Best headphones for working out: Suggestions for fitness enthusiasts

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Woman wearing sport headphones

The right rhythm can propel a workout from mundane to exhilarating. As fitness regimes diversify, so do audio needs, and the market is buzzing with headphone options to cater to every whim of the modern athlete. Whether you prefer over-ear headphones, the convenience of wireless earbuds, or the airy feel of open-ear earbuds that keep you connected to your surroundings, finding the perfect pair means considering factors like comfort, sound quality, and durability. But with choices aplenty, how do you determine the best fit for your workout? Here are some suggestions.

The multi-faceted audio landscape of modern workouts

There are almost as many headphone types as there are audio options for working out. Some people like in-ears, others want over-ear headphones. Similarly, soul-pounding bass is not for everyone: there are now a wide array of options to help you get the most from your exercise routine.

  • High-octane beats: Whether it’s the latest pop hit or an adrenaline-pumping rock anthem, music remains a staple for most workouts.
  • Podcasts & audiobooks: Multitaskers are blending mental stimulation with physical exertion, catching up on a riveting storyline or absorbing a new piece of knowledge.
  • Guided sessions: Digital trainers, through apps or online platforms, offer real-time coaching, from calming yoga instructions to high-intensity interval training commands.
  • Ambient sounds: Some prefer the calming sounds of nature or instrumental tunes for a centered, focused session, especially during stretching or meditation.

Why choose specialized headphones for working out?

Man working out with headphones.

Given these diverse audio needs, selecting the right headphones is crucial. Additionally, when exercising you need sweat-resistant headphones designed to provide comfort during vigorous movement and offer the right balance between noise isolation and environmental awareness. When choosing workout headphones, consider the following essential features: 

  • Water and sweat resistance: Essential for intense exercise sessions. 
  • Stability and fit: Secure fit for all movements.
  • Sound quality: Crystal clear audio to keep you motivated.
  • Battery life: Long-lasting battery for uninterrupted workouts.

Wireless vs. wired options 

Wireless headphones provide freedom of movement and are especially good for running or gym workouts. Wired options, though less convenient, may offer better sound quality. Consider your activity and preferences when choosing between wireless headphones and wired ones. 

Headphones tailored for fitness needs

Here are the common types of headphones chosen by active people like yourself:

true wireless earbuds
  1. True wireless earbuds for the unrestricted athlete
    • Why they shine: Active noise cancellation for immersive sound, a secure fit, sweat and water resistance, and a quick-charging, long-lasting battery.
    • Pros: Impressive sound quality, water resistance, compact design, and a comfortable fit.
over-ear headphones
  1. Over-ear headphones for the deep immersion seeker
    • Why they shine: Industry-leading noise cancellation, extended battery life, touch controls, and unparalleled sound quality. Although bulkier, they’re ideal for stationary workouts.
    • Pros: Robust noise cancellation, comfort for extended wear, and reliable battery life.
Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones
  1. Open ear headphones for the safety-conscious outdoor enthusiast
    • Why they shine: Open ear headphones don’t create a seal in your ear canal, so you can stay tuned into your environment—ideal for joggers and cyclists who need to be aware of their surroundings.
    • Pros: Lightweight, water-resistant, don’t put pressure on ears or block ambiant noise (safer for activities near roads).
Wired earphones
  1. Wired earphones for the no-fuss, direct connection loyalist
    • Why they shine: Stellar audio quality with three drivers, ergonomic design, and a tangle-free cable.
    • Pros: Direct connection to audio signal for improved audio quality.

