Want wireless buds that are sweatproof, foolproof and basically bombproof? Look no further than the Jabra Elite 8 Active.

Jabra makes some of the best running headphones. The Elite 4 Active and Elite 7 Active are excellent (worth keeping an eye on for cheap deals) and the latest Jabra Elite 8 Active builds on the winning DNA of what’s gone before.  

Men’s Fitness verdict

Wing-free buds shouldn’t fit this well, but these Jabra Elite 8 Active ones surpassed all our expectations. They sound great straight out of the box and have plenty of custom profiles too.
  • Great battery life
  • Excellent customisable sound
  • Good, reliable fit
  • In-ear style might not work for all
  • Might shake loose on steep downhills

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.

Jabra Elite 8 Active features

For a start, they offer solid fit for wing-free in-ear headphones, thanks to that compact, lightweight design and a silicone coating that actually grips better when it gets wet. The buds weigh just 5g each – that’s as light as it gets. Occasionally I had to fiddle a bit to get them locked more firmly in place, but there’s no tugging like you can get with heavier, bulkier buds.

Running flat at any pace was fine for me. However, I wouldn’t back them 100% to stay put on big-impact, steep descents.  

I’m quite easily satisfied when it comes to sound. If, like me, you like it loud, rich, and bassy with plenty of energy, the Jabra Elite 8 Active ticks those boxes. The 6mm speakers offer a deep and rich sound with a decent amount of subtlety to it. There’s good top volume, plenty of bass if you want it and no distortion at the top levels. I love the fact you can flick between presets or create your own custom sound profile for different settings. 

Jabra Elite 8 Active durability

When it comes to durability, Jabra says these are the toughest running headphones it’s ever made. The buds are IP68 rated, so they can be submerged up to 1.5 metres, be rinsed underwater and get splashed on a rainy day or soaked in sweat. 

They’re dust-proof and tested for robustness to military standards. The compact case is IP54 rated – also dust-protected and splash-proof – and running belt-friendly. That’s good news if you want to carry it with you on a run.   

On paper the Jabra Elite 8 Active battery life on the buds is 8 hours with active noise cancelling (ANC) on. That rises to 14 without ANC. There’s a further 24 hours of ANC charge in the case, or up to 56 if you use them with ANC off. That non-ANC run time is higher than the Elite 7 Active.  

Product shot of Jabra sports headphones and case

In my tests, I found 90 minutes running with ANC on burned 20%. An hour’s run with ANC turned off burned 10%. That’s slightly less than the listed run time  but the ANC-off staying power is impressive for small buds. They’ll cope with marathons easily and single-day ultras with the case. Plus with strategic quick charge top-ups, most runners can get through a month, running an hour a day on a single charge.  

Jabra Elite 8 Active noise cancelling

The adaptive ANC automatically adjusts to the world around you and Jabra says it’s 1.6 times more powerful than the hybrid ANC on the Elite 7 Active. There’s wind-neutralising HearThrough awareness mode and six mics to boost call quality.  

The ANC on the Elite 8 Active has notably improved. I use it most in shared working spaces and cafes, and it’s pretty effective for filtering out the general hubbub. It works well on public transport too. It’s not the best ANC I’ve tested. I think the Apple AirPods Pro 2 is better but it’s good considering what you’ll pay for the Jabra buds.  

The HearThrough mode has kicked on with much improved wind filtering when you’re running.  

The controls are easy to use and there’s a comprehensive suite of additional features. As well as ANC and HearThrough, you’ve got Find My Buds and Spotify Tap, for launching your most recent Spotify played track with a single tap. The dual simultaneous connections make it a doddle switching between phone and laptop.  

Overall, the Jabra Elite 8 Active offers a fantastic all-round package. At the moment they’re a steal, too. 

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