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Earbuds that don't fall out on your run? We've got you covered. Image Credit: Pexels/Frank Cone

All you need for a refreshing run is the will to get out of bed, a pair of running shoes and headphones. Listening to your favourite music, audiobook or podcast while running can be a game-changer, helping the minutes tick by faster as you work up a sweat.

But all that begins with a good pair of headphones - and the definition of good ultimately depends on the wearer, as we find out in our conversation with two UAE-based competitive runners. Most formal races don't allow the use of listening devices, but both experts agree that headphones are key to cranking out the last kilometre in a marathon.

Michelle Nagle, co-founder and coach of the Abu Dhabi-based triathlon team Slainte Endurance, prefers to tune into music during longer, more strenuous training sessions. "For me, running headphones need to be non-slip. We sweat a lot while running, especially in the summer, which makes generic headphones fall out easily," said Nagle.

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What's more important to you? A secure fit that doesn't budge could be one, but you might also consider durability to see you through years of use. Image Credit: Unsplash/Florian Kurrasch

Running earbuds are designed to withstand large movements, usually by virtue of an ear fin or a hook extension. Nagle, who's been running for five years, said: "I find those with a hook around the ear the best because they clip on tightly compared to just in-ear buds. They're comfortable and make training enjoyable."

She advises runners to look into battery life, as well, to see them through long runs. And, if you're going to be close to traffic, make sure the noise cancellation can be tweaked. "It's good to have noise cancellation, but I prefer to hear my surroundings if I'm near roads and don't know what's happening around me."

Nagle started out with the Apple AirPods, but quickly switched to Powerbeats Pro by Beats. She says that they're great for cycling, too, as they stay put under the helmet and over glasses.

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If you're not carrying your phone with you, check how well your smartwatch pairs with the earbuds of a different brand. Image Credit: Unsplash/Filip Mroz

For Sameh Al Zghoul, a Dubai-based duathlete, a good pair of headphones gives him a speed boost, especially on his 30km run every Saturday. He told Gulf News: "I've been using headphones on runs ever since I started in 2018. I've tried at least seven brands and they all just stopped working after a few months."

The pair that's stuck with him for over a year now is the latest Apple AirPods, those without the in-ear form factor. Given their long performance life and excellent connection with his Garmin watch, Al Zghoul finds these buds the best. "I use small ear hooks [on the AirPods], which don't hurt my ears and help them stay in," he added.

So, we took our experts' recommendations and looked for more running headphones that are lightweight, comfortable, resistant to sweat and water, have a decent battery life, and do not slip out of ears easily.

Our recommended headphones also come with the Ingress Protection (IP) rating, which lets you know that the earbuds can withstand splashes, for instance, from water or sweat. These earbuds are available with same-day delivery via Amazon Prime.

1. Best Overall: Beats Powerbeats Pro 


  • Adjustable ear hooks and ear tips
  • Up to 24-hour battery with fast charging
  • Automatic play and stop feature
  • Both earbuds have volume and track controls
  • Doesn't cancel noise for traffic listening


  • Reviewers report pairing issues

Hidden inside the Powerpeats Pro is the Apple H1 headphone chip - this is how the workout earbuds manage to stay powered for up to nine hours, and 24 hours with the case. Nagle said: "Their battery life is really good and they're really comfortable for training. The sound quality is clear, even when I'm sweating." Long marathons are taken care of, with ear hooks that are adjustable to suit your unique shape and further customisable with ear tip options in the box. Since the hooks curl over the ear, they take much of the pressure off the canal, making them lightweight. Need to crank up the volume? Toggle the on-body controls from either bud, doesn't matter which, as both carry full volume and track controls, including hands-free access to Siri. These earbuds automatically hit play as soon as you wear them, using clever optical sensors and motion accelerometers. Plus, they're IPX4 rated, resistant to water splashes.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh54.92 for 12 months with select banks. Get an extra 20 per cent off with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) cards, when you enter the code 'ADIB20' at checkout.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh40 and two years for Dh66. 

