One truth about me as a runner is that I need my jam. No traffic jams, no run. I have meticulously curated playlists where the bass drops are strategically timed to pep me up when I lose steam. Apart from my sneakers, my earplugs most important piece of running technology I own. And yet my decade-long search for the perfect pair only ended a few weeks ago.
Behold, the beautiful, purplicious Beats Fit Pro.
To understand why I love these buds, you need to know about the headphones that didn’t make it. (Don’t worry, I’ll stick to the highlights and spare you a Dickensian novel about the dozens of earplugs that have failed me in my 10-year running journey.)
Superior sound earbuds – like the Bose SoundSport – are often too big for my tiny ear holes, and I go after them when they eventually fall out. I tried one of Aftershokz’s (now only Shokz) earlier bone conduction enveloping headphones. The point is I want to feel the “wah-ow-wah-wah-ow” of a sick bass drop vibrating in my skull. These produced a sad “wah” at best that would embarrass Waluigi. I was staring at my Jabra Elite Active 65t, but they still occasionally fell out of my ear and lost their shine when the AirPods Pro came along and ruined me with their superior connectivity. The AirPods Pro were useful for everyday life, but they aren’t strong enough for my workout regimen. (I have sweaty ears, okay?) I thought I had found a good compromise in the Bose pace. They were comfortable, gave me a good amount of situational awareness, and sounded great for open-ear audio sunglasses. Then they let me down in the New York City Half Marathon. I need mine jams, and these were drowned out by the bad music over the speakers. I firmly believe this is a major reason why I ran out of steam at the 10th milestone and had to stumble the last 5.1 miles to the finish.
So, now that you understand the struggle, let me wax lyrical about why I love my Beats Fit Pro.
I’ve always hated winged tips because I find them uncomfortable. These weren’t – that was the first shock. The Beats Fit Pro sat firmly in my ear and stayed in place for an hour on a sweltering summer day. I was a sweaty mess, but the buds never felt like they were about to slip out of my ear like my AirPods Pro and weren’t dirty when I took them out. When I got home I did my best impression of a metalhead headbanging. The buds stayed put, and since that first run they’ve stayed and dry through multiple training sessions. I don’t know if it’s the way the tips fit in my ear back, but I’ve never had it this one good of a fit with earplugs in front.
Meanwhile, these aren’t the absolute best sounding earbuds I’ve ever used, but they are very good. Most importantly I get my precious bass drops and my favorite K-pop singer sounds like a buttery soft angel. The noise canceling mode is also good enough that I can slip into the zone while exercising or writing, but not so quiet that I can’t hear a bus behind me. Hot take: actually me do not like it when noise cancellation is too good, like on the AirPods Max. It’s disturbing and I feel safer when I have some level of situational awareness. (The Beats Fit Pro blocks my attention-seeking cat’s whimpers, though, so I’m all set.)
They also have all the connectivity benefits of AirPods Pro, so they can do triple duty for fitness, work and Netflix showers. I did almost nothing to set them up and never had to manually pair them with my MacBook Air or iPad. It’s magical when I switch from a podcast on my phone to a work call on my computer, followed by an on-demand workout on my iPad. We love a multitasking gadget. I haven’t gotten rid of this one yet, but I’m an absent-minded dodo and inevitably will. When that time comes, at least I can use Find My to find out where I’ve lost them.
In-store for $200, the Beats Fit Pro wasn’t something I could just buy on a whim. (Although I did get them on sale.) But in the context of how much I’ve already spent on wireless earbuds, it’s decent. It was on budget and as I get older I understand better that investing in good quality can save you more in the long run. These definitely fall into that category for me.
The last reason is silly, but I like that the “cute” colorway is pastel purple and not pink. I like a good shade of pink, but tech companies overuse it on gadgets to the point where it’s offensive. Also, most of my earbuds were dull black with at most a gunmetal accent. The world is a bleak place and, as stupid as it may sound, a good pop of color improves my mood when the news cycle is awful. Plus, this matches my giant water bottle so I feel luxury when I’m exercising. Little bags of joy are precious these days, and I take all I can get.
Earbuds, especially when it comes to fit, are an incredibly personal device. You may not like this one like me. But for me, the Beats Fit Pro are just the right mix of price, form and function. (All I wish it had is wireless charging, but those are little potatoes.) It’s funny because I’ve avoided the Beats Fit Pro for a long time despite the recommendation of several trusted friends and colleagues. I’ve been burned before – hype rarely materializes, and returns are a hassle. But I love it so much it really surprises me, a crunchy old jaded reviewer. I can’t remember the last time my earbuds got me excited for my next run — and these do just that.