Soundtrack your sweat sessions with our pick of the best sport headphones on the market right now.

Whether you train to an eighties movie montages or reach for a plod-cast to help clock your low-and-slow cardio miles, research shows that the right audio stimulation can boost motivation, fight fatigue, make you work harder and even improve recovery.

Luckily, in the past few years headphones have upped their game.

Big, sweat-catching cans have been replaced by super-minimal, session-proof, true wireless earphones and lightweight, open-ear bone conductors.

You can now expect crisp sounds, big battery life and workout-friendly comfort from headphones that fit in the palm of your hand.

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

MF BEST BUY:
Bose Sport Earbuds
£179.95, bose.co.uk

An improvement on Bose’s SoundSport Free, these new in-ear headphones offer a more comfortable and secure fit to go with Bose’s big sound.

They’re still slightly heavier and chunkier than the likes of the Airpods Pro, but we like the customisable capacitive swipe-and-tap touch controls for shifting volume, skipping tracks and answering calls.

The five-hour battery is OK, while the ten-hour charging case back-up could be better but with two hours of tunes off a 15-minute charge you rarely get caught short.

Sound: 4/5
Comfort: 4/5
Durability: 4/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

MF RECOMMENDED:
Jabra Elite Active 75t
£169.99, jabra.co.uk

They’re potentially due an imminent upgrade, but bang for buck these are hard to beat.

They combine well-balanced, rich, full sound with plenty of punch and a 28-hour battery life – 7.5 hours on the earphones and a further 20.5 hours in the pocket-friendly charging case.

The 5g buds sit tight in the ears for decent sound isolation, good comfort and important staying power.

Sound: 4/5
Comfort: 4/5
Durability: 4/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

Aftershokz Openmove
From £79.95, aftershokz.co.uk

Need to stay connected to your surroundings while you’re working out?

These open-ear-style bone conduction headphones offer brilliant balance between motivational soundtracks and situational awareness.

At 29g, they loop over the ears for a comfortable fit, no matter the activity.

The six-hour battery life and lack of charging case or rapid charge isn’t great, though, and don’t expect award-winning sound.

Sound: 2.5/5
Comfort: 4/5
Durability: 3/5
OVERALL: 3.5/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

Apple Airpods Pro
From £249, apple.com

These excellent in-ear all-rounders are good for work, rest and play.

Each vanishingly light bud weighs just 5.4g and fits securely for most workouts.

The top volume packs a punch, reliable active noise cancellation drowns out dodgy gym playlists, and there’s a transparency mode for safety in busy urban environments.

The buds last five hours, with a 19-hour boost in the charging case. A five-minute charge unlocks an hour’s worth of play time.

Sound: 4/5
Comfort: 4/5
Durability: 4/5
OVERALL: 4/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

Powerbeats Pro
£219.95, beatsbydre.com

If your lugholes refuse to contain regular in-ear buds, Powerbeats’ over-ear hook design offer guaranteed stay-put security – no matter how furiously you go after your burpees.

They’re sweatproof, water-resistant and brilliant at isolating zone-busting outside noise.

You get nine hours of rich sound – with a further 15 in the charging case – plus an impressive 1.5-hour boost from a five-minute rapid charge.

Sound: 4/5
Comfort: 4.5/5
Durability: 4/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

JBL Reflect MINI TWS
From £129.99, uk.jbl.com

The Minis ear-fin design offers a secure-enough fit – though they’re not fully shake proof.

The sound quality wasn’t the best on test but is reasonable for the price, with minimal audio leakage.

Battery runs to a competitive seven hours, with an extra 14 in the case, and there’s active noise cancellation. You can also summon Alexa and Google at your leisure.

Sound: 3/5
Comfort: 3.5/5
Durability: 3.5/5
OVERALL: 3.5/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

JLab Epic Air Sport ANC
£99, jlabaudio.com

With an unrivalled 70 hours of playtime in the buds and case combined, active noise cancellation, wireless charging and battery-saving wear detection that pauses your music when you take out a bud, you get a lot for your money here.

The sound isn’t amazing, but you can boost the bass or tweak the treble in the app. The ear-hook design also means no scrabbling for earphones on the gym floor.

Sound: 3.5/5
Comfort: 4/5
Durability: 3.5/5
OVERALL: 4/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

Creative Outlier Air V2
£64.99, uk.creative.com

Another set of bargain true wireless earphones, the sweat- and water-resistant Air V2 are light and comfortable enough for hour-long sessions.

There’s an endurance-friendly 12 hours of playback on the buds, with 20 more in the charging case.

The lack of wing tips might affect the fit for some, but the responsive touch controls mean less jabbing to knock them loose.

Sound: 3/5
Comfort: 3/5
Durability: 4/5
OVERALL: 3.5/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

B&O Beoplay E8 Sport
£300, bang-olufsen.com

The pick for audiophile fitness enthusiasts with deep pockets, the E8 Sport kicks out the best sound we’ve heard on a set of true wireless headphones.

That’s backed up with custom EQ controls in the partner app and 30 hours of workout time on the buds and case combined. Despite the slightly smaller wing tip design, they fit tight and don’t shake loose.

If you’re all about that bass, this ships memory foam ear tips that seal in the heavy beats. For extra style points, the limited edition collab with On Running also adds a bit of swagger.

Sound: 4/5
Comfort: 4/5
Durability: 4/5
OVERALL: 4/5

Best Buds: The 10 Best Sports Headphones For 2021 | Men's Fitness UK

Adidas RPT 01
£119.99, adidasheadphones.com

If over-ear cans are more your bag, the 209g Bluetooth RPT 01 come with removable and washable ear covers that can soak up whatever sweat and tears you throw at them.

You get 40 hours of training time on a single charge, fully customisable sound via the partner app, and luxe comfort from fabric headband and earpad covers.

Sound: 3.5/5
Comfort: 3/5
Durability: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 3.5/5

 

Words: Kieran Alger

 

 

 

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