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You don’t need research to tell you that music makes your workout better.
Still, there’s tons of it out there—studies have linked listening to tunes with greater exercise performance, better reaction times, and more motivation.
But nothing can derail your workout like earbuds that fall out, cut out, or hurt like hell.
So we ran, lifted, cycled, and even swam in dozens of models to find ones that really worked. Read on to discover our picks—and try one or two for yourself.
Jabra Sport Coach Workout Headphones
These Bluetooth buds are built according to U.S. military standards for rain, shock, and dust protection. Translation: They’ll keep playing no matter how much you sweat.
“I never had a problem with the buds coming out,” says one tester, who used them for HIIT routines, running, and lifting. “Didn’t ever have to adjust them.”
They sound great, too. That’s because these earbuds are crafted with passive noise cancellation and enhanced bass, so you can block out the surrounding noise in your gym and focus on your own workout.
Hoop Coloud Workout Headphone
At about 400 bucks, these earbuds are great for exercisers who don’t want to drop a lot of cash—but don’t want to suffer through tinny, poorly made pairs that pop out.
The adjustable AnchorLoops allow for a precise fit, making them stay firmly in place without having to jam them in, one tester noted.
Plus, the design of the rubber ear tip allows you to stay aware of traffic noises without sacrificing sound quality.
WaterFi Waterproof Short Cord Headphones
These underwater earbuds—effective up to depths of 10 feet—allow swimmers to sync up their strokes with their favorite playlists.
The 11-inch cord—“the perfect length to work with,” one tester said—easily attaches the earbuds to your goggle strap or wetsuit without tangling.
The gold-plated headphone jack protects against corrosion from chlorine or salt water, promising you high-quality tunes lap after lap
Whatever your workout, the 30-foot Bluetooth range for these earphones has you covered.
Adjustable ear hooks and several ear tip options give the buds a close, secure fit that can easily withstand jostling from runs, explosive exercises, or other bouncy movements.
About R1400 can seem like a lot for a pair of earphones, but you’re rewarded with high-quality sound that’s usually missing in sweat-resistant options, as one tester reported.
Jaybird Freedom Workout Headphones
These tiny metal Bluetooth earbuds are great for exercisers who don’t want to charge their gear every couple days—they provide up to 8 hours of clear, vibrant sound.
Our tester loved how they stayed put during a solo 6km trail run, but one of the buds’ most awesome features is how they lend themselves to partner workouts.
With the Share Me feature, two sets of Freedom earbuds can be connected to the same device—meaning you and your workout partner can sweat to your same playlist without missing a beat.
Monster ISport Freedom
These over-the-ear headphones deliver a secure fit with solid sound that’ll stay put in the gym.
Plus, they collapse easily, so you’ll still have enough space for a sweat towel and an extra water bottle in your gym bag.
Scosche SportFlex Workout Headphones
At around R400, these earbuds are a budget-friendly option for guys who can’t get most pairs to stay in their ears.
Plus, these wired options are perfect for exercisers who don’t want to fuss with Bluetooth or prefer to use an old-school MP3 player.
Skullcandy Ink’d Wireless Headphones
Take these earbuds on a hike: With their wraparound neckband and fitted in-ear buds, they’re not going to fall in the dirt.
These buds also include a sensitive microphone and button controls on the neckband that allow you to pick up and receive calls—all while your phone is sitting safely in your backpack.