The Evolution of Wireless Earbuds
5 high-performing options for weightlifters and runners
The best workout tech solves some sort of athletic frustration or problem. Case in point: bluetooth headphones. They eliminated the need to feed a cord up through your layers of winter running gear, plus allowed weightlifters to move from their bench to grab a different set of dumbbells without having to stuff their device in a sports bra or the waistband of their shorts.Now, the next evolution of the tech has manifested in truly wireless earbuds thanks to companies that are making feature-rich, high-quality products sans any cord at all. That means you can choose to wear one earbud (while the other charges, or so you can hear more ambient noise). Plus, you don't have to worry about the wires getting snagged or tangled. Here, five options to consider.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8
The intuitive touch controls on these tiny, sweat-resistant earbuds (they’re the smallest model on this list) make it easy to quickly adjust volume and change tracks, perfect for using while in motion. Their foam tips create a seal, securing the E8s during hard runs and offering noise cancellation as well. Use the transparency mode, which allows you to hear the outside world, for safety when out on the roads.
Bose Soundsport Free
The Bose Soundsport Free are the largest option on this list, but they stay put during high-impact exercise. They’re water-resistant enough to withstand running in the rain and your sweatiest high-intensity workout. You can also adjust the volume and skip tracks via a volume controls and multi-function button on the right earbud, which also allows you to take calls.
Samsung Gear IconX 2018
The IconX comes with 4GB of onboard storage, meaning you can load up to nearly 1,000 songs onto the earbuds themselves, and work out without a device at all. Like the Beoplay E8, these feature intuitive controls; swipe your finger up or down the bud to increase or lower the volume. Similar motions can be made to pause, play, and skip tracks without being intrusive to a workout.
Anker Zolo Liberty+
The newest earbuds on the list, the Anker Zolo Liberty+, are the product of a kickstarter campaign by Anker, a company best-known for their charging cables and battery packs. Perhaps because of this, their charging case includes an impressive 48 hours of built-in battery life (though the buds themselves last three hours). The main drawback is the need to press on the physical buttons on the earbuds to get them to perform actions such as changing tracks or adjusting the volume.
Simply open the charging case near your Apple device and the pop-up to connect will appear. The shape of the earbuds allows these to have the most compact case (which provides an extra five charges, for 24 hours of playtime) of the group. And unlike the many other pairs of Apple wired earbuds, the AirPods—while not officially rated for sweat-resistance—are resilient enough to handle a tough run on a hot day. But, without any silicone or foam tips like the others on this list, you’re out of luck if they don’t fit well in your ears.