Best running headphones
For some people, running without music is a bit like having sex on your own - it’s not always that easy to get motivated. But finding a decent set of running headphones can be pretty tough.
There’s plenty to consider. How do they sound? Do they feel comfortable, stay in your ears and feel secure while you’re on the move? Is there enough cable to let you have your smartphone or iPod tucked away where you need it? Also, do they feel built to withstand sweat and being leftat the bottom of your kitbag?
For the past three years I’ve tested most sports headphones - running over 3,000 miles - and here’s my take on the best headphones for running.
Sennheiser PMX 680i
These have been my go-to headphones for the past two years. The result of an Adidas and Sennheiser tie-up, you get a pair of in-ear buds with great sound and sport credentials.
The cables are forged from ultra-durable Kevlar and definitely stand the test of time, while the buds themselves are sweat proof and fairly comfortable in the ears.
But the big killer feature for me is the neck band. Being able to drop your heapdhones around your neck at any point during a long run is vital and I hate having them swinging around in front of me while I run.
There are slightly different models that come with iPhone controls but I found the control unit to be heavy and tugs on the earphones as you run, so I prefer them without.
Pioneer SE-D10e Gold
Another snappy name but get over that and what you get is another pair of robust running headphones. They don’t have the neckband you get on the Sennheiser PMX 680i but they do come with coils in each of the cables which lets you lock the individual earphones together for a bit more stability while they’re on your ears, or indeed hanging down in front of you.
The loops hold them firmly in place - I’ve never had these fall out on me - and the buds are adjustable so you can tailor the fit to your ears.
The sound is great once you’ve got them ‘in properly’ and while the cable isn’t toughened with Kevlar, it does come with a decent length that means you can tuck your smartphone away whereever you want without trouble. The price on these is pretty nice too.
Powerbeats by Dr Dre
The sporty addition to Dr Dre’s superbly popular Beats line up, the Powerbeats are ear-loops-with-buds style. In my office there’s been mixed feedback about them with some people feeling the fit isn’t snug enough or bemoaning the lack of adjustability.
I’ve given them a good run out though and I like them. It might be something to do with my larger lugholes but I found them comfortable and pleasantly lightweight. The sound is easily as good as the Sennheiser and Pioneers too.
Like my running shoes, I want my headphones to do their job without me really being aware that I’m wearing them.
The Powerbeats do this in all but one thing - the chord is too short. I like to thread the cable underneath my running shirt, out of the bottom and into my phone which sits either in a jacket pocket or a special running pouch. I’m not an arm-strap phone carrier. And the chord just doesn’t quite cut it and you get an amount of tug as you run. That said they’re a solid option.