Sound Advice: Earphones Good For Running

By Don Lindich

Tribune News Service


Q: I need some headphones or earphones to use while I run, preferably something that stays in my ear and sounds good. Bluetooth would be nice, but not 100 percent necessary.

—Robert S., Willoughby, Ohio

A: I recently tested two models recently that take do are worth considering.

You can get everything you want with the BlueAnt Pump. I use this model myself at the gym when I ride the stationary bicycle, listening to music and playing Monopoly on my iPad. It makes the time on the bike go much faster!

The BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds earphones fit over your ear like a hearing aid, holding them firmly in place while the earbuds go in your ear. A strap connects the left and right sides. Controls are on the right side. A long-life battery recharges via MicroUSB and a microphone is integrated into the unit. It connects wirelessly via Bluetooth.

The sound quality is quite decent and I have been told by those I have called with it that the voice quality is very clear. You will get better sound quality from a wired pair selling for the same price, but it is hard to beat the convenience and comfort of going untethered. They sell online for $79 to $129, depending on where you shop. A Google Shopping search will quickly find the best place to get them. You can see them at

If you use your headphones/earphones outside while running, you must consider the issue of safety and whether you are comfortable being completely isolated from the world with an earbud plugging up your ear. Panasonic has a solution for those who want to enjoy sound from their portable device while keeping their ear completely uncovered, allowing you to listen while keeping your ear completely open so it can hear sounds around you.

Panasonic’s new bone conduction headphones fit around the back of your head and place a small rubber pad on your head just in front of your ear. The pad is shaped to help you find optimal placement for the best transmission of sound. They bypass the eardrums and make the sound appear in your head while allowing you to converse normally and hear what is happening around you. You can listen while running, biking or caring for a child at home and hear as you normally would without headphones on.

The downside is the sound quality and maximum is not as good as traditional earphones and headphones that transmit sound to the eardrums. This is to be expected, of course, given how they work. It is a personal decision if this a fair trade-off for the advantages they offer. I love good sound as much or more than anyone, but I’d be willing to trade off some sound quality to keep myself from getting hit by a bus while I was out running. This applies mostly to music listening. If you listen to podcasts, talk radio or audiobooks I do not think you will miss the sound quality difference as much.

The Panasonic RP-HGS10-P bone conduction headphones are wired and sell for $79. The Bluetooth model RP-BTGS1 has a microphone for hands-free calls and sells for $199. Website:

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