What might seem like a small problem, is actually a big pain in the butt. Or maybe pain in the bud? I’m taking about wearing in-ear headphones or earbuds that are too big for your on-the-smaller-side ear holes. It’s not only uncomfortable, but also super annoying when they start dropping out of your ears, especially while you’re working out with headphones — grrrr.
Well, good news, my fellow small-ear-canal friends. I’ve done some research, tried lots of earbuds and found 5 of the best sports headphones options for women just like us, whether you’re just looking for something comfy and affordable, or for earbuds that really rock the bass.
So let’s start with the pretty and the high-tech. This wireless Bluetooth headset from Samsung has a necklet design that sits comfortably on the back of your neck, and a magnetic clasp at the top of the ear pieces for when the headset is not in use. It ends up forming a circle (hence the name) and looking like a futuristic necklace. A lightweight, sweat-resistant, music-playing necklace.
Gear Circle is easy-to-connect with intuitive touch controls. Also cool is being able to answer a call, control music, and (for iPhone users) even talk to Siri with the tap of one small button. A big benefit for Samsung smartphone users is that you can also connect the headset to the free Samsung Gear app and access more features, like setting notifications for missed calls and new messages. (Samsung, $99.99 retail; though find some colors on sale for as low as $59 at our affiliate Amazon)
First thing, the color combos on these little wireless numbers (also shown at very top) are totally fun. They’re also are sweat and water-resistant and designed to sit loosely in your ear instead of wedging the bud in there. What holds them in place is Bose’s StayHear ear tips — these barely noticeable, soft silicone pieces that look a little moons and hook into the outer ear. The tips come in three different sizes, which is helpful to lots of of us women.
As with most things Bose, the audio quality gets high grades. Basically, you’ll be able to feel the bass as much as you can hear it. But because of the open design of these earbuds, the noise-canceling is not the greatest. So if you’re running in the noisy city streets, you’ll probably hear all of it. Then again that’s not always a bad thing if you want to be aware of what’s going on around you. (Bose, $129.95)
Yurbuds has a really good rep among the fitness set. These earphones — ergonomically designed to comfortably fit women or user with smaller ears — are keeping that good name going. They’re sweat proof with durable woven, tangle-free cords, and made with a soft, flexible silicon that resists sweat and water — convenient when you’re working out, right? LEAP also promises 6-plus hours of music and call time. And with a few taps of the microphone and music control button, you can control the music, volume, calls, and (with iOS only) voice activation.
Related: The best wireless Bluetooth earbuds
Although I did have some issues connecting the earphones to Bluetooth, I think LEAP Wireless For Women are a very good option with a quality sound, too. Plus, the earphones come with a cute, little carrying case.
Bonus: they guarantee a perfect fit. So if you need a different size cover for your Yurbuds, you can send them a photo of your current earbuds in your ears and they’ll send you one that’s better. (JBL, on sale now $79.99)
If you’re not committed to a Wireless option, Liz tried out a pair of this other Yurbuds mainstay on a bumpy cross-country plane ride. Which doesn’t quite count as a workout, but definitely lasted much longer. Yurbuds TwistLock technology means you put them in a little differently; you direct them indirectly into your ear canal, then gently twist so they “lock” in place comfortably. And they really do stay put. While these black or red (easier to find in a crowded gym bag) earbuds aren’t specifically made for women, the smallest size of the flexible silicone buds fit her just fine and only started to get a little uncomfortable around hour five.
The sound isn’t Bose quality, and they do make higher end models like the Signature Series IX-900 Earbuds — but for around $30, we’d say the Inspire 300 is a fantastic deal and probably does what you need it to when you’re working out or running.
Related: 4 Eco-friendly headphones we love
You can also check out the Yurbuds Inspire 300 series for Women in colors like baby blue, purple and black. If you have particularly tiny ears, the smallest buds could be an even better fit for you. Both have the same mic and one-button music control, so really it may just come down to color preference. We’re kind of digging the red.
They are tangle-free, noise-canceling and only cost 25 bucks. (Come on, the music-to-our-ears pun is basically a given at this point.) The cool thing about Zipbuds is they are designed to keep those cords from getting tangled which can be a bonus if they’re tossed into a gym bag at the end of a workout. As for sound quality, they’re definitely not Bose-level either, but they get the noise-canceling job done and the sound is pretty decent.
A few caveats that we pointed out in our review last month: Zipbuds are on the heavier side, and can sometimes make a slight squeaking noise when you move around with them. Best bet is to rock these very affordable earbuds when you’re into lighter, low-impact workouts like pushing a stroller around in those postpartum days, or hitting a treadmill for a while. Hey, $25 for decent sounding earbuds that won’t annoy you by getting tangled is a sweeter deal than most gym memberships. ( Juice 2.0 Zipbuds at our affiliate Amazon, $24.99)