Good running headphones? And is Nano worth it for me?

livingfortoday

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Nov 17, 2004
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Hey, I have a question for you runners out there. I run regularly, about 3-4 times a week, and average between 3-5 miles each time. I'm going to be running in a marathon in the fall, so I've started training for that, and got to thinking - with all that extra distance I'll be running, it sure would be fun to have something to listen to other than my brain!

I have an iPod shuffle with an armband, but I've never used it for running since the earbuds pull down on the inside of my ears and hurt after a while while running. So here's my question!

Can anyone recommend a good pair of headphones for running with? Something light, with decent sound - relatively inexpensive, and very comfortable is what I'm looking for.

Also, I'll be getting new shoes soon, and seeing as I've got Nike Air Max Moto II's right now, will probably stick with that and get Air Max Moto+ or the Air Zoom Plus+ shoes. Those are also the ones that have the iPod connectivity - which raises the following question:

Do you think the ability to track your speed and distance as well as having live feedback while running is worth the extra $29 for the kit as well as the $129 for the 1GB Nano I'd have to get? I'll probably be getting some sort of tracking device as is, just wondering your thoughts.

Thanks!
 

floriflee

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2004
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I have a shuffle for running and I use the Sony MDR-G42 headphones. They fit snuggly and wrap around the back of the neck and the ears. The sound's decent and they fit comfortably enough for me. I haven't had any problems with them. All in all, I'd recommend earphones of some sort that wrap around your ear so that they will stay on firmly. Ones that wrap around the top of the head or just stick in the ear loosely just don't cut it. I also don't recommend ones that fit snuggly in your ear because they tend to block out too much outside noise, which, when your running, isn't typically a good thing, especiallyif you're running outside--I only heard a tree branch falling above me once on one of the trails I run because I could still hear enough outside noise with my headphones.

As for the nano... I kind of think it's overrated for myself, but if you feel like you'd use the features then it might be worth the cost. I suppose one thing to consider is how essential is it that you have a kit that can increase/decrease music speed, track your time, etc, etc, etc for you? Do you already have a good running music mix or an easy way of tracking your time? If so, then the kit may not be worth it.

Just my $.02.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
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Grand Rapids, MI, USA
I think in-ears are a good choice...I ran a marathon with a cheap pair from Philips. I think they're better cuz once they are set in your ear canals and expand out, they don't pop out easily.

I just got Griffin EarThumps, off recommendations here.... I haven't run with them yet, but I'm very impressed by the isolation -- like earplugs, they block out a lot of low frequency stuff, but you can still hear high pitches (which is good, because you need to hear to stay safe). They come with three pairs of inserts so you should be able to find a set that fit well.

The Griffins are *very* light -- I think the lightest headphones I have ever owned. They have symmetric cords (like Apple headphones). I paid about $15 shipped for mine, off eBay. I think they'd be great for running....
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
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Grand Rapids, MI, USA
iGary said:
Keep in mind that the rubber in-ear ones will eventually start slippig out when you sweat. ;)
FWIW this doesn't happen to me. I definitely sweat. But I don't seem to sweat in my ear canals, and it doesn't seem to interfere with keeping the plugs in. I guess YMMV on that issue....
 

realityisterror

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Aug 30, 2003
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Snellville, GA
I'd say just get used to the idea of not using earbuds. Anything that is going to stay in is probably going to bother your ears.

As floriflee suggested, a behind-the-neck set will probably be your best bet. I'm rather fond of these, though that's not to say I've used them for more than a few minutes.

As far as the nike + iPod, I'm not sure how that would compare to other stand alone tracking systems, but if you can justify the $150 or so, you'd be getting tracking plus a proper mp3 player (as in, with a screen ;) )
 

livingfortoday

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Nov 17, 2004
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Thanks for the replies so far, guys. I really think the behind the head kind are what I'll end up going for, since I have a pair of in-ear Sonys that also go around the ear (they're EX81's? I think?) and they stick out funny (the wraparound part) and have the same pulling/hurting problem earbuds do for me.

