Investing in the right pair of wireless headphones ensures premium sound from your phone, computer, or stereo system. Without a physical tether to get tangled up during activities you gain the freedom to listen to music and take calls from anywhere. Whether you’re busting out sets at the gym or riding the train into the office, these headphones provide unmatched versatility. And in the shift to hybrid and work-from-home schedules, wireless headphones will grant you the flexibility to take your TV watching, music listening, and video chatting from the kitchen table to the couch.

Not every wireless headphone features the same construction. While pairs designed for exercise will resist sweat and rain, casual headphones meant for home or the office may not fare as well in these conditions. So we broke this review into two sections to determine which are the best across a range of constructions and uses.

Take a look at five of the best performers from our test, then scroll down for buying advice and more in-depth reviews of these and other headphones.

Features to Consider

Active Noise Canceling (ANC): Headphones or earbuds with active noise cancelation include a built-in microphone that’s dedicated to picking up low-frequency sounds in your vicinity. As these distracting noises reach the microphone, the headphones emit a sound that’s 180 degrees out of phase, canceling them out. This will drown out external noise without ruining the music you want to hear.

Ambient Mode: With ambient, or transparency modes, headphones can tune out noises as you’re listening to your music while still piping in certain ones that you may need to hear. Like with noise cancelation, a microphone in the headphones or earbuds picks up ambient sounds, but instead of automatically canceling them out with opposite waves, it will amplify certain frequencies through so you can hear them alongside your music. With the noise cancelation, music volume, and cups physically blocking your ears, it can be difficult to hold a conversation or clearly make out what someone’s saying. But ambient modes are most useful for knowing when someone is talking to you so you can pause the music, picking up announcements when you’re on a train or airplane, or remaining aware of your surroundings on busy city streets. Some high-end headphones allow you to fine tune the level of ambient noise they pass through using a dedicated button or app.

Ingress Protection: This rating consists of two numbers. The first indicates dust protection, the second is for water protection. “X” in place of either number means there’s no data (so an “IPX” rating means dust protection wasn’t evaluated). The second number, for liquid ingress, is the one that matters most to runners. A score of one or two means an earbud can withstand dripping water; Scores of three to six mean it will survive increasing amounts of rainfall for longer periods of time. The gold standard is a score of seven to nine, meaning the earbud can be submerged in varying depths of water without failing. A majority of sport earbuds in this test have an IP rating, with most achieving IPX4 or above.

How We Tested

Every pair of headphones on this list has been thoroughly vetted and evaluated by our test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience listening to music, podcasts, movies, taking calls, and running with them to determine the best options.

For the headphones geared toward more casual use, we started by charging them up and connected them via Bluetooth to our phone and laptop, gauging ease of use and setup. We then ran them through the gamut of sound testing, listening to streaming music and podcasts. To get a wide range of bass and effects, we watched the opening sequence from 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, a clip often used to demonstrate the depth and power of speakers, on our laptop with the headphones synced. We cycled through all the settings and modes using the given controls while taking stock of how responsive buttons or touch was, if the headphones had noise canceling and how effective it was, and if ambient modes let in enough sound for decent awareness of our surroundings. Finally, we factored in call quality, voice assistant compatibility, battery life, comfort, and looks.

For the sport earbuds, we and a crew of testers compared the sound to others we’ve tried and judged the way the test buds made our favorite songs and podcasts sound. We factored in each device’s IP rating. When it came to battery life, we checked manufacturer’s claims against our experience and noted discrepancies where they occurred. In two weeks of testing, we encountered few quality issues, but we also asked our testers to discuss how the earbuds felt—you’d expect a $200 set of buds to feel premium compared to a $40 pair. For long-term quality assessment, we checked user reviews from Amazon and other retailers looking for persistent issues.

We also asked testers to evaluate how quickly and easily the buds connected to their phones, and how far they were able to get from their phones before the signal cut out. And we recorded any mid-run connectivity issues.

