5 of the best running headphones tested, rated and reviewed to keep your triathlon run training on track
We’ve tested five sets of running headphones to help you with some musical motivation for training as the nights draw in. You’ll find more group tests from Triathlon Plus in our other best triathlon gear reviews.
Jaybird Freedom Sprint
These Bluetooth earphones look a bit chunky, but were very secure thanks to nifty rubber cushions, which come in three sizes and sit snugly in the outer ear. The inner ear buds – also in three sizes – were really comfy and it was easy to find a good seal, allowing us to experience the exceptional sound quality. The right unit has volume and track controls and the ability to take calls. There’s no headphone jack so they’re for mobile use only and the wire between the earphones did bounce annoyingly on the neck.
Philips Ear Hook
Philips’ Ear Hooks are a simple running solution with a secure-fitting, flexible loop holding each earphone in the ear. Despite having three different earbud sizes, we found it harder to get a good seal than other units on test, which for better or worse meant more ambient noise was audible when running. The sound quality was good, but without the depth of the JayBird, the strong bass of the Sennheiser or the overall clarity of the Sony sets. They were irritation-free while running, held up fine against sweat and the elements and won’t break the bank either.
Sennheiser PMX 685i Sports
Sennheiser’s Adidas-branded headphones offer a really powerful, deep bass sound without blocking the outside world entirely. The buds sit in the outer ear rather than inside the ear canal like the other sets here, but still formed a good seal and stayed in place. One really nice feature is the ability to rinse the headphones after use. The built-in remote works on Apple gadgets (only play/pause on Android) and allows you to take calls. It’s also placed high enough to be useful when slipping the cable down your top.
Iqua Beat A1
Though these Bluetooth headphones pair with other devices, the Iqua Beat app is iPhone only. Like many fitness apps, it uses GPS to record sessions, plot routes and has audio feedback like Adidas’ miCoach. Heart rate is measured by a clip on your earlobe, though data appeared quite erratic and only average heart rate is available on screen. The clip-on Iqua unit is light and allows basic operation – play/pause, volume and skipping tracks but no scanning. It wasn’t particularly responsive, but sound quality was great.
These headphones from Sony’s Active range are really comfortable with four pairs of earbuds included to help you get a good seal. The light, flexible band hooks around the ears and keeps the headphones secure while a cord adjuster allows you to choose where you want the cable to exit along the band, keeping the wire out of your way. This is also aided by the cable clip, which locks in place rather than having a spring and stayed put throughout testing. The sound quality was superb; strong and clear and the price tag makes them a bargain.
This review was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
You’ll find loads more triathlon gear and kit reviews in triradar.com’s Gear section