tag?)




X-1 Surge Sportswrap Waterproof

(Photo courtesy of X-1)

X-1 Surge Sportswrap Waterproof

Fully waterproof up to 12 feet, the Surge headphones are designed for kayaking, swimming, SUPing or any other water-based adventure. The neckband design and watertight earplugs ensure fit and functionality, even in stormy waters. On the sonic side of things, strong neodymium drivers deliver superior clarity and tonal fullness. Of course, be sure to buy a waterproof mp3 player or smartphone case before you hit the high seas.

$60; x-1.com





Klipsch Image S4i Rugged

(Photo courtesy of Klipsch)

Klipsch Image S4i Rugged

Like running in the rain? Good. So does the Image S4i Rugged. All-weather ready, the S4i takes the award-winning acoustics of its sister S4 and gives it a raincoat. The in-line control uses oversize buttons for easier use when on the go, plus rubber reinforcements in key areas enhance its overall durability for more rigorous activities and a longer lifespan.

Starting at $99; Yahoo! Shopping










Bose SIE2i

(Photo courtesy of Bose)

Bose SIE2i

Bose teamed with Reebok to create a total athletic headphone package with the SIE2i. They put Bose’s renowned sound quality into a stable, sweat- and water-resistant chassis that features a hydrophobic cloth cord and a Reebok Fitness armband to keep your smartphone or mp3 player out of the way. The result is a high-end, fully functional sound system so you can rock out on your workout. The three-button in-line remote makes calls and track changes easy, so you can keep the momentum—and motivation—going. The SIE2i had sound quality to match some of its higher-ranked competition, but its heavy price tag dragged it down our list.

Starting at $150; Yahoo! Shopping




Yurbuds Inspire Duro

(Photo courtesy of Yurbuds)

Yurbuds Inspire Duro

Built for serious wear and tear, the unique Inspire Duro headphones twist into place in the outer reaches of your ear canal for a comfortable fit that won’t fall out. Because of the ergonomic shape, they stay put but also pull out easily when you need to hear outside sounds. The sweatproof nature of the headphones extends from the speaker covering to the soft, tangle-free cloth cord that wears well next to skin and rinses off just the same.

Starting at $50; Yahoo! Shopping





Polk Audio UltraFit 3000

(Photo courtesy of Polk Audio)

Polk Audio UltraFit 3000

The Ultrafit 3000 is Polk Audio’s all-in-one sports machine. Built to stay put during the most vigorous of exercises, the full-spectrum speakers are constructed with adjustable ear clips to eliminate any slippage. The cords—with their Kevlar core and cloth exterior—are tough and don’t get tangled like plastic does. The three-button, in-line control is simple to use, and seven different eartips ensure a custom fit. Completely sweat- and moisture-resistant, the Ultrafit 3000s are happy with a rinse when your workout is done.

Starting at $80; Yahoo! Shopping



Denon Exercise Freak

(Photo courtesy of Denon)

Denon Exercise Freak

More geek than freak, the Denon wireless sports headphone is a full-featured exercise tool with integrated amplifier that delivers superior sound for those who like the in-ear experience. The sweatproof earpiece has a swivel arm that allows for maximum adjustment to the ear tips to achieve the fullest sound. There’s even a reflective tab on the band for night runs.

Starting at $150; Yahoo! Shopping



JLab GO 4GB

(Photo courtesy of JLab)

JLab GO 4GB

Swim much? Fully submersible, the JLab GO allows you to take 800 or more of your favorite songs, literally, into the water. Simply plug the mini USB (the port is protected by a watertight, twist-and-lock plug) into your computer to update your playlist and charge the 10-hour battery. These headphones have seven pairs of soft silicone tips for a comfortable fit and a satisfying, tonally-balanced sound.


