It’s a whole lot easier to find headphones for running than it is for swimming. That’s because when you’re heading to the pool, you need something that’s truly waterproof, doesn’t fall out of place when you’re powering away with that freestyle and doesn’t sound terrible when submerged underwater.
The good news is that the options out there for swimmers are getting better. We’re now getting wireless headphones, some that can pair with your favourite sports watches and wearables that support Bluetooth music playback to help keep you motivated during your pool sessions. There’s even smarter options on the way that aim to combine music with fitness tracking too.
We’ve been hitting the pool with our swim trackers and a bunch of swim friendly headphones and wearable MP3 players to pick out the ones we think cut it in the watery depths.
The Dash are the only truly wireless earbuds on the list, and while the built in swim tracking features are not quite up to scratch yet, they are the best sounding in-ears we’ve used underwater. You’ll need to make sure you have the right sized eartips to get the most secure and comfortable fit and with the built-in MP3 player, you can simply swipe on the outside of the buds to skip through tracks in your playlist.
$299 bragi.com | Amazon
Another crowdfunding hit, the Kuai biometric headphones are packed with sensors and crucially work in the water up to 3 metres depth. The multi-sport all-rounder features a heart rate monitor to accurately measure swimming intensity along with tracking laps, speed, strokes and calories. The 8GB music player can store music and training plans with instant feedback on performance. You can also create custom training plans and it’s designed to work in the pool and for open water swimming. Now shipping, delays have hit the wider rollout of the product, but the problems appear to be behind the company.
Sony has been making its neckband-style MP3 player/headphone mash ups for years now but with the B-Trainer, things get a whole lot smarter. Primarily designed for running, it packs GPS, a heart rate monitor and a whole host of other motion sensors. But it’s also waterproof with a IPX5 / IPX8 rating making it safe for the swimming pool letting you play music from the 16GB player on board. Just make sure you switch in the dedicated underwater earpieces before jumping into the water.
$249.99, sony.com | Amazon
These wireless sports headphones double as a MP3 player with 8GB of storage giving you plenty of room for your music. But there’s more. FX-Sport also lets you upload training apps to coach and instruct you during workout sessions. For music playback, there’s text to speech navigation and the ability to adjust bass and treble settings. You’ll need to pick up the silicon skin case ($20), where the headphones slip inside before you can jump in the pool with them.
$199, fx-sport.co.uk | Amazon
Cheaper than the Neptune V2, the Duo is an underwater MP3 player that uses bone conduction tech to improve the reliability of the sound quality. It also means you don’t have to worry about playing around with earbuds. Waterproof at a depth of 3 metres, the Duo packs in 4GB of storage (enough for 1,000 songs) and delivers up to 7 hours of battery life. So it should last you a good few weekly pool sessions before you need to power up again.
$119.99, finisinc.com | Amazon
SwimBuds Sport Bundle
They might not be particularly smart, but bundling a special waterproofed version of Apple’s iPod Shuffle and a set of short SwimBuds, Underwater Audio has come up with a way to make it easier to take a dip with your music. Using its own proprietary process to make them pool friendly, the buds come with four different ear tips and offers the Shuffle in a host of different colours. The clip design means you can either wear it attached to your swimming goggles or onto a swimming costume.
$$139.99, underwateraudio.com | Amazon