What are the best headphones for athletic use?
July 29, 2005 5:08 AM   Subscribe

What are the best sports headphones for general working out and/or running?

After putting on a few extra pounds on vacation, I am going to be hitting the gym hard and heavy for a while. My white earbuds just don't cut it, they always fall out. I have a Sony headphone set that clips over my ears that lay flat, but they become uncomfortable after about 45 minutes (I don't think they were meant for sport).

I'm going to be running 4-5 miles at a time, so I need something that will give me some comfort, but still decent sound. They will be plugged into (of course) an iPod.
posted by benjh to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
I know this won't help you, because they have similar shape to the iPod headphones. But for those looking to upgrade their iPod headphones, then the Sennheiser MX500 delivers much better sound than the white iPod earbuds.

I've never been able to use anything but earbuds when I'm working out.
posted by einarorn at 5:26 AM on July 29, 2005

If you're going to be running in the gym, you should look into getting in-ear earphones--they fit inside your ear canal and block out outside noise, which means you can listen at a much lower volume, thereby saving your hearing.

Sony makes a cheap and well-liked 'canal-phone,' and Apple makes one too (which I like, but which doesn't seem to fit many people). Search the archives--there are actually a lot of headphones / earphone threads.
posted by josh at 5:33 AM on July 29, 2005

I find these Sony Fontopia headphones with silicone earbuds work well. They fit in comfortably, don't fall out too easily and give good sound. If you want the 'I have an iPod please mug me' look they also come in white.

I stay well clear of the standard iPod headphones - the sound just isn't much good. In fact I seem to have accumulated a number of pairs of them now which just sit in a drawer collecting dust.
posted by edd at 5:36 AM on July 29, 2005

The Fontopias are perfect, but watch out if you want some ability to hear the outside world (traffic, etc). With the Fontopias, you are in a glorious world of sound and music, and you will NOT hear even a steam train about to knock you over, especially if you mod them to sound better (blutac over the holes on the back tightens the bass).
posted by wackybrit at 6:02 AM on July 29, 2005

Response by poster: I've tried the Apple in-ear headpones, and those seem to have the same problem of falling out. I was thinking about getting something that actually looped over the ear.

Are the fontopia ones better than the Apple ones for staying in?
posted by benjh at 6:21 AM on July 29, 2005

While I like the sound of my EX71s, they do have a very short cable, and the extension cable has a barrel connector heavy enough to drag the left earphone out. They also tend to fall out in hot (> 25°C) weather.
posted by scruss at 6:32 AM on July 29, 2005

I have never had problems with Fontopias staying in, quite the opposite once or twice (I've pulled the earphone bit out by accident and the grommit stayed in!) However, they're not for everyone. Some people have big complaints about them as their ears are a different shape/they don't like things right in their ears, etc. For me, they're perfect.
posted by wackybrit at 6:52 AM on July 29, 2005

If you're worried about keeping the headphones in your ears, stay away from the Fontopias. Sony tried to reinvent the headphone cable. A noble effort, but the short ended earpiece always gets yanked out and the long piece always get caught on things. I can't be the only one who hates their design, but I've never come across someone who liked it either.
posted by gaelenh at 8:05 AM on July 29, 2005

I use either the Philips/Nike over-the-back-of-the-neck earphones or Sony clip-over-the-ear sports earphones. Both are fairly impervious to sweat, allow outside noise to enter (I mostly ride bikes and jog multi-use trails, so this is a plus) and are available for less than twenty bucks (and, in both cases, sound quality is about what you'd expect from anything that costs twenty bucks and doesn't say Koss on it)

Also, there have been about a million AskMe questions about headphones, and looking through them might give you some more ideas.
posted by box at 8:11 AM on July 29, 2005

Big thumbs down on the fontopias from me.

Maybe my ear canals are "in between" grommet sizes.

I find the medium ones always fall out while I'm running (even after full insertion) and I can't get the large size ones into my ears.
posted by de void at 11:45 AM on July 29, 2005

I just received my Sennheiser PX100s yesterday, and they are phenomenal. Highly recommended -- as headphone.com says, the best you can buy under $50. (They used to call them the best under $100 until recently)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:05 PM on July 29, 2005

Best answer: I like the Fontopias, but recently I got an outer ear infection, and the first thing the ENT doctor asked was if I go to the gym and use earphones that sit inside my ear. He says he's seen lots more outer ear infections lately, because of people sweating into their earphones at the gym and never cleaning them. He actually called it the "iPod Syndrome."

So do get earphones with removable grommets, and do dunk them in alchohol every few runs.
posted by pomegranate at 6:44 AM on July 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

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