Ladies, we can all agree that a sports bra is one of the least attractive undergarments we will ever own, but one that is absolutely integral to our active lifestyles. Whether you are heavier up top or not, running or jumping up and down can be incredibly uncomfortable for your chest in a normal bra.
Comfort is key, but the right support is essential to keep the ligaments in your chest from straining too much, as this can lead to saggy breasts, and I think I speak for all of us when I say “no thank you!” But what is the right size and style of sports bra for me? I hear you ask. It can be tricky picking the right one, and there is no set rule on how to pick the best sports bras, but we can give you a few guidelines to make the decision a little easier.
There are two main types of sports bra: compression and encapsulation. The former is one that is usually pulled over your head and is does what it says in the name; it compresses your breasts against the chest so that they do not move when jumping about, ideally if you are a larger cup size. The latter will feel more like your normal bras; they have cups that provide extra support to your breasts, but when buying this style you must ensure it is tight enough to keep the breasts in place. In which case, the centre of the bra should lay flat against your breastbone and you shouldn’t be able to fit more than one finger under the band or straps.
Don’t just take your current bra size as gospel, either. Use it as a starting point for trying sports bras on, but you may find you need to go slightly smaller to feel the right level of support. Other than that, it’s down to personal preference. Some women prefer a t-shirt style sports bra with a traditional clasp, others prefer a racer back, and when it comes to colour you may want to stand out in something luminous if it’s for running, or opt for standard black or white for regular gym sessions.
Think about the style of sports top you typically wear over your sports bra too; if you regularly opt for strappy gym tops, a thin strapped sports bra will work well. If you are looking for something to wear under a base layer, a higher necked compression sports bra will be ideal for avoiding unsightly cup overhang.
Let us guide you through the best sport bra picks this season...
1. Freya Sonic Storm Moulded Sports Bra
An encapsulation bra that is ideal for all cup sizes
Best for: Firm Support | Type: Encapsulation | Material: Polyester Nylon | Colour: Black, Pink, Peach | Cup sizes: B-H
If you’re looking to buy your first sports bra and feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of choice on the market right now, then the Freya Sonic Storm Bra is a great place to start. It is a good all-rounder bra as it comes in a broad range of cup sizes (B-H cups) and is similar to a normal style of bra; making it comfortable and easy to adjust to. This is a sturdy sports bra with strong support and underwired cups which makes it great for jogging and high intensity sports but perhaps a little OTT for dance or gentle workouts. The Freya brand is renowned for catering for the larger bust and this Sonic Storm Sports Bra is no exception; the back clasp on this bra increases from 3 hooks to 4 once you get into the bigger cup sizes for extra support. Perfect for runners and frequent gym goers alike.
2. New Balance The Tenderly Obsessive Sports Bra
A stylish racer back bra ideal for runners
Best for: Runners | Type: Compression | Material: Polyester, Spandex | Colour: Printed | Cup sizes: A-D
If you’re an avid runner, then this New Balance sports bra will do a great job at keeping things contained. This is a compression style bra with a racerback and stylish print design, great for outdoor and indoor runners. This sports bra is not ideal for ladies with bigger boobs but it does have adjustable straps to create a comfortable custom fit that feels good for you.
3. ROYCE Impact Free Sports Bra
Ladies with big boobs will appreciate the support of this soft cotton bra
Best for: Big boobs | Type: Encapsulation | Material: Cotton | Colour: Black | Cup sizes: D-K
The ROYCE Impact Free Sports Bra is super comfy and comes in a broad range of larger sizes, but for many ladies with big breasts, completely eliminating bounce is a tricky job. Although some ladies say they still feel the bounce, this is a good quality bra that provides enough support to the regular gym goer and for more gentle activities such as yoga but is not recommended for high intensity jumping and running.
4. Women’s UA Threadborne Crossback Solid Sports Bra
A sturdy sports bra that will significantly reduce bounce during cardio
Best for: High Impact | Type: Compression | Material: Polyester | Colour: Black White and Pink | Cup sizes: A-DD
For you ladies who like an intense workout, the right bra is crucial. The women’s UA Threadborne Crossback Solid Sports Bra will ensure you are supported throughout your workout. Its compression style with racerback means it holds you in nice and tight while remaining breathable and lightweight. Although they go up to a DD cup, it is recommended for medium sized breasts to give the best performance.
5. Calvin Klein Women’s Modern Cotton Bralette
A well-known brand that is soft and perfect for casual wear as well as the gym
Best for: Everyday wear | Type: Compression | Material: Cotton | Colour: White, Black, Grey | Cup sizes: A-DD
If you’re a fan of Calvin Klein underwear, then this sports-style bra is the perfect addition to your gym kit. This is not recommended for high impact, but for going in the gym or doing outdoor sports or yoga, this bra is super comfy and looks good. It can also be worn as a normal bra for those with smaller breasts who don’t need as much support from an underwire.
6. Under Armour Eclipse Low Impact Women’s Sports Bra
A vibrant sports bra for low-impact workouts
Best for: Light exercise | Type: Compression | Material: Nylon | Colour: Black, Blue, Green, Pink, Grey | Cup sizes: A-E
For those who partake in light exercise such as yoga, Pilates or indoor cycling, this is a stylish sports bra that will provide just the right amount of support and comfort you need. It comes in a wide variety of colours and is super-comfy, boasting a ‘second skin’ feel to it. The Moisture Transport System works to eliminate sweat and keep you dry throughout your workout. This is a great first choice of sports bra for those who don’t like encapsulation style bras.