Best headphones for cycling 2024 indoors and outdoor options

The best headphones for cycling let you safely listen to music, podcasts, or even talk online e-racing tactics

Best headphones for cycling
Female cyclist wearing headphones for cycling
(Image credit: Getty Images - puckons)

From workout beats to race instructions, the best headphones for cycling have an important role to play in helping you get the most out of your bike ride. 

From cabled to wireless, in-ear to bone-conducting technology, choosing a pair of ideal headphones for your riding is a complicated business. 

There are pros and cons to each of the different styles. However there are some vital qualities that they must feature to become an ideal companion for life on two wheels. 

As well as the obvious sound clarity requirements, the best headphones for cycling need to be sweat resistant and do a good job of staying put when you're not. 

The legalities of using headphones while cycling on the road vary from state to state and country to country, so this guide mostly focuses on indoor performance for when you're riding one of the best indoor training apps, racing with a team on Zwift,  or taking a class on one of the best exercise bikes

This guide takes you through all you need to know when buying headphones for cycling, including the different designs, features, what to look for and even the law around riding outside with headphones. 

We kick off with our recommendations on the best cycling headphones available to buy right now. It's divided into bone conducting, then in-ear and finally over-ear options. 

Head down to the bottom for a buyer's guide to how to choose the best headphones for cycling.

Best headphones for cycling tested

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Best headphones for cycling: bone conducting

Without getting too scientific, bone conducting headphones pass vibrations through your jawbone/top of your cheekbones to transmit sound, rather than via air moving the hairs on your eardrum, before reaching your cochlea. The end result of hearing noise is exactly the same, but the benefits of using bone to pass the vibrations along mean, not only does your ear canal and drum remain untouched, but you also have much more situational/ambient hearing and it's less sweaty too.

Shokz openrun side on buttons

Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones

(Image credit: Future/Michelle Arthurs-Brennan)
Best headphones for cyclists who struggle with fit

Specifications

Battery time: 8 hours play time
Charging: Proprietary
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.1
Noise cancellation: No
Built-in mic: Yes
Waterproof: Yes, 30min for 1mtr
Wireless: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Surprisingly lightweight despite size
+
Really comfortable, stay put design
+
Able to maintain transparent hearing on ambient sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Some Bluetooth connectivity delays
-
Misses audible or visual cues to battery level or requirement to switch off. 

Having tested a couple of pairs of the Shokz (formally known as AfterShokz) we've been pretty sold on the concept of bone conducting headphones. After giving the Shokz OpenMove headphones a long term shakedown, we found that despite the naming convention, the Shokz OpenRun are in fact a pair of the best headphones for cycling. 

When wearing, they felt super lightweight and even dynamic movement was uninhibited. We only needed to faff with the fit/ position during a 'lay down' core workout off the bike, so a great plus point for anyone with small ears who usually has to poke their earbuds back in. 

Shokz open run shown on a woman looking to the right with a brick wall behind

Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones

(Image credit: Future/Michelle Arthurs-Brennan)

There is no noise cancellation feature on the Shokz, allowing for constant spatial awareness. This makes them a great option for anyone needing to keep an ear out for traffic, or those who want to be able to hear at home while training. But it's also something to consider if you're looking for total sound immersion.  

Any concerns about the audio quality are unfounded. We found the sound to be constantly sufficient, with minimal leakage to the outside world, although a slight stutter on the Bluetooth connection was sometimes noticeable.  

The only real gripe is the lack of feedback from the headphones on power performance, which on something like the Apple AirPods Pro is a given, meaning that you are unlikely to be caught short without a charge. 

However, if you did forget to switch these off, the 10 minute quick charge will give you an hour and half of play time. However, as with the Adidas PRT-01, after considering the wireless charge options of the Jaybird Vista 2, Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport headphones and Apple Airpod Pos, any cable connection feels dated.

Read more: Shokz OpenRun bone conduction headphones full review

Haylou PurFree wireless bone conducting headphones on a wooden table

Haylou PurFree wireless bone conducting headphones

(Image credit: Hannah Bussey)
Best bone conducting headphones for value

Specifications

Battery time: 8 hours (claimed)
Charging: USB-C
Bluetooth: Dual Bluetooth 5.2
Noise cancellation: No
Built-in mic: Yes
Waterproof: IP67
Wireless: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Very comfortable to wear
+
Multiple simultaneous BLE connections
+
Quick charging
+
Zero sound bleed

Reasons to avoid

-
No storge case included

Like the Shokz headphones, the Haylous are lightweight at just 28g, with a titanium frame to hold them in place on your head. 10 minutes of charging time can give you up to two hours of playback. They support dual BLE connections, so that you can listen to music from your computer, but still answer incoming calls on your phone, for example.

