When running, listening to some music with a good beat or an interesting podcast can help us get in the zone and tune out the world around us, but it can be hard to find a pair of earphones that fit the bill.
Whether it be because they don’t stay in your ears, have bad sound quality, or always seem to be out of charge, there are quite a few things that earphones have to cover in order to be suitable for running.
With this in mind, let’s get down to business and answer the question – “Are AirPods good for running?”
Rundown On AirPods
Before we get into more detail about if AirPods are good for running, we will first cover what AirPods are in a more general sense.
Even though wireless earphones have been around prior to the introduction of Apple’s AirPods (2nd generation) in 2016, they have become one of the best wireless earphones you can get on the market today.
This is due to their balance of sound quality, battery life, and features.
In late 2019, Apple released a new and improved version of the AirPods called AirPod Pros that have aspects that make them even better for running than the original models.
Apple tried something a bit different and released over-ear Bluetooth headphones called AirPods Max in 2020. You can get the headphones in a range of colors including silver, space gray, and pink.
Then, in 2021 Apple released a 3rd generation AirPods that has the best battery out of the other models.
In this breakdown, we will talk about all the different variations of AirPods as they all have a rather significant difference in price tag which can be the deciding factor for many who are looking to get themselves a pair of AirPods for running.
Battery life is hugely important for running because one of the worst things to happen is to be focused on running and in the perfect stride only for the music to go dead and only be left with the sound of you huffing and puffing.
The battery life of wireless earphones can range anywhere from three hours to fifteen on a single charge, but sometimes you have to sacrifice battery life for other aspects such as sound quality and extra features.
AirPods (2nd Generation)
These AirPods have up to five hours of listening time on a single charge, but this is cut down to three hours if you are using them to talk on the phone.
With the charging case, you can enjoy around 24 hours of listening time and 18 hours of talk time. As well as this, you only have to put them in the case to charge for 15 minutes to get up to three hours of listening time.
AirPod Pros have a slightly shorter battery life than the 2nd generation AirPods at four and a half hours on a single charge, but this can be increased to five hours if the transparency and active noise cancellation are turned off.
If you are using the AirPod Pros to talk on the phone then you can expect to have up to three and a half hours of battery life on a single charge.
With the use of the charging case, you can get more than 24 hours of listening time with these AirPods which translates to 18 hours of battery life for talk time.
One of the great things about the AirPod Pros is that you only need to put charge them in the case for five minutes to get a whole hour of listening and talk time.
These AirPods have the best battery life as you can get 20 hours of listening time out of them from a single charge with both transparency mode or active noise cancellation enabled.
With spatial audio enabled, you can also get 20 hours of movie playback from them and 20 hours of talk time.
Just five minutes in the charging case will get you an hour and a half of listening time.
The charging case for these headphones will preserve the battery charge with what is known as an ultra-low-power state and can be charged with a lightning connector which carries over to the other recent AirPod models.
AirPods (3rd Generation)
These AirPod models are the best for battery life with six hours of listening time from a single charge, but this is decreased to five hours when the spatial audio feature is enabled.
With talk time, you will shave off about two hours of battery life on a single charge, reaching around four hours.
With the charging case, 30 hours of listening time and 20 hours of talk time can be achieved with a single charge.
They also share the benefit with the AirPod Pros of only needing five minutes in the charging case to get an hour of listening and talking time.
AirPods (2nd Generation)
With the fact that these AirPods were released in 2016, it is quite understandable that they do not have as many features as the newer models.
They allow you to talk to Siri without having to take out your phone which is a great feature to have when running as you can keep your eyes on the road and have your arms free by your side.
These AirPods also let you skip through songs just by tapping on them.
AirPod Pros have three different ways that you can listen to them that can be changed by tapping them, talking to Siri, or going through your smartphone’s settings.
You can have Noise Cancellation mode which almost completely removes all the sounds that are going on around you which will help you focus on your running and your breathing instead of having the sound of other people, cars, or roadworks from distracting you.
