Best Bluetooth headphones for running

Run with freedom by connecting your smartwatch to a pair of these
Bluetooth headphones for running

When it comes to buying the perfect pair of Bluetooth headphones for running, things just got a lot smarter. The latest models can check heart rate from the ear and monitor a host of other fitness metrics, making them powerful training tools.

The focus has very much been on wrist-based heart rate monitors, such as the Garmin Forerunner 35, Fitbit Charge 2, and, of course, Apple Watch Series 2.

However, our testing of the latest biometric headphones has shown them to be incredibly accurate. The thin skin in the ear makes readings easier to take, and we've found headphones can be more responsive to changes in heart rate than wrist-based counterparts.

It's not all plain-sailing. You'll pretty much need to use a phone to track your workout if you opt for headphones, which is great for music listening, but less comfortable if you need to strap a phablet to your arm. And obviously watches are much more adept at displaying your heart rate in real time, making them more useful, if less accurate, for training.

Wareable's top pick

Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition

Best Bluetooth headphones for running

The Jabra Sport Pulse are great all-round sports headphones that track your activity as well as supplying your ears with block rocking beats. The solid sound and range of data that's collected is impressive, although they're likely to be used as well as a dedicated sports watch, rather than as an alternative.


We found the response of the optical heart rate tech to be spot on, even matching a chest strap for accuracy. The app is also brilliant, with guided workouts and a focus on VO2 Max, as well as standard running and fitness metrics. It's not perfect however, as you'll have to reconcile running with your smartphone.

Read our Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition review for the full lowdown.

$159.99, jabra.com | Amazon

Best for sound

Bose SoundSport Pulse

Bose's first optical heart rate headphones play nicely with RunKeeper and Endomondo, although the company is vague on other fitness apps. Designed for a tight fit to reduce that irritating feeling of wireless headphones falling out, Bose has also released its own Bose Connect app, which will show heart rate data in real time. While we can't vouch for accuracy, sound quality is assured and it's great to see a big player like Bose getting into the game.

Wareable verdict: Bose SoundSport Pulse in-depth review

$199.99, bose.com | Amazon

Best for swimming

Bragi Dash headphones

Bragi Dash headphones are a pair of super-connected buds that can track your pace, heart rate and distance right from your ears. On the music front there's even 4GB of storage for tunes, which means you can leave your running watch and smartphone at home. Dash is waterproof up to a metre and will track running, cycling and swimming, making them a good fit for budding triathletes.

Wareable verdict: Bragi Dash review

$249.99, bragi.com | Amazon

Best for Samsung users

Samsung Gear Icon X

More day-to-day headphones than a pure sports offering, Samsung's Icon X boast 4GB for your running beats and a charging case to keep them powered up when you're about and about.

When it comes to sports the IconX has a built-in accelerometer plus optical HR to track movement, bpm and distance travelled, spitting out a calorie burn at the end of the workout. Obviously it works with Samsung's S Health app but also Endomondo, MapMyRun, Runkeeper and Strava, too. The big downside, however, is the complex set up process with the Android companion app – and the lack of iOS support.

Check out our full Samsung Icon X review.

$169.99, samsung.com | Amazon

Best for leaving your phone at home

Sony Smart B-Trainer

Sony Smart B-Trainer: Walkman, tracker

The Smart B-Trainer packs GPS, an accelerometer and heart rate monitoring in the right earpiece. There's also audio fitness coaching and it suggests what music tracks to play to match your heart rate. They're also fully waterproof but there's no specific pool based workouts. There's 16GB of storage for your music and the compatible runs on iPhone and Android.

Read this: We run with the Sony Smart B-Trainer

$199.99, smartsports.sony.net |Amazon

Best for budget

SMS Audio BioSport

Developed in an unlikely partnership between PC chip-making behemoth Intel and rapper 50cent, the SMS Audio Biosport headphones track your heart rate, sync with running app Runkeeper and are completely waterproof. The most incredible part, however, is that they can harvest energy from the sound jack itself, so you don't have to charge them to keep tabs on your ticker. Downside, slightly uncomfortable for some and limited compatible apps. They're going crazy cheap right now, however.

Essential reading: SMS Audio BioSport headphones review

$19.99, intel.com | Amazon

Best for cutting edge tech

Vi fitness coach

Vi's headphones – made by LifeBEAM – feature bpm and heart rate variability sensors and capture data on motion, elevation for serious sports stats. The idea is to deliver actionable insights on weight loss optimisation, injury prevention, running technique and provide adaptive training plans live to your ears. It's fully backed on Kickstarter, but won't deliver until December (at best).

$249, Kickstarter

19 Comments

  • ldiastx says:

    PowerBeats is the way to go..... Pair them up with some Comply Foam Ear Bud tips and you have a perfect fit

  • Timk80 says:

    BackBeat FIT is by far the best of all! I've tested them all (Beats, Jaybird, Denon)

  • Jerapah says:

    Plantronics are excellent (and you can get them much cheaper than it says here) - they dont give you any "cool" branding points, but they just work, and that will do for me.

    • sbumba says:

      I've had two pair of the Backbeat FIT's and they've both just flat quit on me. I'd be happy if they just "work". 

  • hartley says:

    Mpow Swift $19.99

  • hartley says:

    Mpow Swift $19.99 and DC Rainmaker's fave.

    • fxfx says:

      They are the same as the Aukey, the picture in the article is not accurate.

  • Sam654 says:

    I've had 3 sets of the Jabra Wireless Sports Pulse, each last 2 months before dying (I get warranty replacements) due to battery issues. The battery life is pretty bad anyway at 3hrs. Otherwise fit, sound quality, features etc. these are awesome. I really made massive efforts to use the case and treat the 3rd pair really well, so I've no idea why they all die at the 2 month mark. I use them daily for 30-60 minutes.

  • cyberhog says:

    I am using my old Sennheiser MM100 open on-ear BT sport headphones all the time and I see nothing that replaces them in this list. They are not waterproof, you cannot use it lying down and the mic sucks, but it has become an addiction for me when I am on the move due to the great sound - for the price.

    What is your recommended replacement when they reach end of life...?

  • afirsttechs says:

    its a magic headphone like this

    • afirsttechs says:

      please delete this comment because it connected to 404 page,  I tried to replace the link but I can't

  • csjsound says:

    Really nice collection of bluetooth wireless headphones but I love "Bragi Dash" ear buds. Thanks for sharing this informative blog.

  • nicolehorner says:

    I got myself these:

    http://no-fuel.org/product/sentey-b-trek-h10-bluet...

    They are great and affordable, not like these listed here for 500$!! Foldable, with improved sound for PC, Mac and SmartPhones..

  • Exsosus says:

    Been using the Bragis for about a week and i really appreciate them as I can listen to music in my ears in the shower each morning, and go for a swim. Its important to stay within 1 meter depth. I like them because I don't have to take them out, except for when my ears want breaks. There's a transparency option, that when enabled you hear the outside world better than when you're not wearing them (enhanced hearing).

  • Kiki says:

    aftershokz trekz titanium you should try this 

  • Sunilcse04 says:

    mpow n jabra  the most economical..

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