The 2nd Generation Apple AirPods Pro are a refined version of a design classic; a set of top-notch do-it-all buds that will keep up with your run workouts.

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 – aka AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) – are top of Apple’s wireless headphones. And while they’re not necessarily aimed directly at running, or sports in general (there’s the Apple-owned Beats Fit Pro for that), if you’re a runner spending north of $200 on a set of do-it-all buds, you’ll want them to cope with your daily miles as well as any of the best headphones for running.  

Men’s Fitness verdict

We probably wouldn’t buy these Apple buds as specialist running earphones. But that’s not to say they can’t do the job (and they sound incredible). Adaptive and customisable sounds are first class.
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Seamless connectivity for Apple users
  • Good versatility
  • Premium price
  • Not the most secure fit
  • Fairly short battery life

How we test the best running headphones

We tasked Kieran Alger, one of our top professional fitness product testers, with putting these headphones through their paces. In practice, that meant seeing how they performed in all sorts of active environments, from the gym, to the pool, to the great outdoors. Specifically, Kieran assessed traits like sound quality, comfort, and additional tech/features.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 fit

One of the question marks over the suitability of AirPods for running is fit. The AirPods Pro 2 stick to Apple’s trademark in-ear design with gels and stems but no wingtips or ear hooks. It’s a design that hasn’t always reliably stayed in place. However, there’s now a Test My Fit feature to ensure you’re using the right gels, which helps. 

At 5.3g each, they’re among the lightest buds available. Like the Jabra Elite 8 Active and the Nothing Ear 2, the lightweight buds don’t tug themselves loose and overall I found you can pretty much run at any pace on flat roads without worrying about them dropping out. The fit is less reliable when you’re hammering down steep hills or hurdling tree stumps on the trails.   

When it comes to battery life, the run time has improved. On paper you get 6 hours on the buds with 24 hours in the case for a total 30 hours run time. In my tests, the AirPods Pro 2 lived up to that statement. On average, a 1-hour run with ANC on burned around 15%. There’s rapid charging, too with 5 minutes in the case providing around 1 hour of listening time. So it’s really easy to top up frequently.  

Product shot of Apple Airpod Pro 2 earphones
If you like Apple products, chances are you’ll love the AirPods Pro 2

The controls are responsive and generally easy to use. Though you have to get both fingers on the stem to squeeze and skip tracks and that can be a tad fiddly and dislodge the buds, particularly when you’re running at top speed. You can now swipe to shift the volume up and down, which is a marked improvement. And there’s always Siri voice activation if you want to keep your hands free.  

The AirPods Pro 2 buds and the charging case are IP54 rated for dust, sweat and water resistance. Though the plastic case and buds definitely don’t take kindly to being dropped on concrete.  

Apple AirPods Pro 2 sound quality

For running headphones, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 sound quality is up there with the best. It’s loud, full, crisp and rich. But it’s the adaptive and customisable audio features that really raise the game. Adaptive EQ tunes music to your ears in real time while the excellent Dolby Atmos spatial audio – with dynamic head tracking – creates a more realistic experience. Like you’re listening to music in front of you and adjusting in real time as you turn your head. It’s not something you’d necessarily find useful on the run but I did enjoy it.

The Active Noise Cancellation has been improved over the previous generation and the transparency modes are among the best in the business too. Other clever tricks include a new skin-detecting sensor that improves the in-ear detection and a conversation awareness mode that automatically lowers the volume when you speak.  

The case is also clever. A built-in microphone and speakers helps you hunt it down if you misplace it, while MagSafe and Qi wireless smarts offer convenient charging. Plus there’s a lanyard loop so you can anchor it securely to your running belt. 

Plus if you’re an iPhone, Apple Watch or Mac owner, then set-up, pairing and connecting is seamless.  

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