How to Listen to Music While Running Without an Armband

Runner running on the road through a forest


Running without music sounds like a terrible idea.  

Okay, so some people love it BUT most of us would agree that ditching our headphones for the ambient sounds of the road, the trail or the treadmill is a terrifying thought. Type how to listen to music while running without an armband into a search engine and you’ll find a handful of semi-relevant results where one holier-than-thou runner will crow on about the benefits of running without headphones and music. Maybe they’ve got a point but many of us feel that we perform better when we’re able to listen to music and so we don’t want to be talked into leaving our phones or devices at home.  We want to know how to listen to our tunes comfortably, easily and practically.

But it’s just - where do you stick your damn phone?  Some put it down the waistband of their trousers or tights and others keep it in their sports bra.

The obvious alternative is to wear an armband when running but that’s hardly ideal, either.  Armbands are bulky, can be too tight or too loose against the arm, and it can be awkward to access apps when you’re running. The plastic cover makes it difficult to track progress and skip songs, too.

Are they really any better than just holding our device in our hand as we jog?

We don’t think so but what’s the alternative? Because taking a phone out with you isn’t always just about the music.  If you’re running in a rural or isolated area, then it can be necessary for safety. Tracking your run via GPS can be crucial for training, too.

Drop us a message below and let us know if you run with your phone.  We’d love to know what’s on your playlist. ‘fess up even if it’s the Greatest Hits of Boney M - we won’t tell :)


Runners running in a city race


The first step to running more easily is to buy a pair of Bluetooth headphones.  Cutting the cord allows you to move more freely and the sound quality of wireless headphones has improved massively in recent years; there’s never been a better time to invest in a pair.  Without wires, you have more flexibility in where to put your device.

PROTIP: Using on or over-ear headphones during exercise means better sound quality and no fiddly earbuds falling out BUT make sure you add a pair of sweat-proof covers to your headphones because sweat is corrosive and it’ll damage the cushions and internal electronics.

Don’t have or want wireless headphones?  You can run the wire up your sleeve, through the neck of your shirt to keep the cable loose. This way you won’t have the wire flapping around.

Use a Smartwatch with GPS and Musical Playback

This is the easiest and most effective method of listening to music when you run but it’s also the most expensive. The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music has space for 500 songs. Pair the Garmin with your headphone and away you go.  If you have Spotify Premium, then you can access your playlists directly from your watch. The smartwatch is light and you’ll barely notice it on your wrist - the beauty of this is that you leave your phone at home entirely. Sounds ideal? The price might not. At $449.99/ £399.99, it’s not cheap but it’s certainly highly effective.

Check the Wireless Range of your Headphones When You’re Running

If you’re working out in the gym, then your wireless headphones may well have a range that reaches a nearby locker or strategically placed gym bag. The treadmill will be able to feedback to you information on distance, speed and calorie burn to keep your workout armband and hands-free.

It sounds obvious but when you’re shopping for new gym wear, then buy something with pockets. This is easier for men than women. Pockets are like gold dust in female gym attire and even if you’ve found leggings, shorts or joggers with a pocket, then you’ll probably find that it’s either far too small to put anything in or that it’s sewn up. Fashion first - right, ladies? Urgh.  If you want the holy grail, find yourself some shorts or trousers with a zip.


Woman in Sports bra holding a rolled up yoga mat

Put Your Device in Your Sports bra When You’re Jogging

You can buy sports bras that come with pockets.  Remember, though, that if you’re working out hard, then things will get a little hot and sweaty.  Some women don’t agree with keeping a phone there because they’re concerned that it could increase the risk of breast cancer.

Get a Small Music Device Like The Sansa

We were surprised to see that there is demand for old-school MP3 style music players on Amazon.  Somewhat reminiscent of the iPod Shuffle (which you could also use), these small players can easily be slipped into a small pocket or clipped onto clothing. One of the biggest sellers is the Sansa Clip.  Obviously, this will depend on how hi-tech you like your running because there’s certainly no GPS or run-tracking but it does provide a very affordable way of running to music without a bulky armband.

You can buy the Sansa Clip on
You can buy the Sansa clip on

Run with the Nike+Forearm Sleeve

Maybe you’d prefer to have your phone closer to hand - literally - during your run.  The Nike+ Forearm Sleeve sits against the lower arm for easy accessibility.  Its protector is touch-screen compatible and waterproof. You can buy it on Amazon

Workout with the FitBelt

The FitBelt is a tubular belt with multiple openings that sits flush against your waistband but is wide enough to hold your phone, keys, credit cards and money without bulging or being too bulky.  It’s used by 2 million runners and could be perfectly paired with touch-control cup headphones.

There’s no bouncing when you wear it either. So even though in principle it’s similar to an armband, it’s actually far more suited to athletic needs either in the gym or outside of it.  There’s a secure tether for keys and a wedding ring, too.

We LOVE running in headphones and to protect the cushions and internal components of our cans we use sweat-proof covers. Ear Hugs come in a range of awesome designs and are all fully reversible to black.  They fit almost all major brands including Bose, Beats, Sennheiser, Sony, Philips and Skullcandy.  They’re machine washable, too, and £1 from every sale goes to support the Mental Health Foundation.


EarHugz Headphone Covers Range





Related Posts

Can Sweat Break My Headphones?
Can Sweat Break My Headphones?
Many of us are now wearing headphones more often.  We wear them for work and for leisure. We use...
Read More
Tips for going back to the gym after COVID.
Tips for going back to the gym after COVID.
If there’s one thing sure to mess up your workout schedule, it’s a global pandemic. The gyms are ...
Read More
How I Generate Electricity When I Exercise (And use it to charge my phone and laptop)
How I Generate Electricity When I Exercise (And use it to charge my phone and laptop)
I’m no engineer. I don’t have my basement set-up with a stationary bike jacked up to a generator....
Read More