Review: Wireless workout headphones for running and jogging

Bose vs. Plantronics Wireless Workout Headphones for Running

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In this article, I’ll review my two favorite wireless workout headphones for running and jogging: the Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones and the Plantronics Backbeat Fit Wireless headphones.

Update: Here is my latest review of the best workout headphones for running and exercise covering over 24 different earbuds from all the major brands!

My workout routine consists of Crossfit-type exercises or of running with the kids or alone. When I run alone, I like to listen to music. Before I got the iPhone 6S Plus and the Apple Watch my running gear included the iPhone 6, Nike Distance Armband, and Bose Mobile In-Ear headphones.

Shop mentioned products

  • Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Headphones (Amazon)
  • Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones (Amazon)

The above setup worked, but it wasn’t ideal. There wasn’t a run where I didn’t yank the headphones out of my ears because I accidentally pulled on the cable. The Bose headphones have ear-tips (Bose calls it StayHear) that offer a more comfortable and secure fit. But even that didn’t prevent them from coming loose every so often.

Wireless workout headphones for running

When I upgraded to the iPhone 6S Plus, I realized that Nike didn’t make an armband for the larger phone. With the Apple Watch, I also have the option of not bringing my iPhone for running at all. Those two factors prompted me to look for wireless workout headphones for running that I could connect via Bluetooth to either the iPhone or the Apple Watch.

After extensive research, I decided to give the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Headphones a shot. I have had a good experience with Plantronics at work, so I had high hopes for their wireless workout headphones.

Review: Wireless workout headphones for running and jogging
Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Headphones

Plantronics BackBeat Fit

I chose the Plantronics BackBeat Fit because they are waterproof, light-weight and they stay put. As a bonus, they have a microphone, so I could even answer calls while running if I had to.

Comfortable, stable, and built for action, BackBeat FIT features a flexible design that fits comfortably and stays put for all levels of exercise. Great for working out at the gym, BackBeat FIT also makes an excellent partner for outdoor training – day or night. The safety-oriented eartip design lets you hear some of your surroundings and the reflective finish helps you be seen at night.

What I like about them

  • Comfortable to wear: Even in combination with sunglasses.
  • Waterproof: I can sweat on them and then just rinse them off afterward.
  • Sound: They offer good sound quality, and they don’t block out ambient noise, so I can still hear what’s going on around me. Needless to say, they are not noise-canceling.

What I don’t like about them

  • Controls: There is no tactile difference between the controls on either side of the headphones. So I always have to guess what side the play/pause button and volume controls are while running. Maybe that’s just a sign that I don’t use them often enough, but I wish I could more easily “feel” what button to push.
  • Audio Quality & Apple Watch: When paired and connected to the Apple Watch, I noticed that audio was cutting out sometimes. Plantronics must have seen this issue as well because they released a firmware update that is supposed to fix this issue. I haven’t had a chance to test it yet, but if the issue is fixed, I will take this bullet point off the list.

Bose SoundSport

I’m a big fan of the Bose brand, and when they came out with fitness headphones, I could not resist but to give them a try. The black version was sold out, so I opted for a color that Bose calls “Citron.” Bose has two versions of the SoundSport headphones: one with heart rate monitor and one without. I got the ones without the heart rate monitor because I have one on my Apple Watch.

Review: Wireless workout headphones for running and jogging
Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Headphones

Bose vs. Plantronics

Comfort

One thing I like about the Bose SoundSport is that they seem to be less bulky because the cable connecting the two earpieces is rounded and thin, just like on wired headphones. The Plantronics BackBeat Fit, however, have a flat cable that’s a bit stiffer. Also, the Bose headphones are securely held in place by their ear tips instead of relying on a loop that goes around your ear. I figured without the loop it would be a bit more comfortable to wear sunglasses. But it turned out that both headphones are equally comfortable while running. If that is because I always push myself to my physical limit and thus don’t pay attention to such minor issues as the comfort of headphones, I don’t know. Another thing I noticed is that the earpieces of the Bose look a bit bulky, but they don’t feel that way.