Are Bose QuietComfort 35 Headphones Sweat Resistant?

Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones on woman


Wouldn’t it be awesome if Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones were sweat resistant?

Bose’s popular headphones are comfortable to wear, offer excellent noise-cancellation, and they look stylish AF.

And working out with noise-cancelling headphones is the dream, right? And even if it’s not, then we can probably all agree that some environments are more conducive to focusing on our form than others and headphones help facilitate that. It might be in the gym, on the track, on a trail or on the road but many of us choose to workout with the mental isolation provided by headphones and music, podcasts and audiobooks.

The World Health Organisation recently classified headphone noise as a potential threat to health: in an increasingly loud world, many of us are reaching to turn up the volume beyond recommended levels. This can lead to a permanent loss in hearing. It’s why noise-cancelling technology can be such an advantage in our lives; it allows us to drown out ambient noise without turning up the dial and risking damage to our ears.

When we’re in the gym, noise-cancellation can mean a respite from the ogre grunting out his sets or the techno-musak piping out of the gym’s speakers.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones in Silver

Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones AREN’T sweat resistant.

Actually, noise-cancelling headphones aren’t sweatproof.

Actually, most headphones aren’t sweat-resistant and it means that wearing a pair of cans during exercise can not only be uncomfortable and unhygienic but it can also severely limit the headphone’s life-expectancy and that’s a big deal if you’ve spent £329.99 on a pair of Bose QC35 II headphones.

It’s shit, isn’t it?

(But keep reading, because we can tell you HOW to wear your Bose QC 35 headphones in the gym safely.)

Bose doesn’t recommend that customers workout in headphones.  The company has advised this numerous times on their website.  

One customer wrote:

"Every day I use about 30 minutes in my house a training bike, and I like [to] listen [to] music when I use it. Today I used my QC 35 in the training, I haven't had any problems, but the earpads are sweating/wet. I've dried them with a drape. Using the QC35 in training/ exercise can be dangerous for these headphones? Or simply drying the earpads when I finish training it's ok?"

We don’t know how hard this person went at it on their training bike BUT we do know that there was moisture on the cups of the headphones during and after exercise


This is where the problem starts. It’s something we’ve discussed in a previous post looking at ways to protect Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones from sweat damage.

The reply from Bose was: 

"I would avoid getting the electronics wet. The good news is that you can get a QuietComfort® 35 headphones ear cushion kit. Enjoy your workouts."

The cushion kit mentioned is actually replacement ear cushions that cost $34.99.  


Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones in Black

To be fair to Bose, replacement headphone cushions aren't offered by all manufacturers. Certainly, it’s cheaper than spending another £329.99 on a replacement pair.

One final example from the Bose website comes from someone else:

"I'm wondering if anyone uses the QC35 2 or other high end headphones in the gym? I want to but I'm worried that it might cause the headphones to break since I spent a lot of money on them."

The response from Bose was:

"Generally, we don't recommend that the QC35 headphones be used during exercising, mainly because sweat can prematurely break down the headband and cushion material.  However if you're doing a generally light workout, you might be fine wearing them."

It’s hard to pin down exactly what’s meant by ‘light workout’. We all exercise in different ways and at different intensities. Some of us sweat more than others, too. And whilst we understand that the customer service agent is trying to be helpful, the answer ‘you might be fine wearing them’ whilst not a lie or misdirection isn’t very helpful, either.

The issue that we’d have is that sweat-damage to headphones is two-fold. Firstly, there’s the obvious damage to the cushion itself.  Sweat is corrosive and it will crack the leather and create an unpleasant odour. One way around this is to wipe down the headphone’s cushions with an antibacterial wipe. This should also help to reduce your chances of getting sweat-induced acne and (if you’re prone to them) inner-ear infections. The second issue that we have - and the most important - is that moisture and electronics don’t mix.  Sweat gets inside the cushion and it seeps into the internal mechanics of the headphone and they break.  No amount of new cushions or anti-bacterial wipes will help there.

So, are Bose Quiet Comfort headphones sweat-resistant?


Can you sweat in Bose QC headphones?

You probably shouldn’t.

If you’re looking for a rugged, gym-headphone that is sweat-proof, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson recently collaborated with Under Armor on the ProjectRock Gym Headphone which was designed specifically for the gym.  The problem is that these headphones probably aren’t going to appeal to Bose customers.

There’s no noise-cancelling function on the ProjectRock headphone which puts it behind not only Bose but also Microsoft who recently released the Surface headphone with active noise-cancelling technology allowing users to dial up or dial down the restriction on ambient noise. The Rock's headphone lacks the sound quality, too, of another recent release: the Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT headphone.

Essentially, ProjectRock headphones are designed for the gym but what about the world outside your workout?  What if you want to travel with your headphones, sit on your sofa and listen to music, walk the streets of your city with them?  What if you want a headphone that you can do all those things with BUT you still want to use them in the gym.

And if you’re paying £300+ for a pair, then shouldn’t you be able to use them everywhere?

We think so.  

And fortunately, there’s a really simple solution that will not only make your Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones sweat resistant BUT will make almost ALL brands of headphones sweat-proof, too.  

Ear Hugs are sweat-resistant covers that sit on the headphone’s cushions and wick moisture away from your face.  They come in a range of awesome designs including, Green Camo, Brexit (Union Jack), Unicorn and Hawaii.


All designs are fully reversible to black, too. They’re machine-washable, and they’ll keep make-up stains off the leather. For each pair purchased, too, £1 is donated to the Mental Health Foundation.

Ear hugs are a practical, pro-active and affordable way to make noise cancelling headphones sweat proof.


And don't forget to sign up to the EarHugz newsletter to grab a 7% discount! 

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