I don't as of right now have any tracking method for distance and speed or any of that, nor do I have any set running mixes as I never run with music. That's definitely part of the appeal of the Nano + Nike deal, because it really seems like something that would be very beneficial to me. Then again, as I've never run with this sort of thing before, I don't know how useful they really are.
 

floriflee

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Dec 21, 2004
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Perhaps it would be worthwhile getting the headphones first and using them with your shuffle. If you find that the shuffle is sufficient for your needs then maybe the nano isn't worth it. Just a thought.
 

livingfortoday

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Nov 17, 2004
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floriflee said:
Perhaps it would be worthwhile getting the headphones first and using them with your shuffle. If you find that the shuffle is sufficient for your needs then maybe the nano isn't worth it. Just a thought.
Oh yeah, that's totally the plan. I'll only consider getting the Nano when I get my new shoes, which won't be for a month or two.
 

floriflee

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Dec 21, 2004
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mkrishnan said:
I think in-ears are a good choice...I ran a marathon with a cheap pair from Philips. I think they're better cuz once they are set in your ear canals and expand out, they don't pop out easily.

I just got Griffin EarThumps, off recommendations here.... I haven't run with them yet, but I'm very impressed by the isolation -- like earplugs, they block out a lot of low frequency stuff, but you can still hear high pitches (which is good, because you need to hear to stay safe). They come with three pairs of inserts so you should be able to find a set that fit well.
My main concern with the earbuds are that they block out too much noise. Even though the EarThumps still let you hear high-pitched frequencies that's not always enough. There are plenty of low frequency sounds that are still worth being able to hear, such as people calling out from behind you, regular vehicle noises, perhaps someone coming/running at you, etc. In my case with the tree branch, I would never have heard it if the lower frequencies were blocked out, and the branch was large enough and falling from a high enough distance that it could have done some damage had it hit someone.

IMO, music while you exercise shouldn't drown out the world because it's still important to be aware of your surroundings. Rather music should provide a somewhat balanced background (not too loud, not too soft) that will keep you motivated during your routine.
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
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I have EarThumps. They're very good for running. I use them in the gym and running. They've yet to fall out of my ears! For £15 they're an absolute bargain!!!
 

netdog

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2006
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London
The nice thing about using a Shuffle over a Nano for exercise is that you relly don't worry about the beating that the pod will inevitably take. The Shuffle is so light and so simple, and who cares if it gets a little scratch? Scratch the screen on your Nano and tell me how you feel.

Let's put it this way: If you had to drop one on the pavement, which would you rather drop?

That's why I exercise with a Shuffle (with a playlist in non-shuffle mode).
 

livingfortoday

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Those Sennheiser's look pretty good too. I probably wouldn't like the MDR-J11G's, though, as the EX81's are pretty similar in design and bug me no end. EarThumps... anything in-ear is just painful for me when I run, so I don't see these being any better.

And finally, yeah, the shuffle can take a lot more abuse than a Nano. I remember when I got my girlfriend one to replace her broken CD player and she asked if it was safe to drop, I took mine and threw it down on some bricks and it kept playing (on the other hand, it has stopped working when it's gotten sweaty). But I plan on having both in an armband or case at all times, so it's not a huge worry of mine.

Thanks for all the replies, guys, I think I'm going to go with an around-the-head headphones like the MDR-G42 that were suggested earlier. As for the Nano, I guess I'm going to hold off judgement on that until I get my new shoes. If at that point in my training I feel I could really use the help that the Nike + iPod system could offer me, I'll go for it. If I think I'm doing fine without it (and if the shuffle isn't dying from being on my sweaty arm!), I'll stick with the shuffle.

Thanks!
 

Piarco

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Jun 24, 2004
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The Nike+iPod system is definitely on my to-buy list for next month!

I'm using a paid of Sennheiser Sport Series OMX70's - they're clip-on's that are water and sweat resistant, and have great sound IMO - excellent bass response, and clear mid/high range and thankfully no brightness. And as they're adjustable (like the Bang & Olufsen A8's) they are comfy and most importantly don't move when running. I've put up a mini-review with pics at iLounge:

http://forums.ilounge.com/showthread.php?t=164395
 

livingfortoday

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Those look cool, and the adjustable thing definitely gives them an edge over my EX81's, though I prefer the in-ear thing for regular use. Again, my main problem is with running - I like that they supposedly don't move, which is important. With the 81's, I just feel uncomfortable (the tugging, and they also fall out since they don't fit around the ears right) which is why I'm really leaning toward the around the neck solution people have brought up here. I guess I'll wait a little longer on my decision to get some more feedback!
 

