Running With Airpods: Near Perfect Device For Your Miles

AirPods (Apple’s wireless headphones line) are unlike anything on the market today. They are perfect for listening to that motivational audiobook on your daily commute (and drowning out the kids fighting in the background), but can you use AirPods while running?

You can use AirPods while running, and many consider them an essential part of their running routine. AirPods limit the stress many runners feel with wired headphones and prevent the annoyance of headphones falling out or becoming damaged with use.

Here’s a table to quickly compare the different AirPods models for runners:

ComparisonAirPods (2nd Generation)AirPods (3rd Generation)AirPods ProAirPods Max
Price$$$$$$$$$$
StyleEarbudsEarbudsEarbudsOver-ear
ColorsWhiteWhiteWhiteSilver, Space Gray, Sky Blue, Pink, Green 
Sweat/Water-Resistant?NoYesYesNo
Noise Cancellation?NoNoActive noise cancellation & transparency modeActive noise cancellation & transparency mode
Best For?Power walking, low-speed joggingGeneral runningIntense or long-distance runningRunning inside

Wired headphones tend to fall out a lot and do not rest in the ears of the wearer easily. AirPods solve many of these issues by removing the wire and connecting to your device through Bluetooth. 

The goal of AirPods was to solve the common complaint many athletes had while working out. Namely, their headphones were disruptive because their wire would tangle and become tangled.

Those of you who run with weights or get crazy with your arms know what I’m talking about! Those dang wired headphones get tugged out at the most inopportune time.

Not to mention the weight of the wires often tugs on the buds when running, causing the earbuds to fall out.

But that’s not all…

Many report the tugging dislocates the wire from the bottom of the earbuds. This means the headphones would not last very long and need to be replaced every few months. 

AirPods offer a relatively simple solution for this issue (but they aren’t for everyone). Let’s see what they have to offer! 

Do AirPods Fall Out While Running? 

The short answer is they can fall out while running. But, depending on your routine and the type of AirPods you purchase, the chances can be more or less likely.

An intense runner, such as a marathon runner, should avoid traditional AirPods.

Traditional AirPods are better suited for the basic jogger. These are the simple white earbuds that rest in the wearer’s ear without any plugs or ear wrap to hold them in place. As a result, they are more prone to falling out during high-stress workouts.

But, if you are a power walker or low-speed jogger, they are more than sufficient. Even some marathon runners say they aren’t so bad. So long as you don’t mind periodically pushing them back in place. And they still beat the wired headphones by a long shot.

For more intense runs, you will want a more secure pair of AirPods, and there are several varieties to choose from. The best AirPods for you extreme runners offer a secondary method for securing them in place. Bonus!

The AirPods Max is a favorite of many joggers. Though, these headphones are not what you’d expect from an Airpod design.

Why?

Because they resemble a more traditionally designed headset, with two parts that go over and cover the outer ear. AKA “over-ear†style.

AirPods Max and AirPods Pro boast active noise cancellation, which creates an isolated experience where the listener can delve into the music. This is ideal for anyone looking to disappear in sound…but it is not a good choice for people who run outside.

The noise-canceling aspect of this set makes them undesirable for outside runners. Running outside is not dangerous, but you must have your wits about you! Noise isolation is potentially dangerous outside since it may prevent you from hearing cars or other threats. Especially if you’re really into your workout, you want to make sure you hear bicycles, dogs, and bad drivers.

Pro Tip: Disable active noise cancellation and enable Transparency mode whenever running outside. Transparency mode lets the outside noise in and will keep you safer in the great outdoors.

Other alternative AirPods include bone-conducting AirPods and AirPods that loop around your ear.

The bone conducting AirPods are next-level tech that works by transmitting sound through your cheekbone. These AirPods will not transfer music directly to your ear canal, so the music experience will differ from a standard pair. Though different, they securely latch outside of your ear.

Loop AirPods have a plastic band that attaches to the outside of the ear. And, it helps to hold the AirPods in place without falling out. These loops can be added to almost any pair by purchasing them as an accessory for your AirPods.

Running With AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro is a favorite amongst long-distance runners. They have the convenient and comfortable feel of the traditional AirPods, but they have more capabilities and a tighter hold in your ears.

For runners, AirPods Pro offers a solution to the constant slipping of traditional AirPods. AirPods Pro has an adjustable ear tip that comes in several sizes.

Here are some things runners love about AirPods Pro:

  • The ear tips go deeper in the ear than the traditional AirPods.
  • They create a suction-like hold on the inner ear.
  • AirPods Pros hold so you can focus on your long runs or intense workouts instead of constantly fiddling with your ears.

These tips can be adjusted and replaced with smaller or larger tips based on your ear size. Your AirPods Pro ear tips come in 3 sizes: small, medium, and large (marked S, M, and L, respectively). 

These ear tips are the key to comfortable and secure use while running. But, you need to have the right size and insert them properly to make the perfect fit.

How Do You Know What Size Ear Tip to Use?

AirPods Pro ear tips create a sealed-off experience with your ear. These rubber tips cling to the inner ear rather than sitting in your ears like a traditional Airpod set.

An adequately fitted Airpod Pro should create a noise-canceling experience. They should not feel smaller than your ear canal when in your ear, and the tip is too small if you notice the AirPods are not clinging to your ear.

If you feel your AirPods Pro is hurting your ear, or you must force them into your ear canal, they are too large. Additionally, the tips are too large if you feel a lot of pain or suction resistance when removing them.

Fortunately, you do not have to rely on trial and error when selecting your ear tip size. Apple AirPods Pro has a size testing system with your iPhone.