However, as great as noise cancellation is, sometimes it is best to be aware of what is going on around you especially if you are running on a busy pavement where people are wanting to get past or are running alone at night.
This is why you may want to change to transparency mode which keeps the sound from your music nice and strong but also lets in some sounds going on around you such as bicycle bells and conversations.
The AirPod Pros also have a lot more ways that you can skip, pause, replay, and change the volume of songs just by pressing them in different ways.
You can also hold down the button to change between listening modes which will chime with specific noises that will let you know what you have changed to.
You can use the AirPods Max to change a lot of aspects of your music by simply pressing and turning what they call the ‘digital crown’ of the headphones.
They also have a noise control button that you can use to change between listening modes.
AirPods (3rd Generation)
The 3rd generation AirPods do not have different listening modes, but this is the main reason as to why they are able to have longer battery life.
They have slightly more ways to interact through touch than the 2nd generation models but not as much as the AirPod Pros.
Throughout all Apple AirPod models, the sound quality is consistent and high quality even when they are running low on battery.
Both the left and right AirPods are also of equal volume as it is not rare for wireless earphones to have one that gets progressively quieter as time goes on.
The 3rd generation AirPods and the AirPod Pros however do have a more immersive sound as they have an adaptive EQ feature that automatically adjusts the low and mid-frequencies in the music to the shape of your ear.
Having said all of this, the AirPods Max has the best sound quality as they have the wiggle room to pack more of a punch and are able to fully envelop all the ear which the earphones are just not able to do no matter how good their sound quality is.
Fit In The Ear
It can be tricky for wireless earphones to fit into every ear out there as they can be drastically different in shape and size.
But, as far as the 2nd and 3rd generation of AirPods are concerned, they do a great job at staying inside the ear even as you run.
The AirPod Pros have a different design as they are made with silicone ear tips that reach further into the ear.
When you buy a pair of AirPod Pros, you get a selection of three different sizes of ear tips that you can put onto the earphones to get the best fit for your ears.
Having earphones that stay inside your ear is a major plus for running because with the constant impact with the pavement as you run, it can jostle a lot of earphones out of the ear.
This doesn’t only feel unnerving as you are waiting for your expensive earphone to fall out of your ear at any second but also makes the sound quality worse as it is not sitting correctly in your ear.
The AirPod Pros also have a test that you can do in your phone settings which can tell you if they are in your ears correctly and have the best fit.
This is done by playing a clip of music so that the internal microphone can detect outside noises.
With the AirPods Max, you do not have to worry about getting the right fit as they simply slip over your head and will stay there no matter how much you run and jump, but they can be adjusted if you feel that they are too loose or too tight.
If you don’t like having earphones sitting right in your ears, getting the headphones will be more comfortable for you.
As you run, you are bound to get a bit sweaty, but you can also be caught in the rain which is why it is very important for earphones to be water-resistant.
If they aren’t, they are at great risk of getting damaged by the moisture and can break completely.
The 2nd generation of AirPods and the AirPods Max are unfortunately not water and sweat resistant but the AirPod Pros and the 3rd generation models are at IPX4 level which means they are resistant to splashes from any angle.
One of the biggest reasons why people are hesitant to buy AirPods is due to their high price tag.
There are many, many wireless earphones on the market today that are significantly cheaper than AirPods, but it’s worth stopping and asking yourself why they are so much cheaper.
The 2nd generation AirPods cost $129, the AirPod Pros cost $249, the AirPods Max cost $450, and the 3rd generation AirPods cost $179.
After breaking down the specifications of each of the AirPod models, you can see why they are one of the most popular choices amongst runners.
Depending on the AirPods you get, there are numerous features that will make your running experience much more practical and enjoyable such as noise cancellation, water and sweat resistance, and the ability to stay nice and snug in your ear.
You can also easily talk to Siri to change between music and podcasts so that you don’t have to put your water bottle down or stop in the middle of the run to focus on your phone.
And if you feel a bit odd talking to Siri in public, you can press the AirPods to skip, pause, change volume, and more.
So, do not be put off by the price tags because you will only think about it for a split second before realizing what you have been missing out on until now.