Best sports headphones: great headphones for running and the gym

Best sports headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best sports headphones you can buy in 2019.

Music makes most things better in our experience and if ever there's a time that you could do with a pleasant distraction, it's when you're getting a sweat on in an effort to burn a few calories.

Whether you like going to the gym, running or working out at home, we suggest a musical accompaniment. The best sports headphones will deliver great sound while offering sweat-resistant designs that stay in place.

From cheap true wireless buds that completely remove the wire, to in-ear wireless earphones and even Bluetooth over-ears, these are the best running headphones and best gym headphones we've reviewed.

Best sports headphones

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

1. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

A truly exceptional pair of true wireless earbuds.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 9hr | Charging: Micro USB | In-line mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy
Detailed, insightful sound
Reliable Bluetooth
Long battery life
Reasons to Avoid
Some may find the fit difficult

If top value sound quality from true wireless earbuds is what you're after for a pair of gym headphones, Cambridge Audio has answered your prayers. For an affordable price, the Melomania 1 earphones deliver an open, detailed sound that's hard to beat without spending more money.

A good fit is essential, and, due to the length of the earpiece itself, that might not be as easy to come by for everybody, but their sonic talent is such that it's worth the effort and potential purchase of extra buds.

With nine hours battery life from the buds themselves, plus four additional charges from the case, that means an impressive 45 hours of continuous use from this little set-up. There's no noise cancelling, but it is clear Cambridge Audio's focus has been on great sound over bonus features.

Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Best sports headphones

2. Sony WF-1000X

Proper wireless in-ear headphones with serious sonic skills.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: n/a | Cable length: n/a | In-line remote and mic: n/a | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 3 hours (9 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy
Excellent with timing and dynamics
Truly wireless
Decent noise-cancelling
Reasons to Avoid
Occasional right earpiece connection issue

We had to wait a while for a five-star pair of truly wireless earphones but Sony finally delivered the goods with the WF-1000X buds. The sound is excellent and you even get decent noise-cancelling to help drown out your gym's music selection.The neat carry case doubles as a charger and can be used to stretch out the battery life to nine hours. You also get the benefit of voice-controlled Google Assistant and Siri. The best headphones for running and the gym? Quite possibly.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000X

(Image credit: Bose)

3. Bose SoundSport Wireless

A fine pair of wireless in-ears, directly aimed at sporty types. They're comfy and sound great too.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: n/a | Cable length: n/a | In-line remote and mic: n/a | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 6 hours

Reasons to Buy
Comfortable
Fun sound
Strong wireless performance
Reasons to Avoid
Very little at this price

Theses are some of the best-sounding, most reliable running and gym headphones you'll find for under £150. There is a soft cable between the two buds, each of which uses an in-ear hook to keep them in place. We like the design here, complete with lightweight remote, and these running headphones are also sweat-resistant and IPX4 splashproof, too. The battery life is a modest six hours but we'd imagine that'll do most people for a few runs or circuits.

Read the full review: Bose SoundSport Wireless

Best sports headphones

4. Sennheiser CX Sport

A solid-sounding and appealing pair of wireless in-ears for running and the gym.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: n/a | Cable length: n/a | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 6 hours

Reasons to Buy
Clear, detailed sound
Punchy, weighty delivery
Reasons to Avoid
Lack a little rhythm

These Sennheisers are designed with running and the gym in mind, with their rubberised ear fins and splash and sweat-resistant design. Fit is excellent and noise isolation is good. The earpieces are connected by a short run of cable which includes an in-line mic and controls. Battery life is a respectable six hours and sound quality is robust and powerful, just what you need when you're making a push for the finish line or your final set of squats. And now they're available on Amazon for well under £100.

Read the full review: Sennheiser CX Sport

best running headphones

5. Bose SoundSport Free

Thanks to a recent update, these true wireless earbuds are pretty much the perfect package

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: n/a | Cable length: n/a | In-line remote and mic: n/a | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 5 hours (extra 10 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy
Weighty, full-bodied sound
Deep, powerful bass
Even tonal balance
Reasons to Avoid
Thanks to an update, not a lot

Built with sporty types in mind, the SoundSport Free in-ears are both sweat- and water-resistant, and have a suitably rugged feel to them. They stick out a bit more than some rivals, and you could argue that some of the competition look both more stylish and more discreet. But it's more than made up for it by the performance. After some initial connection issues, Bose seems to have sorted this with an update - and we never had a problem with the sound quality. There's no noise-cancelling but there is a bold but balanced sound with plenty of bass. Good battery life, buoyed by a charging case, are the icing on the cake.

Read the full review: Bose SoundSport Free

Best on-ear headphones for the gym under £100

6. Lindy BNX-60

Noise-cancelling and wireless for under £100? Lindy's affordable and feature-packed cans are a fine shout for the gym.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: n/a | Cable length: n/a | In-line remote and mic: n/a | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 3 hours (9 hours with charging case)

Reasons to Buy
Great value
Detailed, solid sound
Noise-cancelling and Bluetooth
Reasons to Avoid
Treble muffled in standard mode

We weren't sold on brand name alone but a thorough reviewing later and we were sold on their skills for such an affordable price. If you prefer on-ear headphones for the gym, then these deliver good wireless sound and decent noise-cancelling for a great price. Of course you get what you pay for, and much more expensive headphones will deliver better all-round sound, but for this price they're hard to fault.

Read the full review: Lindy BNX-60

Best on-ear gym headphones under £200

7. AKG N60NC Wireless

Compact wireless noise-cancellers with superb sound quality.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: n/a | Cable length: n/a | In-line remote and mic: n/a | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: up to 15 hours with charging case

Reasons to Buy
Noise cancellation
Solid bass
Clear midrange and treble
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing of note

A 2018 Award-winner, these AKGs are compact, convenient and surprisingly affordable considering what's on offer. They're a headband design, which probably doesn't make them the best running headphones, but they're a decent shout for the gym. The noise-cancelling is impressive and the AKG sound is dynamic and punchy.

Read the full review: AKG N60NC Wireless

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