Running Headphones: What Are Your Options?

September 12, 2009 · Posted in Articles · Comments Off 

If you like to work out, and you like to listen to music, then you probably like doing both together. A good soundtrack can energize your workout, keep you on the treadmill longer, and get you to work harder while you’re there.

Something not everyone realizes is that there are special headphones made specifically for running and exercising. Here are some of the features and options that different models of running headphones will include:

Layout / style: This is the most diverse category, and it actually is not exclusive to running headphones. Most of these styles can be found in regular headphones as well. Which style you choose may vary depending on the type of exercise you do and, if you have long hair, where you place your ponytail while working out:

  • Behind the head (with the headphone band going across the mid back of the head)
  • Neck band headphones (with a lightweight band going down from the ears and around the neck)
  • Earbuds (small speakers fitting into the cozy part of the ear)
  • Ear clips (securing along the rear of the ear for a more secure fit)
  • Standard/traditional (least common, with a band across the top of the head)

Wireless or wired: This also applies to standard headphones, but is probably more of an asset in running headphones than anywhere else. Using Bluetooth or other wireless technology frees you from the burden and distraction of a dangling cord or cords flipping around while you run (or snagging if you run it through your clothes).

For wired headphones, you can choose how protected/enclosed the wire is, and whether it runs directly to each earpiece, or just on one side (then through the headband to the other ear).

To noise-cancel or not to noise-cancel. This question has two aspects. If you exercise indoors and want to free yourself from background noise and fitness club mix radio, noise cancelling earphones are great. But if you run outside, background noise is an important part of awareness, which helps you avoid traffic and bicycles.