The Top Sports Bras For Runners

Whether you are new to the running scene or you are a seasoned pro, you might be aware of the stress of shopping for a sports bra that actually works for you. What makes choosing an effective sports bra even more difficult is that there is no industry standard for it and if you are taking part in a sport that is both high intensity AND high impact, you do need one that works well. You will likely need to try on a few sports bras before you find the right one for you and that's why it's so important that you know exactly what you are looking for. Some of the following factors are very important and things that you should be thinking about while shopping for your next sports bra.

The Support

As you run, your breasts move with gravity and often in a whole bunch of different positions too! You need to try and control these movements with the sports bra that you opt for and you need to do that from the bottom up. You need a bra that protects and contains your boobs from all angles to help protect against the movement, chaffing, itching, and pain that is often linked to ill-fitting ones. You might think that if you have smaller breasts, a sports bra is not necessary for you but that couldn't be further from the truth. It is still really important that you get support with a sports bra because over time your breast tissue could sag due to running and the dynamic movement.

The Fit

If you want the best possible service and want to know your size perfectly, go to an expert at a lingerie shop and get yourself measured for a sports bra. If you feel uncomfortable doing that or it's not a service that is available near you, you can measure yourself with a tape measure at home.

Measuring Your Band Size

While wearing a regular everyday bra, measure with a tape measure as tightly as you can underneath your breasts. When you get your result in inches, add four inches if it is an even number and five inches if it is odd and this is your band size!

Measuring Your Cup Size

To discover your cup size, you simply need to measure the fullest part of your breast and over your nipple. Don't pull too tight because you want the cups to actually cover all of your breasts. Whatever measurement you get, subject your previous measurement ( initial band size measurement) from it, You should then be left with a smaller number and you can look below to see what this equates to in terms of your cup size.

3 - AA

4 - A

5 - B

6 - C

7 - D

8 - DD

9 - E

10 - F

Although you should now know what your bra size is, unfortunately, it is really not that simple. Buy, or at least try on, some sports bras from different brands in your size because sizing often varies from brand to brand. As a rule of thumb, your sports bra should not be too tight and you should comfortably be able to put two fingers under the straps and bottom band. You do want it to be snug enough that it is giving you the support that you need of course! If your bra has a hook-and-eye feature on the back, it needs to fit comfortably on the loosest setting because your sports bra will stretch over time and you need to be able to tighten it when the time comes.

The Differences Between Compression and Encapsulation

This is probably something that you have never thought of before but when choosing your sports bra, you also need to consider how fibrous your breast tissue is. Runners who have denser breast tissue will likely prefer encapsulation which means underwire and molded cups. Compression bras will feel better if your breast tissue is fattier and less dense. It might sound like a bit of a headache to discover exactly how dense your breasts are, but you will naturally discover this depending on what type of bras are more comfortable on you.

Phone Pockets in Sports Bras

Nowadays, some sports bras have pockets in the back between the shoulder blades and although it might sound like a handy idea, it can actually be quite difficult to get to a pocket that is situated in this area. If you want the added feature of a pocket, consider choosing a sports bra that has one in the front. There have been talks of links between breast cancer and having your phone in your sports bra, however. Although you have to keep in mind that there is no evidence of this at all, it is still something that you might want to consider.

The Testers

When choosing the best sports bras for runners, we used testers of all shapes and sizes. Women from cup sizes ranging from 30A to 36F really put their blood, sweat, and tears into the testing of the below products, in order to give their honest feedback. There are so many things that are considered, from comfort, support, fit, durability, and appearance. Without further ado, it's time for the countdown so that you can get a better idea about what might be right for you.

13 Best Sports Bras For Runners

Lululemon Air Support Bra

The cups on the air support bra are injected with foam which is very comfortable and also enhances shape, and movement. There is a woven cross-back design and this is also adjustable. It also has reflective detail which makes it easy to be seen if you running in the dark. One of the only drawbacks to this bra is that it comes in quite limited sizes, catering for cups C - DDD.

What do the testers say?

The general consensus is that this sports bra is true to size and molds to the body. The fabric is soft and very comfortable with cups that enhance the breasts and offer the right amount of compression without being painful. The straps are padded which makes the bra even more comfortable.

Brooks Dare Underwire Run Bra

Don't let the term "underwire" put you off this sports bra, it fits like an absolute dream. The underwire does not poke into you at all and the cups are molded to the skin while offering the best support also. The straps can be adjusted into a H-back and also a criss-cross back. It offers maximum breathability and the only drawback to the Brooks Dare is that it is difficult to hook from the back when wearing.

