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Best sports headphones to buy in 2015 - Expert Reviews

"Our expert reviews of the top 10 best sports headphones - we rate the best rated headphones for running, jogging, gym and cycling."

Best Running Headphones

We've collected the best headphones for running and reviewed them for you.  Headphones for sports can be used while working out in the gym, out on the street running, cycling or even skiing.  With headphones from under £20 to over £100, for iPhone, Andriod or MP3 players - we have it covered.

Scroll down and read our expert reviews where we rate the headphones for sports available in the UK.

More: Visit our running earphones store

More: Best in-ear headphones review

Best Sports Headphones Under £20

Koss KCS75

koss-ksc75-sportclipKoss is a name which goes back decades and is still one to watch; the sound quality on offer for the modest price of the KCS75 is unparalleled - they give an open airy sound, a good bass punch and clear, forward mids.

The open back design works well for running on the street as it means you can stay aware of your surroundings.

The KCS75 sounds like it should cost much more and some have even compared them to the Grado SR60 model - but at a fraction of the price!

Hifiheadphones Verdict:

If your expectations are far higher than your earnings, the KCS75 is ideal. The wide open design is perfect for situations where you want to remain aware of noise around you, i.e. jogging on the street.

Sennheiser PMX60-II

sennheiser-pmx60Sennheiser's PMX60-II is a neckband headphone with an open sound - bass is light, mids are perfect for vocals and highs are good and detailed for this price point.

The design is semi-open and gives awareness of sounds around you.  The neckband and over ear clips are very secure and stay on the head securely.  Overall weight is light, meaning you can run, cycle or walk and forget you are wearing them.

The usual Sennheiser levels of build quality apply.  Highly recommended for everyday use.

Hifiheadphones Verdict:

The PMX60-II is perfect for runners and joggers who need to be aware - the open-back design allows you to be fully aware of your surroundings whilst enjoying your music.  The discreet neckband keeps everything in place.

SoundMAGIC ES20 

SoundMAGIC have pushed the boundaries of what can be expected from an entry level earphone with the SoundMAGIC ES20 headphones, which makes this model a strong candidate for the title of best budget headphone.  The sound is a quantum leap up from the cheap earbuds supplied with most MP3 players, with warm deep bass and plenty of detail in the trebles.

While you might expect a cheap earphone to be badly made, the ES20 is a part aluminium construction and comes fitted with good quality braided cabling (normally reserved for high end in-ear monitor earphones) with strain relief that is built to last.  The quality of the product is truly commendable.

Supplied with a neat carry pouch that is very usable and three size ear tips to get a good seal, the SoundMAGIC ES20 is a very well thought out package.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

In times past the Sennheiser CX300 was the first choice for entry level in-ear earphones, but the ES20 has just stolen that spot.  Sound and build quality compares with earphones costing two or three times the price.

FIDUE A31

Another entrant in the IEM market is FIDUE, and their range starts with the fantastic FIDUE 31 – the capsules are tiny and the sound is big!

Good warm bass and good mid-range detail – there is a slight roll off in the treble region for those who like a warmer presentation.

The earphones are super lightweight and very tough, perfect for running or in the gym.  Ear tips are designed to keep the earphones securely in the ear and cables can be worn over the ear for a more secure fit.

Also fitted with a lightweight microphone in case you need to take calls.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

A great budget choice – narrower sound nozzles may make this a good choice for those with fit issues with other IEMs.  Lightweight and very well made.  Perfect for sports use.

 

Best Sports Headphones Under £50

SoundMAGIC E30

soundmagic-e30A truly value for money earphone is the SoundMAGIC E30, which offers well balanced, accurate sound at a price that is hard to beat.  The E30 is an update revision of the still popular PL30 from SoundMAGIC.

The E30 has an in-ear monitor (IEM) design, which is normally reserved for much more expensive earphones (i.e. see earphones from Shure, Westone, etc). The cabling is designed to run up and over the ears to the back of the neck, which means the earbuds stay very securely in your ear. This fit system works very well for sports, on stage in-ear monitoring or any situation where you are active. Although it does take a bit of practice to get the hang of - it really is worth the effort.

The SoundMAGIC E30 is robustly built, with well made cables and good strain relief to protect the cabling from damage. The E30 comes supplied plenty of different size ear tips to ensure you get a good in-ear fit. Comply T-400 Foam Tips work well with this earphone, which gives the best possible comfort and noise isolation.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

Sound quality with the E30 is exceptional considering the price and compares well with earphones costing two or three times as much. A well made, professional in-ear monitor style earphone at a very affordable price.

Sennheiser PMX685i Sport II

sennheiser-pmx685iSennheiser PMX685i headphones use a neckband design; some people find this stays on more securely than other fit methods. It really is very hard to dislodge the PMX680 from your head, we have had reports from some of our customers in the British Army and Professional Personal Trainers using the PMX680 in training, so these headphones really are built to stay put!

Solidly built with excellent strain relief and chunky well thought out cabling, Sennheiser give a 2 year warranty on all their headphones.

The same comments made above regarding the PMX680's quality of sound and build apply to the OMX680 , with it being an earbud style headphone with ear clips. If you prefer ear clips to a Neckband design then the OMX680's.

HiFi Headphones Verdict

PMX680 are an ultra-light comfy neckband solution with an ear clip sister product, the OMX680. Both work well for road running or cycling.

