While the phrase “No Pain, No Gain” may be an axiom that many gym enthusiasts abide by, it shouldn’t extend to your headphones. Loose-fitting headphones that aren’t comfortable (or worse, sweat-resistant), can make you distracted during reps and cause some ear aches after prolonged use.
Luckily, audio companies have come a long way in providing better support for earbuds while adjusting their hardware to better work under pressure without sacrificing audio quality. Whether you’re on the treadmill, hoofing it on a bike, or hitting the weights, you should have the freedom of movement and a distraction-free workout. And that comes with the right pair of headphones.
There are a few things to look out for when deciding which pair is right for you:
- Fit and comfort: The most important factor to consider when buying workout headphones is fit and comfort. You don’t want headphones that are going to fall out while you’re working out, or that are going to be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. There are a variety of different headphone designs to choose from, so it’s important to try on a few different pairs before you buy to make sure you find a pair that fits well.
- Sweat and water resistance: If you’re going to be sweating a lot while you’re working out, you’ll need headphones that are sweat and water resistant. Look for headphones that have an IP rating of at least IPX4, which means they can withstand splashes of water.
- Battery life: If you’re going to be using your headphones for long workouts, you’ll need headphones with a long battery life. Look for headphones that have a battery life of at least 6 hours.
- Sound quality: Of course, you’ll also want headphones that sound good. Look for headphones with good bass response and clear highs.
- Price: Workout headphones can range in price from around $50 to $200. It’s important to set a budget before you start shopping so that you don’t overspend.
These workout-ready headphones will keep you in the zone and your playlist going at the gym or on the trail.
Beats Powerbeats Pro
The OG of the audio world, the ubiquitous B can be found throughout gyms, airport lounges, and sidewalks alike. The Powerbeats Pro take all of the best features of previous generations and make them perfectly adapted to working out. With a reinforced exterior, the Powerbeats Pro are water- and sweat-resistant, while also being slim and comfortable for longterm wear. With over nine hours of listening time, it’s a great option for those on a long commute who need to grab a workout before heading home. Most interesting of all for this pair of headphones is the audio sharing capabilities to share songs, podcasts, or movies between other Beats or Airpods, making a workout twice as fun with your gym buddy.
Nothing Ear (2)
A sleek option for everyday use or for the gym, the Nothing Ear (2) features audio quality that adapts to your personal preference and surroundings, making for a distraction-free workout. With over 36 hours of battery life, it’s got a lot packed into its super-lightweight design (coming in at just .16 ounces). After just 10 minutes of charging, it can last for eight hours, meaning even if you forget to charge, you can do it while you’re in the lockerroom changing. With water resistance and noise canceling functionality, the Nothing Ear (2) is for those who want to marry design and technology into one.
Apple Airpods Pro
As one of the market leaders in the audio world, Apple Airpods Pro leads by example, not following trends. With a comfortable design and a sleek branding, Airpods remain the everyday favorite that can easily integrate into your workout routine. With adaptive spatial audio, they’re a great option for those who are looking for a pair of headphones that can keep up with a loud gym. With only six hours of battery life, though, one should keep their charger handy for all-day use if out on the trails or on their way to work after the gym.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
Bose has been putting out quality headphones for years and their QuietComfort series shows the culmination of decades of excellence. An earbud with a small footprint, these Bose QuietComfort II has multiple audio modes to adapt to your environments (because you probably don’t want to be totally tuned out of the world if you’re running at night, let’s say). Speaking of the noise-cancelling technology, Bose uses an adaptive technology that’s unique to each wearer’s ear canal for maximum quality. With sweat resistance and six hours of battery, it’s a great all-around option for those who want the most of the audio excellence of Bose, though you’ll need to hit the charger more often than some other options.
Mojawa Mojo 2
Perhaps the most innovative headphones on the market, Mojawa uses bone conduction as their means of audio versus through the ear canal. Basically, the music pumps through your cheekbones, leaving your ears open. By using bone conduction, you don’t have to worry about being deaf to your environment, reducing any risk or harm if you’re one to workout in public places. Water-resistant, built for comfort, and with eight hours or playback, this is a new way to listen to music while keeping comfort and safety as the top priority.
Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport
Master & Dynamic has made a name for itself as a luxury option for audiophiles. Case in point: Kendall Roy sports a pair on Succession. They’ve taken the same care and attention to quality from the other models and put it into a compact earbud perfect for exercising. Coming in a sleek array of colors, the MW08 Sport is a balance between form and function, making it as much an accessory at the gym as it is a necessity. It boasts noise-canceling capabilities, ambient listening modes for outdoor awareness, and a shatter-resistant finish, so it’s built to last. You’re looking at an impressive 42-hour battery life and a total integration with your iPhone or Android, giving you a seamless integration way beyond the gym.