Comparison: what are the best Bluetooth headphones and earphones for sport?
A helmet or earphones for sports is a growing trend. Comfort, sealing, supra or intra… There are many criteria to take into account before choosing your helmet for sports. We have selected the best models on the market.
Whether it is to isolate yourself, motivate yourself or relax, it is often with a helmet on your head that you indulge in the joys of sport. According to a recent study, you are even likely to improve your performance by 5 to 7% by exercising to music! For years now, manufacturers have made this market their little laboratory, testing streamlined shapes, more compact devices or more intuitive controls.
Among the main criteria that should guide your choice, you must above all give priority to comfort of use. Study your needs, depending on the sport you practice: are you in particular subject to regular head movements, likely to cause the earphones to fall off? In this case, it is in your interest to favor classic helmets with arches or headphones with a neckband. Do you prefer better insulation from outside noise? Consider purchasing an active noise-canceling model, which features an array of microphones to mute all surrounding sounds. If you have to wear a protective helmet, pay attention to the volume of the intras which must be discreet!
On the trend side, most sports headphones today follow the path of Apple's AirPods, adopting the format of Bluetooth wireless in-ear headphones. All the models we have selected come with a series of different eartips, to best fit the pavilion of your ears. And don't think that their compact size distorts the sound: these headphones are capable of distilling powerful bass and natural sound, without making you lose out on outside noise. Accompany them with a connected watch to follow your sporting achievements, completely wirelessly!
Wireless headphones: the latest news
Soon to be tested, the new Beats Fit Pro headphones from Apple, available in France since January 28 at €229.95 in 4 colors.
What are the best wireless headphones for working out?
Our selection of the best sports earphones and headphones
Bose Sport Earbuds
The best choice for sports music€169.99> Baker We likeWe don't like
This splash and sweat resistant model thanks to its IPX4 certification is very light and stays in place in the ears. Its touch controls are convenient and customizable. The Bose Sport Earbuds aren't the strongest in terms of battery life despite the size of the charging case, but this one offers 2 hours of power in just 15 minutes of charging which is always very handy in case you forget. More accessible in price than the QuietComfort at 250€, these Bose Eardbuds are a good choice for sports, especially for long sessions where the comfort of the intra is essential! The Stayhear Max tips allow you to wedge the intra ears well in the ears and help isolate outside noise.
The best headphones for skiing69€> Amazon We likeWe don't like
If you can't do without music, even on the ski slopes, you'll love the Skitooth headphones. It simply slips over the ear cups of a ski helmet to enjoy its music or make calls on the slopes. Even if you go very fast, the sound remains excellent despite the wind. As it is not placed on the ears, you remain attentive to ambient noise which is essential to avoid accidents!
These Bluetooth headphones adapt to all helmets that have ear protectors, also try on bike helmets if you wear them! The big blue control button can be used even with ski gloves, but more difficult with mittens… The music mode automatically switches to call mode when you receive a call, just press the button once to take the call. call. You can manage the volume and move tracks forward or backward from the buttons.
Ultra light, it is quickly forgotten, no thread will bother you in the wetsuit and you won't risk losing it, even in the event of a fall. The only regret is that the USB port has no protection in the event of a dive in the powder... The Skitooth promises a 15-hour battery life and allows you to use your smartphone's voice recognition.
This system still raises the question of safety on the slopes. If it encourages skiers to wear a helmet, it risks altering the ability to listen and the attention necessary for a sport that remains dangerous, so be careful... This helmet is therefore perfect for skiing to music, or if you plan to telecommute discreetly from the mountain 😉 but don't forget to disconnect a bit when you're up there... If skiers become as noisy as travelers in transport with their phones, it's going to be hell in white paradise!
The best neck warmer for working out75,61€> Baker We likeWe don't like
With its neck strap, there is no risk of losing a headset and autonomy is increased tenfold. You can go hiking at 3 p.m.! The neckband is very soft and flexible, it shouldn't get in the way when you're active. The magnetic earbuds will stay in place when you remove them. On the listening side, the extra Bass mode offers good sound quality. Helmet certified IPX5 water resistant and washable. If the wire does not bother you, it is a good solution for long and perilous sports outings.
