The Best Sports Bras
Finding a bra that’s going to hold up – no pun intended – in high-intensity workouts as well as low-impact exercises isn’t as easy as some might think. It’s impossible for a sports bra to be a one-size-fits-all, because A. there is no one size for every woman, and B. no workout is the same. It wouldn’t make sense to wear the same bra for both yoga and heavy cardio, because they each involve different levels of physical exertion.
I own a variety of sports bras that I alternate between depending on which exercise I plan to do. Low impact for brisk walks, yoga or pilates, medium support if I’m going for a light jog, and a full-coverage bra for when I need to be fully supported, like for treadmill sprints or Zumba classes. To help you choose the right workout companion for your needs, take a look at the top 5 recommendations for the best sports bras below. Each of these vary between high, medium and low-impact and are suitable for a wide range of physical activities.
Top 5 Best Sports Bras for Women
Editor’s Choice – RUNNING GIRL Sports Bra for Women
75% Nylon, 25% Spandex
46 To Choose From
Runner Up – Yvette Front Closure Women’s Sports Bra
80% Polyamide, 20% Elastane
Grey Blue, Black, Coral Red, Violet, Orange Red, Pastel Pink, Army Green
Best High Impact/Full Coverage – Champion Spot Comfort Full Support Sports Bra
32 To Choose From
Best Medium Support – Nike Women’s Victory Compression Sports Bra
88% Polyester, 12% Spandex
Xs-4xl, Including Tall Sizes
13 To Choose From
Best Light Support – THE GYM PEOPLE Longline Sports Bra
80% Polyamide, 20% Spandex
14 To Choose From
Buyer’s Guide/Things to Look For When Choosing a Women’s Sports Bra
When you’re working out, you probably want a bra that you barely notice is there, but also that holds you in securely. Features like underwire aren’t my favorite for sports bras, as these are rarely comfortable and can dig into your skin. For me, it’s important to find that happy medium between full support yet having soft, lightweight materials on my skin. Most of the bras recommended above are made from a combination of polyester, polyamide and spandex to name a few, which are all ideal for any level of exercise. It’s also important to think about what kind of fabrics will be breathable, particularly for high-intensity workouts where you know you’ll be sweating up a storm.
Moisture-wicking materials like polyester or nylon are always recommended for heavy exercise, particularly for intense cardio like running, hot yoga or HIIT workouts. If it’s important to you that your sports bra is breathable and doesn’t trap sweat, consider buying cooling fabrics that wick away moisture so this is never an issue.
Let’s talk about support. I’ve already mentioned that different sports bras are best suited for different forms of exercise, but now let’s unpack which ones are recommended for specific physical activities.
Low Impact – Yoga, Walking, Pilates, Running errands/lounging
Low-impact sports bras (like the Longline Sports Bra from THE GYM PEOPLE) have very little support and aren’t suited for heavy, intense workouts. You’ll often find these with built-in shelf bras, occasional padding but minimal sculpting of the bust or cups and no adjustability. This type of bra is perfect for practicing yoga, pilates, walking or hiking and lounging around the house in general.
Medium Impact – Biking, Jogging, Weight training
What’s classified as a medium-impact bra is debatable since this will depend on your size. For example, a low-impact bra might give a smaller chested woman full coverage, but minimal for someone with a C cup or higher. The same goes for medium, but in general these bras offer sufficient support and are best for biking, light jogging, weight training or any activity that’s not too labor-intensive.
High Impact – Running, HIIT training, Dance, CrossFit
High-impact or full-coverage sports bras are just what you’d expect – they hold the girls in. Styles can include high necks, thick spandex materials, adjustable straps or built-in cups. It’s recommended to wear these for any high-intensity physical activity, including running, HIIT training, dancing or CrossFit.
Closure Types and Adjustability
What kind of closure is your go-to in a sports bra? Do you prefer the standard hook closure like regular bras, front zips, maternity bras with easy access for nursing, or no closure at all? Hook closures are great for adjustability, as these will typically have three options to choose how tight you want it around the bust. It’s recommended to fasten it on the tightest hook to start off with, then gradually loosen it as the bra expands on your body over time. Adjustable straps are also beneficial to give you a customized fit, which isn’t possible for a pull-on bra that has no closure. I personally have a range of sports bras for different physical activities, because there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a bra.
