When you’re running, you’re constantly in motion — and you need your headphones to stay in place while you move. The best running headphones for small ears have a secure fit and come in wireless and wired styles, so you can pick the design that works best for you. Importantly, they’re also sweatproof or water-resistant for durability.
Finding the right fit when shopping for running headphones
Getting headphones with the right fit for your ear depends on your personal preference, and you have a few options to choose from. Wireless earbuds are placed directly into your ears, and all of the ones on this list feature a variety of ear tip sizes for snug positioning while you run. However, they may get dislodged or slip out of your ear due to sweat, so earbuds with an over-the-ear hook or neckband can help them stay in place. And if you don’t want to place headphones in your ears, you can go with a pair of bone conduction headphones that have an open ear design and send sound waves through your cheekbones. These leave your ears open to ambient sound, which can be good if you’re running outdoors and want to hear your surroundings, but not if you want to focus on your music or podcast. Or you could try a pair of cushioned over-ear headphones. These can be noise-canceling and comfortable, just make sure they have a snug fit and don’t slip or fall as you run. All of these options connect to a device via Bluetooth and need to be charged to work, but another choice can be a pair of in-ear wired headphones. This means dealing with wires that can get in your way while you run, but also means you don’t have to charge or pair them before you go out.
All of the headphones on this list have been tested and given an IP water resistance rating to let you know how well they can hold up to sweat and rain. For example, a rating of IPX4 means the headphones can be splashed from all directions. The higher the rating, the more sweat and rain your headphones can take. And if you’re looking for more protection, some headphones also have an IP rating for dust resistance, so keep an eye out for that.
Whether you’re hitting the trails, pounding the pavement, or getting your miles on the treadmill, scroll down for the best running headphones for small ears.
1. The best over-the-ear headphones for small ears
- Pros: Up to nine hours of battery life per charge, comes with 6 months of free Apple Music
- Cons: Expensive, no active noise cancellation
- The hype: 4.6-star overall Amazon rating, 67,000+ reviews
For a secure, comfortable fit over your ears while you’re running, reach for these PowerBeats Pro wireless earbuds. They have adjustable ear hooks and multiple ear tip size options, so they’ll stay in place, and with an IPX4 water resistance rating, they’ll handle water splashing from all directions. One reviewer reports, “These aren't affected by sweat, and the sound keeps on playing. They won't fall out if you do vigorous movements, and enough sound comes through so you can be aware of your surroundings while running.” And with up to nine hours of listening on a single charge and over 24 hours with the charging case, they’ll be able to handle your long runs.
You have the option of wearing both earbuds at the same time or just wearing one since there are volume and track controls on each earpiece. They’re compatible with iOS and Android devices, and you can even pair one set of Beats with another to share the same music or podcast with a running buddy. And each Beats purchase comes with six free months of Apple Music.
According to a reviewer: “I've tried many different headphones for listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and music while running. These are by far the best for me. They are also the most expensive out of those I've tried but absolutely worth every penny. I have small ears and most in-ear headphones rarely fit me. Those that do, feel like a heavy intrusion. Powerbeats Pro feel amazingly well, do not move once fitted, and so comfortable I forget I have them on. The sound quality is wonderful. They are super easy to pair with your devices and very simple to use. Would give 6 stars if I could.”
Type: Over-the-ear | Colors: 3 | Battery life: Up to 9 hours | Connection: Bluetooth | Water resistance rating: IPX4
2. The best budget running earbuds for small ears
- Pros: High waterproof rating, under $25
- Cons: Some reviewers report intermittent connection loss
- The hype: 4.3-star overall Amazon rating, 330,000+ reviews
With three ear tip size options (small, medium, and large), you’re sure to get a secure fit with these wireless earbuds. And you’ll also be getting stronger sound waves for bass, midrange, and treble with their 8-millimeter speaker drive. According to the brand, they can even be submerged in water 1 meter deep for up 30 minutes. You’ll get up to 10 hours of sound on a single charge and 45 hours with the charging case (the case takes 90 minutes to fully charge via the included USB-C cable). There are controls on the earbuds for volume, play, pause, track selection, and call answering, and they pair to your phone as soon as they’re out of the case. Some reviewers have reported intermittent connection loss, but at this price tag, you might not mind so much.
According to a reviewer: “If you have been looking for some really great cordless earbuds that are comfortable and really good quality look no further! I have pretty small ears and most earbuds hurt but these are fantastic. The case is small and compact. The battery life for one bud lasts me over 8 hours before I have to put it back in the case.”