$100 (on sale now for $30); jlabaudio.com


Click to see More of the Best Headphones for Working Out



More from The Active Times:

6 Worthless Exercises and What to Do Instead

Workouts That Shape Hollywood

12 At-Home Remedies for a Sunburn

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Peta Murgatroyd Bra Selfie Reminds Us Post-Baby Body Expectations Are Ridiculous

      The “post-baby body” obsession has, unfortunately, seemingly taken over our culture. Instead of marveling at the fact that women bring forth life from…

      Hello Giggles
    • Texas teacher who had sex almost daily with 13-year-old student gets 10 years in prison

      A former Texas middle-school teacher who was impregnated by a 13-year-old student has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Alexandria Vera, 25, was facing up to 30 years behind bars after pleading guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child in November. She admitted to police that a relationship that started with Instagram messages between her and the boy blossomed into a romance — one that the boy’s family approved of. A judge in the 209th District Court in Houston said during Vera’s sentencing hearing on Friday that he does not believe the former English teacher is a danger to children or a classic pedophile, the Houston Chronicle reported. But Judge Michael McSpadden said he wants to send

      Washington Post q
    • ‘Fame Can Change Things’: Aaron Rodgers’ Family Opens Up About Their Rift

      NFL star Aaron Rodgers’ father Ed Rodgers has opened up in a new interview with The New York Times about his family’s strained relationship with the Green Bay Packers quarterback. “With all the craziness that comes along with the media and the show, it would have been much harder to do it not living together,” Jordan said of moving in together.

      People
    • Jessica Alba threw a pajama party with a bunch of celebrity friends, and everyone’s PJ game was on point

      If there’s one thing we love, it’s celebs. And if there’s two things we love, it’s pajama parties. Needless to say, a…

      Hello Giggles
    • How to enable the ‘dark mode’ feature hiding in your iPhone browser right now

      Apple's iOS 10 software is packed full of new features. In fact, there are so many new features that it's impossible to remember them all, which is why we often publish collections of lesser-known tips and tricks. A perfect example is this collection of 5 iPhone features only power users know about  — we always want to help people get the most out of their smartphones. When iOS 10 was first released as a closed beta last summer during WWDC 2016, developers instantly began picking it apart. In doing so, they stumbled upon a fantastic looking "dark mode" feature hiding inside iOS . The good news is it was there. The bad news, as we all know, is that it wasn't enabled when iOS 10 was finally released in September. Rumors suggest that a new " theater mode " might be introduced in iOS 10.3, but nothing has been confirmed at this point. What you might not know, however, is that there's already a dark mode feature hidden inside your iPhone browser. Night Shift is a nifty new feature Apple introduced in iOS 10 that reduces the amount of blue light emitted by an iPhone or iPad display at night. It theoretically helps users sleep better, but it doesn't do anything to make text more visible in low light situations. For that, you need "dark mode," which switches things up and makes the background black with light colored text. Dark mode is available in many third-party iOS apps and even a handful of first-party apps. Sadly, however, there's no system-wide dark mode feature for the time being. That said, there's actually a special dark mode in Safari that most people don't know about, and it'll let you read just about any article on the web in light text on a black background. Here's how to enable it: 1) First, load any article in Safari (if you're reading this Safari on an iPhone or iPad, you're good to go). 2) Tap the reader mode icon in the left corner of the URL bar. You'll then see something that looks like this: 3) Tap the "aA" icon in the right corner of the URL bar and you'll get a drop down menu that looks like this: 4) Tap the black circle all the way to the right in the top row of the drop down menu. Presto — you've just enabled dark mode in Safari: Here's what your screen will look like once you start scrolling around: In-line pictures will still display normally, but the rest of the page will be dark, as pictured above. It's not the system-wide dark mode we've all been waiting for, but people spend a tremendous amount of time reading in Safari, so this should be a big improvement at night.

      BGR News
    • Boston reporter gives obnoxious Steelers fan huge shove after he dives into live shot

      In the latest example of unruly fans thinking it’s hilarious to interrupt a reporter’s live shot comes this moment from 7 News Boston sports anchor Joe Amorosino: The drama began when a man wearing a Steelers hat dove into the shot, and yelled ‘Steelers’. Amorosino, not hesitating, shoved him out of the shot and continued on with his report, which he concluded: “Bring those Steelers into New England next week for that knucklehead and they’ll do the same thing to him.”