Grado iGrado

Grado iGradoWhile the retro styling is not to everyone's taste, the Grado iGrado is a very worthy mention for sports use. The round the neck and over the ear design means the iGrado stays very well attached on most people's heads.

The sound quality with the iGrado is truly superb and has won a number of awards, including What HiFi? Sound & Vision "Best Portable Headphone" and "Editors Choice". This probably has something to do with the fact that the drivers (micro-speakers) used in the iGrado are exactly the same as those used in the much more expensive Grado SR60 full size HiFi headphone.

The iGrado is an open back headphone, so it leaks sound and lets in external noise. If you are running this means you can keep some level of awareness with your surroundings.  They are a little heavier than other headphones in this review, so we would suggest they are most suitable for walking and cycling.

If you are concerned about the effects of sweat it's good to know that the ear pads on the iGrado are made from a foam material that can be removed and washed (probably best to wash by hand with just water). Spare iGrado earpads can also be purchased at a reasonable cost, so they can easily be replaced if they start to get a bit grubby.

Hifiheadphones Verdict:

An audiophile sound in an exercise friendly format, great for walking and cycling as the open back allows you to hear traffic or other hazards.

 

Best Sports Headphones Under £100

FIDUE A71

FIDUE is a brand that has been bringing superb earphones to the market over the last year or two.  They have a background making earphones for some of the best brands in the business, including the legendary Ultimate Ears, so it's no surprise their products are so strong.

This is a headphone for those who like bass.  The FIDUE A71 packs two dynamic drivers into each earphone body, which gives a sound that is powerful and dynamic.  Some may even want to use EQ on their player to tone the bass down a little.

The A71 is very well made, with strong cabling and robust plastic earphone bodies that will withstand the rigours of sports use.

The fit is great for sports as the cabling runs over the ears.  We have found that the choice of ear tips makes a big difference to getting a secure fit, so do spend some time trying the supplied tips or invest in some Comply foam tips for a perfect seal in the ear.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

The A71 earphones from FIDUE pack a solid bass punch for those who like lively, dynamic sound.  Tough cabling, rugged earphone bodies and reliable dynamic drivers make this an earphone for use everyday.

Shure SE215

Shure's SE215Shure SE215 Earphones personal monitor earphones are designed to meet the demanding requirements of musicians on stage, but are equally good for sports use. With 80 years of on stage experience every Shure product is constructed to withstand the demands of everyday use.

Featuring a dynamic microdriver for a detailed, warm, sound with improved bass, the Shure SE215 helps you enjoy your music, whether you are on-stage, in a train, on the street or working out.

Shure's SE215 earphones features a durable Kevlar reinforced cable that allows easy replacement or customisation. The formable wire ensures secure placement, and over the ear configuration keeps cables out of the way. The gold plated stereo connector has a lock-snap mechanism allowing 360 degree rotation for comfortable fit.

Because every ear is different, the Fit Kit of the Shure SE215 includes an assortment of foam and silicone sleeves in different sizes. Experiment with the size and style that creates the best fit for you. A good seal is key to optimising sound isolation and bass response as well as maximising comfort during extended wear or training sessions.

HiFi Headphones Verdict:

Fantastic earphone for the gym, running and general sports training, plenty of ear tips for the best fit. Replaceable cables mean your headphones will survive a bad cable accident!

Best Sports Headphones Over £100

Jaybird Bluebuds X

jaybird-bluebuds-xFor the ultimate in wireless freedom from snags and tugs, the Jaybird Bluebuds are a definite option and can stay charged for 8 hours; enough time for a marathon! The sound is well balanced with a light bass-end and the iPhoneiPad controls mean the Bluebuds X can be used like any headset.

Hifiheadphones Verdict:

The convenience of a wire-free headset can trump many other features, but battery life and inline controls make the Bluebuds X the go-to headset for those who cannot sit still!

 

About Shaun Gostelow

Shaun is co-founder of hifiheadphones.co.uk and spends most of his time dealing with the business side of running the store, but still loves listening to music with headphones just the same as ever.
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2 thoughts on “Best sports headphones to buy in 2015 - Expert Reviews”

  • Schamel

    dear sir or madam,
    iam a average music listener and i only hear classic music.
    do i have in higher equipment like a headphone amplifier or high priced portable audio player.
    i was thinking to buy a hybrid earphone for 200-300 USD.
    my question is it nessecary or ( iam not a detailed audio junkie listener) do i only stay at my dunu trident and buy a average music player.
    what is the maxium price for people like me for audio equipment.
    do i need a portable headphone amp?

    best regards and sorry for my english

    Reply
    • John

      If you are very happy with your current earphones then go for a good player - then when you want to upgrade the earphones you can get a very good model.

      That way in the end you will have a very good setup instead of having to keep upgrading your device or earphones.

      The FiiO range of players are extremely good value:
      http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/portable-audio-players/shopby/fiio.html

      Also take a look at the Lotoo PAW 5000 - quite possibly the best for the price:
      http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/lotoo-paw-5000-portable-lossless-digital-audio-player.html

      As for hybrid earphones a great first step is the Fidue A73:
      http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/fidue-a73-dual-drivers-iem-earphones-with-smartphone-controls-mic.html

      Reply
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