Buying running and workout earbuds

Buying running and workout earbuds and headphones

Three things to consider before buying

Whether you love to hit the open trail or push your potential on the treadmill, most runners have one thing in common: music is a must-have. Naturally, we believe nothing makes your workout better than better sound. But here are three other important things to think about before you decide which running earbuds to buy—wired vs. wireless, fit and battery life.

SoundSport wireless headphones on a towel next to a boxing glove

Wired earbuds vs. true wireless earbuds

There are a couple of reasons to love wired earbuds. First, you’ll never need to worry about keeping them charged. Wired earbuds also give you the ability to plug directly into the treadmill so you can listen to the TV at the gym.

Then again, if you’ve ever accidentally yanked a bud out of your ear when your arm hit the wire, you understand the appeal of going wireless. Thanks to Bluetooth®, you can keep your music playing and keep your phone in your pocket. And with today’s innovations, you won’t lose sound quality when you lose the wires.

You might wonder why some headphones are called wireless despite the fact that there are clearly wires connecting the earbuds. In this case, “wireless” means the headphones rely on a Bluetooth connection—instead of a traditional cable—to transmit the sound signals from your device to the speakers in your ears.

Truly wireless in-ear headphones, on the other hand, are simply two earbuds, connected by nothing more than a strong and reliable Bluetooth connection. Over the past couple of years, the truly wireless category has become a wildly popular choice with all kinds of music lovers. SoundSport Free, our first truly wireless in-ear headphones, were released in 2017. This year, we offer two more true wireless earbuds for running: Bose Sport Earbuds are Engineered for Exercise and Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds offer noise cancelling that’s every bit as effective as our banded headphones.


When you’re out exercising, comfortable earbuds are as important as comfortable running shoes. And just like your shoes, it’s always better to know you’re getting the support you need as well.

After all, nothing stops the adrenaline faster than when you have to slow down to adjust an earbud. A stable fit has become even more critical now that smart treadmill classes and high interval training classes are so popular.

Fit varies widely in running headphones, so there are some things to consider. Think about how your headphones will feel after a few miles. Will they move or chafe? Take a look at the weight of the headphones—lighter may feel better when you’re logging miles.

Because people’s ears vary widely in shape and size, finding the tip that works best for you is really important. How do we know? We spent years measuring the variation in the size of people’s inner ears. Based on everything we learned, we created unique eartips. Every surface that touches your ear is made from soft silicone—not hard plastic—so the earbuds feel good in your ear all workout long. Then there’s an umbrella-shaped tip that slips snugly into the ridges of your ear. Its job is to stay firmly in place, no matter how much you jump up and down. The nozzle has a unique shape that creates a gentle seal in your ear, which keeps it in place and also helps improve audio performance. Our headphones come with three different pairs of tips (in sizes S/M/L), so you can chooses the one that feel best for you. Fun fact: it’s not at all uncommon to have your left ear need a different size than your right ear.

While all Bose running earbuds have an innovative wing tip design and come in multiple eartip sizes, there’s an additional reason Bose Sport Earbuds feel so secure in your ears: their compact design. Even though the new sport earbud is almost identical in volume to SoundSport Free, it sits 40% closer to the ear. This makes the bud appear sleeker on your head—and feel more secure in your ear. After all, the further an earbud sticks out, the more pressure it puts on the attaching wing, and the less stable it will feel in your ear—even when you’re wearing it correctly.

Battery life

Your music needs to last longer than your workout.

Around-ear headphones often offer lots of battery life, but most people find them too bulky to run in. And while in-ear sport headphones offer a smaller size, it comes at the expense of the space needed for a big battery.

If your music is giving you that extra boost you need to push past your limits, you can’t have your headphones quit before you do. So pay attention to how long they last per charge when you’re using them, and how easy they are to charge when you’re not.

Bose Sport Earbuds provide up to five hours of battery life per charge—that’s enough time for the average person to run a marathon! Just like you recover after a run, give the buds a breather in the included charging case. When fully charged, the case provides two full charges for up to 10 more hours.

Our SoundSport Free offer six hours on a single charge, and, like Bose Sport Earbuds, they charge in a case that gives you two additional charges (up to 10 more hours of battery life).

Janay Harding wearing Bose Sport Earbuds while training
Man wearing Bose Sport Earbuds while exercising with a skipping rope

Different workout routines call for different kinds of earbuds

It’s easier to stick to any workout routine when you have a great companion pushing you. And no workout companion is more reliable than a pair of headphones.

Product availability may vary by country.


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