To test your AirPods Pro tip sizes, you must have Apple iOS 13.2 or higher. After checking to ensure you have this iOS version, go to your settings., then Bluetooth settings.

You should select the small “i” icon beside the Apple icon in settings under Bluetooth. Here you will find the “Apple ear tip fit test.” If you do not see this option, you need to update your iOS features to 13.2.

Last, select the play button, and let the test begin!

Are AirPods Pro Secure When Running? 

AirPods Pro are much more secure than AirPods 2nd and 3rd generations. The adjustable tips permit the wearer to use them while running long distances without needing to fix them.

For this reason, many marathon runners find them to be ideal for extensive runs and training. Another benefit is these AirPods have a long battery life, lasting up to 8 hours when fully charged.

They have touch activation and Siri compatibility. These features allow them to be used with ease while running, without needing to stop and adjust it manually.

By touching the stem of the earbuds, you can change the song. By communicating with Siri, you can raise or lower the music volume. These earbuds have a noise-canceling feature as well.

Note that AirPods Pro are not noise-isolating. This means they use the generation of white noise to prevent outside noise from disrupting your music. But, it does not cancel out the surrounding noise, which, as we’ve said, can be dangerous when outside.

Pros and Cons of the AirPods Pro

The primary benefit of AirPods Pro is their stability, even during intense workouts and windy weather. But, they have their limitations as well. 

Pros

  • Secure hold in your ears
  • Noise isolation
  • Wind protection
  • Ideal for phone calls
  • Waterproof against rain and sweat
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • The AirPods Pro does not have a long life span when used for intense workouts
  • They’re difficult to use outside of Apple products
  • Expensive

Many long-distance runners claim AirPods Pro does not have the longevity they wish they could have. Due to exposure and moisture buildup over time, the headphones lose their quality and good sound after the first year.

Can I Run With AirPods Without a Phone? 

You can use your AirPods without a phone, but you will need some device for your AirPods to connect to. Some people use a Bluetooth speaker in a gym if they do not want to have their cellphone nearby. But, what can you use if you’re going to use your AirPods but do not have your iPhone?

If you have an Apple watch of 3rd generation or higher, you can use this for your AirPods. But, it is not so simple as just turning on your watch and clicking the Bluetooth button.

Your Apple watch needs to be paired with your headset, much like you pair it with your iPhone. Unlike your iPhone, your Apple Watch cannot connect on its own, so you will need to connect your headsets while connected to wifi.

Or, you will need to be within a few feet of your phone’s data. This means you may not find your Apple Watch a very plausible solution.

If you don’t like carrying your phone while running, the best solution is to leave your iPhone in your car nearby. And, use your Apple Watch to connect to your AirPods as you work out and stream your music. 

Can You Run With AirPods in the Rain? 

You can use AirPods in the rain. But, they are not waterproof electronic devices. While your AirPods may be strong enough to withstand rain, they can’t be submerged. Sorry swimmers, AirPods are not sufficient for your exercise routine.

Even though a rainstorm may not damage or break your AirPods, we do not recommend it. If you are aware of an oncoming storm, you may wish to keep your routine indoors.

A great way to protect your device is to keep the portable case with you on your run. This is not to say a little rain will break them, but moisture builds up in the speakers over time.

Will Sweat Damage My AirPods? 

For most runners, a day or even a week’s worth of sweat will not damage your AirPods. We have seen reports of AirPods Pro losing power when exposed to a lot of sweat.

Here’s looking at you, “24/7/365” running fanatics!

Like any moisture, we don’t recommend exposing your AirPods to sweat day in and day out.

When exposed to this type of sweat every day, the speakers break down. Despite popular belief, many people don’t realize your inner ear sweats like the rest of your body. Thus, your AirPods have direct contact with water every day.

If you sweat profusely out of your ears, run profusely, or drop your AirPods in a rainy puddle, here are several solutions.

How to Dry Out Wet AirPods

There are several ways to salvage your AirPods after they get wet. One of the most popular methods is dry rice. Surprisingly, this is not just another Internet myth.

If your AirPods were exposed to excessive rain, sweat, or some other accident, place them in a bowl of dry rice. Allow them to sit in this bowl for at least one day, and you will probably notice the sound improves. It will also help remove excessive rain or water and help prolong your AirPods’ lifespan.

Another way to dry out your AirPods is silica gel.

You might already have this gel at home in a shoebox or other dry objects that protect against moisture buildup while in storage. If not, it will cost you less than $10 on Amazon.

The best way to protect your AirPods is to limit water exposure and store them in their travel case. Never leave your AirPods lying around outside of their case, and clean them regularly.

Dirt and ear wax build up inside the speakers, impacting the sound quality. You can quickly get rid of both with a Q-tip or toothpick.

Are AirPods Worth the Price for Runners? 

AirPods are simple, convenient, comfortable, and fit in almost any ear. The exact model you select depends on your workout level, with AirPods varying between $100-$300 per pair.

You may be tempted to purchase a cheaper pair of AirPods or even knockoffs, but we don’t recommend it. Often these models do not connect properly to your iPhone and have a crackling sound.

The old adage applies here: you get what you pay for.

Due to their lack of wires, AirPods tend to last several years longer than their wire counterparts. For this reason, investing $100-$300 in a fine pair versus $40-$60 for “more affordable” headphones will save you money in the long run.

Photo of author

Josh Koop

I love listening to everything I can, from podcasts to music and movies. I have always loved to live in my head, and headphones were a portal to help quiet the noise in my head. Now I write and hope to bring to your attention all the best information to learn how to enjoy your experience just as much as I do!

Leave a Comment