What to look for in headphones for specific workouts

Woman wearing headphones doing yoga
  • Running: For runners, lightweight headphones that resist weather are essential. The best headphones for running will stay securely in place, offer breathability to prevent overheating, and provide a balance between noise isolation and environmental awareness for safety.
  • Gym workouts: When hitting the gym, noise cancellation earbuds can help you focus on your routine without distractions. Look for headphones that provide solid sound quality, with a comfortable fit to stay in place during various exercises. Wireless earbuds can be a great option for the gym, allowing unrestricted movement.
  • Yoga: For yoga practitioners, headphones should offer a comfortable fit and calming sound experience. Wireless in-ear headphones or over-ear headphones with cushioning provide the comfort needed for different poses. Features like adjustable EQ settings can help tailor the sound for relaxation.
  • Outdoor workouts: Whether hiking, biking, or climbing, outdoor activities require headphones with durability and awareness of surroundings. Look for rugged design, water resistance, and features like ambient sound mode to stay aware of environmental noises.
  • Group workouts: In group workouts, portability and hygiene considerations are vital. Easy-to-clean headphones that can be thrown into a gym bag without worry are great for these scenarios. Look for models that provide personalization options if sharing with others.
  • Swimming: Swimming workouts require specialized waterproof headphones. Look for those specifically designed for underwater use, with secure fits to stay in place during laps.
  • Cycling: For cyclists, headphones that offer environmental awareness and a secure fit are paramount. Wireless earbuds with adjustable wingtips and ambient sound features allow cyclists to stay connected to their surroundings while enjoying their favourite tunes.
  • Weightlifting: When lifting weights, stable headphones that don’t interfere with movements are key. Over-ear headphones with proper cushioning or wireless earbuds that don’t protrude much can be excellent options. The ability to handle sweat is also essential.
  • Dance workouts: For dance workouts, headphones must provide a great sound experience and remain secure during high-energy movements. Look for those with a secure but comfortable fit, providing rich bass and clear highs to motivate your dance steps.
  • Cross-training: Cross-training involves varied movements and intensity, requiring versatile headphones. Look for models with adjustable fit options, durability against drops and impacts, and sweat resistance. Wireless options with long battery life can support those extended cross-training sessions. 

By understanding the specific needs of each workout activity, you can find the perfect pair of headphones to enhance your exercise experience. Whether it’s the convenience of wireless options or the immersive sound of over-ear models, there’s a suitable choice for every fitness enthusiast. 

Budget considerations for workout headphones

Woman wearing headphones for cycling

Quality doesn’t always mean expensive, and it’s entirely possible to find great earbuds and in-ear headphones without breaking the bank. Understanding your specific needs and focusing on essential features can help you get the best value. Some affordable options provide robust sound, durability, and comfort, and shopping in sales and looking for models at places like headphones under $100 can present some surprising quality choices. Investing wisely in the features most crucial for your workouts allows you to save without sacrificing essential qualities. 

Top brands and models 

Best Buy carries a huge range of highly reputable brands of headphones. Look for models that are compatible with the audio source you will be using. For example, iPhone users often prefer Apple headphone models like the popular AirPods. Samsung and Google devices also have compatible options. Style is important too, and many fitness enthusiasts prefer the more compact profile of the many other popular brands including Sony, Samsung, Bose, Jlab, Jabra … and many others.

Taking care of your workout headphones 

Proper cleaning, storage, and understanding of the warranty are important to extend the life of your headphones. After workouts, wiping down the earpieces to remove sweat and dirt helps maintain both hygiene and function. Storing them in a protective case minimizes wear and tear, especially for those always on the go. Investing in quality isn’t just about purchasing the headphones; it’s about taking proper care of them. Understanding the manufacturer’s warranty and support services can also save you hassle and money if an issue arises. 

Personalization and extras 

When choosing workout headphones, personalization can make your experience more enjoyable. Many modern headphones offer customizable sound profiles, allowing you to tailor the audio to your preferences through companion apps. Extras like adjustable EQ settings and noise isolation features provide the control to create the ideal sound environment. Additionally, aesthetic considerations like colours, design, and materials can align with your style and personality. Whether you prefer sleek black or vibrant colours, the right headphones should not only perform well but also look great, reflecting your unique style. 

Beats headphones

Finding the right pair for you

The right headphones can be game-changers in achieving your fitness goals, transforming routines, and providing the motivation or focus you need. By considering your workout style and audio preferences, you can find the perfect pair to complement and elevate every session. Consider the above factors, explore the full array of headphones available, and find the pair that resonates with your workout routine.


This article was drafted using AI technology and then reviewed, fact-checked, and revised by a member of our editorial team.

Best Buy (assisted with AI)
Best Buy is exploring ways to use AI technology to help us craft engaging content for our customers and fellow tech enthusiasts. It is important to us that we provide you with articles that are timely, accurate, and helpful, which is why our amazing team of writers and editors review, fact-check, and revise any AI-generated content before we post it on our blog. Learn more about our Policy on the Use of Generative AI Content.

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