The Best Wireless Earbuds for Working Out

Luxurious over-the-ear headphones are plush and comfortable, and they sound great. But for most everyday activities—working out, traveling, and wandering around my house pretending to put things away—I much prefer a pair of convenient, durable, wireless workout buds. Since I started testing them, their sound and comfort have improved dramatically. I trail run, hike, work on my yard, lift weights, and watch mildly embarrassing barre and yoga videos on my laptop, all while testing the best wireless workout headphones around.

If you like listening to music while scrambling up stony slopes or mowing your lawn, here are a bunch of WIRED’s favorite pairs. We’ve worn and sweated on all of them. Don’t see anything you like? Check out our Best Wirefree Earbuds, Best Cheap Headphones, Best Bluetooth Speakers, or any of our other buying guides for more.

Updated February 2022: We removed older picks and added new ones, like the Shokz OpenRun Pro.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

  • view of runner running across crosswalk

    Photograph: Philippa Langley/Getty Images

    A Few Pointers

    Should I Get Wired or Wireless Headphones?

    Which buds are right for you? A surprising number of people still prefer corded headphones. When you’re going on a long run, the last thing you want to do is stand on your front porch, shivering in your shorts, trying to figure out why the right earbud isn’t connected. But for obvious reasons, wireless headphones are much more convenient when doing other strenuous physical activities.

    I recommend investing in a pair that has ear hooks, clips, or fins to hold them securely in place; you can also buy ear hooks a la carte online. A tight, secure seal ensures that you get that big bass sound to power you through the last mile. Everyone’s ears are different, and your left might even be different from your right. Don’t be afraid to try mismatching sizes of ear tips or fins for a better fit.

  • Photograph: Best Buy

    Best Overall

    Jabra Elite 7 Active

    We’ve recommended Jabras for years because of their small size, great sound, and comfortable fit. I’ve liked several pairs, but the Elite 7 Active are the best. Not only are they 16 percent smaller than Jabra’s previous smallest buds, but they have a new, soft silicone rubber ear tip that holds the buds securely in my tiny ears. They’ve stayed in place while running outside and under a beanie, plus they’re comfortable enough for me to wear while doing chores around the house. 

    The Sound+ app lets you customize the level of hear-through, meaning you can choose to let in more ambient noise if you’re running outside or washing dishes, or less if you’re in a gym. You can customize the hearing profile for listening to podcasts versus hip hop. They’re IP57-rated, which means that they’re dustproof and can be submerged in water up to one meter. They have 8 hours of battery life and up to 30 hours in the case. I’ve charged them only once or twice in the past month. However, if these are a bit pricey, the Elite 4 Active ($120) are cheaper, if a little bigger. 

  • Photograph: JLab

    Best Cheap Buds

    JLab Audio Go Air Sport

    We’ve recently tested a whole slew of affordable buds (I’ve recommended another pair that I like below) but JLab’s wins by virtue of being the best value. The Go Air Sport are the sport version of the insanely affordable Go Air (8/10, WIRED Recommends), with a slight markup for over-ear hooks and case with a cover. 

    You just can’t find buds with quality this good for this price. They come in a nice case with a built-in USB charger. The touch controls are easy to remember and not too sensitive; I don’t accidentally turn off my music or turn up the volume whenever I adjust my hair or my hat. They have a solid 30 hours of battery life when you recharge them in the case—I wore them for two weeks for a few hours each day while running and walking my dog, and I never had to recharge them. And the Bluetooth connection is stronger than in other affordable earbuds that I’ve tried; I don’t have to be wary about walking around a corner, away from my phone. As a bonus, they also come in a wide array of playful colors.