The 5 Best Running Headphones


Given that you spent the better part of a day putting together that gym playlist, it would be an awful shame to pump it out of those crummy white headphones you got free with your last smartphone. 

Aware that you don't need any more excuses to put you off your New Year's fitness regime, we've stuck all manner of audio tech in our ears in search of the finest headphones for being overactive in. 

Whether you're looking to splash out on some wireless wonders or find something cheap to leave in your locker, there'll be something amongst our five picks to suit your needs.  

And if you haven't sorted the playlist yet, we've done that for you as well.

Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless earphones

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Key features: Wireless, built-in heart monitor

Serious about getting fit? Then you're going to want to know more than the number of steps you took between your desk and the kettle. Jabra's Sport Pulse earphones monitor your heart rate, giving you a whole heap of insights into your training when you partner it with the accompanying smartphone app. Track playback and calls can be controlled via the headphone band, which wraps around the back of your neck. Claimed to be built to "US military rain, shock, sand and dust standards", we're not sure what Jabra envisaged us getting up to in gym, but it's nice to know they'll survive a warzone. A hefty price at £199 RRP, but you get a lot for your money. 

Philips SHQ5200/10

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Key Features: Removable, washable ear cushions, kevlar-reinforced cable

If sticking a bud in your ear reduces you to a double-chinned mess of discomfort, best try these 'Action Fit' headphones from Philips. The adjustable silicon headband grips the top of your skull, preventing the lightweight headphones (all 99 grams of them) from working their way off while you're pounding the treadmill. The ear cushions grip your ear without swallowing them, and they're easily removed for a (regular) wash. They're tough as well - the cable reinforced with a kevlar sheath, so it should survive getting snagged on a set of weights.

Sony NWZ-W273S


Key features: Waterproof, internal storage

We're bending the rules a bit here. Sony's (deep breath) NWZ-W273S doubles as a portable music device - so no more bruised thighs from bouncing your smartphone around in your pockets. With 4GB of storage built in (there's an 8GB version if you're planning on going on a really, really long run), you're able to control your playlists with the raised buttons found on the underside of the ear pads. The biggest draw for Sony's 'phones are undoubtedly their water-tight design: forget running in the rain, these will stand up to doing a good 50 lengths in the pool (so long as you don't dive below two metres). 

Sennheiser CX 686G SPORTS

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Key features: Sweat and water-resistant, slide-to-fit

A few years ago, Adidas teamed up with Sennheister to create the athletic CX 685 earphone - a great set of sports 'phones with a slide-to-fit build and in-ear buds. The 686G drop the Adidas label, but add an immensely useful in-line control, meaning you won't have to dig out your phone every time you want to adjust the volume. Where these trump similar in-ear builds is in Sennheiser's superior sound quality: even if you weren't using these for a loop of the local park, the superbly balanced audio would threaten to beat your existing, non-sporty 'phones. The only downside? They don't come in any colour other than putrid pea green. 


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Key features: Adjustable ear clip, splash-proof

JVC's little sports earphones aren't going to set the audio world alight - but then they weren't meant to. With their rugged, splash-proof build and ear-hugging curves, these basic buds are designed to be chucked in a gym bag and forgotten about until your next session. No amount of contortion is going to shake them lose, and with a half-decent music player you'll be able to adjust your audio output to find a nice balance through the 13.5mm drivers. With an RRP of £12.99 they're a budget option, but they don't feel cheap.


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