Headphones & MP3 player for Runners

I was recently contacted by Sony about their latest product in the Walkman line. My first thought when I hear “Walkman” is to still associate that with a little tape player like I had in the 80’s, but the company has been keeping up with technology and their latest offering sounds pretty cool.

Sony NWZ-W252 Walkman MP3 Player
Wireless, water-resistant headphones/audio player designed for runners. (Or for any fitness endeavor, except perhaps deep-sea diving… I doubt it works for that!)

Sony Walkman headphones/mp3 for runners
The Sony NWZ-W252 headphones/mp3 player

Here are the details as they explained them:

  • Design – its lightweight, water-resistant frame ensures proper functionality during extended periods of activity inside or outside – even in the rain.
  • 2GB of maximum capacity – holds approximately 470 songs
  • Quick Charge Option – for on-the-go or those who have forgotten to charge, charge 3 minutes for up to 90 minutes of play time. Full battery life is approximately 11 hours
  • Easy Music Transfer – Content Transfer software allows users to move music files and playlists straight from a PC/iTunes library
  • $60 available at www.sonystyle.com, Sony Style retail stores & other authorized retailers nationwide

I have heard countless stories (and even told them myself) about people gearing up to do a run only to discover their mp3 player is dead, so the quick charge function sounds pretty cool. And I hate having cords dangling all over while I’m running, I’m very graceful and manage to get my arm wrapped in the cord at times to yank the bud from my ear! And water-resistant should mean sweat-proof, right? Or maybe I could even listen to them while showering! (I’m kidding… a little… maybe… kind of!)

I do typically run with one earbud not in so I can hear the world around me, and this design doesn’t look like it would allow for that. (Any headphone manufacturers want to hear my ideas for the perfect set-up for running? All I would ask is that you name it the “Jill Will Run” model and give me some of the profits! LOL!) But this does look like a pretty cool option. I’ve heard lots and lots of runners out there in the blogosphere complain about how they can’t find the perfect solution. And if these worked comfortably, I would consider using them as my main workout headphones, even if I do still carry my iPhone on my arm for security purposes.

What do you guys think? Would wireless, sweatproof, all-in-one headphones/mp3 player intrigue you or are you already devoted to a specific product? Even better, chime in with the features you would want on your dream headphones/audio player for running? Let your voice be heard!


  1. i got that email too – been a little lazy at writing her back. these are much cooler than i was imagining too! i had one of the “no-skip” sporty-cd discman’s (walkman?) which is all i could think of too. LOL. time to update your image Walkman!

    these have a great design, although a lot of people do like to drop an earbud sometimes like you mentioned. maybe if there was a way to “shut off” one side and you could just prop it over your ear? i dunno.

    • That’s kind of what I had in mind, the ability to shut off or remove one side. Perhaps I should amend my question and ask people to leave their dreams for headphone design so the Sony peeps can read them!

    • Thanks for including a link to a product you like! I take reviews of products from actual runners better than I do from some columnist that goes through tons of items without putting it through the paces!

  2. I’m not sure how I would feel about the built in headphone design. Wouldn’t that make it heavy? However, I do love the water-resistant part. Running in the rain (and kayaking/ paddle boarding) would be a lot less stressful!

    • I’m not sure how heavy they might seem, but I did look to see their weight… just 1.6 ounces. When I looked at the weight for the sport headphones mentioned, those were 0.6 ounces. So just an ounce heavier, plus it seems like the design is made to distribute that across the whole unit. I’d like to test them out to see! That was a good point you brought up, made me look into it a little more!

  3. hm wireless, and sweatproof would be awesome for me! but i have my over=the-ear sony headphones that I use which only cost me about $12 per pair at radioshack, adn I’m happy with them. I have to admit though, I run better when the music is turned up more, but I try to not turn them up too loud that I can’t hear the cars in the morning.

  4. Hi Jill,
    I have ’em. And the design is great for for the gym, but doesn’t work so well for running. The mass of the player is in front of your ear and they eventually bounce out. I love sony sports players and I’ve been using them since the mid 80s when they first came out. These also aren’t adjustable. I have a big head and these don’t stay in on my head so I imagine that anybody with a smaller head than mine will find the problem worse. I agree with you that they should be asking runners for advice. I think that a lot of the sony sports players are sold exactly for that purpose. I’m going to go back to my old hand help mp3 player and wait for the next generation. I hope sony is paying attention, this one is so close to being the mp3 player that I’ve been dreaming of. Keep running.

  5. Questions/Problems I have with the new Walkmans…
    1. Is the battery replaceable? I’ve tried some cheaper MP3 headphones whose rechargeable batteries were not replaceable. If overcharging didn’t fry them, then the battery would eventually die out after about 7-8 months.

    2. They are NOT Mac compatible. This means they are unusable for me.

    3. Why oh why can’t they just drop the internal memory and use a Micro SD/tf card? This would allow users to throw in one of their old micro-sd cards from a cellphone, or swap out SD cards on the fly to easily customize playlists. It would also allow Mac users to use this product.

    4. Is there a battery indicator of some kind?

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