T5 II True Wireless Sport Mclaren Klipsch
The best design and the most complete sports case€232.99> Darty We likeWe don't like
Under the hood of the Klipsch feat McLaren sports headphones are True Wireless T5 II headphones, the second generation of True Wireless from the American Klipsch. This sports version is dressed by McLaren, Klipsch having been a partner of the Formula 1 team since last year. When opened, its original case is immediately appealing and when you shake it the noise of maracas is surprising. These are absorbent microbeads that remove moisture from earphones after a workout. The case is of course waterproof and shockproof (IP67), like headphones, and comes with its tab for easy carrying.
The Mc Laren T5 II True Wireless are Bluetooth 5.0 compatible and support aptX codecs such as AAC. They offer noise reduction only in telephone conversation mode and a transparency mode for music in addition, very practical for outdoor running sessions. The Klipsch McLarens are powered by a 50mAh battery in each earbud, and 360mAh in the carrying case. Their autonomy is with that 8 hours of listening plus 16 hours thanks to the box. It is compatible with fast charging via its USB-C port, as well as Qi wireless charging. Besides, Klipsch provides a handy wireless charger in the box. You will also have a beautiful woven USB cable in the Mc Laren colors and a USB/USBC adaptor, in addition to five pairs of shape memory tips and two pairs of fins.
JBL Reflect Mini NC
The most compact sports headphones€149.99> Baker We likeWe don't like
Practical with their small box with cord, the JBL Reflect Mini NC headphones will accompany you everywhere in your sports sessions and will protect you (a little!) from outside noise with their ANC function. The light indicator on the case allows you to quickly see where the charge is and its IPX7 certification guarantees water resistance to 1 meter for 30 minutes if necessary. The total autonomy is 6 hours.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
The best value for money€109.99> Darty We likeWe don't like
The Elite Active Jabra 75t are very comfortable to use and offer good support in the ears. Passive or active insulation works perfectly to isolate you in all circumstances during sport. Its application is very effective in adjusting the sound to your ears. Its small size means you can take the case anywhere and always be ready for a sports session to music. The Jabra Elite 75t Active headphones offer an excellent autonomy of 7h30 and in 15 minutes of charging, the box will give you 1 hour of use. A wireless charging box is available as an option (€219.99).
The best headphones with bone conduction139,95€> Amazon We likeWe don't like
If you don't like having something in your ears while you exercise but want to move to music, the Openrun earphones from Shokz (formerly AfterShokz) are for you! This bone conduction headset sits in front of the ears and sound passes through the temples. This produces slight vibrations to the rhythm of the music, the same for the lyrics and the vibrations decrease by lowering the sound. The sound also varies with certain positions of the head, in particular downwards. The sound is clear and gives the impression of coming from within. The result is quite stunning, even disturbing at first. Then you get used to the sound quality and the comfort of the free ears. We had it tested by several people and some are not getting used to this technology, but overall the feeling is rather positive.
This new model succeeds the Aeropex and while it uses the same technical specifications and the same quality of clear and precise sound, it brings a new major advantage: fast charging. Indispensable for dizzy people who cannot do without music or podcasts during their sports sessions. In just 10 minutes of charters you will have 1.5 hours of listening time. The Openrun is also IP67 certified, waterproof but not suitable for swimming. The sound will not pass but Shokz offers a suitable model in its range. The charging connector is a nice magnetic port but in a proprietary format. Moreover, another difference with the Aeropex, Shokz slipped a single cable into the box. On the other hand, it is always delivered with a very practical little cover.
Sony Walkman NW-WS413
The best headphones for swimming€99.99> Fnac We likeWe don't like
More than just a pair of earphones dedicated to sports, Sony's WS413 is a full-fledged Walkman, which features 4 GB of memory to store your music. This is a definite advantage, since it is completely waterproof and able to work under water (fresh and salty), which allows you to take it with you to the pool and the beach while leaving your smartphone well. sheltered. However, you will have to think about converting your Podcasts to MP3 if you want to listen to them while swimming, because unlike the other earphones in the selection, it does not pair via Bluetooth with your smartphone, since logically you will not be swimming with it!
You will therefore not be able to listen to Deezer, Spotiffy or your favorite radio station with these headphones. You will need to import the music or podcast titles through your computer, Mac or PC. Sony offers in its manual two URLs with headset management software for PC or Mac. After installation the Walkman is recognized directly by the computer. Depending on the computers it can also be recognized directly without the Sony software. Then just drag and drop the titles in to import them. Place them in the order you want to find your way around once in the water.
