How to Listen to Music Without an Armband

running armband

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Some of the links in this article are "affiliate links", a link with a special tracking code. This means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission.

The price of the item is the same whether it is an affiliate link or not. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

By using the affiliate links, you are helping support our Website, and we genuinely appreciate your support.

How to Listen to Music Without an Armband

It’s race day morning. I’m pumped – I have my best gear on, the shorts that I can barely feel, my favorite shirt, my racing playlist blasting. But then I look around and see so many runners with phones on their arm. I think to myself, why are so many runners stuck in the past?! There are so many ways now to listen to music without an armband.

Trying to see what is displayed on your phone and selecting songs with an armband is nearly impossible
– especially while you are running

It surprises me that runners are still using them – especially on such an important day. Race day. An armband was a terrible solution, and it always has been. It’s like if you had a ladder that you use every day. It’s a tool you use for your favorite activity – hanging Christmas lights. But this ladder has a broken step, and it doesn’t let you adjust the size without getting off of it. It forces you to stop your favorite activity every time you need to attach lights somewhere higher. 

It’s a strange analogy – I know. But it illustrates the armband solution perfectly. The ladder is a tool that helps the light-hanger do something they love; for us, it’s a device that lets us listen to our favorite music while running. An armband is like a ladder – it gets the job done, but with many caveats. Have you tried reading your phone’s screen while on your arm? What about changing the song or selecting a different playlist? It’s basically impossible to do while running and still hard to do while at a stand-still. 

The Terrible Solution

What if the light-hanger had one of those controllable cranes instead of a ladder? With the flip of a switch, they could go from hanging the first floor lights to the ones on the second floor. To go left and right, they just hit a button. That’s instead of climbing down the ladder, scooting it to the right, and climbing back up! It would make the experience so much more enjoyable. 

This is what you are missing out on if you are still using an armband for your phone on runs. Imagine being able to switch songs or playlists without stopping. You won’t have to mess with a touchscreen that is covered by a clear plastic that makes it 5x less responsive while your hands are wet from sweat. Or have to deal with it drooping from your shoulder to your elbow. That’s what I would want. The good news is that there are quite a few solutions that will make running so much more enjoyable!

So, here it is. The million dollar question answered:

How to listen to music without an Arm Band

Clip-On MP3 Player Just for Running

The first solution for how to listen to music without an armband is to buy a separate MP3 player just for running. MP3 Players have drastically dropped in price since the first iPod came out. You can now purchase a little clip-on Mp3 with enough storage to listen to hours of music for about the same price as a nice armband would cost you! 

An MP3 such as the Mighty Vibe Music player or the iPod Shuffle allows you to clip it on to your shirt collar, or on to one strap of your sports bras. The physical buttons allow you to change songs or playlists, no matter how sweaty your hands are, and the device is within easy reach. Because it’s so light, you won’t feel it on your body, unlike the large phone on your arm.

You can pair the clip-on MP3 with either wired or wireless earphones. Since your collar is so close to your ears, you can roll up the excess wire with a tie, and it won’t bother you at all. Or you can go with the wireless option (my preferred method). This gives you a little more flexibility when it comes to un-clipping it to look at what button you are pressing. Once you get used to it though, it becomes super easy to click what you want without looking or even missing a step on your run.

If you’d like to read more about the Best MP3 Players for running, check out our review.

Headphones with a built-in MP3 Player

A pair of headphones with an MP3 player built-in is an arguably even cleaner solution. Usually, the simpler, the better; and it’s no exception when it comes to how to listen to music without an armband. A device like the Sony Walkman Integrated Headphone allows you to go from two devices in the MP3 example (the MP3 and the headphones) to one.


You can download all of our songs directly to the headphones, and run without anything on your body. Trust me, its a pretty freeing feeling the first time you do this after having gotten used to running with an armband or even holding your phone with your hand.  

The built-in MP3 headphones allow you to skip songs, pause the music, and even switch playlists with physical buttons right next to your ear. It may have a bit of a learning curve to get used to this, and a slightly higher price, but it is definitely worth the freedom.

Running Belt / Fanny Pack / Pouch


My last solution for you is to buy a running belt that allows you to carry your phone on your waist. Carrying it near your center of gravity makes running a lot more pleasant than it swinging with your arm as you run. It is a lot more stable, and when you need to pull it out to change songs, it’s right in front of you, not on your shoulder.

The cool part about the pouch is that it also allows you to carry a credit card or cash, just in case. There are many pouches to choose from, and they come in different colors and sizes to meet your needs. The pack also allows you to use either wired or wireless headphones. The pouch is also slim enough that you can wear it beneath your clothes. 

If you’re looking for a recommendation, after testing out many belts, we recommend the FlipBelt. It is one of the most popular running belts in the market and has a sleek tubular design. It is a continuous loop of fabric that is made from flexible micro-poly and Lycra materials which combine to give you a comfortable running experience. Finally, check out our review of the best running belts if you want to look at some other great options.


I hope to have showed you a few awesome ways to listen to music without an armband. Whether you choose a running belt, a clip-on MP3, or headphones with a built-in MP3, I am sure that you will enjoy your runs a lot more than before.

If you think of any other ways to do this, please let me and all of your fellow runners know in the comments! Also, let me know if this article has been helpful to you. 

Hope your next runs feel a bit more free than they have been with an armband!



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top