How an earbud fits affects how much outside sound it lets in, and there’s no ideal balance for everyone. Some runners like buds that fit deep in their ears and block all outside noise, allowing them to focus on the tunes, while others prefer lots of environmental sound from a looser fit. (The latter is safer for running outside and among other people.) So although we didn’t rank the earbuds by ambient sound, we did rank them based on whether they stayed in our testers’ ears.

For Work, Travel, and the Office


Sony WH-1000XM3

Noise canceling: Yes | Battery Life: 38 hours (with ANC off) | Controls: Buttons and touch | Voice assistant: Google and Siri

WH-1000XM3 Headphones

  • Excellent noise cancelation
  • Comfortable
  • Intuitive controls
  • Robust accompanying app

  • Surround sound feature only works with a select few subscription services

The WH-1000XM3 was one of the headphones we tested last, and after listening to the other models, their superior sound was apparent. As we listened to songs, podcasts, and the opening scene of Mad Max, the headphones produced clear distinction between vocals, highs, and lows, with pleasant bass depth, while some of the others could sound flat. Sony also built in what it calls “360 Reality Audio,” which is akin to surround sound in a theater. Listening to a sample track on the accompanying app of “regular audio,” we could hear a clear difference when the sound was coming from either cup or both. But during the 360 Reality track, the headphones seemed to also pump sound from different angles and distances within each cup, as if we were in a room with the instrument producing the music and it was rotating around us. It was as immersive as we can say about listening to music through headphones. The downside to this is that the WH-1000XM3 can’t take any old song and adapt it to 360 Reality Audio; you need to have an account or sign up with a streaming service like Deezer,, or Tidal that already has songs formatted to work with it.

The cups formed a comfortable seal and blocked out most sounds without the noise canceling turned on. With it on, this pair tuned out almost everything, creating blessed silence that we appreciated when we were trying to focus and noisy delivery trucks buzzed by out on the street. And the ambient mode was excellent at bringing in outside sound when we needed it.

Which brings us to the controls. The WH-1000XM3 only has two buttons, both on the left ear cup: one controls the power and Bluetooth pairing and the other switches between noise-canceling and ambient modes. We were able to control everything else—like pausing the music, skipping tracks, and turning the volume up and down—via touch controls on the right cup. These were pretty reliable, and the headphones beeped as confirmation that they registered our command—a nice touch (that the others didn’t have) that didn’t leave us wondering if the music was going to start playing again or not. Our favorite touch control was how, when we covered the right ear cup with our palm, the volume dropped and ambient mode kicked in, handy when we needed to hear something quickly or hold a short conversation without cycling through the modes with the button.

Connecting was simple, but for this price we wish the WH-1000XM3 could sync with more than one device at once like the Bose 700. (If you’re running low on battery or want to connect to the TV on a flight, these cans also come with a standard headphone cord.) The Sony Headphones Connect app is robust. We found it a bit overwhelming at points with all the settings to tweak and functions to customize, like taking pictures of our ears to fine tune the 360 Reality and how the headphones tune themselves to the atmospheric pressure. But those who like to take the wheel with their audio will appreciate being able to mess with the equalization profiles or set their own. And we were impressed with how the WH-1000XM3, with help from the app and our phone’s location, could tell when we were sitting or walking and automatically switch between noise-canceling and different levels of ambient modes depending on if we needed to hear our surroundings. (It can also tell when you’re running or using public transportation.)

For sheer audio chops and putting the controls at your fingertips, the WH-1000XM3 can’t be beat.


Beats Fit Pro

Noise canceling: Yes | Battery life: 24 hours (with charging case) | Controls: Touch | Voice assistant: Siri or Google

Fit Pro Earbuds

  • Secure fit with superior sound
  • Adaptive ANC and effective transparency mode
  • Easy to use and connect to devices

  • Bulky case
  • No app for EQ adjustment

Beats’s little buds impressed us with their all-around capability, from the active noise-cancelling to an IPx4 rating. The sleek rounded shape forgoes a stem in favor of wing tips that better secured the Pros in our ears. It’s a tightly sealed design that naturally blocks out noise and sits in your ear canals as comfortably throughout a work day as it does the most intense of workouts. After finding the largest of the three adjustable silicone ear tips included in the box offered the best fit for our tester, the Pros ran cool without building up pressure during extended listening. Beyond being arguably the most stylish wireless headphones we tested, the Fit Pro play nice across all types of gadgets, charge via USB-C, and include physical controls. That’s in addition to incorporating the spatial audio and Apple’s H1 chip for easy pairing and automatic switching between iOS devices. Not only do Beats Fit Pro avoid some of the hangups we have with the AirPods Pro, they come in at a sizable $50 less.