We found the  Haylou headphones more comfortable to wear than a pair of Apple Airpods, thanks to not being in the ear canal. They don't get in the way of glasses either. We rated the sound quality too, with good bass and there's zero sound bleed, although we'd have liked a storage case to help protect them when not in use. 

Read more: Haylou PurFree wireless bone conducting headphones full review

Shokz OpenRun Pro wireless headphones

Shokz OpenRun Pro wireless headphones

(Image credit: Future)
Best bone conducting headphones for cyclists wanting longer battery life

Specifications

Battery time: 10 hours play time
Charging: Magnetic
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.1
Noise cancellation: No
Built-in mic: Yes
Waterproof: Yes, IP55
Wireless: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Upgraded spec over the base model
+
High quality sound
+
10 hours battery life
+
Fast charging gives 90 minutes runtime on 5 minutes charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Windy conditions can interfere with listening

A step up from the standard OpenRun, the Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conducting headphones use the brand's ninth generation of the technology, which gives great sound quality. They're also good for use on calls.

They're IP55 sweatproof, but we had no problem with water ingress in wet November weather and they remain securely fitted in place. There's magnetic charging, which will give you 90 minutes play time on just 5 minutes charging.

The only issue we found was that wind noise could interfere with our listening on windy days. 

Read more: Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conducting headphones full review

Best headphones for cycling: in-ear

Probably the most popular choice when it comes to headphones, the in-ear option, also known as earbuds, offers the most portable and discreet fit.  Great headphones for cyclists who have portability, ease of use and discrete listening at the top of their priority list. 

Jaybird Vista 2 headphones are pictured close up in the white on a white background.

Jaybird Vista 2 headphones

(Image credit: Jaybird)

4. Jaybird Vista 2 headphones

Best headphones for intense cycling workouts

Specifications

Battery play time : 8hrs (claimed)
Charging : Charge case + USB C cable
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise cancelling: Yes
Build-in mic : Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Wireless: Yes - 10m/33ft

Reasons to buy

+
Specifically designed for sports 
+
Waterproof and sweat proof 
+
Noise isolation, for passive and active reduction 

Reasons to avoid

-
An expensive choice for in-ear wireless headphones

There's no denying the sporting prowess of the Jaybird brand. As sponsors of one of the most exciting and dynamic bike teams, L39ION, and USA professional bike rider Kate Courtney, as well as having a wealth of other professional brand athletes, its products are gaining plenty of traction within this competitive environment.

These are perfect headphones for cycling due to multiple compatible features. For us, highlights have to be the ergonomic design, which Jaybird and its athletes praise for in-ear comfort and their stay put capabilities. 

Both are non-negotiables in our book after experiences with other headphones of trying to ride hard and simultaneously trying to jab yourself in the ear to get a headphone to stay put, an issue that the Apple Airpods are still trying to nail (although the latest iterations are better).  

This image has a purple filter. Light. Jaybird Vista 2 are the best headphones for cycling as they are shown here on a rider on a static bike. You only see his head and torso. He is wearing a Rapha top, he is sweating, and there are other riders in the same kit in the background.

Jaybird Vista 2 headphones

(Image credit: Jaybird/ Legion-1)

The waterproof and sweatproof features are also vital to anyone who's ever ridden for more than 10 minutes on a bike indoors. Having spent a small fortune on them in the first place, it would be disappointing, and very distracting mid-bike session to concern yourself with liquid ingress. 

The biggest crowd pleaser however is Jaybird's proprietary SurroundSense, which can either be active noise cancellation when you have to dial into the effort, or active amplification of ambient noise for increased special awareness and safety. It's a similar feature to the Apple Airpods Pro, and one that we rate highly. This is especially relevant if they will be getting a lot of use outside, if it's legal to ride with headphones where you are based, or even at home when you need to either be immersed in sound, or have one ear out for a child.  

The on-line platform allows you to perfect your headphone sound quality just for you, and, Bluetooth wireless range of 10m/ 33ft means that you can be a reasonable distance away from your device, reducing the risk of sweat/ drop damage to expensive electronics. 

The Jaybird platform also features a 'Find my Buds' feature should you have the misfortune of losing one or both when you're out and about, or by being so exhausted by your session, just not recalling where you left them. It's another 'must have' feature for one of the most expensive sets in our best headphones for cycling buyers guide. 

