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I've tested a lot of sports headphones and wireless headphones over the years and have found that some work better for running than others. So what makes for decent headphones for running? Well, for starters, the best running headphones should be wireless -- and ideally, true wireless earbuds -- because who needs a wire getting in the way, right?

true wireless earbuds

Secondly, and more importantly, they should give you a secure and comfortable fit, whether they're over-ear headphones or wireless in-earbuds. Decent sound quality is also a requirement, as are battery life, durability, noise cancellation and reliable performance (with minimal dropouts). And lastly, they need to be sweat resistant, for obvious reasons. That's why the otherwise awesome Sony WF-1000XM3 isn't on this list of best running headphones.

Read: With those criteria in mind, I've come up with a selection of wireless headphones I've tested that I think are well-suited for running. I'll update these picks of the best running headphones as I review more of them. | Best headphones of 2019 | Best cheap true wireless headphones | Best sports headphones for 2019

Best-sounding true wireless headphones

Jaybird Vista

Sarah Tew/CNET

Jaybird got off to a bumpy start in the world of true wireless -- that's "AirPods-style headphones" -- when it released its Jaybird Run wireless workout headphones back in October 2017. That model, updated to the wireless in-ear Jaybird Run XT earlier this year, was well-designed but had some small performance issues that held the wireless earbuds back from being great. But its wireless successor, the Jaybird Vista (cue the Windows Vista jokes), includes design, battery life and audio quality performance improvements that make it the product I'd hoped the Jaybird Run would be.

Read Jaybird Vista reviewRead more:

AfterShokz Aeropex

David Carnoy/CNET

AfterShokz bone conduction wireless headphones deliver sound to your ear through your cheekbones. The big benefit of this technology is that, thanks to its open design, you can hear what's going on around you while listening to music or having a phone conversation through the wireless headphones. That openness allows runners to hear traffic sound, an important safety feature. Also, some race coordinators don't allow runners to wear anything in their ears, which is where over-ear headphones like this come in handy, particularly for people who need to listen to music while they run.

New for 2019 is the Aeropex ($160, £150) over-ear headphones, which AfterShokz describes as its "lightest, highest-quality headphones yet." From my initial testing, sound quality in this pair of headphones is definitely better than the company's previous flagship model, the Trekz Air -- or the Air ($119 at Amazon), as it's now called. It's also slightly more comfortable to wear with a comfortable fit. However, while AfterShokz continues to make small improvements to performance with each new iteration of its wireless headphones, the sound quality still can't match that of a traditional headphone.
$160 at Amazon

Read AfterShokz Aeropex first takeRead more:

Read the Beats Powerbeats Pro review Read more:

Read the Jabra Elite Active 65t review Read more:

Soundcore Liberty Air

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're someone whose ears are a good match -- and comfortable fit -- for the AirPods, Apple's true wireless headphones do have some small performance advantages, particularly when it comes to call-making. But these earphones sound as good, if not better, than the AirPods, and they fit my ear better -- and more securely. In short, as long as you're OK with a noise isolating design, the Anker Liberty Air true wireless earbuds are an excellent AirPod alternative that happens to cost half the price. They're also sweat-resistant so you can run with them. Read more:

Apple AirPods

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's AirPods are actually great workout headphones for runners because the earphones are so light and also have an open design, which allows you to hear traffic noise. The only issue -- and it's a big one -- is that they have to fit snugly in your ear to work for running. Alas, I can't run with the wireless earbuds (they fall out of my ears), but many people can. You can buy third-party wings (ear hooks) to make them fit securely, but you have to take the wings off every time you put the buds back in their charging case. That's a pain.Read more: 

Bose SoundSport Free

Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose's totally wireless earphones, the SoundSport Free (the true wireless earbuds version of the SoundSport Pulse), are comfortable to wear and deliver very good sound for true wireless. These SoundSport wireless headphones have a few small downsides (both the wireless earbuds and carrying case are a bit big), but they have a secure fit, work reliably, and are water-resistant. Note that Bose will be bringing out its next-generation true wireless headphones -- the Earbuds 500 -- early next year.  Read more:

Bose Frames

Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose's Frames audio sunglasses are surprisingly good wireless running headphones, with decent sound quality from their embedded micro speakers. What's also good about them is that since there's nothing in your ear, you can hear traffic sound and have a conversation while wearing them. While the arms are slightly bulky, the sunglasses don't feel heavy on your head and are comfortable to wear. They also work well for making calls. 

Read the UA Flash True Wireless review

This story was originally published June 28, but it has been fully updated with new product picks of the best running headphones.

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