What do the testers say?

The testers were a little bit skeptical about this sports bra because of the underwire but were pleasantly surprised! They found is very comfortable and supportive - which really are the two most important things when running.

Shefit The Ultimate Sports Bra

Shefit is known to be a great brand when it comes to sports bras and this one is no different. It has a handy front zipper which makes it easy to put on, it is supportive and has eight inches of velcro on the straps and band. The fabric is a little thick on this bra however so while it is comfortable, it doesn't offer as much breathability as similar products.

What do the testers say?

Some sports bras are uncomfortable and cause strain on the shoulders but the general opinion amongst the testers with this bra is that it is very comfortable and does not do that at all.

Maaree Solidarity High-Impact Sports Bra

This is a really cool bra that reduces downwards and upwards movement, which is really important for runners. It has adjustable straps and sides and it has overband tech and underband that provides top and bottom bounce control. It supports cups C - G, which is a very wide range of women.

What do the testers say?

The testers of this sports bra were really pleased and said that the bra was soft, and comfortable. They also raved about the design, particularly the keyhole back which gives a cute feature that you are not likely to find in standard sports bras. The supportiveness was also a great factor amongst the women who tested this bra.

Kalenji Comfort Running Bra

This is a bargain-price sports bra that works just as well as some of its competitors. It is supportive and comes with molded cups, which is both comfortable and flattering on the boobs. It supports women with cup sizes A to F but one of the drawbacks is that it can dig into the chest depending on your shape.

What do the testers say?

The consensus amongst the women testing this bra was mostly positive. It was commented on how comfortable and supportive the sports bra is and it was also mentioned how the mesh feature on the front offered breathability. One thing that was mentioned that was not so great is that the padding at the front soaks up sweat, which is not so comfortable or hygenic after a grueling run. All things considered though, this is an awesome sports bra available at an amazing price!

Champion The Spot Comfort Sports Bra

The Spot Comfort is made from moisture-wicking material and it has front mesh paneling that promotes ventilation. These aspects plus the gel-cushioned straps make this sports bra one of the most comfortable ones out there. It has molded cups which gives non-wire support. It supports women with cup sizes C - DDD but you might want to size up if you are choosing this particular sports bra because it is said to be quite tight.

What do the testers say?

This sports bra had a ton of positive feedback from the testers, especially mentioning how comfortable and supportive it is. The hook-and-eye closure was also mentioned as a positive because it is easy to put on and remove. One of the only drawbacks noted about this sports bra is that it comes in H-straps only and can't be adjusted to a criss-cross style.

Knix LuxeLift Pullover Bra

This is a really high-quality sports bra that is known best simply for how well it works. It is constructed seamlessly for smooth coverage and it is also very comfortable. It supports women with bust sizes of A to G. There are no clasps and it is easy to put on and take off. One of the only drawbacks of this sports bra is that it does become less snug over time.

What do the testers say?

The testers absolutely loved this bra and did not mention any negative points at all. It looks good and it stays in place well, and requires no adjustments when running. It shapes the body really well, it's supportive and some of the ladies who tested this even said that it felt like a second skin!

Fittin Padded Sports Bra

This is a pullover bra that is extremely cheap, while still being satisfying for many women who need support when going for a run. It feels as soft as butter and the four-way-stretch material, which makes it very supportive. It might not have as many features as more expensive sports bras but it still works well. The only drawback is that it only supports low impact for women of sizes DD+ so it is not the ideal option for you if you are bigger.

What do the testers say?

The women who tested this bra really liked it, and said that it was one of the most comfortable sports bras that they have ever worn. It was recommended to those who are on a budget but still want a product that does the job well.

Brooks Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra

If you are the type of runner who is always wanting as many pockets as possible, look no further than this handy sports bra! This has not one, not two, but three pockets including one at the back where you can keep your phone. There is low-friction bonded seams around the pockets which helps prevent chaffing too. It is supportive for women who are sizes A/B to DD/E. One of the only negatives of this sports bra is that it is high neck, which is not always the most comfortable.

What do the testers say?

This bra has positive feedback from the testers and the fit is said to be both flattering and comfortable. The fabric is soft and one tester, in particular, said there is no bouncing in sight with this sports bra, which is definitely what you want when you are enjoying a run.