While the case is bulkier than we would prefer, often slipping out of a pants pocket, that’s the sole point of contention we had with these buds. If the bulk is what makes the “Fast Fuel” rapid charging possible, then it’s a fair tradeoff. After the batteries in the buds died, we charged them for five minutes in the case and got another full hour of playback. Once twisted inside of your ears, the Beats Fit Pro produce clear vocals and balanced instrumentals while employing adaptive active noise cancelling. Compensating for external sounds in real-time, this system adjusted volume on the fly as we walked the streets near the Popular Mechanics office, worked at our desk, and lounged around the house. Even at maximum output, there’s no perceptible audio distortion, capturing the highest level of detail captured across media from movies to songs.

In our Mad Max test, that meant the establishing bass sound effect punched with impact simultaneously with the fade in of visuals. And though there were multiple conversations going on around us as we listened, the Beats blocked virtually all background noise, amplifying the whispers in the movie’s introduction as they grew louder from different positions on the virtual sound plane.

Despite the compact size of each bud, the physical controls on the Beats Fit Pro are some of the easiest we’ve used. Hold the button to switch between noise cancellation and transparency modes, tap to pause, and double or triple tap to fast forward or rewind. The Bluetooth connection never experienced any stuttering of the sound, and pairing was as simple as opening the charging case next to our iPhone 13. For non-Apple devices, you simply hold a button located on the case and connect to the buds through Bluetooth pairing.

As far as app control goes, there is none. You can cycle through the sound modes directly through the Beats themselves, but there are no EQ adjustments or alternative sound profiles to choose from. To activate spatial audio on iOS devices, you actually have to select the Beats through the Bluetooth menu and click on the more information tab—an admittedly unintuitive process that led our tester to Googling how to activate the feature. In addition to falling on the more affordable end of the price scale for noise-cancelling earbuds, the Beats Fit Pro are easy to use, sound fantastic, effectively eliminate noise, and offer a sleek look straight out of the box—making them well worth the investment.


JLab Go Air

Noise canceling: No | Battery life: 20 hours | Controls: Touch | Voice assistant: Google and Siri

Go Air Earbuds
JLAB Audio

  • Very affordable
  • Good fit, battery life, and controls

  • Some tradeoffs in sound quality and touch response given the price

The most striking thing about JLab’s Go Air is the price; 30 bucks is by far the cheapest of the models we tested. But after putting them through their paces, we were surprisingly pleased. Of course some significant tradeoffs come with earbuds this affordable, yet the bang for the buck is unmatched.

Connecting via Bluetooth was seamless and reliable, and pulling one bud out of the case let us use it alone if we wanted. When we did pull out the other, it joined in connecting to the phone or computer (with a slight delay), no fussing or tapping around in Bluetooth menus required. And there’s no noise cancelation, but the Go Airs formed a nice seal in our ears, providing some buffer against ambient sounds. Both buds work together with touch controls, like tapping on the right to raise the volume and the left to lower it. That leaves a lot of controls to remember, and the response was somewhat inconsistent if we didn’t tap relatively hard or one tap was slightly softer than the others. That said, we appreciated having everything at our fingertips. Pulling one Go Air out of our ear didn’t pause the music. Neither did dropping one of the earbuds into the case—the other kept playing.

Regarding the sound, JLab built in three different modes here: bass boost, balanced, and JLab Signature. We left the Go Airs on Signature most of the time, since it had the richest sound of the three, but bass boost did provide a satisfying bump in the lower tones when we wanted it. Still, sound was relatively flat compared to the other headphones, and the audio took on a tinny quality at higher volumes. On calls, the person we were talking to had no problem hearing us, but we had to crank the volume up to get their voice to a comfortable level.