1. Editor’s Choice – RUNNING GIRL Sports Bra for Women
Finding one of the most versatile and supportive sports bras doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – Amazon has a ton of options that are suitable for any workout. RUNNING GIRL makes a cross-cross back, strappy and padded sports bra that’s ideal for medium-impact exercise. One of my must-haves in a sports bra are thick straps. Spaghetti straps won’t do any favors for anyone, though they might be nice to look at. For light jogging or medium-intensity workouts, you want to feel securely held in place by thick straps across your shoulders and back. There are 46 colors and styles to choose from, with my personal favorites being the many camo print options.
The size variety is also generous, and with a bra like this I’d typically size down to get a tight, secure fit. For me as a size 32DD, I’d opt for the S or XS if I plan to wear it for high-impact workouts. It’s affordable, lightweight, breathable, super supportive and can even be worn as a tank with some bike shorts or leggings. Although there’s no sports bra that will suit everyone’s needs, this one from RUNNING GIRL comes pretty close.
2. Runner Up – Yvette Front Closure Women’s Sports Bra
This wouldn’t be a roundup of the best sports bras without a front-closure, high-neck option. When I think of supportive bras designed specifically for high-intensity exercises, the Yvette Front Closure Women’s Sports Bra is pretty much what comes to mind. How much more support can you get than having a front zip, high neck, racerback style with extra straps, plus an adjustable hook closure around your bust? If I’m running around in this bra or doing burpees, I can feel pretty confident that my girls are kept in place. The high-cut shoulder straps also prevent any spilling out the sides, so even larger-chested women can feel fully supported with minimal bounce.
Speaking of which, the plus sizes are generous with options ranging all the way up to 5XL. It’s rare to find manufacturers that design high-impact bras specifically for busty women, so this is very much appreciated. The mesh panels in both the front and back also offer breathability for those sweaty workouts, making this one of the best options for heavy exercise.
3. Best High Impact/Full Coverage – Champion Spot Comfort Full Support Sports Bra
Finding a full-coverage sports bra that’s going to hold you in is difficult if your chest is on the larger side. As someone with a DD cup size, it’s been a never-ending journey to find a sports bra that I can run, jump, do burpees in and anything else that requires everything to stay in place.
Unlike many other parts of our bodies, breast tissue doesn’t repair and regenerate itself (hence why breasts sag over time). It’s so important to find not only your perfect size, but a bra with enough support to let you be as active as you like. Gone are the days of wearing two bras (that were a few sizes too small) just so I could sprint and experience minimal bounce. For larger chested women, the Champion Spot Comfort Full Support Sports Bra is a great pick.
Ranging from 34C all the way to 42DDD, this bra is made to fit every woman with a larger cup and bust size. While many bras are sized on the traditional Small, Medium, Large scale, this doesn’t cover those who have a smaller shirt size, yet larger cup (like myself as a 32DD). I’d sit somewhere in the Small-Medium range, and neither is really the perfect fit. With thick adjustable straps to suit your needs, Champion has designed a bra that’s perfectly customizable to suit a range of shapes and sizes.
4. Best Medium Support – Nike Women’s Victory Compression Sports Bra
For jogging, biking, weight training or any physical activity where medium support is all you need, the classic Nike Victory Compression Sports Bra has you covered (no pun intended!). What I love most about this bra is that it has a massive range of sizes – XS to 4XL – so you can pick your perfect fit. Slip it over your head as you would any shirt, but it’s important to mention that it’s not adjustable. Make sure to read each size measurement carefully so that you’ll get the right amount of support.
As you can see, I’ve had the purple version for many years and it’s been well-loved. The Nike logo has started to fade since it’s been worn and washed countless times. But since I bought it over five years ago, it’s held up pretty well. I wear this sports bra for hiking and jogging, but not for intense workouts. However, for smaller chested women, you could easily do a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout or run in this bra, it just depends on your cup size!
5. Best Light Support – THE GYM PEOPLE Longline Sports Bra
When it comes to shopping, there are few things more satisfying than finding a dupe of an expensive product for less than half the price. THE GYM PEOPLE have come through with this almost identical version of the popular Lululemon Align Tank. Perfect for yoga or any other low-intensity physical activity, this everyday tank top has a built-in shelf bra that offers light support.
Just like the Align Tank, it comes in a wide range of colors that will pair well with any yoga pants, shorts or even jeans when you’re running errands. Rather than spending $68 plus tax at Lululemon, why not get 3 for the price of one? If you’re looking for a sports bra specifically for light exercise like yoga, pilates or hiking, the Longline Sports Bra checks every box.