Piarco

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Jun 24, 2004
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livingfortoday said:
Those look cool, and the adjustable thing definitely gives them an edge over my EX81's, though I prefer the in-ear thing for regular use. You don't mention running or anything in that review, have you tried them out with something like that? With the 81's, I just feel uncomfortable (the tugging, and they also fall out since they don't fit around the ears right) which is why I'm really leaning toward the around the neck solution people have brought up here. Any thoughts?
Yep, wasn't able to give the in-action side of things until yesterday when I hit the gym. It took me a little while to work out how best for me to wear them as any fitting I had done was with me being static. Turns out that for a good running fit I have to extend the adjustment arm by half, and tilt the earphones back - previously I had them straight and it didn't pass muster. With that change made, they didn't go anywhere for the entire workout session - absolutely rock solid.
I didn't experience any tugging at all, but I ran the cable down the back of my neck then up to the top of my arm where my nano was in its armband. With them I get great sound to I can clearly hear my music, yet enough of the environment should someone/something require attention. I actually avoided getting IEM's for that reason - the other 3 headphones I own are all IEM's for reference (Shure e2c's, Griffin EarThumps, Panasonic HJ-RP70's)
 

livingfortoday

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Well, thanks for that review. I'll look in to them for sure. They ain't the most affordable of the headphones quoted here, but seem to be the best quality sound-wise. Of course, they've also got that lime-green look which... well, I guess it doesn't matter, since if I was worried about how I looked when I ran I'd never run!
 

Abstract

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Dec 27, 2002
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mkrishnan said:
FWIW this doesn't happen to me. I definitely sweat. But I don't seem to sweat in my ear canals, and it doesn't seem to interfere with keeping the plugs in. I guess YMMV on that issue....
My earphones slip out. They're Apple in-ears, and they even slip out when I'm walking fast. I also had a pair of Sonys that slip off the top of my ear eventually. I've given up on running with my iPod. :rolleyes:
 

interlaced

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Nov 16, 2005
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iGary said:
Keep in mind that the rubber in-ear ones will eventually start slippig out when you sweat. ;)
If there were to be a problem for you, I'd recommend the Nike Vapor Flight. They are earbuds but they have this thing that wraps around the back of your ear. I jump on the trampoline all the time and they never fall out. :p
 

livingfortoday

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bodeh6 said:
My bro just go these and I like them better then my in ear Sony EX-81



Sony MDR-J11G
Just an update - I got the headphones pictured above because they happened to be on sale at Target ($9.99). I'm gonna try 'em out tonight or tomorrow morning, and I'll let ya'll know what I think! Thanks for all the recommendations, guys!
 

Jay42

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2005
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For a marathon, I would be sure to steer away from anything that has hard plastic or even foam-covered hard plastic. Even if they feel comfortable for 30 seconds in the store, or even 30 minutes while running, they will most likely become uncomfortable during a 3 or 4 hour marathon. Sony makes some good behind the neck models, but i've never liked them. I prefer sony's like these, even though they slip out.

I would actually get the shuffle over the nano in your place. You probably only need 512mb of storage for enough music to last the whole marathon, and those can be had for very cheap now ($50 for an Apple refurb). Plus the shuffles are much lighter than the nanos. Personally, I hate anything strapped to my arm while running, and you can clip the shuffle very easily to the waistband of your shorts.
 

clairethewolf

macrumors newbie
Aug 13, 2007
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Running headphones

For a marathon, I would be sure to steer away from anything that has hard plastic or even foam-covered hard plastic. Even if they feel comfortable for 30 seconds in the store, or even 30 minutes while running
I agree. I've got sensitive ears. My friend recommended getting these headphones she she wears for sleep because they are in the shape of a sweatband - so I don't need a separate sweatband. I can keep them all folded up in my pocket. http://www.sleepphones.com/wash

I also recommend the Shuffle. It's so light and tiny. But my charger broke in 2 weeks when I accidentally hit it. It breaks very easily. Just be careful with it.
 

l'homme

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2006
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0
I think in-ears are a good choice...I ran a marathon with a cheap pair from Philips. I think they're better cuz once they are set in your ear canals and expand out, they don't pop out easily.

I just got Griffin EarThumps, off recommendations here.... I haven't run with them yet, but I'm very impressed by the isolation -- like earplugs, they block out a lot of low frequency stuff, but you can still hear high pitches (which is good, because you need to hear to stay safe). They come with three pairs of inserts so you should be able to find a set that fit well.

The Griffins are *very* light -- I think the lightest headphones I have ever owned. They have symmetric cords (like Apple headphones). I paid about $15 shipped for mine, off eBay. I think they'd be great for running....
also you can check www.amazon.com for rebates and discounts ;)