Part of RunEars.com BestHeadphonesForRunning.com

Types Of Headphones
For Running

Over 100 Sports Headphones Listed By Design Style


Neckband On-Ear
In-Ear
Bluetooth
Clips Hookphones
Buds Earbuds
Canalbuds
Canalphones

Note: Prices are approximate and may have changed since posting. Yes I need to tidy up the layout here.


Neckband


On-Ear

neckband headphones

Also known as: Supra-aural, supra-concha, On-Ear, Street-style, Behind-the-neck, Behind-the-Head

Pros: Comfortable to wear; Only design with one cable which can exit from one ear or down the back.

Cons: Heavier than other portable headphones; can put pressure on the ears.


  1. Able Planet Clear Harmony PS200BHB ~$25, recommended by BestBuy
  2. Grado iHeadphones ~$50
  3. Koss KSC24 ~$18
  4. Koss KSC75 ~$15, not liked by Podophile
  5. Philips SHS5200 ~$15, reflective
  6. Sennheiser PMX-60 ~$29 review & pictures
  7. Sennheiser PMX-100 ~$50 review & pictures
  8. Sennheiser PMX-200 ~$50 may not have the small mini-phone plug. Closed design=sweaty ears.
  9. Sony MDR-AS30G ~$15
  10. Sony MDR-G42G ~$32 review & pictures
  11. Sony MDR-G45LP ~$14
  12. Sony MDR-G55LP/WG ~$17
  13. Sony MDR-G57G ~$18 review & pictures
  14. Sony MDR-G75LW ~$34

In-Ear

neckband headphones

Also known as: Supra-aural, supra-concha, On-Ear, Street-style, Behind-the-neck, Behind-the-Head

Pros: Lighter and sportier than the on-ear neckbands.

Cons: With smaller transducers, the sound quality is not as good.


  1. Audio Bone AB10OR 1.0 ~$140
  2. Nike HJ020 Flight ~$20
  3. Nike SHJ023 ~$20
  4. Sennheiser PMX-80 ~$55 review & pictures
  5. Sony MDR-A35G S2 ~$16 fold-up
  6. Sony MDR-AS50G ~$32
  7. Sony MDR-AS100W ~$70

Bluetooth

neckband headphones

Also known as: Wireless

Dispenses with the cables by beaming the sound signal via bluetooth, infrared, or other technology. Usually the neckband style due to battery requirement.

Pros: No wires!

Cons: Requires a battery on the headphones, so they can be heavy; requires a transmitter attached to non-bluetooth iPods (Nano, Shuffle); can incur intereference.

Notes: Non-bluetooth MP3-players such as the iPod Nano require a bluetooth transmitter. A2DP Bluetooth profile offers improved audio.

  1. RocketFish RF-MAB2t ~$58. Weight: 54g (1.9oz.) Bluetooth: 2.1 w/ A2DP & AVRCP
  2. Sennheiser MM-100 ~$200. Weight: 54 g (1.9 oz) Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR w/ A2DP & AVRCP MacWorld review
  3. Sennheiser MM-400 ~$350
  4. Logitech FreePulse ~$160 (inc. transmitter)
  5. Logitech 980397-0403 ~$200 (inc. transmitter)
  6. Logitech Wireless ~$200 (inc. transmitter)
  7. Motorola S9-HD ~$72 (no transmitter)
  8. Motorola MOTOROKR S9 ~$36 (no transmitter)
  9. Sony DR-BT21IK/B ~$102 (inc. transmitter)

Transmitters:

  1. Kokkia i10s $50 Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP & AVRCP Kokkia
  2. Sony TMR-BT8IP Bluetooth Wireless Transmitter for iPod ~$29. Weight: 5 g (0.2 oz.). Bluetooth: 2.0 + EDR with A2DP & AVRCP.

Clips

clip headphones

Also known as: Clip-ons, Sportclips, Earhooks, Hook-On, Over-Ear

Clips or hooks are used to hold the headphone discs onto each ear.

Pros: Don't have the pressure of neckband headphones.

Cons: Two cables, one from each ear; with less holding pressure, the cups can swing against the ear; any uneven fitting equals uneven sound.


  1. Airdrives INA099100 ~$45
  2. Koss KSC9 ~$13
  3. Nike SHJ025 ~$25
  4. Nike HJ030 Vapor ~$25
  5. Nike SHJ036 Vapor ~$25
  6. Nike HJ030 Vapor ~$25
  7. Nike HJ080 Skylon ~$50
  8. Nike SHJ080 Skylon ~$50
  9. Philips SHJ026/27 ~$20
  10. Philips SHS3201/37 ~$9
  11. Philips SHS420/37 ~$16
  12. Philips SHS8000 ~$14
  13. Sennheiser MX-85 ~$55 review & pictures
  14. Sennheiser OMX-80 ~$55 review & pictures
  15. Sony MDR-AS20J ~$14
  16. Sony MDR-AS40EX ~$30
  17. Sony MDR-EX81LP ~$27
  18. Sony MDR-J10 ~$10
  19. Sony MDR-J11G ~$13
  20. Sony MDR-J20 ~$13
  21. Sony MDR-Q22LP ~$19
  22. Sony MDR-Q23LP ~$30

Buds


Earbuds

plugs headphones

Also known as: In-Ear, Earphones, Earbuds, Intra-canal

Earphones push inside the ear canal with a foam or silicon seal to hold them in place.