Type: In-ear | Colors: 5 | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Connection: Bluetooth | Water resistance rating: IPX8
3. The best over-the-ear running headphones with a neckband design
- Pros: Includes an extra-small ear tip size option and noise-isolating technology for under $25
- Cons: Uncomfortable after a few hours of use, according to some reviewers
- The hype: 4.3-star overall Amazon rating, 30,000+ reviews
All of the headphones on this list feature ear tip size choices, but the Otium wireless headphones are the only ones to offer an extra-small option. That means a secure fit for smaller ears, plus they’re designed with over-the-ear hooks and an adjustable neckband for extra stability. They feature an 11-millimeter dynamic driver for stronger stereo sound, plus CVC noise-cancelling technology that helps your voice sound clearer on phone calls. And if you get a call or want to skip through tracks, play, or pause, there are controls on the earpieces. A single battery charge can last you up to 15 hours, and a micro-USB charging cable is included. Plus, they can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, and they’re under $25 – a win-win.
According to a reviewer: “They are awesome!! [...] They paired almost immediately after the initial pairing I did at home first. They NEVER lost signal or stopped working. They have average sound quality which is fine by me. I use them while working out and they did not move once!! I never had to adjust them during my high intensity workout and run. If you need wireless headphones, get these! Also I have small ears and they fit perfectly.”
Type: Over-the-ear | Colors: 4 | Battery life: Up to 15 hours | Connection: Bluetooth | Water resistance rating: IPX7
4. The best bone conduction running headphones
- Pros: High water and dust resistance, open ear design, lightweight
- Cons: Not great in noisy environments, expensive
- The hype: 4.6-star overall Amazon rating, 10,000+ reviews
If you run through high-traffic areas and want to be aware of your surroundings even while you’re listening, these wireless bone-conduction headphones are a great option. They wrap around your head and deliver audio through your cheekbones, so there’s nothing inserted in your ears. This means you can hear your surroundings, but it might be hard to listen to your music if it’s a noisy place. The frame is lightweight and has an IP67 rating, which means it is fully dustproof and can be immersed in water up to 1 meter deep. The battery lasts up to eight hours on a single charge, and a charging cable is included. Also included are a carrying bag and a sports headband. And if you have a smaller head, they also have a mini size.
According to a reviewer: “I love these, I have small ears and all of my earbuds seem to either not fit, start hurting, or fall out halfway through my runs and these have been amazing. I can wear them at work and still hear everything around me and they are so comfortable you forget you have them on.”
Type: Bone conduction | Colors: 4 | Battery life: Up to 8 hours | Connection: Bluetooth | Water resistance rating: IP67
5. The best wired headphones for runners with small ears
- Pros: No charging or pairing needed, budget-friendly
- Cons: Low water resistance rating
- The hype: 4.2-star overall Amazon rating, 2,500+ reviews
A set of wired headphones means no charging or pairing with a device and can be a handy backup if you have a wireless pair with a low battery. Plus, these come with a few ear tip size options for a secure fit while you run. There’s also an in-line remote with controls for play, pause, volume, mic, and Siri activation, and magnets on the back of the earpieces to keep them together without tangling. However, with an IPX3 rating, these are only resistant to sweat and light water sprays. The headphones pictured here are compatible with iPhones, but you can get a pair for Androids here, and if you need a set to plug into a treadmill, I’d recommend checking out these headphones with a 3.5-millimeter jack.
According to a reviewer: “These actually stay in my ears ... even when jogging. After years of trying different options, it’s great to finally find headphones that fit my small ears.”
Type: In-ear | Colors: 4 | Battery life: n/a | Connection: Lightning or USB-C | Water resistance rating: IPX3
6. The best over-ear headphones for running
- Pros: Noise-cancelling, padded ear cups, includes a carrying case, up to 35 hours of battery life per three-hour charge
- Cons: Don’t fold up
- The hype: 4.3-star overall Amazon rating, 6,000+ reviews
If you’d like some cushioning for your ears and noise cancellation while you run, these over-ear headphones are a solid pick. They’re wireless with a Bluetooth 5.0 connection but also include a 3.5-millimeter wire, so they can be plugged in if need be. On the side of the ear, you can control play, pause, and volume or turn on the active noise cancellation (ANC) to reduce the sound around you. These headphones are made of lightweight materials that are meant to keep your ears comfortable and dry, and the IPX4 rating makes them water-resistant to splashes in any direction. The batteries will last up to 35 hours on a three-hour charge, and this pick is compatible with Siri and Google voice assistants. Lastly, reviewers report they’re easy to adjust and don’t fall off your head while you’re running.
According to a reviewer: “These headphones work great for running at the gym, as they're sweatproof and I've had no issues. Great quality sound with EDM and metal. Very comfortable to wear and durable seeming. These babies deserve the high ratings they have and I was not disappointed.”
Type: Over-ear | Colors: 2 | Battery life: Up to 35 hours | Connection: Bluetooth or 3.5-millimeter jack | Water resistance rating: IPX4