As usual on this type of headset, the buttons are complex to decipher under water blindly, but in use you end up memorizing the main one. Listening while swimming is pretty good. The sound is of course a little muffled and less loud, the quality is without comparison with sports headphones out of the water, but it is still quite good and it is by far the best system for swimming in music. Above all, you have to fit the earphones well in your ears and find the right size, because if the air passes you will have crackling. If you have crackling noises, then you are not using the correct size headset. Sony provides 4 sizes of waterproof earbuds (with a thin film over the hole) and 4 sizes of classic earbuds, feel free to mix sizes between right and left to get the right balance.
Once set, the headphones do the job perfectly and you can swim in music or podcast for hours. You can hook a small thin strap to the cord of the helmet to hold it better in place if necessary. Charging is done via a dedicated adapter that should not be misplaced because these headphones are not compatible with a simple USB cable! The Sony WS413 headphones can be used in salty sea water, without forgetting to rinse them with fresh water after use.
Beats Powerbeats Pro
The most stable sports headphones173,82€> Amazon We likeWe don't like
Equipped with Apple's H1 chip, the Powerbeats Pro are among the most powerful and powerful sports in-ear headphones available today. The headphones offer great comfort of use, with excellent support and an exemplary finish. They are perfectly resistant to water and perspiration, a real asset for sports use. Patronage of Apple obliges, the Powerbeats Pro go particularly well with iOS and it is possible to interact directly with the voice assistant by pronouncing “Say, Siri”. Audio quality is top notch, with deep bass and excellent overall balance. A certain investment, for a high fidelity and practical headset for sports use.
Our other sports headphones tests
Aeropex Shokz€139.99> Baker We likeWe don't like
The Aeropex model of Shokz in titanium is ultra light (26 grams) and has an autonomy of 8 hours, for a charging time of 2 hours. IP67 certified, it is waterproof to 30′ at a depth of one meter, but water cuts off sound transmission. Shokz offers its Xtrainerz waterproof model for swimming to music. The charging connector is a pleasant magnetic port but in a proprietary format, no USB C port, be careful not to forget the charger when traveling. Besides Shokz had the good idea to slip two into the box! Good point also for the very qualitative packaging and the small order reminder card. You will also find in the box a pair of earplugs if you want to isolate yourself while listening. These headphones obviously do not offer noise reduction or transparency mode, you just have to raise or lower the sound to obtain these effects. Bone conduction music makes it easy to stay alert to the world around you and arguably saves your ears from abuse. The Aeropex from Shokz is available in 4 colors.
Jabra Elite 7 Active€179.99> Fnac We likeWe don't like
The new Jabra Elite 7 Active headphones replace the excellent Jabra Elite Active 75t. They headphones offer many benefits like active noise reduction, Bluetooth 5.2, built-in Alexa, customizable sound, multiple listening modes and wireless charging.
Bass performance, while aggressive in standard mode, is great for working out and can be modulated in the Jabra Sound+ app for more balanced sound. ANC isn't the best in this sport category, but it's not essential for moving to music. The HearTrouhgh transparency mode also allows you to remain vigilant to the outside world even in the effort. Finally, the phone call mode is not the best in the Jabra range, which generally offers impeccable quality on this point.
These Jabra headphones can be used in mono mode with either independently. Very practical to save the battery if necessary and continue your sports session in music.
The Elite 7 Active is well protected by a rugged, space-saving shell that can survive intense workouts and boasts some of the longest battery life in its class with 8 hours alone or over 30 hours with the shell. IP57 certified, these headphones are water and dust resistant. They hold perfectly in place during exercise. They are supplied with 3 pairs of oval silicone EarGels. The touch controls are efficient and practical to manage everything during training.
Jaybird Vista145,94€> Amazon We likeWe don't like
After the Jaybird Run, this new Vista model, also dedicated to sport, is very compact. Its IPX7 certification offers more water resistance, the Vista are waterproof for 30 minutes at 1 meter, even if they are not suitable for a swimming session. The touch control buttons are configurable to customize them to your liking and each earphone has a microphone for calls. The case will offer you 1 hour of use in 5 minutes of charging which is always appreciable before leaving!
Teufel Airy Sports€59.99> CDiscount We likeWe don't like
The new Bluetooth headphones from Teufel are dedicated to sports. the German manufacturer present in France since 2019 offers an IPX7 certified model that is resistant to perspiration, rain, and immersion. Its 3 pairs of tips allow you to find the right size for the ears and the antibacterial silicone ear clips ensure excellent support. No risk of losing an earphone thanks to the discreet wire that passes around the neck. A yarn so light that it doesn't sit perfectly on the neck, but it's not too awkward. The Airy Sports are Bluetooth with aptx-X and AAC for CD quality listening depending on the source. With the Teufel Headphones app, you can adjust the sound to your ear and bring the seriously missing bass back to the neutral listening position. Finally, its autonomy of 25 hours allows you to use it for several days without fear of breaking down during your sports session.
