The Best Sports Bras for Running

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Sports bra you wear is determined by the season and the size of your boobs

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A runner’s wardrobe shifts with the seasons. For bitter winter jaunts you’ll shimmy into a pair of toasty fleece tights, while sweltering summer long runs will call for your most breathable shorts. But as a female runner, there’s one layer that’s essential year-round, no matter how the temps rise and fall-the sports bra. It’s a piece of gear that can make or break your run if the fit isn’t quite right, so we tested dozens and picked out the best.

Read on for a quick guide in navigating some of the bra terms and features we evaluated during our testing, or keep scrolling down for our top picks that delivered across the board in terms of support, style, fit, breathability, and comfort.

Support

The main method a sports bra provides support is through its cup design. Underwire bras are typically among the most supportive picks out there, with the drawback being that they can sometimes feel a bit inflexible. Molded cups can offer comparable security without the wire by using firmer, structured areas around the bust. Both of these options usually appear in high-impact bras for larger cup sizes, and may come with removable modesty pads. Finally, cupless bras can meet the needs of smaller runners, and have a single, nondivided bust area. These bras usually rely on targeted compression, a sturdy bottom band, or adjustable straps to support A to B cup sizes.

We’re at the forefront of next-level bra technology, as well. Companies have begun to release the best of both worlds: a cupless bra that can support breasts under high intensity thanks to Motion Sense technology.

Style and Fit

Most bras you’ll see are pullovers-easy to slip on over your head like a T-shirt. However, many high-impact bras may feature a zip-front design, which gives the bra support as well as making it easier to take on and off. And some sports bras will borrow the clasp-back design from your everyday bra. This option usually crops up in bras best for larger cup sizes, and helps deliver the right fit and comfort for the bottom bust band. Regardless of how you don the bra, you’ll still have a slew of style options-racerback, Y-back, H-back, and crossback (X-back) topped our list as the most popular.

Breathability and Comfort

To keep you cool when you start sweating, most sports bras will pick from blends of moisture-wicking fabrics. Materials like nylon, spandex, and polyester will fair better on your runs than standard cotton. Plus, many bras have even implemented ionized and UPF fabrics for odor control and UV-ray sun protection. Outside of fabrics, keep an eye out for bras with mesh panels or keyhole cutouts. These features also do a great job at ventilating sweat to keep you cool and comfortable.

Low Impact

Bras for low-intensity workouts and A to B runners

Rabbit Spaghetti BRA-vo

The right bra for: Low-intensity cross-training days

Read also: sports bra for plus size boobs

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If you are small-chested or are looking for a comfy pullover with minimal coverage, the Spaghetti BRA-vo is a sports bra just for you. The bra looks like a beach bikini, and has thin straps that are perfect for mobility and flexion when you’re in a yoga class or doing a plyo workout. Our tester loved to knock-around in it postworkout as well.

Rabbit Croptastic

The right bra for: Runners who want to run topless with just a little more coverage

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For those days when you don’t want to run topless but are a tired of layering-and sometimes wrestling to put on-a compressive tank top over your sports bra, the Croptastic is an all-in-one. The crop top has built-in support so you can just slip it on without doubling up on top. Longer torsos may find the bra rides up a little higher, showing off more of their midriff (our tester was 5’0). If that doesn’t bother you, then make like a bunny and hop to that lunch run!

Brooks FastForward Free

The right bra for: Recovery days engaging in low-intensity exercise like yoga

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The Fast Forward Free is a low-impact bra for those days when you’re strength training or rolling out the yoga mat. The bra has a ventilation cutout in the front in between the breasts, because-you know-boob sweat. A crisscross back provides a flattering design as well as easy flexibility and mobility during your workouts.

Janji Horizon Long Bra

The right bra for: A to B cup sizes who want to wear a tank without a bra

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Our art director, Erin Benner, loved the super stylish Janji Horizon Long Bra, which is like a race singlet with built-in support. It’s perfect for smaller cup sizes going on rigorous runs who want to show just a little midriff. Larger busts can also don the Long Bra, engaging in cross-training, spinning, or yoga. The top comes in four colorways and has matching leggings-so you can look like a badass sweating out a tempo sesh.

Patagonia Switchback

The right bra for: A to B cups who want pajama-like comfort

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The best thing you’ll find in the Switchback is comfort. The bra’s fabric is ultra soft, lined with silky mesh, and fully stitched with Fair Trade Certified sewing. It wicks moisture fast to stand up to your sweatiest runs and rides, and uses Patagonia’s Polygiene technology to keep odor at bay for hours. While it provides the best running support for A/B cups, the bra does a great job for larger cup sizes on lower intensity cross-training days.

Medium Impact

Bras for C to D runners

Handful The Closer

The right bra for: C to D cups with back and neck issues

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Associate test director Jen Sherry gave The Closer high marks: “The Y-back has no clasps or adjustments, but still offers D cup-approved support with a super wide and sturdy bottom band and a little squeeze of compression. Cinching in the front, the bra keeps your breasts separated as you stride, and the sweat-wicking spandex-blend fabric offers just enough snugness to control bounce. Plus, removable “Lights-Out” modesty liners mean the Y-back has you covered on shirtless runs-with a smidge of extra padding.”

Brooks FastForward Zip

The right bra for: A to C cups looking for a minimalistic zip bra

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Usually the type of bra reserved for high-intensity workouts or for women who need extra support, this zip bra by Brooks has a minimal, nonrestrictive design. The FastForward Zip has a Y-back to show off your shoulder blades and make running and other medium-impact activities no sweat. It also looks pretty flattering on should you choose to run shirtless. D cups and over may feel a little tug on their neck and back; we recommend the bra for A to C runners.

