Cleer Arc II Sport headphones review: superb sound quality for music on the move

Secure and splashproof, Cleer Arc II Sports are open-ear headphones that offer great music quality while allowing you to hear what’s going on around you

Cleer Arc II Sport headphones on wooden bench
(Image: © Claire Maxted)

Advnture Verdict

Cleer Arc II Sport headphones provide excellent, adjustable sound quality while still allowing you to hear the world around you. You also get great battery life and rainproofing, secure design, and customizable controls.


  • +

    Very light

  • +

    Rainproof to IPX5, equivalent to moderate low pressure water jets

  • +

    Healthier for your ear than in-ear buds

  • +

    Case sanitizes earbuds with UV-C light!

  • +

    Gesture controls and battery levels available in app


  • -

    Strong wind affects phone conversations

  • -

    Constant soft white noise when not playing sound or playing quietly

  • -

    You can stop playback accidentally while trying to adjust volume

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

Cleer Arc II Sports headphones: first impressions

The Cleer Arc II Sports running headphones have so many great features it’s hard to know where to start. So let’s begin with the fundamentals: great quality audio. Music, podcasts, radio, it all sounds great, and the advantage of an open-ear headphone is the superior quality to bone conduction headphones while still retaining the ability to hear noises from the world around you while you exercise.


• List price: $189 (USA) / £199 (UK)
• Weight (case): 28g / 1oz (100g / 3.5oz)
• Colors: Black / red
• Water protection: IPX5 (moderate low pressure water jets)
• Battery life: 8 hours (+35hrs with case)
• Quick charge time: 10mins for 1 hour
• Full charge time: 2 hours
• Charger type: Case battery and USB-C cable
• Dual device connection: No
• Compatibility: Gym, commuting, walking, running outdoors

The Cleer Arc II Sports headphones’ next fantastic feature is the water-resistance level, which, at IPX5, is higher than most of the competition. This means you’re safe from the equivalent of blasts from moderate-pressure water jets at all angles – in other words, driving rain on the top of a mountain. 

The battery life is plenty for running up said mountain too, offering up to eight hours of use, plus (and this is the really genius part) an extra 35 hours for ultra running thanks to the extra charge stored in the headphones’ 100g / 3.5oz case. And when you’re not wearing these headphones and you store them away, the case also blasts the buds with UV-C light to rid them of harmful bacteria, which is another giant plus point.

Cleer Arc II Sport headphones app

The app that controls the Cleer Arc II Sport headphones (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Then there’s the Cleer Arc II Sports’ dedicated app, which you can use to adjust the headphones’ EQ, check battery levels, customize the controls and even access the motion control for hands-free operation. 

The Cleer Arc II Sport headphones also, importantly, cling securely to your ears for running and hiking over the toughest terrain.

Cleer Arc II sports headphones: on the trails

Woman wearing Cleer Arc II Sport headphones

The reassuringly grippy Cleer Arc II Sport headphones (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

We’ve been really enjoying wearing these headphones for ultra training, thanks to the long battery life and charging case combo, while the great waterproof rating of IPX5 makes us feel secure to train in any weather. Listening to a podcast about your race is a great way to stay motivated for multiple hill reps if you don’t live in a mountainous area! 

We like the way you can customize some of the controls in the app, but it would be nice to be able to personalize the volume adjustment, because we found that we would often accidentally turn off the music while attempting to use the double tap and hold method, especially when running. 

The turning and nodding your head motion control can work for trail running if you’re not on super tricky ground, but the only options here are for answering and hanging up/declining calls, and to skip/play previous tracks. The trickiest function on touch-screen headphones – and frustratingly the one we use most often – is adjusting the volume to counter wind noise, traffic noise and adjust for podcast recording volume vs adverts, so we’d rather be able to do that more easily, or even no-handed.

Cleer Arc II Sport headphones in case

The Cleer Arc II Sports’ carry case also charges and even cleans the headphones (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Using the app to adjust the EQ to your own liking makes for a superior listening experience too, though it would be nice if Cleer wrote a little explanation for each setting; we’ve been using Rock with Smart Sport EQ turned on which we’re assuming turns on when you up the pace, but we’re not really sure of the intricacies of the different sound modes! There seems to be a bit more reverb on the Sport EQ and a clearer treble on the Rock setting…

You still hear the effects of strong wind noise on a phone call in a gusty Lincolnshire field, even with the Enhanced Anti-Wind noise function turned on, but we have yet to meet a headphone that doesn’t suffer from this. There is also a slight white noise fuzz on the lowest volume – and even with no playback – if you find yourself in a quiet setting. The only downside we found with these is that they are a little tight on the left ear, which makes them hurt after an hour or two. That said, everyone’s ear is different and this may not affect you at all.

Claire Maxted

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films about trail- and ultra-running advice, inspiration, races and gear reviews. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, Claire's first book, The Ultimate Trail Running Handbook (5k to 50k), is out now. Her second, The Ultimate Ultra Running Handbook (50k to 100 miles), is out Autumn 2024. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.