The dawn of MP3 players issued in a new era for runners, who could not take their music with them on their morning jogs, and could use the beat and music to keep inspired and set new pace records. The only problem was that, while the music was great, trying to keep those damn earphones in your ears while running would be a greater challenge than setting a new 5km record.

As a regular runner, I have had my fair share of earphones, and some have performed well on my longer distance running, while others have simply not made the cut. What I have now seen is that manufacturers are once again directing their attention to earphones, and are targeting runners.

Testing the best Earphones for runners – the contestants: The New Apple Earpods™, The House of Marley People Get Ready™ In-Ear Headphones, The Bowers-Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones with Secure Loop design.

I decided to take up the challenge and test out three new earphones to get a view on which one is better, and hopefully this will provide you with a better position when making your decision to purchase. To be fair, I have tried to keep the testing environment as consistent as possible.

  1. All earphones have been used for a minimum of 20km
  2. All phones have had to play the same three playlists
  3. I have only tested these on the treadmill in the gym
  4. I have only allowed for the testing for my morning jogs

In this way, each earphone would be used at a time there I am usually in the same mindset and running mode, the same music is used to get an idea of the sound quality, the treadmill allows for a consistent environmental noise level, and, and the length of the jogs (4 x 5km runs) allows me to test the earphones over four runs – or at a time of around 75 – 80 minutes in total.

The three earphones I tested included:

The New Apple Earpods™

The redesigned Apple EarPods.

The House of Marley People Get Ready™ In-Ear Headphones

With the great suckers, the House of Marley People Get Ready™ In-Ear Headphones

The Bowers-Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones with Secure Loop design

The beautifully designs and phenomenal sound quality Bowers-Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones with Secure Loop design

 

Sound Quality

From the onset, the B&W was strides ahead of the other two – which is not surprising. The B&W’s allowed for a phenomenal sound quality and complexity of depth, while ensuring vocals were crystal clear.  Not far behind though was the House of Marley In-Ear which also ensured a good, solid sound, but was probably best for stronger beats, and which favoured songs with a heavy base. The Apple Earpods faired well, but it was obvious that they are more for general use.

Winner: B&W C5

 

Comfort and Ease of Use

While the B&W’s were the best in the sound department, in the comfort department, they were stone last. Their Secure Loop design is, well, stupid and is anything but secure or comfortable. The beauty of the design aside, the metal cord chafes badly – so, probably not the best for long runs. Also, trying to figure our exactly how the loop should fit into your ear is a pain in the butt, especially at 5AM. Next up, the House of Marley, which are pretty comfortable, once you have managed to jam the earphones into your ears. Once there are in, its comfortable, and you don’t really notice them until the end of the run – which is precisely what you want. Also, the fabric cords are much better than the C5’s wire cord, but after 20kms of sweat, the smell may become noticeable. The Apple Earpods are also rather comfortable – and are probably the easiest to put in – the problem is that they don’t really stay there.

Winner: House of Marley People Get Ready™

 

Ear Fit

This is probably one of the most important aspects of earphones for runners – and nothing is more frustrating than having to break your concentration to try and get the blasted earphone back in your ear.

The House of Marley wins here. They are really the only earphone that, once fitted, stayed exactly where they were meant to be. Okay, so they required a bit of pressure to shove them into the ear, but the sucker sleeve ensures that they (a) stay in the ear, (b) keeps most moisture from getting in, and (c) blocks out most environmental noise and so increasing the quality of the music.

As stated neither the Apple Earpods not the B&W C5 really stay where there are meant to., but of the two, the C5 did a marginally better job, once fitted correctly.

Winner: House of Marley People Get Ready™

 

Value:

From a value perspective, we looked at all the tested aspects and considered the outcome against the cost.

  1. The New Apple Earpods™ – ZAR300.00
  2. The House of Marley People Get Ready™ In-Ear Headphones – ZAR399.00
  3. The Bowers-Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones with Secure Loop design – ZAR 2 954.00

Safely, we can confirm that the House of Marley People Get Ready is by far the best valued earphone for the runner. While they don’t really match up to the B&W C5 in terms of sound quality, they completely out perform the C5 and Apple Earpods in terms of what runners are looking for.

Winner: House of Marley People Get Ready™