The second most striking thing about the Go Airs is the case. It doesn’t have a lid. The buds are left exposed all the time, held in place solely by magnets. This had us concerned that they would be easy to lose, but the magnets are strong, and we had to shake the case as hard as we could before they flew out. We’re still wary about what would happen if you tossed the case in a gym bag or backpack and something else in there bumped up against a bud and nudged it out, but the Go Airs are recessed fairly deep.

If you can get past the inconsistent touch response and weird case design or want a pair of earbuds to get the job done as you occasionally listen to music or a podcast, don’t overlook the Go Air. You’ll get a lot—EQ settings, a good fit, and OK sound—for the money.


Bose NC 700

Noise canceling: Yes | Battery life: 20 hours | Controls: Buttons and touch | Voice assistant: Google, Amazon Alexa, and Siri

700 Headphones

  • Wide range of noise-cancelation levels
  • Excellent sound

  • App could be better

The closest contender to the Sony headphones, Bose’s 700 stand out for their ease of use and superior noise cancellation. Like with the WH-1000XM3, we were able to use touch controls on the right ear cup, tapping, swiping, and holding down to change the volume, pause and resume music, skip tracks, answer calls, and check the battery level. While there’s no audible feedback to confirm commands registered like with the Sony cans, the NC700 response was consistent and reliable. With refined controls and sound second only to WH-1000XM3, the noise cancellation on the Bose NC 700 leads our testing pool.

Unlike with the other headphones on the list, it’s easier to unintentionally press the buttons on the 700. At least once, we switched them off by accidentally hitting the power button on the right cup as we were picking them up. (Here’s where we would have appreciated needing to hold the button to power the headphones instead of it immediately turning them on or off.) In addition to the power button, the voice assistant button lives on the right cup. On the left cup sits the lone noise-cancellation button. Tapping it cycles through preset levels of ANC. Holding this button down activates Conversation Mode, pausing your music and setting noise cancellation to the lowest level. This process isn’t as fast as covering the right cup on the Sony headphones, but the one-second time difference is negligible.

With the noise-cancellation range broken up into distinct levels as low as zero and as high as 10, you decide just how much sound comes through the headphones via the Bose Music App. At higher ends of the scale, the answer is virtually none. This level of silence enhances effects and reverberations for a deep and rich listening experience, such as bringing the world of Mad Max to life as the engine of a car roared as it took off ripping through gravel. Vocals in songs were clear and distinct. And while we had noise cancelation on and music playing, our roommate moved around the apartment behind us without us even noticing or hearing a peep. On calls, we could hear the person on the other end clearly, but they reported that our voice sounded a bit muffled compared to the other headphones.

Since operating the headphones is so easy from the headset, we didn’t find ourselves needing to use the app that often outside of setting the occasional auto-off timer, but it didn’t noticeably affect battery life during our testing. The multi-point connection is nice, though, letting us keep the 700 connected to both our phone and laptop at the same time. Pairing was reliable and easy, and on startup, the headphones tell you the names of the devices they’re connected to and how much battery life is left in hours and minutes (a bit more helpful than a percentage). If you find yourself out of battery or on a flight looking to plug in, the 700 comes with a standard headphone cable.


Anker Soundcore Life Q30

Noise canceling: Yes | Battery life: 40 hours (with ANC on) | Controls: Buttons | Voice assistant: Google and Siri

Life Q30 Headphones
Anker Soundcore
$59.99 (25% off)

  • Affordable, with excellent bass
  • Long battery life despite impressive ANC

  • No touch controls

The Q30 are $80 cans with 40 hours of battery life, impressive ANC, and sturdy build quality, which is especially apparent in the ratcheting band adjustment and plush ear pads. They have an extensive feature set, boasting multi-point connection and higher end sound performance a step above anything else sub-$100. Out of their included hard case, the lightweight headphones sat with virtually no pressure atop our head, and the pads hovered over our ears without getting too hot.

