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, the options on offer are as smart as ever. The latest hearable 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, the Apple Watch Series 2 smartwatch.

Read this: Best GPS running watches to buy

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, though. You'll most likely need 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.

Whether you're training for a marathon or just picking up the running shoes for the first time, here's our pick of the best smart Bluetooth headphones to go out running with.

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.

Read this: The big VO2 Max test

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 running without wires

Jabra Sport Elite

Best Bluetooth headphones for running

If you prefer the features mentioned above crammed inside a pair of wireless buds, then the Elite are a good fit. You'll get the same great sound quality, secure fit and access to Jabra's great companion app. While the Bragi Dash opts for touch sensitive controls, we much prefer the physical buttons to control music playback when you're getting sweaty.


While we did have a few issues with the optical heart monitor, these are still an all round great pair of sporty in-ears. There's even automatic rep counting, which comes in handy when you're giving the running shoes a rest and heading to the gym instead.

Wareable verdict: Jabra Sport Elite in-depth review

$249.99, jabra.com | Amazon

Best for sound

Bose SoundSport Pulse

Best Bluetooth headphones for running

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.

A similar story is present with the Under Armour Wireless Sport Heart Rate headphones, which provide crisp sound but fall slightly short in the accuracy department.

Wareable verdict: Bose SoundSport Pulse in-depth review

$199.99, bose.com | Amazon

Best for multi-sport tracking

Bragi Dash Pro headphones

Best Bluetooth headphones for running

Bragi's second generation Dash brings everything we loved about the original and propels it to the next level. It's now got five hours of battery life rather than three, real-time translation thanks to iTranslate, a '4D menu' that lets you use head gestures to navigate menus and automatic activity training.

And if you have a bit of extra cash in your back pocket, you can also opt for the Dash Pro tailored by Starkey, which will allow you to go to an audiologist and get a Dash Pro customized for your ear. While fitness tracking left us a little unsatisfied, this is an impressively smart hearable.

Wareable verdict: Bragi Dash Pro review

$329, bragi.com | Amazon

Best for Samsung users

Samsung Gear Icon X

Best Bluetooth headphones for running

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 setup process with the Android companion app – and the lack of iOS support.

Check out our full Samsung Icon X review.

$139.99, samsung.com | Amazon

Best for budget

SMS Audio BioSport

Best Bluetooth headphones for running

Developed in an unlikely partnership between PC chip-making behemoth Intel and rapper 50 Cent, 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, in comparison to rivals.

Essential reading: SMS Audio BioSport headphones review

$53.95, smsaudio.com | Amazon

Best for cutting edge tech

Vi fitness coach

Best Bluetooth headphones for running

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.

We're currently putting the headphones through their paces in order to provide a full verdict, with shipments of the devices recently rolling out to backers of the company's Kickstarter campaign.

$249, getvi.com | Amazon


15 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

    • j.stables says:

      Big fan of the PowerBeats 2. 

    • YUNO says:

      Interestingly, they do not appear in this article. They must not pay their quotas.

  • 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...?

  • 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..

  • Dipankar says:

    Check out the Rowkin earbud's reviews. I'm just so impressed by its features and price that I think I'm gonna get one for me soon!

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