Compatible with both iOS and Android systems, you can make/ answer calls and dial into Discord for team tactics when on-line racing, giving these great multi-application versatility.  

Apple AirPods Pro 2 are pictured on a wooden table

Apple AirPods Pro 2

(Image credit: Andy Turner)
Best headphones for cycling and using with an Apple device

Specifications

Battery time: 6hr from single charge
Charging : Charge case, USB C cable
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.3
Noise Cancelling : Active noise cancellation
Built-in mic: Yes
Waterproofing : Sweat and water resistant (IPX4)
Wireless: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
On ear touch controls, including activating noise cancelling total sound immersion, or active sound amplification. 
+
Very easy to use with other Apple devices
+
Custom fit options with a choice of silicone tips
+
Charge case, wireless and battery preserving smart charging  
+
Siri connection for reading of messages 
+
Adaptive EQ via your apple device 

Reasons to avoid

-
Very high price, so need to really want the features and functionality
-
Require Apple device to ensure complete compatibility
-
Water resistant but not completely waterproof

Apple Airpods are to headphones what Garmin is to bike computers. The brand's white dots are so synonymous with wireless in-ear headphones that we seem to have coined the term earpod for reference of all. 

The AirPods Pro 2 are the latest in-ear wireless earbuds from Apple, and are stacked high with features and capabilities, although it's worth pointing out from the outset that you do need a compatible Apple device in order to take full advantage of them.

Improvements on the last model include better noise cancellation and battery life increasing from five hours per charge up to six, with 30 hours total time with the charging case. Charge time is fast with one hour of listening time from just five minutes of charging.

Much like the Jaybird Vista 2, these are among the best cycling headphones for riders who need the option of quickly and easily switching between total sound immersion and active ambient hearing. It's a great feature if you are either out on the road (where it's legal to do so), or like us, training at home when you need to switch between listening out for small children, or not wanting to hear them. 

Read more: Apple AirPods Pro 2 full review

Adidas FWD-02 headphones in the image are shown from front on the left, and back on the right.

Adidas FWD-02 headphones

(Image credit: Hannah Bussey)

6. Adidas FWD-02 Sport headphones

Best cycling headphones for a secure fit

Specifications

Battery time: Up to 6 hours play time (claimed)
Charging : USP Charge case
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise cancelling : Yes (sort of)
Built-in mic : Yes
Waterproofing : Yes IPX5 - water and sweat resistance
Wireless: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Lock in-ear design stays put
+
Ambient noise cancelling 
+
Active ambient noise option
+
Ear tap controls work with gloves
+
Breathable recharging case 

Reasons to avoid

-
So secure that you get 'earplug' internal noises amplification (occlusion effect)
-
Can get grubby quickly 
-
Not fully waterproof
-
No true active noise cancelling option

If you're forever spending time poking in-ear headphones back into place, then the Adidas FWD-02 Sport could be just the ticket for you. 

Coming with multiple silicon earpieces, there's a fair chance there is an exact fit for you in these sports specific headphones. While the likes of the Apple Airpods Pro also offer this, the difference is that the design on the Adidas FWD-02 Sport pair is that they also 'lock' into the ear. 

It's a neat alternative to the ESC Sounds Series 3 over ear option, but a much smaller profile meaning that there's no helmet interference.

While this is great for ensuring that you don't end up having to double back on a ride searching for a misplaced headphone, or losing a virtual race due to an earpiece distraction in the winning break, I personally found them so secure that they had the effect of wearing earplugs. 

In effect they create the occlusion effect, and amplify your own internal noises, which I personally found really off-putting, especially when trying to listen to a podcast. 

This image shows the Adidas FWD-02 headphones in ear of a rider looking forward wearing a yellow jersey.

Adidas FWD-02 headphones

(Image credit: Hannah Bussey)

The ambient noise setting was a better option for me, but I still had more knowledge of my heavy breathing or eating. 

The upside is that although there isn't an actual noise cancelling setting, these do pretty well at cutting out noises (except your own) just by having them in your ears.

Adidas claims there's 6hrs of continuous play time, and I'm yet to discover then end as taking them off and popping into their carry case auto recharges the headphones for up to another 24 hours of playback, meaning that general use from home or work leaves little chance of them running out. 

The tap controls are easy to use, and I can confirm with gloves on. There is a specific Adidas headphone app, but all I really found it helpful for was just checking the tap instructions. 

The breathable case is a nice touch for anyone who gets super sweaty, although it's worth noting that they aren't fully waterproof, so worth leaving at home if it's a wet day on the bike. 

