In A Nutshell
The V-MODA XS is the most durable portable headphone I’ve found. This headphone is designed to be tough — it has a steel frame and a headband that can be bent flat without breaking. It also features cloth braided cords (for durability), and it complies with 810G U.S. Military Standard tests for extreme temperatures, humidity, salt spray and UV exposure.
I’m pretty rough with my equipment, and I’m a sound enthusiast, so I’ve had many headphones break on me over the years. It’s almost always the cord that breaks on me. So I went in search of a really tough headphone — and I finally found the V-MODA XS. This portable headphone had a “steelflex” headband that could be twisted at will (as in the photo above). Best of all, it had a cord that V-Moda said “can be bent over 1 million times”. The cord is also detachable, which allows for easy storage inside the case. In can withstand drops too — the headphone is tested to “survive 70+ drops on concrete from 6 feet”.
I should mention that V-MODA XS also has great sound, otherwise I wouldn’t consider it. It’s one of the best sounding sub-$200 headphones I’ve tried.
After a couple years of testing this headphone, it has held up really well. I did actually manage to break these headphones! I accidentally yanked the headphones upwards when the cord was snagged on something, and the sound started to cut out after that. So these headphones are not indestructible. However, V-Moda has a two year warranty on this product, so they sent me a new one (I had to pay for shipping). The company also has something called an “Immortal Warranty”, which covers breakage outside the warranty — they offer a 50% coupon towards the purchase of a comparable headphone model.