If you’re looking for the best sports bra, we have you covered. Our team at the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab has tested dozens of styles to find the ones that are comfortable, supportive and easy to wear — no matter what type of workout you’re doing. Whether you’re walking, running or exercising in a gym or studio, we have a pick for every body type.
It’s no secret that a supportive and comfortable sports bra is crucial to achieving a great workout, whether you’re headed to hot yoga, taking a spin on the Peloton or training for a marathon.
The Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh Women’s Medium-Support Padded Zip-Front Sports Bra scored our top spot because it checks all the boxes — fit, support, comfort and an ingenious design. Hailed by our reviewers as the most comfortable sports bra they’ve ever worn, the Swoosh’s sweat-wicking Dri-Fit fabric, made from recycled polyester fibers, kept us cool and dry workout after workout. Even during our hardest sessions, the mesh backing kept us feeling cool and the stretch band never retained moisture — a big selling point for anyone who prefers to head straight from working out to running errands. This bra won’t get stinky or gross, and trust us, it’s so comfortable, you’ll want to keep it on straight till bedtime.
The Dri-Fit Swoosh fit all of our testers snugly, supporting larger chests sizes just as easily as smaller ones, with straps that evenly distribute weight without pinching or digging. The bra’s stretchy fabric and band provide a compressive feel — but not constrictive — ensuring that your breasts evenly fill up the bra without any air pockets or empty gaps. In terms of sizing, it comes in XS to 2XL, and we found the measurements to be accurate. One of our reviewers is a 36DD, ordered a large and found it to be her exact size.
The zipper closure turned out to be the best thing about this bra. Not only is it super sturdy, but it keeps breasts securely tucked away. Don’t worry about it coming undone; there’s also a hidden buckle inside the bra providing backup protection. The zipper is a savior post-workout too, making it simple to shed your bra — no more wrangling sweaty fabric over your face and head like traditional bras.
Best sports bra
If the Lululemon Flow Y Nulu Bra Light Support taught us anything during our review process, it was not to judge a book by its cover — or, rather, not to judge a bra by how it looks on the hanger. Made from the brand’s lightweight, buttery soft, four-way stretch “Nulu” fabric (80% nylon, 20% Lycra), the compression-style bra looks flimsy at first. But it offers plenty of support to keep your bust in place for a medium-intensity workout. Our reviewers, a 34C and a 36C, tested it through a variety of exercises — from Pilates reformer and Core Power Yoga classes to treadmill runs and strength training — and found the bra moved with their bodies and stayed ultra supportive with zero bouncing.
That said, design-wise, the wireless bra does offer less coverage than most. Featuring skinny racerback straps, the Flow Y manages to compress the breasts and keep them separated (removable pads help with this) without any pinching or digging at the shoulders or band area. While you can rest assured that you’ll never spill out over the top of this bra, know that cleavage will be on display if you’re wearing it solo. Our reviewers also felt that the bra’s continuous support and compression was a bit much after a few hours — this isn’t our first choice for all-day wear. It excels during your workout, but we found that the band started to feel tight as the day went on, prompting us to take it off.
In terms of wicking, the fabric’s claims hold true. We tested it out during a hot yoga class and the bra kept us dry, despite the fact that we were sweating profusely. Beyond that, the fabric never chafed our skin, and it washed beautifully, with zero pilling after more than a dozen cycles. The bra caters to small cup sizes (A to C) and is available in sizes 2 to 14 (basically ranging from a 28A to a 44C), so larger sizes are out of luck. While both our reviewers found a size 6 adequately fit their chests, we recommend sizing up if you’re on the cusp of two sizes, since the bra has a tight fit. Available in more than a dozen colors and patterns, you can coordinate with a slew of Lululemon leggings and shorts, because who doesn’t love to match?
What stands out the most is this bra’s minimalist design. There are no bells and whistles here — just a great-feeling fabric and simple, flattering silhouette that hugely delivers on support for low- and medium-impact workouts.
Let’s face it: Not every day is a workout day. But why not ensconce your body in something that is supportive yet incredibly comfortable anyway, such as the Girlfriend Paloma Racerback Bra? Yes, you can throw this bra on for low-impact workouts, but our reviewers unanimously agreed that they preferred it for all-day wear, and tested it while partaking in activities ranging from lounging and running errands to Zooming from home and traveling across the country.
The Paloma is a full-coverage, wireless bra with a longer design than most we tested, with the built-in support band landing mid-torso. It also has a flattering scoop neck and thick racerback straps that evenly distribute the weight of the chest without any digging or pinching.
One Underscored editor likened this bra’s snug, supportive fit to a “nice hug on my chest.” The soft material (made from recycled plastic bottles and spandex) clings to the body, supporting your breasts in a way that is compressive and gentle all at once, with zero riding up — even after a full 10 hours of wear.
The Paloma may not work for everyone, however. The bra is available in sizes XS through 6XL, and while our reviewers with smaller chests (34B and 34C) found the bra’s size and fit to be perfect, our reviewer with a bigger cup size (32H) struggled with the fit — the medium smashed her breasts, but sizing up would have resulted in the band being too large.
How to choose a sports bra
The four bras we recommend can cover all your workout needs. From a zippered workhorse that can handle anything to a supportive and adjustable running bra, a skimpier yoga option and a cozy, wear-all-day essential. But what do you need to know before you choose the sports bra that’s best for you?
No matter what size your breasts are, they need proper support when you exercise. Though your chest has pectoral muscles, none of those reside in or support your breasts. Which means you’re going to need some help if you want to stave off the forces of gravity while you move.
First, finding your correct size is key. You can measure around your chest to find the band size, then measure around the largest part of your bust for cup size. Next, you’ll want to consider the type of exercise you’ll be using it for: low impact for things like strength training, yoga, Pilates and walking; medium impact for activities like spinning, skiing or boxing; or high impact for exercise like running, HIIT and Zumba.
Finally, you’ll choose between the three different styles of sports bras. Compression bras restrict breast movement by compressing them against your chest, while encapsulation bras use individual cups to lift breasts, keeping them separate. A combination compression/encapsulation bra offers extra support with a combination of techniques — mainly for larger cup sizes.