There are few activities better accompanied by music than working out. The right song at the right time can motivate you to push yourself to new heights, and a 10K jog will fly by when you have the right backing track. It's important to keep in mind though that earphones for use in the gym or when exercising have a completely different set of requirements compared to regular listening, and not all models will be suitable. Let's take a look through some of the main qualities you should be looking for in workout earphones.
It almost goes without saying that wireless earbuds are preferable for workouts compared to wired models. Having to run a wire up from your pocket is not only irritating and restrictive, but the wire is also liable to catch on something and yank the earbuds out of your ears. The freedom of movement that wireless brings is essential for workouts.
Over-ear headphones may produce louder and more immersive sound, but in the gym or when jogging they are simply too bulky to be convenient. Even the most compact over-ear headphones can't match in-ear buds for lightness, and you'll be aware of them on your head all throughout the workout, especially when getting hot and sweaty. With a comfortable and well-fitting in-ear you can easily forget you're even wearing them.
3. Secure Fit
One of the main requirements of workout earbuds is that they stay in your ears throughout your exertions. This is actually not as simple as it sounds, and there are plenty of high-end earbuds that won't last long in your ears during exercise. For true wireless earbuds, the need for a secure fit is even greater because if one falls out while jogging it can easily be lost. To achieve a properly secure fit, in-ear earbuds require some kind of ear-fins or ear-clips to prevent them from being shaken free.
It's also important that the buds are the right size for your ears. A good fit not only provides better noise isolation and a superior audio experience, it also helps keep them firmly in your ears. For use in the gym, it's essential to get earbuds that have a selection of ear-tips in different sizes. With one-size-fits-all earbuds you're basically just hoping to get lucky when it comes to the fit, and there's a good chance they'll turn out to be useless due to being too loose in your ears and constantly falling out as you run or work out.
4. Water/Sweat Resistance
It's perhaps not the most pleasant thing to consider, but if you use earbuds in the gym or when jogging they are liable to end up covered in sweat (for electronic devices, sweat is even worse than water). When jogging, it's also not uncommon to caught out in heavy rain. For these reasons, it's best to look for earbuds with an IP rating, preferably IPX5 or 6. Although this will not protect against prolonged submersion (don't go swimming with them), it's more than enough for sweaty gym workouts and jogging in the rain.
5. Decent Battery Life
For gym use, battery life isn't quite as much of a concern as with some other scenarios (e.g. traveling), but it's still something worth paying attention to. Playtime in the range of 7 or 8 hours means you can go to the gym all through the week and only need to recharge them at the weekend, which is preferable to having to recharge after each use.
One of the big advantages of earbuds over traditional headphones is that they are so much lighter, which is ideal for physical activity. Some feature-rich earbuds may be heavier than others, and "weightiness" is often seen as a strong point, but for running on a treadmill, being lightweight and comfortable is the primary concern.
7. Strong Bass/Loud Volume
Gyms are generally very noisy places and not really the ideal environment for appreciating the finer details of music, so when it comes to sound quality the main things to look for are deep bass and good volume. A choice of EQ modes is beneficial as it allows you to really crank up the bass when you need it, but then return to a more balanced sound when conditions allow.
AUKEY has a variety of wireless earbuds that are well-suited to jogging and the gym. Check out our full range here.