Oiselle Pockito Bra

There are three pockets on this sports bra and they have been placed really well because they are in easy reach at the front and sides. If you are long-distance running and have gels that you need to store, this is a great option for you. This bra only offers support to women between A and C cups however so it is not the most inclusive.

What do the testers say?

The most obvious piece of feedback from testers with the Oiselle Pockito bra was how handy the pockets are. They definitely can be a lifesaver and the bra itself works really well too, of course.

Tracksmith Allston Pocket Bra

This is another sports bra with a hidden chest pocket. This is ideal for keeping your keys, phone, or maybe gels. Inverno blend lining is used on the band that pulls away moisture and also just feels super smooth against the skin. It supports women with cup sizes A-C well, it can be worn by bigger busted women but for those with breasts D+, it will only support low-impact exercise.

What do the testers say?

The testers loved the handy pocket on this sports bra because it is easier to reach for things than if the pocket were in the back. It was also mentioned that the material is high quality and drys super quickly after a run.

Senita Sarah Sports Bra

This is an eye-catching sports bra that is available in a number of different patterns and colors. It has a pocket in the back for phones and it is supportive for sizes A - DD. It is a really lightweight racerback and the open design offers plenty of breathability, which is definitely appreciated during and after a tough run. It is a stretchy sports bra while still remaining snug!

What do the testers say?

On the whole, the testers were really happy with this product and particularly mentioned the bright designs and how different they are from similar products. It was also noted how supportive and comfortable the sports bra is but one negative mentioned is that the pocket on the back is a little tricky to get to.

Cadenshae Breastfeeding Freedom Bra

Nursing sports bras are quite unique but they are necessary for some women. The drop-down cups on this bra are easy to remove and accommodate for growing breasts in women of all shapes and sizes. This is known to work well as a normal sports bra and is ideal for medium to high impact support.

What do the testers say?

The testers loved this bra and said that it worked well as a normal sports bra and does not have to just be used by pregnant or nursing women. One of the drawbacks was said to be that it does not offer high-impact support for bigger-breasted ladies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Bras

How should sports bras be folded?

You probably want your sports bra collection to stay neat and tidy, and you can do exactly that by folding them away correctly. Not only will this type of organization help you get ready for your next run quicker, but it will also keep the sports bra in better condition. It is really easy to fold your sports bra, simply lay it flat, fold in the straps and then fold it into thirds so it makes a square shape. It is not ready to be stored away with the rest of your sports bras and it makes it easy to see what you are grabbing!

How should sports bras be washed?

While most sports bras can be machine washed, it is better for them to handwash them and this method will prolong their durability. If you want to handwash your sports bra, you can do so by filling a sink up with cold water and adding a mild laundry detergent, or one specific for sports and eliminating sweat/odor. Soak your bra in this water for around 15 minutes and then swish it around, making sure to eliminate all the dirt and sweat before rinsing it off with pure water. If you don't have the time to wash your sports bra by hand, do it in the washing machine on a cold water setting and insert it into a mesh lingerie bag so that it does not get tangled with other clothes. To dry, lay it flat or put it on a hanger because heat from a tumble dryer can damage the bra and make it lose its elasticity.

How should sports bras for running fit?

Sports bras are support garments so they should be snug and tight to make sure it is giving you that support element, but it should not be uncomfortable. A good-fitting band should fit to the body well and not ride up at all. To check if your sports bra is fitting you correctly, reach around your back and tug on it. It is pulls out more than an inch, it is too loose. You should also make sure that your whole breasts are fitting in the cups and the straps or clasps should not be digging into your skin.

What happens if I don't wear a sports bra when exercising?

If you are not wearing a sports bra when exercising, the most obvious side effect will be that you will feel tenderness and possible pain in your breasts. High-impact exercise, particularly running, will put a strain on the chest muscles and ligaments so running without a sports bra is not going to feel good at all. If you stretch your ligaments or connective tissue in the breasts by not wearing a sports bra, this makes your breasts sag and this will not be something that is possible to fix. It will also be very difficult to have the correct running form if you are not wearing one because you will be hunched over and your head will be pulled down, which can also cause headaches.


After reading this article including the list of the best sports bras, you should feel like you are much more knowledgeable about the topic. Whether you have been running for a long time or you are just getting into it, it's so important that you have the right tools to excel. This doesn't just mean the right sneakers, you need the right sports bra too so be sure to shop around, consider the mentioned options, and choose whatever is right for you!

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