While the control buttons can feel a little cheap, they are well-spaced out and satisfyingly clicky with each press. As we switched between noise-cancellation modes, we found the ANC to be shockingly effective for the price, comparable to a level seven on the Bose noise-cancellation scale. Transparency mode on this headset tended to amplify noises over someone talking directly to you, so the clacks of a mechanical keyboard came through loud and clear, while someone calling our tester by name at normal speaking volume didn’t. With active noise cancelling turned off, the headset still produces rich sound. The bass, vocals, and effects such as vinyl record crackles are encompassing and full, without any distortion even at higher volumes. Bass cuts deep without being overbearing, and movie effects—like gunshots or explosions—and lower tones are well pronounced without drowning out other sounds. You’re not going to get the same sound profile or level of outside noise cancellation as the Sony or Bose models above, but at this price, the Q30 come surprisingly close. And if you want to tweak the levels, Anker’s Soundcore app allows you to further customize the headset EQ.

One of the biggest draws of this headset is the multi-point connection capability, which allowed us to pair the Q30 to an iPhone and MacBook simultaneously over Bluetooth. This versatility is reserved to headsets like the Bose 700 above, which costs nearly five times the price. There was, on average, three seconds of lag switching between devices, but the connection remained rock solid without any stutter whether we made our way through Spotify playlists or videos.


Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

Noise canceling: Yes | Battery life: 40 hours | Controls: Buttons | Voice assistant: Google and Siri

MW07 Plus Earbuds

  • Battery life
  • Noise cancelation
  • Great fit

  • No accompanying app
  • Expensive

The most expensive buds we tested, the MW07 Plus needed to perform well to justify the $300 price tag. And they did. They have looks to rival the stylish Beats Fit Pro and the longest playtime of any of the buds we tested, plus the fit was the most comfortable. That’s thanks to the wings Master & Dynamic includes that rest inside a ridge of our ear and, along with the tip options, kept the buds snug without any uncomfortable pressure. And there was no shifting or thumping to distract from the music as we walked.

A seemingly buy-down feature—and unique among the buds we tested—is the buttons; there’s no touch control on the MW07. But we appreciated having something that provided clearer tactile feedback when we pressed them to enter commands. This meant consistent results as we used the single button on the right bud and toggle on the left to cycle between noise-canceling and ambient modes, adjust the volume, activate voice assistants, and pair to new devices. The buttons are small, but because of the excellent fit of the earbuds that didn’t require us to jam them in our ears to keep them snug, they were easy to reach and operate.

Powerful for their size, the MW07 have 10mm drivers. We kept the volume at roughly 33 percent and could hear the distinct sounds well. (A small feature we appreciated was that the headphones, when we switched modes, talked over the music to tell us which we were entering so we didn’t miss anything. Others mute it completely.) The effects and separation during the Mad Max sequence were pretty good, the best of any earbuds we tested.

Master & Dynamic didn’t give the MW07 a companion app, but kudos for including full USB-C charging cables with the headphones. (Beats also did this with the Fit Pro.) This means that charging off of many newer devices doesn’t require an adapter, whereas many other models only came with the more old-school USB-A cords. And with 10 hours of playback in the buds and another three full charges in the case, these offer the longest listening time, matched only by the Life Q30.


Anker Soundcore Frames

Noise canceling: No | Battery life: 5 hours | Controls: Touch | Voice assistant: Google and Siri

Anker Soundcore

  • Lightweight interchangeable lenses for versatility
  • Automatically turns on and off when worn or removed

  • Leaks sound to your surroundings at higher volumes

Anker’s Soundcore Frames are wireless headphones built into a pair of lightweight sunglasses. A dual-speaker system in each arm frame pumps audio for open-ear listening that keeps you aware of your surroundings. It’s not as immersive as a sealed wireless headphone, but the design allows for interchangeable lenses through a quick pull and click system. This level of customization is ideal for everyday use, as we found ourselves running errands in wayfarer-style lenses during the day and snapping in blue-light lenses indoors or at night.