Talking of sweat, the white pair of Adidas FWD-02 Sport headphones and case that I had did get grubby looking quite quickly from sweaty and mucky paws, so recommend going for the dark grey version for a cleaner look for longer. 

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport headphones are shown here in black on a white background

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport headphones

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

7. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport headphones

Best headphones for cycling with high sound quality

Specifications

Battery time : Up to 7 hours play time (claimed)
Charging : USB C charge case, wireless charge pad option
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.1
Noise Cancelling : Passive noise cancelling
Built-in Mic : Yes
Waterproofing : Yes - IpX7 up to 1mtr for 30min
Wireless: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Bang & Olufsen is the gold standard for sound and product quality and design
+
Decent waterproofing for even the sweatiest of sessions  
+
Compatible with all Bluetooth and enabled devices. 
+
Adaptable sound adjustment via Bang & Olufsen Beosonic app
+
Transparency mode for ambient sound amplification 

Reasons to avoid

-
No active noise cancelling feature
-
Large charge case isn't as portable as other in-ear options
-
That price tag is eye wateringly high

If sound quality is your priority, then Bang & Olufsen will be a familiar brand to you, having established itself as an industry expert in premium performance. It's no wonder that Rapha engaged its services in a collaboration with the aim of securing the best, and potentially most exclusive headphones for cycling.  

While the Rapha version of Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport headphones is no longer an option, the regular version is. The only real difference is the loss of the cycling branding, although unfortunately, this doesn't equate to a price drop as these are still staggeringly expensive. 

But with the B&O (Bang & Olufsen) reputation, you can be assured that your hard earned pennies are going towards the gold standard of sound quality, which, thanks to the Beosonic app, can be tuned exclusively for your ears. 

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport are considered as a pair of the best headphones for cycling, so much so that Rapha collaborated with a pair, which are seen on this rider in the image, who is leaning over her handle bars with her head down between her arms which are pointing to the right of the image.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport headphones

(Image credit: WIG WORLAND 2020)

The high water and sweat proofing does give these a green card for using both in and outside on your bike (as long as it is legal to do so where you're riding). If you do opt for using them on the open road, you can also switch on the transparency hearing mode for ambient sound amplification. If you are looking for a bit of internalisation on the other hand, it's worth noting that, as yet, these don't come with a noise cancellation feature. 

Bluetooth enabled, these are compatible with most smartphones and devices with a 10-meter range, with all control options, such as volume, track forward/back, call answering etc, via a series of headphone taps. 

The charge case is a little large, making popping in a pocket not as easy as others, but it's great to see it can be both wired or wirelessly charged. 

In short, a premium option for in-ear headphones, clearly built with cycling in mind.  

The best headphones for cycling can be these ESG Sounds which have been designed for functional fitness use. They are shown here on a white back the top left is showing the outside in a larger scale than the bottom right one, which shows the ear bud

ESC Sounds Series 3 headphones

(Image credit: ESG Sounds)

8. ESC Sounds Series 3

Best headphones for cycling with dynamic movement

Specifications

Battery time : 7 hours play time (claimed)
Charging : Charge case (USB)
Bluetooth : Bluetooth 5
Noise cancelling : Yes
Built-in mic: Yes
Waterproofing : Yes IPX 7
Wireless: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Designed to stay put even on the hardest of sessions
+
Noise isolation capabilities to dial into sound
+
High waterproof rating for wet/ sweaty sessions
+
Choice of ear bud and ear cup sizes 
+
On ear control of sound and calls 

Reasons to avoid

-
No pairing app for detailed performance indication or personal EQ setting. 

The ESC Sounds are one of the best headphones for cycling if you are a dynamic rider, or indeed a multisport player. Designed as a cross between in-ear and on-ear, the Series 3 headphones are considered the 'stay put earbuds' and have become a firm favourite of functional fitness and power lifting athletes for their reputation of comfort and security of fit.

The in-ear bud is teamed with a round ear loop, of which multiple sizes are provided for an exacting fit,  which is said to hold the headphones in place no matter how much movement is undertaken. Teaming this with the brand's noise cancellation feature is akin to holding your standard earbuds in your ears with a couple of fingers for that complete surround sound experience. 

This image is showing a woman's head and face. She is sweating lots, in her ears are a pair of ESC Sounds headphones, they are one of the best headphones for cycling

ESC Sounds Series 3 headphones

(Image credit: ESC Sounds)

The super high water and sweatproof rating is the same as the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport headphones, so capable of being submerged up to one meter in water for 30 minutes. 

