Buying a sports bra can be a really unpleasant and frustrating experience. If you have a larger cup size, you can search various websites and stores and still not find a supportive sports bra that does what you need during high-impact workouts likeor . If you have a smaller chest, some bras are simply uncomfortable or don’t provide enough coverage overall – two things you don’t want if you’re relying on your sports bra for support. or .
It gets even worse the more your body doesn’t conform to industry-defined standards, making knowing what to look for in a sports bra and finding the perfect fit even more difficult.
What to look for in a sports bra
What to look for in a sports bra depends on two key factors: the size of your bra and what you will do with the bra. For example, if you need a sports bra for running or a high-impact sport, you probably need more support than a regular bra. But that same bra may not feel as comfortable in a yoga class (and you may not need the same level of additional support). You should also consider the fabric. If you’re going to sweat a lot, you may want a sports bra made of moisture-wicking fabric and a mesh panel or two. If your training is more discreet, that won’t be as critical. You can also go for a removable cup bra if you are unsure how much support you will need from workout to workout.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when shopping for a sports bra.
Support: Do you need high, low or medium support? High-impact activities deserve more support for comfort, but depending on your personal cup size and preference, you may feel better with more support no matter what exercise you do. Typically, more supportive bras will have molded cups, a wider band, and adjustable straps to help you get a better fit. There may even be an underwired bra that you can use as a training bra.
Straps: For a more personalized fit, look for bras that have adjustable straps. If you’re concerned about strap slippage and don’t want to wear a sports bra with adjustable straps, consider wearing a cross-back bra. Cross-back styles may also hold up better if you can’t find a fully adjustable strap.
To fit in: The fit goes beyond the size of the band. Some sports bras have a more compressive fit, while others move more with your body. If you don’t want a compression bra, look for bras that say “low impact bras” or “yoga bras.” These will give you minimal support, but will still provide some coverage.
How we choose these sports bras
We (Mercey and Amanda) have been shopping for sports bras for various workouts for years. We are both avid fitness fans and between the two of us, we have tried almost every type of workout: spinning classes,, long distance running, cardio dancing, HIIT, yoga, Pilates, hiking, just to name a few.
We use our personal experience trying on so many sports bras to highlight some of the ones that work best and stand out for us over the years. With that in mind, we are both on the side of smaller breasts, so we can’t talk about all body types and sizes. But these are the best sports bras and styles we’ve found that work for us in the hope that you can find the right sports bra that works for you too.
This is the only high support sports bra that I have because, as someone with a smaller chest, I don’t normally need them. However, I will say that running is much more comfortable when I wear this All In Motion sports bra than other sports bras in my collection.
The racer back design features adjustable straps and an adjustable body (what to say!), Making it a completely customizable fit. This sports bra also has slightly molded and padded cups, plus cutouts at the back for breathability.
I’m an avid fan of cardio dancing, which means I spend a lot of time jumping during my workouts. I found that I need more support for the best comfort during these workouts, which is why molded cup bras like this one from Calia work best for me.
I also love the racerback style and the hook-and-eye back closure. The straps are also padded, which means they stay upright and don’t dig into the shoulders.
Amazon / Glamorise
While we haven’t tried this sports bra from Glamorise yet, it is one of the best sellers on Amazon in the plus size sports bras category, earning a solid 4.1 out of 5 stars and over 12,000 reviews. The bra is non-wired and comes in a wide range of cup and band sizes from 34C to 50J. The straps are also adjustable and padded, for a perfect fit.
In addition to the promise of “no bouncing”, the bra also comes with a mesh insert in the front to help contain and support the upper chest.
For CrossFit, or any type of cross training that involves multiple exercises wrapped in intense training, a sports bra that allows for a full range of motion is a must. During any given CrossFit workout, you may be pressing a bar above your head, doing pull-ups, burpees, running, or jumping. Your sports bra should support you through all of that and more.
This Reebok Medium Impact Sports Bra is one of my favorites to wear to CrossFit workouts due to the slim straps and low cut at the back. It leaves the upper back free of restrictions and at the same time offers great support.
Panache / Bare Necessities
Since none of us have worn a maternity sports bra yet, we asked the CNET team to assess their opinion. Here’s our recommendation, courtesy of editor Carrie Mihalcik:
I almost exclusively wear Panache underwired sports bras, which come in BJ cup sizes. They aren’t cheap ($ 50- $ 80), but they’re worth the investment if you need a larger bra size.
They are comfortable, safe, and come in a wide range of colors. I have used them for running, walking, trampolining with the kids, they work well.
You can’t find them in most stores, unless you specifically go to a bra / lingerie store. But they are widely available online; I often go to Amazon or Bare Necessities to find them.
Hanes / Amazon
It’s not every day you find a sports bra for less than $ 10, or less than $ 30, for that matter. I have this particular Hanes sports bra in a few different colors, and while I love it, I don’t normally wear it for intense workouts (unless I’m way behind in the laundry).
I reserve this Hanes seamless sports bra for low-impact activities like hiking or yoga, or wear it as a daily sports bra. It’s soft, stretchy, and supportive, and it doesn’t dig into my skin like you’d expect from a cheap sports bra.
This sports bra from Senita Athletics is more of a crop top, but has a built-in bra. It is definitely ideal for low impact activities; I would recommend wearing it during yoga, mobility work, and hiking. The fabric is soft and sweat-wicking, and the open back adds a bit of extra breathability (and lets you show off your muscles!) And, when you’re not wearing it to yoga class, it’s cute enough to match. a pair. of denim shorts for a day or night out.
I love these light support bras from Old Navy because they’re comfortable, cute, and they come in a ton of different colors. I’ve had one of these for years and have been very surprised at how well it holds up, given that I use it as a bra every day for everything from yoga to hanging out to walking my dog.
This bra is as basic as it sounds – there is no shape or padding, just light support on the band.
This Athleta bra is super soft (I love the Powervita fabric) and the padding is just enough to give you shape, without being too bulky or too bulky. You can also remove the padding, which is convenient for washing. The wide band and cross back straps also help with support and comfort.
I also love that Athleta has two size options: one for AC cups and one for D-DD.
Besides cardio dance, I also do some walking, yoga, or sculpting classes where I want a more comfortable bra with lighter support. I have a bra similar to this one from Lanston Sport, and it’s one of my favorites these days. I even use it when I’m not exercising, which says a lot. I love that the bra pads are removable so you can take them out if you don’t like the padding or keep them in for extra coverage.
More suitable clothing and equipment for exercise
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.