2. Best Classic Earbuds: Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)


  • Clear sound quality with 3D spatial audio and adaptive equaliser (EQ)
  • Up to 30 hours of battery life
  • Contoured design for a better hold
  • Does away with noise cancellation
  • Good mic for calls


  • Only six hours of battery without the case

You don't need an iPhone to reap the benefits of Apple AirPods. The 3rd Generation retains the classic earbud shape, great for those who find in-ear tips painful. The latest AirPods edition also has a shorter stem and an extra hour of battery life, compared to the previous model. Get up to 30 hours of total listening time with the case! The best part is that both the case and the AirPods are IPX4 water-resistant and share the same Apple H1 headphone chip as the Powerbeats Pro. You're getting a boost in sound quality, with spatial audio that tracks your head movements and keeps you in the centre of every track. The AirPods even go as far as to adapt the audio to suit the shape of your ear. If you're worried about them slipping out mid-run, get anti-slip ear hook covers, readily available on Amazon.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh49.92 for 12 months with select banks. Get an extra 20 per cent off with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) cards, when you enter the code 'ADIB20' at checkout.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh35 and two years for Dh57.

3. Best for Everyday Use: Jabra Elite 4 Active


  • Optional active noise cancellation and hear-through modes
  • Comfortable fit, resistant to fall-outs
  • IP57 waterproof rating
  • Great battery life
  • Sealing in-ear fit


  • In-ear tips might be uncomfortable for some

Wireless, durable and with a secure fit, the Jabra Elite Active range is always a top contender in the sports headphones category worldwide. The fourth iteration is budget-friendly and comes in a clean earbud design, featuring no wing tips or ear hooks, yet it manages to stay securely in the ear. The pair is easy to use – a single multifunction button lets you adjust volume, skip tracks and other functions. With both active noise cancelling and adjustable hear-through modes, these work well outside of your runs. The Elite Active has four microphones for crystal-clear phone calls, and a seven-hour battery life without the case. If you want to stretch the charge during your last mile, use a single bud, so that the other refuels in the case. With an IP57 rating, it’s resistant to sweat, water and dust. Reviewers engaged in sports comment on the sealing fit and its effective noise cancellation feature, and love the call quality.

Bonus: Get an extra 20 per cent off with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) cards, when you enter the code 'ADIB20' at checkout.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh23 and two years for Dh38.

4. Best Bone Conduction Headphones: Shokz OpenRun Pro Sports Headphones


  • Open-ear design doesn't hurt the eardrums
  • Ambient sounds are clearly audible
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Lightweight


  • Sound quality is just decent

Anything wedged into the canal can cause discomfort for the runner who can never find an exact in-ear match. If this is you, then forgo earbuds altogether and pick up a pair of bone conduction headphones, instead. Nagle says she's been wanting to try out the popular open-ear models by Shokz. These headphones work by using vibrations to transmit sound to your cochlea, so that your eardrums are free to hear what’s going on around you. The OpenRun Pro headphones are a great option - they’re ultra-light and deliver premium sound quality, complete with bass. The pair goes around the head and stays put below the temples, ensuring a wireless experience. Just as with any other listening gadget, there are on-body controls for answering calls, playing, pausing and more. You're also getting a whopping 10-hour playtime on a single charge. Reviewers happily accept the decent audio quality for the convenience it offers. They don't sound as loud as in-ear buds, but they play podcasts, audiobooks and music just as well.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh50.75 for 12 months with select banks. Get an extra 20 per cent off with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) cards, when you enter the code 'ADIB20' at checkout.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh40 and two years for Dh66.

5. Best Budget: Anker Soundcore Sport X10


  • Extremely secure fit
  • Rotating ear hooks
  • Has ANC and transparency mode
  • Great bass
  • IPX7 waterproof rating


  • Small on-body buttons

As a beginner, you might want to hold off expensive models, till you're done testing the waters. Here's an affordable option for runners by Anker Soundcore, with rotating ear hooks and an IPX7 waterproof rating. Designed for movement, the Sport X10 earbuds adapt to different ear shapes - just twist the hooks up to 210 degrees to find the perfect position for you. They're powered by extra bass to enhance your playlist and keep you in the zone for longer. You can still listen in to the traffic using the transparency mode button on the earbud - there are no touch controls to avoid accidental swipes. Expecting work calls? Six mics work hard to cancel noise and reduce wind disturbance while you're running, only picking up your voice. Each charge gives you eight hours of uninterrupted music, and 32 hours with the case. They're so lightweight that runners in the reviews forget they have the pair on. Its active noise cancellation at this value is surprisingly good, they add. Several attest to the secure, non-slip fit.

Bonus: Get an extra 20 per cent off with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) cards, when you enter the code 'ADIB20' at checkout.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.