Best budget sports headphones


To help you out we've rounded up both wired and wireless models, all high-performing and all eminently affordable.

MORE: Best wireless Bluetooth headphones

Wired under £10

Skullcandy Chops

Long in the tooth but, at less than the price of a pint, prodigious value.

Reasons to Buy
Frequency range and vocals come through fairly clearly
Reasons to Avoid
Buds sit too far from the ears so delivery is a little vague

Wired under £20

Sol Republic Relays Sport

Sweat-resistant, vibrantly coloured and, most crucial of all, fun to listen to, the Relays Sport strike a very acceptable balance at the price. Ignore their tiny tendency to harden the upper frequencies and revel in their lovely articulacy instead.


In-line remote | Cable clip | Sweat resistant

Reasons to Buy
Clear and articulate
Low price
Sweat resistant
Reasons to Avoid
Slight hardness to upper mids/treble
Cool mids

Wired under £30

Soul Electronics Flex

Good-looking, fine-sounding and comfortable in situ. Available in a choice of rather sudden colours, too.


1.2m cable | 2 finishes | In-line remote

Reasons to Buy
Punchy, musical sound
Times well
Clear, direct midrange
Expressive vocals
Good bass
Appealing, sporty design
Comfy fit
Reasons to Avoid
Limited remote functionality with non-Apple products


Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless

Solid sound, comfortable fit and stable wireless connectivity make the Buds something of a bargain.


6-7 hours battery life | Bluetooth | No aptX or NFC

Reasons to Buy
Full, fun sound
Great price
Reasons to Avoid
No aptX Bluetooth or NFC

Also consider

Wired under £20

Sennheiser CX 1.00

Reasons to Buy
Good dynamics and timing
Clear and balanced
Choice of tips
Reasons to Avoid
No in-line remote
Could sound a little more solid

Wired under £30



60-120cm cable length | Ambient ear plugs | IPX7 washable

Reasons to Buy
Balanced, detailed sound
Fast and punchy
Secure, comfortable fit
‘Open’ ear buds for less noise isolation
Choice of cable length
Reasons to Avoid
Rivals have more subtlety
No volume controls on mic
No case

Wired under £30

Monster iSport Strive


Various earbud size molds | In-line remote | Least noise-blocking

Reasons to Buy
Solid, up-for-it delivery
Balanced presentation
Stylish; safety-conscious
Reasons to Avoid
Fit and ‘open’ sound won’t be for everyone
Rivals have more clarity and expression