2016 Holiday Gear Guide: Music

Listening to music on the run is easier than ever with
 all the new headphone features, including audio commands, activity tracking, and heart-rate reading.


The over-the-ear Under Armour headphone combines great audio and a military-grade (used in flight helmets) in-ear heart rate monitor. As long as you carry your phone, just tap an ear bud for a current reading. The heart rate monitor also pairs to popular run apps including UA Record.


Created in Germany, this marvel of miniaturization, functionality and design is completely wire free, and phone-free if you choose. Its softly rounded ear-canal-shaped design is very secure and extremely comfortable. The sensation of running or even swimming with no wires or phone while listening to on-board music is liberating. The buds contain 27 sensors and include an in-ear heart rate monitor, multiple microphones, step counter, 4 GB music player, voice feedback and personalized gesture controls. Phone calls can be answered with a head nod “yes” or shake “no.” Run features include audio feedback for heart rate, steps, duration, and distance (with phone). Completely swim-proof, it is able to track, in-water heart rate, breaths and pool laps. An optional leash for the most extreme sports is available.

PopSockets $10-$15, iPhone cases $30,

Popsockets are ingenious, reusable, stick-on grips (and video stands) for your phone. Available in a multitude of fun patterns, they pop out, giving a secure hold on the phone. They are ideal for those who want to easily glance at their phone run app and take steadier pictures on the run. Mix and match with the colorful companion cases.


Better at music than phone calls, the around-the-neck collar style Method’s ear buds are incredibly light and comfortable in ear. Controls are on the collar and larger than most. Sweat proof and with a 9-hour battery life, it is a great workout or race companion.


Twenty percent smaller than the X2 for greater ear comfort and multiple over-ear and under-ear options, the X3 is all about a custom and secure fit—even under a helmet. Share an audio stream to two X3 simultaneously or even pair them to two different devices at once. With plenty of sweat-proof protection, an 8-hour battery life and a quick 15-minute charge for an hour of play, the Jaybird is a great value.


The behind-the-ear FIT is very comfortable and has excellent sound quality from its one-size-fits-all soft ear tips. And we mean soft all over, as the entire headphone surface from the ear tips to the buds and the neck cord is a rubber-like, very flexible material. It’s also waterproof up to 30 minutes at 1 meter, has eight-hour listen time and on-board audio battery life alerts. Safety on the run is enhanced with an open-ear tip design to better hear your surroundings.