Going from wired headphones to wireless ones, especially for running is a complete game changer. Instead of battling cords that somehow seem to always find a way to get wrapped around an arm or flap into a face, they just go in and I can forget about them and focus on running. This year, when my old pair of neck-wire style wireless running headphones finally died, I decided to go the true wireless route and chose the Jaybird Vistas over some interesting competitors like the Jabra Elites and Apple AirPods.
For the longest time I ran with wired headphones. For a while, it was a $10 pair of Sony ear buds I could easily replace when frayed or broken. Then I switched to the Apple headphones that came with my iPhone, later going to the USB-C Pixel Buds that came with my Pixel. I finally ditched the wires while running with some Bluetooth QY7s, essentially the cheapest pair I could find on Amazon. They worked decently and were preferably to dangling wires, but the sound was never great, the battery wouldn’t last a full marathon after about a year of use, and usually one side would die after a few months. It was time for something better.
After switching back to an iPhone this year, I briefly considered a pair of AirPods for ease of use. Apple does a great job making sure pairing works seamlessly every time, and they would not only work great with my phone, but also my iPad and MacBook Air. However, I decided not to get them because of the price and a lot of reviews that noted they didn’t have the best secure fit for running. I didn’t want to have to worry about one flying out in the middle of the woods.
I also nearly ended up getting a set of the Jabra Elite buds due to some unbelievable sales on Prime Day and Black Friday. Jabra beat most of the market to true wireless earbuds and was able to offer heavy discounts on the previous generation up against expensive competitors. But, like the compulsive early adopter I am, I wanted something brand new.
Instead, I opted for the Jaybird Vistas since they seemed better tailored for runners. They featured true water and sweat proofing as well as a secure fit with wingtips that turn into the air to form a seal. One downside is that they don’t have a pass through mode, so it easy to block out traffic and other sounds making it more important to stay aware of surroundings. They don’t do any active noise cancelation, but the seal means they do a pretty good job of blocking most things out. The design also means they stay comfortable for longer runs of hours without any pinching.
Honestly the best thing about them though is that I can pull them out of the case from which they’ll be fully charged up, they automatically connect, and I can put them in and then not think about them again for my whole run. They even have buttons on each bud which can be customized. I don’t tend to use a voice assistant anyway, so instead I just use the buttons to control play / pause, skip tracks, and change the volume. Having physical buttons for controls is way more useful than a touch panel or having to use the phone or voice controls like other earbuds do, especially with sweaty fingers or gloves on.
I’ve found the connection quality to be fantastic regardless of which device I’m using them with. My phone, my watch, my laptop, and everything I’ve tried them with have stayed connected with no complete drop outs. Each bud maintains its own connection, so at least one always stays on. Even when one drops out, it has always reconnected quickly without me having to do anything and syncs playback between buds quickly.
The sound quality is good, though nothing extraordinary. I’m not discovering parts of songs I’d never noticed before like I sometimes do with my big Bose QC 35s, but thanks to the seal they make inside my ear, most detail is maintained so they certainly sound better than most in-ear headphones, even wired ones I’ve had.
So far I’ve found the Jaybird Vistas truly wireless headphones to be the perfect running ear buds. Unlike distracting wires or bouncing sweaty neck connectors, these just seamlessly disappear on a run and allow me to focus on the run itself while enjoying some motivating music, a podcast, or running audiobooks. They’ve worked perfectly for me so far after some pretty heavy use on the run. I heartily recommend them for runners looking to get free of wires and remove distractions while still enjoying some music even on long runs.