Editor’s note: We’ve updated this post to reflect that these headphones are on sale (from now through Cyber Monday) as an early Black Friday deal. They’re a great gift idea if you’re shopping ahead for the holidays.
Earbuds are the bane of my existence, and I’ve gone through many pairs over the years to find a version that actually works for me. First, there were the rigid, wired-in headphones from Apple, with the cord that would always get hopelessly tangled after a couple of hours, and cause my ears to ache. Or the Airpods I used for a season that stopped holding a charge after wearing them for regular workouts (TMI, maybe due to the amount of sweat). Then there were the cheap Bluetooth pair I got off of Amazon that were allegedly designed for exercise, but never could quite sync to my phone without a struggle (or get the audio right on phone calls). I was ready to give up on buds entirely until I was lucky enough to test out a pair of the Jaybird Vista True Wireless Bluetooth Sport Earbuds, and, y’all, game changed.
I liked the Vistas right off the bat based on looks alone. The set comes in a sleek, protective silicone carrying case that charges them and has a handy little loop for clipping inside your bag or to a running belt. To use them, I pop open the case, hold down the tiny button inside to activate pairing mode, then match them with my phone or computer. The pairing process is seamless and fast, and when I slip each bud into my ear, it tells me how much charge is left. For what it’s worth, it always has plenty of juice, thanks to that carrying case, which holds 16 hours of charge at one time.
These gel earbuds also fit comfortably in my ear during workouts thanks to the pliable wings (though the set does come with additional ear gels of varying sizes if you need to adjust the fit). They’re soft, snug, and surprisingly sound-blocking, which is great for when I choose to take a call outside. The Vistas are also billed as dustproof, shockproof, waterproof, and sweatproof (phew)—and they actually make good on their promises! While running, they stay safely put, and when I pull them out after, there isn’t that gross, plunger-esque feeling I’ve gotten from other earbuds. I’ve even gotten caught in a rainstorm with them without having to worry about electrocuting myself.
Admittedly, at $ 160, this is a pricier pair. But I’m someone willing to spend a bit more for quality (like on a supportive mattress), and I was pleased to see that these babies are pro-runner approved: The SELF team liked them so much that our panel of testers gave them a Fitness Award last year.
What I especially love about these earbuds is their clean, clear sound quality. They provide beautiful, ample bass—a small feat considering their minimal profile and size—and I can customize the EQ to my tastes through the Jaybird app. Other useful features: I can use just one earbud at a time (which I do, when taking a quick call), and the microphone has no hiccups. I can play, pause, and flip between tracks on my playlist with intuitive presses of each bud, whose exterior is basically a large button. And if you’d prefer to fiddle with volume, you can customize that option in-app as well. I adore my Jaybirds and use them every day, for workouts, work, and sheer pleasure too.