We talk about the main features of workout headphones that will come in handy when playing sports – when you jump a lot, sweat, dive into the water, and listen to invigorating music.
Choose in-ear models
Unlike earbuds (like the first Air Pods), in-ears have silicone ear pads that tightly fix the earpiece. In addition, the ears remain open in them and do not sweat. And in this, they compare favorably with overhead or full-size models that completely cover the ear.
They usually come with different sizes of ear pads so you can customize the fit.
In-ear models include the EDIFIER X5, a fully wireless headphone with IP55 water resistance. You can’t swim in them, but they can handle jogging and training in the gym.
Wireless – much more convenient
The cable gets tangled and hinders movement. So, look for fully wireless TWS models or neckband options. The former gives complete freedom of action, while the latter is more difficult to lose: if they fall out, they will be held by the cable.
Such a cable is, for example, in the Sony WI-SP510 – a wireless model with splash and sweat protection according to the IPX5 standard. And if you want true wireless earbuds, check out our guide to choosing TWS models.
Consider additional fixation
To keep headphones from falling out of your ears at all, look for models with behind-the-ear bars that go around the ear or hooks that serve as spacers. Both elements will hold even not the most resistant earbuds in your ears.
For example, DIGMA TWS-06 has ear hooks. The earphones fit snugly on the ears, and they have physical buttons to control volume and playback, but the body of the device is not waterproof. Therefore, for very sweaty workouts or exercising in the rain, this model is not suitable.
Better with water protection
The level of protection against water indicates the second digit in the IP class. The higher the number, the better the protection. For indoor use, models with IPX4 and above are suitable. With IPX7, you can take a shower or even swim in the pool. The maximum value is 8.
It happens that the headphones have several specifications at once. For example, the Sony WF-SP900 has IPX5 and IPX8: that is, they can withstand a jet of water and immersion to a depth of up to 2 meters for no more than 30 minutes.
Noise-canceling isn’t always good
In the hall, turning on active noise reduction, you can completely immerse yourself in listening to the playlist. But while jogging, it is dangerous to ignore the surrounding sounds. There is a way out: turn off noise reduction or choose a model with a transparent mode, when the headphones record ambient sounds using microphones and play them along with the music.
Of all the headphones we’ve tested so far, the Air Pods Pro have the best transparent mode – it sounds so realistic, it’s like the headphones aren’t in your ears.
Always connected with a microphone
To avoid interrupting your workout with an incoming call and without reaching for your phone, choose models with a microphone and answer calls using the headset. Be sure to look for a microphone in wired models, and in the case of wireless headphones, it is installed by default.
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