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Almost two-thirds of headphone users listen to music or other forms of audio while they exercise, according to research firm NDP. If you're among that group, it's important to choose a model that's sweat-resistant, lightweight, and able to stay in place when you exercise. The great workout headphones here tick all of those boxes.
Most feature Bluetooth technology, although we don't consider that a requirement for exercise. Still, it's useful because it allows you to connect wirelessly to a smartphone from up to 30 feet away—and that means you can go for a run without having wires flapping against your neck.
If you can, try on these workout headphones in the store to make sure they're comfortable and secure.
Scosche SportClip 3
These Scosche SportClip 3 headphones are billed as splashproof and dustproof; in our testing, they provided very good sound quality. A set of earhooks helps them stay securely in place even when you're bobbing and weaving through a kickboxing workout. It's a small detail, but we also like the carrying bag, which keeps the wires from getting tangled up in your backpack or purse.
SOL Republic Shadow Wireless
The contoured collar on these $100 headphones not only keeps them from moving around on your neck but also conveniently houses the controls and wireless electronics. The headphones have an integrated microphone and built-in volume, music player function, and call connect/disconnect controls. What's more, the Sol Republic Shadow delivers very good sound quality, which could inspire you to climb those museum steps just like Rocky Balboa!
Jabra Sport Coach Wireless
This pair of Bluetooth headphones offers some extra motivation. It comes with an integrated cross-training app that lets you choose from more than 50 exercises. It also includes a built-in mic, integrated volume controls, and a motion sensor to help you measure distance traveled, pace, steps, cadence, and calories burned. And the model features elements of in-ear and earbud design, which is useful for keeping the headphones on your ears and the music flowing inside them while you strive to get your heartbeat up. Sound quality is very good.
Jabra Elite Sport
If you want the very latest in headphone technology, this Jabra model offers a built-in heart-rate monitor and is "truly wireless," which means no cords at all—not even between the two earpieces—and that frees you up to move about the world without fear of snags. At $250 the headphones are pricey, but they perform as promised (unlike other "truly wireless" models, which have had problems syncing properly). They also deliver very good sound quality. (By comparison, Apple's AirPods rate just good in our tests.)
Bose QuietControl 30
A pair of noise-canceling headphones can be great for a workout. They not only isolate you from the daily madness in your midst but also help you stay focused. Still, there are times when you really do need to hear the activity around you—say, when you're jogging across the street and traffic is rushing toward you. That’s what’s useful about this $350 model: It lets you adjust the level of noise-cancellation using a control on the cord and a slider control on the Bose Connect smartphone app. But the QuietControl 30 doesn’t just shine at keeping the commotion out: According to our testers, it provides Excellent sound quality, too.
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