JBL Endurance Peak II€119.99> Darty We likeWe don't like
The earphones are imposing with their silicone earloop, but you can rest easy, they will never move! The charging case is also imposing (77g), but it provides 24 hours of additional charging. The sound is not the best in this guide, but will be enough to do sports sessions in complete safety, without the risk of losing an earphone on the way! Certified IPX7, the earphones are resistant to perspiration and in water at 1 meter for 30 minutes. The total autonomy is 6 hours.
Why Choose Dedicated Sports Headphones
Any smartphone comes with a pair of wired headphones. On paper, these can also be used to go for sports. This may be true for occasional use with an indoor cycle for example. But if you intend to go running to music, you may be quickly disappointed.
First by the comfort offered by these standard earphones which will quickly slip out of your ear from the first strides. Worse still, assuming they stay put, the sweat will finish them off after a few hard sessions. These two remarks prove to what extent the headphones developed for a sporting activity are far from being a simple marketing argument. Though.
Beware all the same of opportunistic manufacturers who go shamelessly, content with changing packaging or opting for flashy colors in order to pass off a pair of classic headphones for a model dedicated to sport.
On-ear headphones or in-ear headphones?
In this regard, you have the choice between the supra-aural headphones or the in-ear headphones. The first comes to rest on the ears while the second fits into the ear canal.
Advantage of supra-aural headphones, they generally have larger drivers which theoretically deliver better quality sound. However, this type of helmet is heavier and not always suitable for racing. Indeed, the headband which rests on the top of the skull can become uncomfortable during prolonged effort. Not to mention the heating felt in the ears. Heating which is naturally accompanied by increased sweating. And things can get worse. The pads end up sooner or later by altering in contact with sweat. In our opinion, it is therefore not ideal for those wishing to run to music. On the other hand, we can be satisfied with it in the room.
More suitable, in-ear headphones are lighter and more discreet. They are also more comfortable, provided you opt for a model that fits well in the ear. Because it is generally on this point that the shoe pinches even if great progress has been made in this area. We paid particular attention to this with the models we tested for this guide. The dedicated headphones are also more solid. Their silicone tips are resistant to sweat and above all they are easily and inexpensively interchangeable. In the same way, the cables are reinforced to withstand any friction on clothing. We will come back to this a little later.
Matter of comfort
In-ear headphones also come in different designs. Alongside the classic earpiece that is inserted into the ear, manufacturers offer more or less practical variations. You can opt for a model that rests on the neck like the LG Tone Ultra. Advantage, all the electronics are grouped together in the small box in order to give the headphones as little weight as possible. On the other hand, having this plastic element that rubs on the neck can be annoying in the long run, especially for running.
Eartips are of paramount importance in the comfort of headphones. In order to keep them in place, a double implantation is generally used. First with the silicone “ear buds”. Several are supplied with different sizes to adapt to most ear morphologies, and thus guarantee optimal comfort. Added to this are small fins called “ear wings” which are also available in several sizes. These are placed behind the cartilage in order to properly hold the earpiece in the ear.
Another solution that has proven itself, a plastic contour is integrated into the earpiece which provides a second point of attachment on the ear to prevent it from falling. This is the option chosen by Beats and Sennheiser.
Qualities and defects of True Wireless earphones
On the flip side of greater comfort, you have one more device to charge.
You will have seen it through our selection of earphones dedicated to sport: it is difficult today to ignore a Bluetooth model. All manufacturers have embarked on the path opened by Apple with its AirPods, and it must be admitted that this solution offers great comfort on a daily basis. We talk about True Wireless earphones to designate this type of product – literally, the only “truly” wireless earphones. You therefore do not risk getting tangled in the cables or feeling discomfort during the effort.
In terms of ergonomics, these headphones generally include buttons or a touch zone on their surface, in order to control playback or pair them with your smartphone. The connection is generally very stable and the comfort of use is real. On the other hand, you will have one more device to recharge before going for a run. In the event of a discharged battery, you will be able to put a cross on the music – almost all True Wireless models do not have a connector allowing them to switch to wired mode. If you're the airhead type, we recommend the Sony WI SP510 which offer 15 hours of battery life thanks to the neckband.
