An Overview Of Running Headphones

October 5, 2009 · Posted in Articles · Comments Off 

Whether you’ve heard of running headphones or whether the idea is completely new to you, there is always something new to learn. If you are considering buying a pair, an overview of their purpose and the options available is a good place to start.

The purpose of running headphones is to give runners (and those who practice other exercises, activities, and sports) great sound with comfortable, secure, headphones. Standard headphones may rub against the head, ear, or neck when worn during a particularly active activity. They often fall out of the ear (earbuds) or off the head when the person wearing them jostles or changes direction. And some do not handle sweat well. Running headphones address all of these issues.

Like standard headphones, running headphones come in a few different styles and configurations. Traditional, top of the head headphone bands are becoming less and less popular, with people opting for back of the head and even neckband headphones. Earbuds are very popular, but may fall out in particularly active sports. Many athletes opt for ear clip headphones instead, as they are free of a band but secure solidly to the back of the ear. However, even standard layouts are made more sport-friendly, we extra secure design, construction, and material so that the running headphones stay solidly on the head no matter how active you are (within reason, of course; this does not apply to, say, wrestling).

Sweat resistance is important, especially to runners. Good running headphones will not have ink or coloration that fades or runs due to moisture. They also should be designed with materials that do not soak up moisture and smell (especially the earphone pads).

Finally, noise cancellation and noise reduction are options available in running headphones, just as with other types of headphones. While popular and an advantage for standard headphones, this is something runners should think about. More advanced isn’t always better. If you run outside near traffic, cyclers, and other hazards, it may be better to have an ear on what’s happening around you. It will keep you and those around you safer.

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.

Running Headphones Vs. Regular Headphones: What’s The Difference?

August 23, 2009 · Posted in Articles · Comments Off 

Maybe you’ve seen reviews of running headphones on your favorite running blog, or advertisements in a magazine you read at the gym. Having doubts whether running headphones actually are any different than regular headphones?

Certainly, some companies slap the “running” label on regular headphones to try to get in on the marketing frenzy. But there are quite a number of manufacturers that have really taken athletic headphones seriously. They’ve taken the time to listen to runners’ complaints and desires, and the result ahs been some pretty impressive, well performing running headphones.

Here are some of the things that set sport headphones for running apart from the regular kind you would listen to when riding the bus or going for a leisurely walk:

  • More durable. Headphones intended for exercise are meant to be jostled about. A good set of running headphones is made of a durable material, and is designed in such a way that it can resist more knocking about than regular headphones can. Of course, everything will break at a point, but on the whole, these are designed for active people.
  • More comfortable. No headphone set should be uncomfortable, but running headphones are specifically designed not to distract you from your workout. Many are lightweight and minimal, so as not to slow you down with weight or resistance.
  • Secure. This is an especially important point. People who run, jog, use cardio machines at the gym, or lift weights on weight machines move around: a lot. The biggest problem using regular headphones to work out is that they are constantly falling off (or out) of your ear. Running headphones can handle being jostled. They’re specifically designed for people who bounce up and down, twist, turn, and yes, even sweat. You don’t want headphones that fall off or slip off because your sweating either. Getting a good pair of running headphones means you don’t have to worry about this any more.
  • Minimal. Many are even cordless, which while always convenient, is especially so when you’re working out. The less wires, the less to tangle or get caught in, and the less distraction, so you can focus on your run, uninterrupted.

Top Ten Reasons To Buy Running Headphones

July 14, 2009 · Posted in Articles · Comments Off 

There are hundreds of headphone styles, designs, and models to choose from. What you buy really depends on how you plan to use the headphones, and what level of sound quality you are expecting out of the headphones. Running, though, adds a whole new dimension to what you need in a pair of good headphones. Running headphones need to meet a lot of requirements that might not matter as much for regular headphones.

Here are the top ten reasons to buy running headphones:

  1. Energize your workout. Listening to music while doing any sort of physical activity is a great way to get yourself pumped up and keep your mind off the uncomfortable aspects of the workout.
  2. Secure fit. Running headphones are specifically designed not to fall off or slide about while you move.
  3. Comfortable. They’re also specifically designed to be worn for long periods of time without causing pressure or discomfort by cutting into your skin as you move around.
  4. Sweat-resistant. Many running headphones are designed for you to break a sweat. They should be made from easy to clean, sweat-resistant materials so you working hard doesn’t interfere with their lifespan.
  5. Durable. Headphones for running are meant to be used often. They are not made from flimsy material, but should be able to handle sun, motion, and even being stored in a gym bag.
  6. Wireless. Many exercise headphones are now wireless. Nothing is more inconvenient when you exercise than a wire or cord getting in your way. Wireless headphones often use Bluetooth technology for convenient communication with an MP3 player.
  7. Noise-reducing. If you work out by jogging or running outside, you may deal with traffic and other loud noises. Noise-reducing headphones reduce some of the background noise so you can hear your music better, but not all: so you can still be aware of your surroundings.
  8. Noise-cancelling. For working out in a gym. These cancel out background music, machines, and conversations so you just get the music you want.
  9. Style. Athletic gear puts you in an athletic mood, and running headphones look the part. Feel good about your music when you hit the gym.
  10. Personality. There are tons of different choices when it comes to the style, size, and layout of your headphones. Something for everyone.

How To Pick The Best Running Headphones For You

June 18, 2009 · Posted in Articles · Comments Off 

There are dozens of great running headphones out there to choose from. If you’re looking for something that can handle the jostling and endurance of a good solid workout, or even a casual workout, you should have no trouble finding something perfectly suited to your needs.

To pick the best running headphones for you, you will have to decide what you are looking for in a variety of different aspects. Below are the three major choices you will make in selecting the pair of headphones that will accompany you on your next run.

How do you want them to fit?

Just like cross country running shoes or running spikes, fit is one of the most personal choices that influences running headphone selection, and one that comes with probably the greatest number of different options. The main fit styles for running headphones are:

  • Classic top-band headphones. This is becoming less popular, but people with ponytails often find bands that go over the top of the head the least conflicting with their hair.
  • Ear-buds. Standard earbuds fall out, but special rubber running earbuds are designed to stay in. Earbuds put no pressure or rubbing on the head or neck and are the simplest style.
  • Ear clips. Like earbuds but more secure, these slip around the back of the ear and require no head or neck support.
  • Back of the head. This is often more comfortable than top of the head, but as noted above may not work with certain hairstyles.
  • Neck band. Running headphones with a neck band are generally very lightweight and comfortable. They don’t dig into the head at all.

Wire or no wire?

As things go more and more wireless, running headphones have been a big beneficiary of this technology. If you have an MP3 player with Bluetooth technology (or a Bluetooth cell phone with MP3 storage), wireless headphones are definitely the way to go. Nothing to get tangled in, trip on, tickle your neck, or worry about breaking.

Style?

This is all about preference. Do you want bold sporty colors or the sleek, minimal, futuristic look? Once you choose layout and wire configuration, style is left, and that’s all based on just what you like.