Swimming Headphones – Our Guide For Choosing The Right Pair

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Lap swimming is a great form of cardio and a perfect full body, low impact exercise… But i’m sorry to say that sometimes it can even get a little bit boring. Swimming backwards and forwards for up to an hour as you can imagine is highly repetitive.

So what better way to liven things up a bit than by blasting out your favourite tunes whilst your pushing out length after length.

Swimming headphones are the newest essential addition for your swimming kit.

With tech manufacturers realising how neglected swimmers have been all this time, headphones for swimming are the newest craze. Welcome to the 21st Century!

Long gone are the days where your swimming kit merely consisted of a swimsuit, towel and a lonely pair of goggles.

Even though they might not come in use during a swimming lesson, when it comes to putting time in at the pool, it can certainly liven things up a bit!
Nothing gets you motivated quite like your favourite workout playlist; so with the latest tech invention, you’ll be pumped up enough to swim those all important extra laps in the pool.

But are they fantastic or a fad?

In this article, we’ll be discussing:

  • The pros and cons of owning your own pair of swimming headphones
  • Key features to look out for
  • Some of our top picks

The Benefits of Swimming Headphones

Swimming headphones can double up for everyday use. With a slightly higher price than your average pair of headphones, comes higher quality. Because they’re designed to be used with water, the sound quality tends to be significantly better. Added bonus: they’re more durable.

Most people are motivated by music. Whether you’re jogging on the treadmill, tidying up the house or, now, butterfly kicking your way to the deep end, your go-to playlist playing in the background makes any task that little bit sweeter.

Research demonstrates that: “music has positive effects on mental fatigue caused by routine tasks. By performing similar tasks every day we settle into a groove, and soon our brain gets tired of the routine. By listening to music you bring something new and fresh, which helps your brain escape the routine and get a little bit distracted.”

Swimming Headphone Negatives

Swimming is one of the few activities these days that is screenless. Many use it as a time to unwind and disconnect. You usually don’t take your phone any further than the locker room.
Having your ears plugged with buds and music playing slightly takes away from the tranquility. Swimming is, for the most part, a solo sport, but chatting to your peers and immersing yourself in your surroundings can make it all that more enjoyable.

Bluetooth connection isn’t great underwater, and even less likely to work if you’re at the opposite side of an olympic swimming pool to your phone. For best results, you’re going to need headphones fitted with an MP3 or built in storage. Some devices offer very limited storage capacity and those that offer more can be a lot more pricey.

Of course, the more expensive price tag means they’re more of an investment. Weigh up whether you’ll get enough use out of them before actually taking the plunge. Durable waterproof headphones that have a reliable sound quality under the waves can set you back a pretty penny.

Main Features of Swimming Headphones

If you’re making an investment in swimming headphones, there’s a couple of essential features to look out for:

  1. Swimming headphones need to meet the IPX8 standard. This means they can be submerged for at least one metre. This is perfectly suitable for regular swimming. If swimming underwater is your style, you may want to check they’re suitable for at least three metres.
  2. Force from the water from vigorous swimming or a busy pool can easily knock flimsy headphones out of your ears. The last thing you need is your earbuds ending up on the bottom tiles of the pool, or worse, floating away in the ocean. The perfect pair will have an overhead attachment, fit under a swimming cap or can secure to your goggles.
  3. It’s likely you may have to talk to fellow swimmers or a lifeguard while at the pool. Headphones fitted with a pause function are something to keep an eye out for.
  4. High quality sound is essential. There’s no point in wearing swimming headphones if all you can hear is a muffled sound of Beyoncé and the water slapping against your ears. Splashing a little more cash is worthwhile if it equates to higher sound quality.
  5. If you’re on a training mission, a decent battery life is essential. Five to ten hours of charging capacity is a good place to start.

Swimming Headphone Recommendations

Most technology brands are jumping onboard the trend of swimming headphones, but which of the countless options are best?

Here’s a quick fire review of some of the best options around.

AfterShokz Xtrainerz Open-Ear Bone Conduction Waterproof Headphones

Designed for all sports, specifically swimming, the AfterShokx Xtrainerz Open-Ear headphones satisfy your musical needs, without needing to be plugged in your ears. Instead, the sound pumps beside your ear which reduces the risk of swimmer’s ear, “a bacterial infection typically caused by water that stays in the outer ear canal for a long period of time.”

They boast storage space to fit up to 8000 songs and an extensive eight hour battery life. Perfect for those water babies among us! It has a waterproof level of IP68. This means you can swim up to a maximum depth of 1.5 metres for 30 minutes.

These high tech, waterproof headphones have been endorsed by professional swimmers and athletes alike. They praise how comfortable these headphones are, claiming you forget you’re even wearing them!

By no means are the AfterShokx headphones cheap, but there’s no doubt they’re the most high tech you’ll find on the market at the moment.


Sony NW-WS413 Walkman Waterproof MP3 Player

If you’re looking for a sleek, streamline design, the Sony alternatives are a visual upgrade from the classic 1980’s Walkman. These modern headphones are a great, affordable option, without compromising on design.

The ultra-light headset boasts an incredible 12 hours of battery life; only taking half an hour to fully charge! That’s super convenient for absent minded swimmers, like myself, who forget to charge the headphones the night before. Moreover, they offer 4GB of storage for your music, as well as bluetooth connection for activities on land.

Unfortunately, sound quality isn’t as impressive as more premium options. However, they’re perfect for swimmers on a tighter budget.


i360 Underwater headphones

You won’t find a better price on the market! The i360 Underwater headphones come with several styles of earbuds included, so you can find your perfect fit. The headphones are ergonomically designed to ensure complete comfort. The black, plastic cable wraps around the back of your head for security.

They hold over 2000 songs and offer a 10 hour battery life, perfect for a long swimming session or workout at the gym. The headphones are IPX8 suitable, meaning they can be submerged up to 3 metres deep.

The headset is fitted with buttons to allow you to fast forward/rewind or play/pause your music. Although, they are quite small so this can be difficult while you’re in the middle of a lap.



Swimbuds provide a watertight seal, designed specifically for flip turns. You’ll never have to adjust your waterproof headphones after every lap again! They’re about as good as you can get when it comes to wired headphones for the pool.

They’re super simple to set up and are extremely affordable. If you’re not sure how much use you’d get out of waterproof headphones, these are a good place to start. While the price is perfect, it reflects in the quality. They aren’t as robust as more expensive alternatives from competitor brands.

The downside to these waterproof headphones are they aren’t bluetooth compatible and don’t have any internal storage, meaning you’ll have to buy a waterproof MP3 separately.

In summary

If you’re motivated by music, swimming headphones can make a big difference to your training regime. The combination of a high BPM and inspirational lyrics can be all the encouragement you need to kick that little bit faster or complete those extra few laps.

Headphones for swimming vary in terms of storage capacity, battery life and price tag. No matter your budget, there are options out there for you. They make a great gift for avid swimmers in your life or a personal treat to get the most out of your swimming sessions.

If you’ve any questions or comments, let us know in the box below. Don’t forget to share this post with any swimmers you know who could be in the market for swimming headphones.

From all of us here at Swim Now – happy swimming!

Alistair Mills
by Alistair Mills

In 2016 I saw an opportunity for a new swimming company that did things a little bit differently and here we are almost 4 years later, having built a family of teachers and clients that we are all really proud of.

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