      For The Win q
    • China claimed its troops can reach New Delhi in 48 hours and everyone cracked the same joke

      Over the weekend, Indian Twitter found amusement in the not-so-amusing.  After China TV reported that Chinese troops would take only 48 hours to reach New Delhi in case of a war, Indians got chatty — and catty — about it. SEE ALSO: China is about to kick America's butt in renewable energy It all began when The International Spectator picked up the news.  And Indians spoke of the roadblocks, literally, en route to Delhi.  Some were funny anyway. And the rest were concerned. Rightly so.  And "realistic" we have to be. No one wants a war right? BONUS: Trump's 5-year-old granddaughter Arabella is huge in China

      Mashable q
    • 5 Totally Brilliant Netflix Series You Should Be Watching (5 photos)

      You're all queued up for a Netflix-and-chill night, but what to watch? You could turn on Friends for the 10943284th time. Or you could (gasp!) watch something new. There are, of course, the Netflix gold-standard series: House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Crown. But assuming you've already watched all those, we have you covered: These five series gems will make you glad you have a Netflix account/your roommate's password. VIDEO: The 20 Best TV Shows of 2016 Happy streaming!

      InStyle
    • San Diego Moving Companies Are Refusing To Help The Chargers Move To L.A.

      The Chargers are leaving San Diego for Los Angeles. As is the case when sports teams relocate, fans are mad. It’s understandable you’re angry and feel betrayed, but this should be a lesson for everyone all over the world — sports teams are nothing more than corporate entities out to take your money.

      UPROXX
    • ‘DWTS' Pro Peta Murgatroyd Opens Up About Post-Baby Body

      Peta Murgatroyd doesn't mind the weight gain if it meant bringing Shai into the world.

      International Business Times
    • Georgia constituent pens open letter to Rep. John Lewis

      Woman shares her message on 'Fox & Friends'

      FOX News Videos
    • Christmas price tag feels like holiday snub

      Dear Amy: My 17-year-old daughter and I are still trying to recover from a Christmas snub. In our family, we draw names and have a $50 budget. My daughter's cousin drew her name and had purchased the item my daughter wanted, but he bought a smaller size than she wears and the gift cost about $30. She is upset that he didn't spend the designated amount. This also happened on Christmas Day with her aunt and grandmother, who both went under budget with their gifts to her, but over budget with their gifts to other nieces. We don't want to seem ungrateful and would like your thoughts on what to do about this, if anything. How can this be addressed? Dear Mom: Your daughter responded to a gift by (first)

      Chicago Tribune q
    • Aaron Rodgers' Father Gets Candid About Their Estrangement: 'Fame Can Change Things'

      Ed Rodgers spoke with the 'New York Times' about his son's rift with the family.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady Cuddle Up at Boston Park Following Patriots Win

      The retired model and her quarterback husband were spotted for the first time together in months, appearing very much in love while watching a hockey game at a Boston park over the weekend. Brady, 39, whose team took home a victory on Saturday night, kept a tight squeeze on his wife while wearing a fur-trimmed Canada Goose parka and a black cap.

      People
    • Rogue One's reshoots show how Disney saved the first standalone Star Wars movie

      Now that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been out in theaters for a month, the veil of secrecy has been lifted and we’ve learned quite a lot about about how the film came together. Disney put an enormous amount of effort into Rogue One, bringing in writer and director Tony Gilroy in June to help fix up the film by writing new dialogue and directing some additional scenes, earning a screenplay credit for the film and a reportedly hefty $5 million paycheck for his efforts. Gareth Edwards appears to have taken an unorthodox approach to filming Rogue One.

      The Verge q
    • The Latest: Trump promises health insurance for all

      WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):

      Associated Press
    • Chargers admit mistake, drop new LA logo after criticism

      The Chargers have dropped their new LA logo, which bore an uncanny resemblance to that of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      Omnisport
    • Parents’ Night Out! Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian Make Joint Club Appearance in the Big Apple

      Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian turned their first official outing as a duo — since becoming parents — into a date night in New York City. Kardashian, 29, went for a more casual look, pairing white sneakers with a comfy black ensemble. Chyna also documented the night out on Snapchat, playing with different filters as upbeat music played.

      People
    • Inside Edition
    • Ciara Posts Family Picture After Cheeky Move From Ex Future

      Singer Ciara just clapped back at her ex, Future, after the latter showed up during her husband Russell Wilson's game.

      International Business Times