Live Science Verdict
The Jaybird Vista 2s are a sturdy set of headphones made to withstand muddy trails and mid-run downpours; the buds have an IP68 waterproof rating, and even the portable charging case is water resistant. They offer a secure fit, a sleek design, and a nifty app that has a test to work out your ideal EQ settings. We found the firm silicone fins could ache during longer wears, but they’re still an excellent set of sports earbuds.
Resilient earbuds with an IP68 waterproof rating
Sleek design with a slimline portable charging case
Clever EQ settings test on the app
Sound is good but could be more powerful
Silicone fins can cause ears to ache during longer wears
Wind noise when running at speed
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If you need a pair of headphones to complement your intrepid fitness routine, you might have met your match in the Jaybird Vista 2s. The brand says these earbuds are “earthproof” thanks to their IP68 rating, meaning splashes, sweat and dusty trails won’t be a problem. Even their portable charging case is built to withstand wet weather.
In other words, they’re built for people whose ideal workout involves exploring the great outdoors, whether that’s trail running, long-distance bike rides or otherwise. It's no wonder, then, that we included them in our roundup of the best running headphones.
Smart enabled/compatibility: Yes
Battery life: Up to 8 hours (up to 24 hours with the charging case)
OS support: Yes
They’re inspired by athletes, with three interchangeable “eargels” (a combination of a silicone earbud and fin) providing a secure fit that won’t let you down while running. They also pledge to deliver up to 24 hours of battery life (with help from their charging case) and “adventure-ready audio”, but do they deliver on this promise? We put a pair to the test to find out.
Price and release date
The Jaybird Vista 2 earbuds were released in the summer of 2021, and have an MSRP on the brand’s website of $149.99 or £189.99 in the UK.
Set-up and design
The Jaybird Vista 2s connected to our phone effortlessly, allowing us to start listening to our music almost instantly.
You can also customize your experience with the Jaybird app. Here, you can switch between active noise cancelation (ANC), SurroundSense (which lets ambient noise in) or a battery-saving standard listening mode. There is also the option to tinker with the touch and button controls, use the “find my buds” feature to track down your misplaced headphones or alter the EQ settings.
We liked the option to choose between the preset balances of several adventure athletes including trail runners, cyclists and climbers. There is also a test to help you find your “personal EQ”, which requires you to slide a series of bars until you can hear a tone. This is undeniably a neat, personal touch, though we were a bit disappointed that ours came out pretty much neutral.
Usually you have to choose between buttons or touch controls when it comes to true wireless headphones. Not so with the Vista 2s, which incorporate both. You can use a button built into the outside of either frame to pause, play and skip tracks, or double tap the buds to switch between ANC or SurroundSense. You can also personalize these controls in the Jaybird app, if they’re not to your liking.
We found the buttons worked really well, with only a small amount of pressure needed to press them so the buds didn’t push uncomfortably into our ears (a problem we encountered with the otherwise near-perfect Jabra Elite 4 Actives) . Double tapping the buds to change the sound management system was impressively reliable and responsive too — something we didn’t find with the Adidas FWD-02s.
As a result, we really enjoyed this innovative hybrid approach to controlling our earbuds.
During our running headphone tests, we found the Jaybird Vista 2 earbuds offered one of the most secure fits on the market. The silicone fins sit flush against your inner ear to prevent unwanted movement during workouts and the conical silicone tips create a great seal with your ear canal.
The interchangeable fins and tips (dubbed “eargels” by the brand) come as one connected structure so you can’t personalize your fit to the extent of the JBL Reflect Flow Pros — these have four choices of silicone tips and four separate choices of fins, so you can try different combinations to find your perfect match. However, we still enjoyed a good fit with the Vista 2s.
The silicone fins felt less forgiving than those on other headphones we tried, and weren’t as comfortable as a result. For example, while we could easily forget we were wearing the Adidas FWD-02s, we were always aware of something pushing against our ears when using the Vista 2s. This could cause a little aching when we wore them for longer sessions.
But this did ensure they never felt like falling from our ears, remaining steadfast during every exercise we wore them for; from box jumps to burpees, squat cleans to sprints.
The Jaybird Vista 2s offer an undeniably solid sound, though we didn’t get on with the default neutral EQ settings, finding they lacked the power and booming bass we needed to help us grind through the sticking point of soul-destroying workouts. We then tried the “personal EQ” test, but when this suggested a similarly neutral sound we knew we were going to have to take matters into our own hands.
Fortunately, there are a huge range of presets to choose from, including ones custom-made by the brand and the go-to balances of adventure-based athletes. After a few minutes testing the water, we settled on one aptly named “the perfect balance”, which offered a sound that suited us down to the ground.
So, while the initial audio experience might not be to your taste, we think the extensive customization options on the Jaybird app mean these earbuds have something to suit most music fans.
They sounded great on the move in most instances too, including gym sessions, long runs and HIIT workouts. The only problem we encountered was during a 1K time trial in a fairly exposed park, where we encountered a disappointing amount of wind noise (despite the Vista 2’s WindDefense fabric on the outside of their frames).
The Jaybird Vista 2 headphones are made for adventure, with both the buds and their portable charging case boasting impressive dust and waterproof credentials, as well as a robust build. We were impressed by their touch and button controls, which are intuitive to use while running, and the wide range of EQ settings mean you can find a sound you enjoy. They’re not as comfortable as other running headphones we’ve tried, and the wind noise during faster runs was disappointing. But if you’re looking for durable earbuds for outdoor pursuits then we think the Vista 2s are a top option.
Jabra Elite 4 Active
If the sturdy silicone fins of the Jaybird Vista 2s aren’t to your liking, the Jabra Elite 4 Actives offer a more natural fit thanks to their impressively secure and effective ergonomic frames. They’re brilliantly comfortable, sound fantastic and have up to 28 hours battery life thanks to their portable charging case — credentials that make them our top-rated pair of running headphones.
Endurance athletes, these headphones are made for you. They use bone conduction technology to provide solid sound without blocking your ears with silicone tips. This allows you to soak in a race-day environment or stay safe while running in the city, all while listening to your favorite tracks.
Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.
When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.
Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.