Pros: Small and lightweight; act like earplugs with a seal that reduces external noise allowing good sound quality.

Cons: Two cables; can be difficult to fit the individual's ear canal size; can fall out with a tug of a cable; bass response may be weak.


  1. Altec Lansing UHP336 ~$40
  2. Creative Heaphones EP-630 ~$46
  3. Griffin Technology 4039-EJAM ~$22
  4. iHarmonix iHX-PRO-EV ~$30
  5. Koss P9 ~$12
  6. Koss P16 ~$15
  7. Sennheiser CX-300-B ~$17
  8. Sennheiser CX-380 ~$63 review & pictures
  9. Skullcandy S2TTBZ-BZ Titan ~$34
  10. Skullcandy Smokin' Buds ~$30
  11. Sony MDR-EX38iP ~$36 with remote
  12. Sony MDR-EX71SL ~$40
  13. Sony MDR-EX75 ~$20
  14. Sony MDR-EX76 ~$35
  15. Sony MDR-NC22 ~$65 noise-canceling
  16. Sony MDR-NC33 ~$78 noise-canceling
  17. Sony MDR-XB20EX ~$31 extra bass
  18. Sony MDR-XB40EX ~$42 extra bass
  19. Soundmagic PL30 ~$30
  20. V-Moda Vibe ~$60
  21. V-Moda BassFreq ~$30

Canalbuds (Noise-Isolating)

plugs headphones

Technical name: Inter-canal

Also known as: Noise-Isolating, Sound-Isolating,

Similar to earbuds but they fit tighter in the ear canal.

Pros: Better sound quality.

Cons: Higher price.


  1. Denon AHC351K ~$40, recommended by MacWorld
  2. Denon C551 ~$100
  3. Klipsch Image S4 ~$80 enhanced bass, recommended by CNET
  4. Maximo iM-590 iMetal ~$40, recommended by MacWorld
  5. Radius Atomic Bass ~$40
  6. Sennheiser CX-400 ~$75
  7. Shure E2c ~$70
  8. Shure E3c-n ~$120
  9. Shure E4c-n ~$170
  10. Shure SE110 ~$60
  11. Shure SE210 ~$98
  12. Shure SE310 ~$153
  13. Shure SE530-PTH ~$300 push-to-hear control, recommended by EarphoneSolutions.net and Cnet
  14. Sony MDR-EX300 ~$50
  15. Sony MDR-EX500LP ~$86
  16. Sony MDR-EX700LP ~$170
  17. Ultimate Ears MetroFi 170 ~$47
  18. Ultimate Ears MetroFi 220 ~$70, recommended by MacWorld

Canalphones

plugs headphones

Technical name: Intra-canal

Also known as: Canal, Sound-Isolating, Inner-Ear, Canalphones, Canalbuds, In-Ear-Canal, Inserts, Inner-Ear-Headphones, Isolation Earphones, In-Ear Monitors (IEMs)

Similar to earbuds but they fit further into the ear canal.

Pros: Used by professional artists for the sound quality.

Cons: May be too sound-isolating for sports, see below.

Safety warning: These headphones may be unsafe for running as they can block out so much outside noise that you can't hear useful warning sounds such as approaching traffic, emergency vehicles, race instructions, etc. Use at your own risk.


  1. Etymotic Research ER4P ~$170
  2. Etymotic Research ER4S ~$170
  3. Etymotic Research ER-6i ~$74
  4. Etymotic Research HF5 ~$120, recommended by MacWorld
  5. Future Sonics M5 ~$178
  6. Future Sonics M8 ~$200
  7. Klipsch Custom 1 ~$50
  8. Klipsch Custom-3 ~$300
  9. Sennheiser IE 6 ~$170 buds (IEM)
  10. Ultimate Ears SuperFi 3 ~$102
  11. Ultimate Ears SuperFi 4 ~$95
  12. Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi ~$132
  13. Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 Pro ~$240
  14. Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 ~$150
  15. Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 Pro ~$331
  16. Westone UM2 Dual-Driver ~$300, recommended by MacWorld
  17. Westone 3 Triple-Driver ~$350




Articles by MacWorld: primer, canalphones and canalbuds

Apparently there are counterfeit headphones out there, so make sure you buy from an authorized reseller.

Safety. Volume. Sorry California cyclists: CA law states: "A person operating a ... bicycle may not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, both ears (27400)."


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