One truth about me as a runner is that I need my jams. No jams, no run. I have meticulously curated playlists where the bass drops are strategically timed to gas me up when I lose steam. Aside from my sneakers, my earbuds are the most important piece of running tech I own. And yet, my decade-long search for the perfect pair only just ended a few weeks ago.
Behold, the beautiful, purplicious Beats Fit Pro.
To understand why I’m gaga for these buds, you need to know about the headphones that didn’t make the cut. (Don’t worry, I’ll stick to the highlights and spare you a Dickensian-length novel recounting the dozens of earbuds that have failed me in my 10-year running journey.)
Earbuds with superior sound — like the Bose SoundSport — are often too large for my teeny-tiny earholes, and I’m over chasing them when they eventually fall out. I tried one of Aftershokz’s (now just Shokz) earlier bone conduction wraparound headphones. The thing is, I want to feel the “wah-ow-wah-wah-ow” of a sick bass drop vibrating in my skull. These, at best, delivered a sad “wah” that would embarrass Waluigi. I stanned my Jabra Elite Active 65t, but they still occasionally fell out of my ear and lost their luster when the AirPods Pro came along and ruined me with their superior connectivity. The AirPods Pro were convenient for daily life, but they’re not hardy enough for my exercise regimen. (I got sweaty ears, okay?) I thought I found a good compromise in the Bose Tempo. They were comfortable, gave me a good amount of situational awareness, and sounded great for open-ear audio sunglasses. Then they failed me during the New York City half marathon. I need my jams, and these were drowned out by the subpar music blasted over the loudspeakers. I’m firmly convinced this is a big reason why I ran out of steam at the 10th-mile marker and had to hobble the last 3.1 miles to the finish line.
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 shocker. The Beats Fit Pro fit securely in my ear and stayed put during an hour-long run on a sweltering summer day. I was a sweaty mess, but the buds never felt like they were about to slide out of my ear like my AirPods Pro and weren’t gross when I took them out. After I got home, I did my best impression of a metalhead headbanging. The buds stayed put, and ever since that first run, they’ve stayed put and dry through multiple workouts. I don’t know if it’s the way the tips fit into my ear ridge, but I’ve never had this good of a fit with earbuds before.
Meanwhile, these aren’t the absolute best-sounding earbuds I’ve ever used, but they’re Very Good. Most importantly, I get my precious bass drops and my favorite K-pop singer sounds like a buttery smooth, mellifluous angel. The noise-canceling mode is also good enough that I can slip into the zone during workouts or while writing but not so silent that I can’t hear a bus behind me. Hot take: I actually don’t like it when noise cancellation is too good, like on the AirPods Max. It’s disconcerting, and I feel safer when I have a degree of situational awareness. (The Beats Fit Pro do, however, block the yowls of my attention-seeking cat, so I’m all set.)
They’ve got all the connectivity benefits of AirPods Pro, too, so they can do triple duty for fitness, work, and Netflix binges. I did next to nothing to set them up and never had to manually pair them to my MacBook Air or iPad. That’s magic when I’m switching 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. Also, I haven’t lost these yet, but I’m a scatterbrained dodo and inevitably will. When that moment arrives, I can at least use Find My to figure out where I misplaced them.
At $200 retail, the Beats Fit Pro weren’t something I could just buy on a whim. (Though I did get them on sale.) But, in the context of how much I’ve already spent on wireless earbuds, it’s pretty reasonable. It was within budget and, as I get older, I better understand 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 love a good shade of pink, but tech companies overuse it on gadgets to the point where it’s borderline insulting. Also, the majority of my earbuds have been a boring black with, at most, a gunmetal accent. The world is a dreary place and, as stupid as it sounds, a good pop of color boosts my mood when the news cycle is awful. Plus, this matches my gigantic water bottle, so I feel fancy when I work out. Small pockets of joy are precious these days, and I’ll take all the ones I can get.
Earbuds, particularly when it comes to fit, are an incredibly personal device. You might not love these the way I do. But, for me, the Beats Fit Pro are the exact right mix of price, form, and function. (The only thing I wish it had is wireless charging, but that’s small potatoes.) It’s funny because I avoided the Beats Fit Pro for a long time despite the recommendation of several trusted friends and colleagues. I’ve been burned before — hype seldom pans out, and returns are a hassle. But I love these so much it genuinely surprises me, a crusty, old, jaded reviewer. I can’t remember the last time my earbuds made me excited for my next run — and these do just that.