How to Choose the Right Sports Bra

No matter your bust size, the right sports bra is essential for your training and activities. Learn how to find a bra that fits you comfortably and securely — in the gym, the yoga studio and beyond.

To get the most out of your workouts, comfort is key, and the key to comfort is buying the right sports bra. Similar to purchasing an everyday bra, it can take time and thought to find the right choice. This Pro Tips guide is here to help you get the support you need – in more ways than one.

GIVE SUPPORT

When shopping for sports bras you’ll see three ranges of support: low, medium and high. The support you need will depend on the activity you are doing and your cup size, which you can find with the help of our sports bra sizing guide. Consider:

  • Low-Support Sports Bras – These types of bras provide the lightest level of support. Generally, these bras are good for low-impact activities such as yoga, stretching, pilates and barre. Women with A or B cups may be able to perform more intense activities in a low-support sports bra without discomfort.
  • Medium-Support Sports Bras – Women with larger busts may choose to wear a medium-support bra even for low-impact activities like yoga. However, those with C or D cup sizes can typically use a medium-support bra for activities like light gym training, jogging and cycling. A and B cup sizes may be able to use medium support bras for even high-impact activities.
  • High-Support Sports Bras – These bras are offer the maximum support possible during high-impact activities, particularly for those with larger busts. High-support bras are common in workouts and sports that involve running, cross training, HIIT and dance.

SportsBra_SupportLevel

GO INTO DETAIL

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to bra material and style. Here are some common sports bra features to look for to find one that matches your personal preference:

  • Moisture-Wicking Technology – This garment technology uses synthetic microfibers to help lift sweat from your skin and transfer it to the surface of your garment, helping you stay dry and fresh.
  • Seamless Design – In order to extend the life of sports bras, many have a seamless design or incorporate ‘flatseaming.’ This stitch type can be strong and is designed to prevent wear and tear on areas that are commonly stretched during movement.
  • Ventilation – Many bras feature mesh paneling or cutout detailing on the side. This can allow for natural air flow as you train.
  • Underwire – Seen in everyday bras and sports bras alike, flexible underwires are featured in some bras to provide better support and shape. Some people may prefer wireless bras, however, if they want to prioritize comfort and don’t need the extra support.
  • Strap Types – Sports bras come with various strap styles for both aesthetic and functional reasons. The classic racerback style features straps that meet in the back for a supportive fit. They can minimize bounce, but tend to not be adjustable. Spaghetti straps are a common style that frequently includes adjustable pulls so that you can customize the fit of your bra.
  • Padding – Padding and removable cups can act as built-in modesty tools or serve an aesthetic purpose. Padding and removable cups can provide additional layers of material to ensure your “headlights” stay off. They may also be molded to give added shape for aesthetic purposes.
  • Closures – Pullover bras without clasps or hooks are a common type of sports bra. However, they can be difficult to put on and remove. Some styles feature hook-and-eye closures in the back, similar to everyday bras. You may also see sports bras with a front zipper as well, which is more common with high-support designs.
  • Compression and Encapsulation – Compression bras are most commonly seen in pullover styles. They fit snug against the chest for a no-bounce fit. Those with larger cup sizes can use compression bras for low-impact activities. Meanwhile, compression bras work well for smaller cup sizes even during high-impact activities. Unlike compression bras, which offer support by using fabric to tightly press your breasts against your body, encapsulation bras support each breast individually with separated cups. Encapsulation bras are more similar in style to everyday bras. These can work well for high-impact activities for those with larger busts.
  • Fabrics – Sports bras come in a variety of fabrics. Cotton bras are soft and breathable, but not recommended for sports that lead to high levels of perspiration. Spandex sports bras are a common option because of the elasticity. Finally, microfiber is a thin, synthetic fiber that is popular for its moisture-wicking ability.

If you like to take part in a variety of workouts, it’s helpful to have a variety of sports bras to match. Having sports bras that support you through all of your activities can help you focus less on your chest and more on training to be your best.