What Are The Best Headphones For Running In 2018? [In Ear, Budget, & Over Ear]

Looking for the best running headphones? We’ve reviewed some of the top headphones under $50, in ear and over ear to help you make a choice.

Motivation is the key to success – that’s certainly the case when it comes to running. And let’s face it, some of the best motivation comes from music.

In our guide to the best headphones for running, we’ll be covering a range including:

  • In-Ear (Ear Buds)
  • In Budget (Under $50)
  • Over Ear
  • Small Ears (That Don’t Fall Out)

Best In-Ear Headphones (Ear Buds) For Running

Monster Victory iSport Bluetooth Headphones

Monster have an incredible range of headphones for every athlete, including us runners.

The iSport Victory headphones come with Bluetooth compatibility, and a battery life of up to 10 hours; more than enough for the average runner.

They don’t come with a heart rate monitor, but they do have controls, so you won’t have to reach for your iPod to change track or volume.

Sound quality certainly isn’t up there with the premium ear buds on the market, but they’re cheap, and a great Bluetooth headphone for those on a budget.

Although these are technically an in-ear headphone, they have a set of small over ear supports. So, you’ll get the support and security of an over-ear set of headphones, with the breathability that we all crave from in-ear headphones.

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JLab Epic 2 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Next in the in-ear category are the JLab Epic 2 Bluetooth running headphones. There is a budget option being the Fit 2, but the Epic 2 offers superior sound quality and a cool 12 hours of battery life.

Unlike the Monster iVictory, there’s no ear hooks to help to keep the ear buds in place throughout a run.

Controls are integrated into the headphones, giving you the ability to switch to a new tune, adjust volume and if you’re hooked up to your phone; connect to calls.

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Monster Victory iSport Or JLab Epic 2?

Both are a great option, but the extra capabilities of the JLab Epic 2 don’t really justify the price.

So, we’d pick the Monster Victory iSport.

Go Monster!

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Best Budget Running Headphones (Under $50)

Looking for some high-quality running headphones on a budget of less than $50? We’ve got two great options for you.

Panasonic BTS50 Headphones

The first thing you’ll notice with the Panasonic BTS50 is that for a set of headphones under $50, the sound quality is exceptional.

What’s a bit of a let-down is the battery life. Admittedly, it’s pretty cool that you can charge for just 15 minutes and get 70 minutes of music, but a full charge is 6 hours, and it doesn’t last much longer.

The fit is snug, and that means that they’re not going to fall out any time soon. However, the ear hooks are a bit more intrusive than most, so you’ll struggle if you wear glasses/sun glasses on your run.

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Monster Adidas Performance Response Ear Buds

Dirt cheap and straight to the point, the Monster Adidas Performance Response are a great pick.

Weighing in under $50, they’re going to be about the cheapest running headphones you’ll find. But, that’s partly since they are not Bluetooth – you’ve got to be wired up. Which is possibly a good thing for those on longer runs where a battery won’t last, although the lead can be slightly annoying.

Audio output is reasonable, rather than exceptional, but that’s to be expected for such a cheap pair of headphones.

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Panasonic BTS50 Or Monster Adidas Performance Response?

Sure, the Monster Adidas Performance Response are cheap, but we don’t feel they live up to their name; there are other options.

Sound quality and fit; the Panasonic BTS50 win hands down, so that’s what we’d be picking for a budget of less than $50.

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Best Headphones For Running – Over Ear

It’s worth noting, over ear running headphones are never going to breathe as well as ear buds. And, we’d always recommend getting as much breathability out of every single piece of running kit you buy.

But, if you’re sold on over ear headphones, check out our two top picks.

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Headphones

Naturally, over ear running headphones have more meat on the bone, and they cost more. Evident here with the Trekz Titanium weighing in well over $100.

But, with that comes increased sound quality. Aftershokz have managed to achieve that with the Trekz Titanium. More importantly, they’ve achieved it but there’s still the ability to hear traffic if you’re a road runner.

They’ve got every feature you’re going to want out of a set of over ear running headphones. Run in the rain? No problem, they are waterproof. Run on dirty and dusty trails? No problem, they are dust proof.

And, more importantly, they are sweatproof.

For an over ear headphone, moisture doesn’t stay around long at all, and that’s good news, because that’s the biggest bug bear with similar headphones in the over ear category.

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Monster iSport Freedom 2 Headphones

Slightly cheaper than the Aftershokz we’ve got the Monster iSport Freedom 2 that come complete with Bluetooth compatibility.

They’re an impressive set of headphones for pretty much every outdoor activity, thanks to their long battery life; 24 hours to be exact.

It’s evident straight away that the sweat proofing on these headphones is just not at the level of the Aftershokz; and that’s bad news.

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Or Monster iSport Freedom 2?

Both sets of over ear running headphones here offer similar performance, at a similar price. But, for the extra cash you’ll get better sound quality and sweat proofing from the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium.

If the extra cash isn’t going to break the bank, the Aftershokz would be our first choice.

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Best Running Headphones For Small Ears

Unfortunately, most headphones are created for the average runner. And, most average runners don’t have small ears.

And, that means you’ll either have headphones that are too big and don’t fit, or are extremely uncomfortable.

Mee M7P Secure-Fit Audio Headphones

Mee specifically states that the M7P Secure-Fit is designed for runners with small ears. And, the secure-fit feature means that they’re almost fixed in place.

At under $50 (depending on colour) they’re extremely cheap, but that’s not to say sound quality has been sacrificed, because it’s actually pretty good.

It’s a wired headphone, which explains the price, but with that comes a sliding volume control and the ability to pause, skip tracks and answer phone calls on the run.

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Monster Intensity iSport Headphones

Price wise, we’re pretty much exactly on point with the M7P Secure-Fit, so it’s a toss-up on that front.

But, where the Monster products tend to differ is they allow a runner to hear external noise (such as traffic) even when the volume is cranked up. And, that’s important, because it’s a safety feature.

Another cool feature Monster has been working on is their OmiiTips. Essentially, these running headphones come with a selection of ear bud tip sizes. And, that means there’s an ear tip fitting right there that’s perfect for you!

Like the M7P, they have a small ear hook that provides some extra stability, so there’s little chance of them falling out during your run.

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Mee M7P Secure-Fit Audio Or Monster Intensity iSport?

So, they are both designed for the small-eared runner, and the same price. Sound quality is again, another toss-up.

Which set is the best?

We’d pick the Monster Intensity iSport running headphones over the M7P from Mee. The iSport just seem like they’ve added extra detail (like their Omnitips). And, it’s those tiny details make all the difference.

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What’s Next?

Thanks for reading our buyer’s guide to the best headphones for running.

If you’ve not already, check out our Beginners Guide To Running, and our new Beginners Guide To Trail Running.

And, don’t forget to jump on our email newsletter.

Written by
Grant Draper

Grant's a motorcycle geek, outdoor enthusiast & confirmed racing nut. He road tests all the gear he buys, and then gives his feedback here on NoobNorm.

He also details any quick fixes he stumbles upon, whether that's to stop brakes on motorcycles sticking, or unusual noises coming from gaming wheels.

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Written by Grant Draper