Most models come with a charging case. It's a very practical solution to store them and prepare them before your next outing. Simply connect the case's USB Type-C port to a power source for the first time to recharge the cases' internal battery. Thereafter, you will simply insert the two in-ear headphones inside to restore their juice. Some boxes charge wirelessly which is even more convenient.
Another advantage of this type of storage box: you won't risk misplacing your True Wireless earphones. Nothing worse than putting them, without thinking, on a shelf and spending hours finding them on your next outing!
Dust, water, what level of resistance can we claim?
As we said above, sweat is the sworn enemy of headphones. It's the same with the rain for those who don't hesitate to brave the elements when going for a run or a walk. You have surely already heard of the IPXX certification which is used in particular in the world of mobile telephony. This is an ingress protection that indicates how resistant a device is to dust and water. It is also used in the context of sports headphones.
The two digits XX are interpreted independently. The first provides information on protection against dust on a scale of 0 to 6. An IP6X rating therefore means that the device is fully protected, including against microscopic dust. The second number indicates the water resistance on a scale of 0 to 9. In consumer electronics, the maximum is generally 8. Clearly if a device is IP68 for example, it is supposed to be resistant to dust. on the one hand, and immersion in more than one meter of water for 30 minutes on the other hand.
But beware, apart from the Sony Walkman NW-WS413, no headphones are made for really going swimming. The Sony can even accompany you in sea water!
When it comes to sports headphones, you'll come across an IPX4 rating most of the time. This simply means that they have not been dust tested, but that they are resistant to splashing water, and therefore to rain. To be completely complete, you may wonder why no headphones / earphones are certified IP67, or even IP68, as is the case for some smartphones for example? Quite simply because the higher the IP, the more the sound is impacted by isolating the membranes. So you have to find a happy medium between resistance and the audio experience.
iPhone or Android compatible, what difference does it make?
You may have already noticed that some headphones / earphones are iPhone compatible while others are intended for Android smartphones. This is also valid for the models dedicated to sport that interest us here. Know first what it does not mean that you will no longer be able to use them if you change creameries one day. The advantage of this compatibility lies mainly in the remote control and its advanced features.
An MFI (Made For iPhone) certified headset will have access to all music controls in addition to volume. Next or previous song, pause, play or even answer calls, everything is accessible via the three buttons on the remote control. In the case of a Bluetooth model, you can also check the battery level directly on the iPhone screen. The principle is the same for the Works With Android certification, but the integration is sometimes less extensive than on iOS, even if real efforts are beginning to appear.
At Beats, all headphones and earphones are MFI certified, which is not surprising following the takeover of the brand by Apple. The same goes for Bose and Jabra who have chosen the same side. Conversely, Sennheiser lets you choose between Android and iOS.
What about apps?
Headsets and earphones for sport are of course compatible with dedicated applications in this area. Whether it's Endomondo, Nike or Adidas/Runtastic to name a few, we have voice announcements to know the distance traveled, the time elapsed and the lap times. Jabra stands out once again by offering its own Jabra Sport Life application for its headsets. This allows you to follow your progress and access a voice coach. Using the Jabra Sport Pulse's heart rate monitor, the app is even able to calculate VO2 Max and plan interval training or sets without touching the smartphone.
A sign of the times, in-ear headphones are not synonymous with limited audio performance: manufacturers' applications often make it possible to refine their profile.
How about exercising with noise canceling headphones?
External insulation, the word is out. This is one of the great debates surrounding helmets dedicated to sports practice, and probably the most personal choice. Do you want to hear the world around you clearly, especially for your own safety, or do you prefer to isolate yourself to music? It also depends on the sport you practice: you don't necessarily have the same needs on a congested road and on an exercise bike.
Obviously heavier and more immersive than the in-ears highlighted so far, some wireless headphones maintain a streamlined silhouette and come with many advanced features that make them attractive. There is already the sound quality, necessarily more enveloping and massive. But there are also more intuitive touch controls and very complete applications. That of the Sony WH-1000XM4, for example, allows you to refine the level of noise reduction with a mode that detects announcements in particular, so as not to miss information on a train or an airplane. Interesting additions, for a helmet that gains in versatility. A choice to consider if your sports practice is more limited or if you are looking to increase your activities in music. Attention cependant aux activités en extérieur pendant lesquelles il peut être dangereux de s'isoler des bruits ambiants !!