Maybe you’ve only just started running to work out or maybe you’re looking to replace your worn-out sports bras of old—either way, this list of the best high impact sports bras is an excellent place to start the hunt for workout wear that’s supportive, comfortable and built specifically for your body and sport level.
What Does ‘High Impact’ Mean for Sports Bras?
High-impact activities include running, HIIT, boxing—basically anything that puts stress on weight-baring joints—while low-impact activities include things like yoga, Pilates, swimming or walking. Because you’re likely to be bouncing or jumping around during a high-impact workout, you’ll need a sports bra with more support that’s built to prevent your chest from moving too much, potentially causing pain or injury. As cute as your strappy little bralettes are for yoga, they simply won’t suffice for jogging.
How to Pick the Best High Impact Sports Bra
Read the label. This one feels pretty obvious, but it should be stated that if a bra isn’t marketed as a high-impact bra, it likely won’t work for your needs.
Do a jump test. Some brands have great exchange or return policies that allow you to wear a sports bra through multiple workouts before deciding whether or not it’s the right one for you. But for those who don’t (or even those who do) we recommend trying on the bra, standing in front of a mirror and doing either high-knees or jumping jacks to get a clear view of how the bra holds up to vigorous movement. Running is unlikely to cause as much bounce as jumping jacks, but if your bra can barely contain your gals for a short burst of high-knees, it likely won’t do you much good on a run either.
Best high support sports bra
Best high support sports bra
Numerical bra sizing is typically better than S/M/L. That isn’t to say that all high-impact bras that come in S/M/L sizing are inferior, but brands that use band and cup sizes give you more specificity when it comes to fit. This is especially helpful for anyone with either a small band and large cup size or large band and small cup size.
Opt for wide straps over thin ones. Yes, even if the bra has 40 adorable crisscrossing straps at the back it still won’t be as supportive as solid 1-inch wide designs. Racerback silhouettes also tend to offer more support than a traditional H-formation.
Consider breathability and fabric. A thick spandex bra will likely do a good job of holding your bosom in place, but it will also pool sweat easily and start to feel heavy and uncomfortable pretty quickly. High-impact workouts tend to leave us sweatier than low-impact ones, so look for materials that are quick-drying, breathable and that wick sweat to keep you comfortable in the long run.
under Armour Ua Infinity High Heather Sports Bra
Multiple PureWow editors recommended this as their go-to sports bra for running or other high-impact activities. “Love, love, loooveee this sports bra,” raves Stephanie S. “It is so good you forget you have boobs.” Indeed, most reviews mention how comfortable and breathable the Infinity bra is. Per one self-described chesty runner, “I often experience a lot of movement in the chest which causes a lot of pain and discomfort. Under boob chafing is also a big issue for me. I tested out the UA Infinity Bra during a few HIIT treadmill workouts and was very impressed with the amount of support offered. I didn’t experience any pain whatsoever.” The crisscrossed straps are adjustable and there is a hook-and-eye closure at the back so you can tighten or loosen it as you need. The padding is also built in an innovative figure-8 pattern that follows the natural movement of your chest as you run for high-level support that doesn’t feel constrictive. Under Armour’s size guide suggests that an XS should fit a 28 or 30 A or B cup, while the XXL fits band sizes 40 and 42 and cup sizes B, C or D.
lululemon Airsupport Bra, C-ddd Cups
Lululemon’s new AirSupport bra really lives up to its name, offering ample support and incredibly breathability all at once. The Ultralu fabric molds to your body and allows you more flexibility than more rigid bras while still holding your boobs firmly in place. Speaking of the fabric, it is unbelievably soft, so much so that one size 32D tester was skeptical it would really do the job—how could anything so lovely also stand up to a super-sweaty long run? “I was really pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I felt in this bra,” says Bobbie D. “I sweat a lot pretty much all the time, but when I set out to do a marathon training long run on a humid morning in mid-August, the amount of sweat is truly comical. This bra kept me comfortable through the whole thing and didn’t feel saggy or heavy at the end of ten miles.” One caveat, however, is that this bra is a little difficult to put on at first. “I worried it wasn’t going to fit, even with the straps on their loosest setting, but once I got the back clipped I found it actually fit really well,” added Bobbie.
shefit Ultimate Sports Bra
This high-impact sports bra impressed us for so many reasons—size range, breathability, color options—but the main draw has to be the unparalleled level of adjustability. The band under the bust can be tightened or loosened up to eight inches in back, while the two shoulder straps can easily be lengthened from the front up to 15 inches thanks to Velcro patches. The straps can also be worn either crossed in back or in H formation, depending on what you find most comfortable. A front zipper (with a protective inner layer to prevent chafing) makes it easy to slip in and out of this beauty without twisting yourself into a pretzel post-workout. Per one size 36DDD runner, “With most sports bras I either spill out of the sides or out the bottom, or I don’t get nearly enough support, but not with this bra at all. My boobs do not move at all. Everything is so secure and [the adjustable features are] so easy to use.” In fact, while this bra works well for those with just about any cup size, we particularly recommend it to anyone with a larger chest.
brooks Running Dare Crossback Run Bra
Brooks semi-recently revamped its sports bra collection, introducing designs with a slew of new technology and innovation behind them, as well as the input of tons of runners of varying sizes and skill levels. The Crossback is one of the absolute best to come out of this new wave. It’s incredibly lightweight and breathable, and its near-seamless construction means there are no hot spots likely to cause chafing. “When I first put it on the band felt odd, like it was riding up in back or something, but I completely forgot about it once I started running,” says Xi L. The bra currently has a 4.3-star rating with almost 400 reviews. The only downside appears to be that the bra isn’t adjustable (though some may not be fans of the pull-over design). As for sizing, cups are grouped—A/B, C/D AND DD/E—and while most reviewers say the Crossback runs true to size, if you’re in between sizes we recommend sizing down one for extra compression that won’t dig in.
panache Ultimate High-impact Underwire Sports Bra
“It’s truly a feat of engineering,” raves Jasmine D. “How an underwire sports bra can feel so comfortable is beyond me.” Indeed, this incredible bra has more 1,200 reviews and a 4.5-star rating with most reviewers noting how surprisingly comfortable this Panache style is, while still feeling supremely supportive. It also nearly eliminates bounce even for those with larger breasts. Sizing starts at a 28DD/30D/32C/34B but goes all the way up to a 34J/36HH/38H/40GG (note: the brand follows UK sizing, so be sure to double check the size chart before you buy). “I have had a hard time finding a bra that would keep up with my intense Orangetheory workouts,” says Bianca H. “I can say that this one fits perfectly and relieved a lot of the issues I had with working out with 36HH boobs.” And while it isn’t exactly cheap, this Panache bra is incredibly durable. “I finally had to replace my old Panache bra. But it lasted 10 years,” says Luci I. “Wears like iron. I wash in the machine on cold, but never put in the dryer. This is my favorite sports bra.”