I have a passion for good sound. 1st rule; stay away from Beats or any other heavily marketed product. IMHO, Beats sound terrible for the $$'s. Bose slightly better.
The highest performing products normally are not household names. Just like the people who are into biking, they know of brands like Niner, Cipollini, Ribble’s etc. Notice Schwinn, Huffy, Raleigh would be considered "junk".
The best site by far to read what endusers have to say (and frequented by passionate people) is this site http://www.head-fi.org/products/category/noise-canceling
. In nearly all cases, over the ears headphones are going to outperform in ear products. Personally and for the money, I liked the Sennheiser PXC 550's. Go to an airport to listen because they will have the biggest selection.
Here is my free advice. While I an normally not
a fan of extended warranties, I'd highly
suggest buying a long extended contract for headphones. If you do, I predict it will pay for itself. Especially if it covers accidental damage. But the issue with YOU picking out the final product (over the ears) is subjective comfort. If a blood relative (son or daughter) that has the same noggin is able to try them on, that person can select a pair for comfort.