The 5 best wireless headphones . . . that aren’t AirPods

These headphones are jog-proof, flight-ready, and desk-perfect.

The 5 best wireless headphones . . . that aren’t AirPods
[Photos: Bose; Jaybird]

According to research from The Diffusion Group, 77 percent of adults in the U.S. use earbuds and headphones regularly. And while going through your day with AirPods jammed into your ears might be socially problematic, science has shown that putting headphones on and listening to music can help improve concentration during cognitive tasks (like finishing up your notes for that big end-of-quarter presentation) and boost physical performance (hello, HIIT workout).


So we asked innovators, founders, CEOs, and designers which headphones and earbuds they’re obsessed with using while they get the job (or 5K run) done. These five pairs passed the test.

IKANZI iPX7 Earbuds
“Apple’s AirPods don’t stay in my ears, so I took a bet on a pair of Bluetooth headphones on Amazon made by iKanzi that have a more attractive design (nothing dangling), better sound, are waterproof, and have rubber tips that keep them tightly on while jogging,” says Zack Onisko, CEO of design community network Dribbble. “I love them!” These earbuds automatically turn on when you take them out of their charging case, and they hold up for 72 hours on a single charge before you have to find an outlet. Bonus: The case can also be used as a power bank for your phone or other USB devices. $44

[Photo: courtesy of Master & Dynamic]
Master & Dynamic Headphones
Taryn Toomey, founder of the yoga-cardio-strength workout known as The Class, told us that Spotify is a tool she can’t live without. So to make sure she never has to, the fitness leader recently purchased a pair of MW07 True Wireless Headphones from Master & Dynamic. Sure, it was a splurge, but it’s one she says she doesn’t regret. The earbuds come in seven different acetate colorways, from pink coral to tortoiseshell. Silicone “fit wings” offer an extra secure fit that never feels uncomfortable, and the earbuds feature beefed-up technology that boosts in-ear sound quality so you can do your playlists justice. $300


[Photo: courtesy of Jaybird]
Jaybird Vista
The Jaybird Vista earbuds are everything that over-the-ear wireless headphones are not: waterproof, exceptionally lightweight, burpee-proof, and compactly designed. The buds are designed with a special capsule construction that has been given the highest industry fully-waterproof and sweat-proof rating. As a Fast Company Staff Pick, we can verify that these little buds are basically bombproof after they withstood long marathon training runs on particularly sweaty 85-plus-degree days in July and August. But quality and comfort have not been compromised for durability. These little headphones offer customizable equalizers for enhanced sound production and can be left in during a 10-hour trans-Atlantic flight without making your ears sore (which is something we can’t say for those little plastic white earbuds). $180

[Photo: courtesy of Beats Electronics]
Beats Studio 3 Wireless
8Greens cofounder James Russell says that his Beats Studio over-ear headphones are a must-have on business trips. “They may be bulky, but they are great at noise-canceling for sleep and work on the plane,” he says. “And they make working out so much better.” You can listen to up to 40 hours’ worth of workout tunes on these headphones, and just 10 minutes of charging gives you up to three hours of use. The updated Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones also feature Pure Adaptive Noise Canceling (Pure ANC) capabilities. $350

[Photo: courtesy of Bose]
Bose Quiet Control 30
We all love our Bose Noise Canceling headphones—but walking into the office doesn’t require the same noise blocking that you need in seat 28B of an airplane. Bose’s Quiet Control 30, an in-ear in-between, can cancel outside noise or mix it back in, so you aren’t aurally cut off from the world around you (or your boss when she drops by your desk for an impromptu check-in). Using six microphones, the QC30 enables what the company calls “controllable noise cancellation,” which can come in handy when you need a little extra awareness at the gym, office, or on a crowded sidewalk. $300


Plus, four songs to (discreetly) jam out to before a big meeting

Volare” by Gypsy Kings—Marla Beck, CEO of Bluemercury
Paid in Full” by Eric B and Rakim—Rachel Roy, fashion designer
Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses—Zack Onisko, CEO of Dribbble
Mr. Carter” by Lil Wayne—Ryan Williams, CEO of Cadre

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