It’s surprising how many workout headphones fail at doing two very simple things: staying in your ears and playing music decently well. After some total duds, I never wanted to shell out big bucks on pair that would inevitably konk out after an especially sweaty run or fall out every few steps.
A few preliminary Google searches pointed me in the direction of the Koss Fit Clip Headphones – an under-$20 wired pair with ear “hooks” to help them stay in place.
Fast forward two years later, and these lightweight earbuds are still going strong. Through hot summer slogs and brisk runs in sub-freezing temperatures, they’ve totally delivered and then some. The sweat-resistant design has outlasted every other cheap pair I’ve ever tried and even survived a couple freak rainstorms (oops).
Koss KSC32i V Sport Clip Headphones
The sound quality definitely surpasses what you’d expect for the price tag, but the fit is what really impressed me given that typical earbuds have never stayed in my ears. The combo of the over-the-ear style and the different-sized inserts made constant fidgeting and adjusting unnecessary. Tucked behind my ears, the hooks feel secure but still comfortable through 10-plus miles.
Some people understandably prefer wireless options for working out, but I love that I don’t have to worry about charging my headphones unlike Bluetooth sets (or losing a single Airpod — yikes). The newer version of the Koss headphones also include an in-line microphone for the same crazy affordable price of $15 on Amazon. Bonus: You can pick between cute colors like blue, coral, violet, and gray.
Not your style? Check these headphone recommendations from the Good Housekeeping Institute, including wireless headphones, in-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones that wowed users in our tests. There’s even another sub-$20 pair! At that kind of price, your earbuds could end up being the cheapest thing in your gym bag.