Oiselle Strappy Bra

The right bra for: A to C cups who want comfort, support, and style all in one

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Oiselle uses Plya Compression to provide support in a comfy, soft, and strappy package. The fabric is so smooth and stretchy, we loved wearing this bra on our off-run days as well.The Strappy has double spaghettic straps that help distribute weight evenly, and don’t cause any chafing or digging into your skin. The strap design makes the bra look great worn on its own, and adds some flare layered under a tank top.

Oiselle Flyout Bra

The right bra for: A to C runners who need extra storage logging miles

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We love pockets but hate having our belongings flop at our jacket tails or waistband. The Flyout Bra has a pocket in the back that is roomy enough to store your phone, cards, or fuel, without any of the former bouncing on your run. Our tester reported no tugging when she ran with her smartphone in the pocket. Side note: For those who rely on a back scratcher, the pocket may be hard-to-reach for those with shorter arms.

Boom Boom Athletica Compression Bra

The right bra for: A to D fashion-conscious runners who like compression

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“No cup, no underwire, and my boobs don’t get smashed together,” said photo director Amy Wolff. The Compression Bra has a comfy, non-corset-like fit that wicks away sweat but also keeps you warm. A double strap gives it a stylish edge. The bra is a pullover with clasps in the back. There’s no need for shimmying, however-we found this bra easy to put on and slide off.

Outdoor Voices Zip Bra

The right bra for: A to DD cups looking for a no-fuss zip bra

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Even though many high-impact models are decked out with metal fasteners and hard-to-reach, adjustable straps, we see it as a small price to pay for a pain- and bounce-free run. Outdoor Voices, however, didn’t. It put aside everything women expect-and accept-from a high-impact sports bra and conceived the Zip Bra, which conveniently zips and clasps in the front, no twisting necessary.

Champion Absolute Workout

The right bra for: A to C racerback lovers looking for a good deal

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Champion’s Absolute Workout bra offers medium-impact support in an awesome array of fun patterns and prints. The compression and double-layer fabric in the front help reduce bouncing, while making the bra comfortable to wear, especially given its low price. Plus, this simple slip-on doesn’t have any prodding hooks or adjustable straps for a no-fuss fit.

Salomon Medium Impact Bra

The right bra for: A to C cups who want support to amp up their training

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Our wear-testers found this bra to be ultra-soft and über-supportive, no matter the intensity of the workout. While it uses compression to keep your girls from bouncing, the tightness doesn’t mean restriction-one tester wore it regularly for yoga, where it was proven to have adequate flexibility. And its completely seamless construction translates to no pinching, poking, or chafing.

High Impact

Bras for high-intensity workouts, and DD and up runners

Shefit Ultimate Flex

The right bra for: AA to I who are tired of doubling up on sports bras

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The Ultimate Flex is activewear eye-candy, and will keep your breasts from bouncing on your run. The bra comes in blush and black, with gold detail on the band and back. Depending on the length or intensity of your workout, you may want to adjust the bra’s fit to reduce rubbing or chafing. Otherwise, rest assured, your girls are secure and your runner outfit is on point.

Knix Catalyst

The right bra for: 32A to 42G looking for unconventional support

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Challenging the conventional, albeit limiting, size window of high-impact sports bras that rarely go beyond size D, Knix’s Catalyst provides all-inclusive coverage boasting an incredible support range from 32A to 42G. Knix tested the Catalyst against more than 70 sports bras and found the bra outperformed in minimal breast movement.

Panache Sports Wired

The right bra for: Trend-setting and pace-setting D- to J-cup runners

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Some testers were unsure they’d go for a wired sports bra, thinking that an underwire design would chafe or rub. But Panache nails the support, with none of the discomfort. Using molded and seamless cups, the bra is contoured to move with you as you run, but still locks down unwanted bouncing. Plus, the left strap even has a hook that allows for switching between an H-back and racerback style.

Reebok PureMove

The right bra for: A to D cups looking for a high intensity pullover without pesky underwire

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High-impact bras usually have a constrictive fit, with pinching under the arms and pesky imprints on the skin of your torso and shoulders. This isn’t the case with the PureMove; no hard-to-reach back hooks, no adjustable clasps on the straps, no underwire. You simply slide the racerback bra over your shoulders and head out for a run. The front and back have perforated holes for ventilation, and the bottom band is padded for a soft, cozy fit. Reebok wanted to take the next step with Motion Sense technology, conceiving “the last sports bra you’ll ever need,” according to the brand’s website. The shear-thickening fluid (STF) inside the PureMove liquefies while you’re at rest and stiffens when it’s compelled by force.

Shock Absorber Ultimate Fly

The right bra for: B to E runners who want support without restraint

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Shock Absorber uses its laser-cut construction technology to create a bra that acts like a second skin. The Ultimate Fly adapts to your body’s movements with three layers of breathable, light fabric bonded together for sufficient support with just the slightest bounce. Plus, the straps adjust in two areas to accommodate up to an E cup, with the ability to switch between a Y-back or H-back.

Zensah Gazelle

The right bra for: B to DD cups who like comfy compression

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Zensah took the same supportive technology that athletes loved in its compression gear, and flipped it into the Gazelle. The bra has targeted compression in the places you need it, with a looser feel in high-abrasion areas, for a secure fit that won’t squeeze you too tightly. And the seamless, simple pullover design with no tags or clasps means there’s little risk of chafing

Cropstatic bra
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