Which headphones are best for walking?

Walking can be a great way to stay active, but it’s not the most exciting activity. However, listening to your favorite tunes or podcast as you stroll along can make it more fun.

Choosing a quality pair of headphones designed for active people will provide you with the best experience. However, there are a few styles and features to consider before buying new headphones.  

Styles of headphones for walking

Over-ear

Over-ear headphones are large and completely cover the ears. Because of their size, they usually offer the most bass and have the longest-lasting battery life if they’re wireless. Although many find them too bulky to wear for workouts, they’re fine for walking since it’s not a rigorous activity.

On-ear

On-ear headphones rest firmly on the ears and are more lightweight than over-ear headphones, making them more suitable for traveling and exercising. However, they usually don’t pack as much bass because they’re smaller.

In-ear

In-ear headphones, commonly referred to as earphones or earbuds, are the most lightweight, portable headphones. They’re also the most comfortable since they don’t rest on top of your head, so they’re ideal for exercising. Although there are varying styles, most are suitable for walking.

What to look for in quality headphones for walking

Wireless

Wired headphones are cheaper than wireless headphones and great for listening in a sedentary position, such as while working at the office or listening to music in your room. However, headphone wires are cumbersome and can make you feel constrained as you move, making wireless headphones the better option for walking and other exercises.

Ingress Protection rating

An IP rating refers to a product’s dust and water resistance and is expressed as IPXX. After IP, the first digit refers to its resistance to dust and dirt, while the second relates to moisture resistance. An X means the product hasn’t been sufficiently tested for protection in that area.

For example, headphones with an IPX7 rating have an unknown dust and dirt protection rating but can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes to a depth of 1 meter.

You don’t need headphones with a high IP rating if the only exercise you’ll be using them for is walking. However, walking for extended periods, especially in a warm environment, will cause you to sweat, so your headphones should at least have some moisture resistance.

Noise-canceling

Noise-canceling technology drowns out the external sounds in your environment. With noise-canceling technology, you can tune the level of ambient sound to suit your environment.

It’s a great feature for walking indoors on a treadmill or outdoors on a secure path. However, most of the time, you’re going to want to hear ambient sound when walking outdoors. Using noise-canceling can expose you to hazards such as traffic and cyclists since you wouldn’t be able to hear them.

Controls and voice assistants

It can be dangerous to be distracted while walking outdoors, so hands-free controls and access to voice assistants are advisable and convenient. Many headphones let you access voice assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant and have buttons for managing phone calls and your music. With them, you don’t have to use your phone to switch songs, adjust the volume or take a call.

Best headphones for walking

Best over-ear headphones

JBL 650 BT NC Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

JBL 650 BT NC Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

These headphones boast JBL’s signature sound and have a soft-fabric headband with comfortable earpads, making them excellent for long walks. They have a battery life of 30 hours.

Sold by Amazon

Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

They have a lightweight, durable and comfortable design and offer 22 hours of playback, so they’re ideal for extended walking sessions. They boast pure noise-canceling technology and real-time audio calibration to create a superb listening experience, so your walks are never dull.

Sold by Amazon

Best on-ear headphones

Skullcandy Riff Wireless Headphones

Skullcandy Riff Wireless Headphones

If you’re working with a budget, these headphones are a terrific option. They have comfortable, plush earpads and are lightweight and collapsible, making them great for walking and traveling. They boast 12 hours of battery life and have convenient controls to manage calls and music.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Active Noise Canceling Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

These on-ear headphones are pricey, but they’re comfortable, durable and boast cutting-edge noise-canceling technology with an Aware Mode for making you more alert to your surroundings during your walk.

Sold by Staples

Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

They have a comfortable, ergonomic build and a Transparency Mode to help you stay aware of your surroundings during your walk. They feature a built-in microphone for hands-free calling and last up to 22 hours.

Sold by Amazon

Best in-ear headphones

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro

These are engineered specifically for the most active people. They have adjustable hooks that hang on the ears to prevent them from falling out as you move. They have volume and music controls on each side, last nine hours, and are water-resistant.

Sold by Staples

Bose Sport Earbuds

Bose Sport Earbuds

These water-resistant earbuds provide outstanding sound and have easy-to-use touch controls for managing calls and controlling music playback. They’re comfortable and have a secure fit, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out during your walk.

Sold by Amazon

Jlab Audio Jbuds Air True Wireless Earbuds

Jlab Audio Jbuds Air True Wireless Earbuds

These earbuds aren’t as expensive as other models, but they get the job done and come loaded with several sound settings. They’re sweat-resistant and automatically connect to your phone when removed from their case.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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