You may not be training for the Olympics or a marathon, but that doesn't mean you don't need headphones that stay in place and sound great. Many athletes use headphones to increase motivation in the gym, and just as many use theirs to block out distracting ambient noise. When driving around cars outside, you want a couple that doesn't block out ambient noise to ensure your safety. It all depends on you and your training. To find the best workout headphones for every athlete, we spoke to almost two dozen professional athletes and coaches who work out on basketball courts, gyms and dance studios, and even one who takes his steps on the roofs of the island of Santorini.
Best workout headphones overall
Apple AirPods with charging case
Of the 21 athletes we spoke to, eight said they used Apple AirPods when training. The reason for their popularity is simple: AirPods are small and wireless and do not interfere with an athlete's movements. "My standard training includes a lot of things, like jumping over walls, jumping fences and turning around," says professional freewheeler Michael "Frosti" Zernow, who drove the fastest qualifying time in the history of the American Ninja Warrior. "My biggest concern is something that is hindering my movement." Many Bluetooth headphones check this box, but according to Chris Callis, “AirPods, unlike some other Bluetooth headphones I've tried, are always connected reliably. And it doesn't hurt that they're clean and nondescript. There are a lot of headphone monstrosities, ”he says.
German Srulovich, assistant basketball coach for men at the College of Central Florida, likes AirPods' double tap option. "If a player shows up a song from their child's playlist during training, they can simply tap their headphones twice to get it to a desired song." This will avoid delays in our training sessions and I would expect more brands to include them. "
According to Connor Kelly, Tyson Bomberry and Jake Fox, players of the New York Riptide of the National Lacrosse League, they wear AirPods when training because the headphones do not fall out. Kelly also wears his while warming up to focus and get motivated before the games. AirPods are also popular with Steph Curry and almost every teenager we've spoken to in the past two years. If you have particularly large ear holes, like strategist Sarah Z. Wexler, the AirPods Pro offer a better fit, which is helpful.
Best noise canceling workout headphones
Bose SoundSport Free Really wireless headphones
Although AirPods are almost ubiquitous, they're not perfect for every athlete – especially since no two people have the same ears. Another New Yorker riptide player, John Ranagan, prefers Bose SoundSport wireless headphones because they stay in his ears better than any other headphones and have excellent audio quality. Russell Byrd, a former Michigan State University basketball player who is now playing for the SCM CSU Craiova in Romania, is also a fan. "No matter what I do on the pitch, those things stay in there," says Byrd. Unlike AirPods (but AirPod professionals), they're also noise canceling. "So you're blocking a lot of noise from the crowd before the game so I can focus on recording and enjoying the music."
Jianca Lazarus, a surfer and sports photo journalist, loves the Bose SoundSport wireless headphones after testing a number of different pairs. But it's part of an earlier version that connects the two sides with a wire that sits behind your head. “I think it's great that they stay in my ears when most of the others drop out due to sweat,” says Lazarus, who also uses them to make calls. "The sound quality is phenomenal and the microphone is great when I receive incoming calls so I can keep working while I do the business," she says.
Best affordable workout headphones
Anker SoundBuds Slim Bluetooth headphones
However, sometimes the best headphones are the ones that work well but don't ruin your day if you forget them in the gym or on the court. Tennis player and trainer Mick Rouse, who also works as a research manager for GQ, calls this pair of anchors "the best bang for your buck". He says the sound quality is not much different from high-end headphones.
Best headphones for vigorous training
Beats Powerbeats3 wireless in-ear headphones
Former NFL player Vinnie Sunseri Powerbeats 3 recommends if you hurl yourself across a field while training or if you can't stay close to your phone other headphones will fall off, ”he says. "You can use them up to 30 feet from your phone so they don't always have to be with you." Major League Soccer player Jason Hernandez also recommends Powerbeats headphones. "I love these headphones first because of the sound quality," says Hernandez. He also appreciates their safety and durability: "Even the most dynamic types of exercises will not detach them from my head. I also damaged several headphones with sweat. It is therefore important to me that headphones have the right technology for dealing with sweat and electronics at some point. "Srulovich also likes them thanks to their loud volume and bass. "Much of the music played in our sport is rap, and players get energy when they turn up the volume and feel the bass kick," he says.
Jaybird Freedom 2 wireless in-ear Bluetooth sports headphones with SpeedFit
"As dancers, we do many different types of fitness and cross-training, sometimes on machines, sometimes in studios, and sometimes upside down," says Emily Kikta, a New York ballet dancer. She likes the Jaybird Freedom wireless headphones because they are cheap and the wings next to the earbuds help them stay dancing or moving. Michael Wardian, a marathon runner who holds the fastest time record for seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, is also a fan. He says, "Jaybirds have great battery life, sound quality, and are pretty much indestructible."
DISO Buds Bluetooth 5.0 wireless headphones
Glenn McCallum, a professional country western dancer, uses DISO Buds when practicing with his dance partner. Each person wears an earphone and "the range between the individual headphones is large enough so that we can both listen to the music while we dance together without having to be close." He also likes that they dance in his Ears stay: "With the different sized earphones, you can be sure that they won't fly out of your ears while whipping your head through a quick series of turns."
Best headphones to be aware of your surroundings
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones
"I was a little skeptical at first because the headphones didn't go in your ear," said Katie Mackey, a professional runner at the Brooks Beast Track Club. Mackey's choice from AfterShokz uses technology that transmits sound through the bones in your ear. "I can hear my music very well and I can also hear all the sounds around me," she says. "I feel much safer because I can hear traffic, bicycles passing by, and pedestrians." Wardian marathon runner also likes them because they are very safe, have good sound quality and are very well built. "I like them so I can listen to my podcasts, but I still know if I come around a corner and see a mountain lion or a bear," he says.
Best over-ear workout headphones
Bose SoundLink around ear wireless headphones II
Jamie Hickey, Personal Trainer at Truism Fitness, is one of the few athletes we've spoken to who prefer over-ear headphones. “I spend a lot of time in the gym and there are times when I want to exercise in peace. These headphones offer that, ”he says. He appreciates their ability to suppress noise as well as the "comfortable yet tight fit" that prevents them from moving during training. "I like getting into a groove and forgetting my surroundings while training," he says. "If you don't hear the surroundings, it will be a lot easier."
Best cheaper over-ear headphones
Mpow 059 Bluetooth headphones over the ear, wireless hi-fi stereo headset
Like Hickey, Martha Bull, a powerful power lifter, uses larger over-ear headphones in the gym. Bull likes that these Mpow headphones are affordable if they drop a weight on them. They are also visible enough to prevent unwanted comments. “I used to use wireless earbuds that were better for benching but were less visible. These light blue headphones signal to the sport brothers who have read two articles about T Nation that I am not available to receive the unsolicited advice and comments they would like to share with me more effectively. "
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