The best Bluetooth headphones for running

Whether it’s a playlist or a podcast you’re running to, the right headphones can make all the difference. To help you find the best gear for you, we put these 12 pairs of Bluetooth headphones through their paces, so you don’t have to.

How to look after your Bluetooth headphones

Keep your earphones in top condition by wiping them down with a damp cloth once a month.

Related: The best running shoes 2018 

Plantronics Backbeat Fit, RRP £109.99, amazon.co.uk 

If these were a little cheaper, they would have been a contender for the Editor’s Choice award. They’re rugged, dependable Bluetooth headphones, with a consistent level of performance. Some of you may not like the army-style look and feel, but there’s a number of different colour choices available. They stayed firmly in our ears on every type of session and performed brilliantly in the rain. The controls could be less fiddly, but overall these were a pleasure to wear.

RW score: 8/10

Urbanista Boston, RRP £49.99, amazon.co.uk

Our first run in these was a 15-miler in heavy rain and they easily stood up to it. Sound was good, with a nice balance between the bass and volume, and they don’t totally block outside sounds, so you’re aware of your surroundings. The charging module is at the back of the neck, so they don’t weigh down on your ears and another clever touch is the magnetised buds, which prevent the cord from tangling. All in all, a great choice.

RW score: 9/10

Snugs Wireless Magnet, From £169.95, snugs.com

Bespoke fit, anyone? Simply have a 3D scan or physical impression of your lugholes made and Snugs will produce custom silicon moulds that slot over either your existing earphones or a pair you buy through the site. The Wireless Magnet own-brand phones offered lightweight durability and superb clarity, but the microphone for phone calls was only average and the four-hour battery life is on the modest side.

RW score: 8.5/10

Fitbit Flyer, £110, amazon.co.uk

These are almost excellent, but a lack of attention to detail lets them down slightly. They’re sweatproof and durable and the sound is clear. However, the earbuds are a tad heavy. There are two sound settings, and while the bass-heavy option is great for thumping workout music, the six-hour battery drains quicker on this setting, while the normal ‘signature’ setting feels unbalanced. Here’s hoping version two will sort out these issues.

RW score: 7.5/10

Audiotechnica ATH-SPORT70BT, £119, audio-technica.com 

These were extremely comfortable and felt super-secure as we pounded the streets and parks in the city. It’s strange that only one of the supplied four sets of earbuds are waterproof and the wire was too short – every time we turned our head the earpieces were pulled a little – but the function that allows you to easily switch between ‘noise isolation’ and ‘ambient sounds’ with one tap is a definite winner.

RW score: 6/10

Groove E Action, RRP £39.99, amazon.co.uk 

These are hard-wearing earphones for runners looking for something simple and reliable. The lack of finesse is apparent in the slightly stiff feel of the over-the-ear hooks, the inflexible wire and the fiddly buttons. But, on the upside, the sound quality was surprisingly good (for music – less so for podcasts); the earpieces were easy to insert and remove on the run; and the LED neckband (which comes with solid, slow-flash and quick-flash options) is useful in low-light running.

RW score: 6.5/10

Aftershokz Trekz Air, £149.95, amazon.co.uk 

Exceptionally comfortable earphones, primarily because bone-conduction technology means they sit against the cheekbones, transmitting sound to the inner ear. They’re also light, unobtrusive and sturdy. Sound quality – especially bass – suffers with bone conduction and while it was better than expected, it wasn’t as rich as you get with in-ear devices. Bluetooth connection was excellent and changing volume and taking calls was easy.

RW score: 8/10

Skull Candy Sport Method Wireless, RRP £49.99, amazon.co.uk 

A solid, good-value offering: the controls on the neckband are easy to use, Bluetooth connectivity is almost instant, noise cancelling is better than average, and the battery life is excellent: a 30-minute charge will get you eight hours of use. There’s just one potential problem: if you have an above-average-sized neck you’ll find the one-size-fits-all neckband a little tight, but these do the job.

RW score: 7.5/10

Bose Soundsport Free, £179.95, amazon.co.uk 

These delivered superb sound quality, clarity and balance. They stayed in place and felt so light we kept touching them to make sure they were still there. The Bose Connect app lets you customise settings and even locate your buds if you’ve mislaid them. On the downside the IPX (waterproofing) rating of 4 is average.

RW score: 8/10

Sol Republic Amps Air, £149.99, amazon.co.uk 

These ear pods gave a good mixture of comfort, durability and ease of use. They also scored highly for sound quality and noise isolation; sweat-proofing was very good and the carry case doubles as a charger. The fit was a slight issue: we sometimes had to push the pods back into place on long runs.

RW score: 6.5/10

Jabra Elite Sport, RRP £199, amazon.co.uk 

Ear gels, foam tips and ‘ear wings’ of various size allow these headphones to be customised for a secure fit, which also enhances sound quality. Bluetooth pairing was simple, fast and solid. These also function as an in-ear heart-rate monitor, and they sync with the Jabra Sport Life fitness app to record workout data and give audio feedback and coaching.

RW score: 9.5/10

Urbanista Toyko Dark Clown, RRP £99, amazon.co.uk

Urbanista’s heartland is more suit-wearing city worker than vest-wearing runner. But if you want headphones that offer pin-sharp audio, take and make calls, pair seamlessly with a variety of devices, all while looking sharp, these are a great bet. They come with four different bud sizes.

RW score: 7.5/10