All four speakers combine to form what Anker calls “Open Ear Surround” sound. This is the high performance mode meant to envelop you in whatever it is you’re listening to. It works well, with the sound similar to that of a concert happening around you. Unfortunately, the amount of power needed to create the virtual soundstage leaks music at higher volumes—problematic for others in enclosed spaces like public transit or the office. You can switch into privacy mode to minimize external sound, but we noticed music becomes flatter and more distant as it comes from just the front two speakers. From the Soundcore app, you can customize your EQ settings and touch controls and turn wearing detection on or off. At default, the glasses automatically turn on and pair once on your face and turn off when you remove them.

While the Frames’s IPX4 rating is resistant to water splashes, we found they withstood heavy rain in short bursts, as we ran through downpours to get packages, grabbed lunch, and shuffled into cars while wearing these glasses without any distortion. The surround sound provides surprisingly rich bass and impressive positional audio, which we especially appreciated listening to the whispers in the opening of Mad Max: Fury Road. Even in music, guitar riffs and drum backlines retained their impact quite well. The only genre that takes a hit is electronic music, where the beat drops are much more subdued.

The lightweight body makes these glasses comfortable for extensive hours of wear, which left us wishing for an improved battery life beyond the current five-hour average. While that keeps up with some of our favorite wireless earbuds, the Frames don’t have a case capable of charging them on the go. As an unobtrusive pair of wireless headphones that neither sits inside your ear canals or cup atop your ears, the Frames are a comfortable and stylish option that can condense your everyday carry gear.

For the Gym and Working Out


Jabra Elite Active 75t

Battery life: 7.5 hours (28 with charging case) | Ambient mode: Yes | IP rating: IP57

Elite Active 75t Earbuds
$129.99 (28% off)

  • Excellent sound quality
  • HearThrough mode allows you to adjust ambient sound levels

  • HearThrough is ineffective in high wind

Jabra nailed the shape on the Elite Active 75t—these truly wireless buds fit our tester better than any others he’s tried. Credit that to the angular build that nests snugly in the outer ear canal, without giving you that tightly sealed, high-pressure “thud” with each foot strike. The sound quality is crisp, dynamic, and full, rivaling Apple’s AirPods Pro—but these Jabras will cost you less and offer about 90 more minutes of battery on a single charge. (However, the hear-through mode isn’t quite as impressive.) For dust and water protection, they’re rated IP57, meaning they should withstand a sandstorm or a monsoon; that’s especially good news for our tester, who killed a pair of AirPods in six short months with his sweaty ears. Competing earbuds from Apple, Bose, Jaybird, and others may offer even better sound or superior comfort or exceptional ambient awareness modes, but none do all of those things better than the 75t.


JBL Reflect Mini 2

Battery life: 10 hours | Ambient mode: No | IP rating: IPX5

Reflect Mini 2 Headphones
$49.99 (44% off)

  • Clear, crisp sound
  • Snug, secure in-ear fit

  • Very little ambient noise

The JBL Reflect Mini 2 also isn’t the newest pair of headphones, but a price drop to $50 (down from $100) makes them an attractive value proposition. And there’s a lot more to like beyond the reasonable price: The buds form a tight seal in your ears and don’t move after you’ve started to trot. The downside for outdoor runners is the lack of ambient sound, which also isolates your tunes from the outside world. One tester also used them while mowing his lawn. “Although I could still hear my lawn mower, the earbuds blocked out enough engine noise that the quality of the audio still sounded good without having to max out the volume,” he said. “The sound quality was clear enough that if you concentrate and really listen to the music, you can identify each instrument.” The connecting wire between the buds is lightweight and hardly noticeable mid-run, and the Reflect Mini 2 connected via Bluetooth fast and stayed connected up to 100 feet away. The earbuds also sport reflective cables for nighttime visibility, an IPX5 water-resistant rating, and an impressive 10 hours of battery life.