We're yet to hear their sound performance, but unlike many of the other headphone options, there's no pairing app. This means no tuning of sound for personal perfection, or ability to see exactly how much charge is left, so there is a little guesswork in remembering how much battery life you have. 

However, if you can do away with the finesse, you do get significantly cheaper headphones. And ones that claim to stay put even when you're upside down, no less. If keeping a headphone in your ear is your priority then these are the ones for you. 

The wired JBL Endurance Run headphones are shown here as one of the best wired headphones for cycling in black on a white background. The one on the right is demonstrating that it can be worn over ear for a secure fit.

 JBL Endurance Run headphones

(Image credit: JBL)

9. JBL Endurance Run headphones

Best headphones for cycling for plug and play

Specifications

Battery life: N/A
Charging : N/A
Bluetooth: N/A
Built-in mic : Yes
Waterproofing : Yes IXP5
Wireless: No (1.2mtr cable)

Reasons to buy

+
Beautifully simple and work with all devices with a headphone jack out of the box
+
Great sweat and waterproofing capabilities for the price tag. 
+
Designed specifically for staying put during action sports. 
+
Hands free call and remote sound control
+
Magnetic headphones to keep headphones together when not in use. 

Reasons to avoid

-
Tethered to handset/ device so not ultimate freedom
-
No personalised EQ adjustment app

We're big fans of both JBL and wired headphones in our household. So to find that the two are combined in the JBL Endurance Run headphones gets the seal of approval from us. 

We've been using a pair of wireless on-ear headphones, specifically the kids JBL JR300BT, which give excellent sound quality, performance, and durability, without the overwhelming high volume. Having given these a reasonably hard life over the past few years, which takes into account a lot of lockdown use, they are still just as good as ever. 

This image shows one of the best wired headphones for cycling, the JBL Endurance Run pair. The are in blue and on an ear of a woman who is side on to the camera facing left, with her dark hair in a low ponytail

JBL Endurance Run headphones

(Image credit: JBL)

The JBL Endurance Run tick our 'must have' boxes, largely due to their simplicity. We find that the best headphones for cycling are simply ones that work, every time, without fail with zero faff/ pairing/ low battery etc. 

They have been designed specifically with dynamic sports in mind. We always figure if they're good enough for running, then cycling (as long as there is no helmet interference if using outside) should also be catered for. 

The over-ear design is similar to that of the ESC Sound headphones, which should give them added stay put security, while the sweat/ waterproof rating is an impressive IPX5, a level above the Apple Airpod Pro headphones.  

There are some wireless crossover features to be benefited from, such as the remote sound control, and hands free call service which is a nice touch when you have your phone or device tucked out of the way thanks to the lengthy 120cm cable. However, no amount of cabling will give you that freedom that wireless will, but thanks to a magnet in the headphones, they should roll away neatly and reduce the risk of tangles. 

Best headphones for cycling: on-ear

On ear headphones have the advantage that they don't block your ear canal but provide plenty of noise isolation. On the other hand, they're probably not the best for cycling indoors, where you're likely to suffer from significant sweat build-up. They're not going to work with a helmet if you're riding outdoors either.

Adidas RTP-01 headphones are pictured here in black against a white background, and are one of the best pairs of on-ear headphones for cycling

Adidas RTP-01 headphones

(Image credit: Adidas)

10. Adidas RTP-01 headphones

Best headphones for cycling indoors with the volume up

Specifications

Battery life: 40hrs play time (claimed)
Charging : USB-C
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0
Noise cancellation : No
Built-in mic: Yes
Waterproof: Sweat and water resistant
Wireless: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptionally long play time, (claimed)
+
Loud base line lovers give these the thumbs up
+
Washable ear cushions and inner headband
+
360 degree swivel fit for dynamic fit
+
Control knob for sound and answering calls on headset
+
Bluetooth connectivity, ISO and Android compatibility

Reasons to avoid

-
Lowest water resistance standard, so not idea for really sweaty / wet workouts
-
No noise cancelling feature for complete silence
-
Big base feels at sacrifice of mid sound, so loose some sound complexity
-
As with all overhead headphones, no helmet compatibility
-
Priced to align with the Adidas label over headphone functionality

If you're the kind of person who loves to hit every session hard and not get distracted by anything other than a dirty big wall of sound, then the Adidas RPT-01 are the best headphones for cyclists like you.

In all reviews, they receive rave reviews for play time, battery life length and their impressive capabilities to be able to deal with a hard life, such as getting shoved in a kit bag, rolled around without protection, and still be ready for your next session with more than enough battery life.