Beats Powerbeats Pro

Battery life: 9 hours (24 with charging case) | Ambient mode: No | IP rating: IPX4

Powerbeats Pro Earphones
$149.99 (40% off)

  • 9 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • Expansive sound
  • Ear hooks ensure secure fit

  • Expensive

The Powerbeats Pro is the complete package—both well-rounded as wireless sport headphones and literally a large box that contains the earbuds and an additional 15 hours of juice. Not that you’re likely to need it; the buds last for nine hours on a single charge. “The sound you get from the Powerbeats Pro is really expansive,” said our tester. “Every song sounds like you’re listening in a larger room, with speakers positioned away from you.” Ambient noise starts out minimal but increases as sweat causes the earbuds to lose some of their seal. The music gets a little hollower, but the awareness means you’ll pick up loud environmental noises like sirens and horns. Bluetooth pairing is immediate with an iPhone, and a five-minute quick charge delivers 90 worth of playback. The Powerbeats are rated IPX4 so they’ll withstand a rainstorm (but not submersion). And despite their large size, the buds keep a low enough profile to be comfortable with a hat and sunglasses.


Aftershokz Aeropex

Battery life: 6 hours | Ambient mode: Yes (by nature of the design) | IP rating: IP55

Aeropex Headphones
$129.95 (19% off)

  • Comfortable fit that works well with sunglasses
  • Allows surrounding sound to passthrough

  • Thinner, quieter sound than in-ear buds

For road runners who aren’t comfortable jamming out with noise-blocking earbuds as cars whiz past, there’s the Aeropex. These headphones use bone-conduction technology to transfer sound through your cheekbones, leaving your ears open to hear potential hazards before they sneak up on you. Compared to in-ear designs from Jaybird and Bose, the sound is “admittedly thinner and quieter, but I find it totally suitable for the occasion,” wrote our tester. At just 26 grams, the headband is lighter and slimmer than the previous model, which allows you to wear sunglasses with the headphones. A six-hour battery life and a sweat-resistant IP67 rating puts the Aeropex on par with truly wireless buds of a similar price—you’re losing an in-ear headphone’s full sound but gaining total awareness.


Bose Frames Tempo

Battery Life: 8 hours | Ambient mode: Yes (by nature of the design) | IP rating: IPX4

Frames Tempo

  • Premium open-ear audio
  • Shatter-proof polarized sport lenses

  • Expensive

The Bose Frames Tempo produce an open-ear sound that keeps you mindful of traffic and pedestrians as you ride or run, similar to the Aeropex above. While the Frames are slightly more expensive, their sound reproduction is unmatched. Capturing the rich range of tones across instruments, we were especially impressed by song drops where sudden bass and rhythm occurs. The two built-in speakers have enough power to create a clearer sound than the Anker glasses or Aeropex options above while also letting in more noise from the world around you. Not only do these speakers sound the best of any external solution, they can play content loud and deep enough to beat the wind up to 25 miles per hour while cycling.

Since the Tempo are sport frames, they remain locked on your face whether you’re busting a sweat running through uneven terrain or cycling over freshly paved concrete. We found the pressure in the temples of the arm frames a bit distracting upon the first handful of wears, but this discomfort dissipated after a few days. Opting for these means you have to wear polarized lenses every time you want to hear music, but you can switch out colors to adapt to weather conditions. Moderate rain showers proved to be no problem for the Tempos, as there were no functionality problems while our tester ran laps in a short mile-long spurt. The IPX4 rating leaves us confident that the Frames can survive anything but extensive use in a heavy downpour.


Skullcandy Push Active

Battery life: 10 hours | Ambient mode: No | IP rating: IP55

Push Active Earbuds

  • 10-hour battery life
  • Premium features like built-in Tile and Spotify Tap

  • Minimal bass

Skullcandy’s fitness-focused earbuds offer IP55 water resistance, comfortable ear hooks, and a snug in-canal fit that doesn’t leave room for distracting thumps during runs. For $80, the sound profile is clean, leaving plenty of space for all tones at the cost of underpowered bass. The addition of premium features like Tile location tracking for finding your buds, audio sharing, and 10 hours of battery life rival earbuds nearly double the price. The plastic build and lacking bass leave something to be desired, but there’s a lot to like about Skullcandy’s offering.