Best women’s sports bras

For female runners, choosing the right sports bra is comparable to getting the right running shoes – if it’s comfortable and it fits right, you’ll run better. A good sports bra for running might feel tight in the changing room, but keeping your chest secure and reducing bounce helps alleviate back and breast pain. A good sports bra will protect your cooper’s ligaments, which stop your breasts from sagging.But how should a sports bra fit and how can you ensure you find the best one for you? To make things easier, we’ve explained everything you need to know about running bras below and rounded up the best sports bras for running on the market – tried and tested in the Runner’s World lab and by our editors.

Best women’s sports bras

If you’ve never worn a sports bra before, start with your usual bra size. It should fit snugly, without being so tight that you can’t breathe. Adjust the strap and ensure that the back band is at the same level all the way round your body – if the back band rides up, the bra is too big. You should be able to get no more than one finger under the band, and the material shouldn’t pucker.

As with shoes, sizes and measurements vary across brands, so it’s a good idea to try a few and find the one that fits you best. Find more information on how your sports bra should fit, how often you need to change it and why your sports bra is chafing in our guide.

How we test
Runner’s World Expert Tested
We tested 53 sports bras from the best brands on the market – both on the road and in the Runner’s World lab. Our panel of over 50 women – aged between 18 to 55 and with bra sizes ranging from an A to a K cup – each put three bras through their paces, trying them out on the road and in 16 other activities, collectively.

Adidas FastImpact Luxe Run High-Support Bra

Whether you’re running, lifting weights or tackling burpees, there’s no activity too vigorous for our winning sports bra. It proved highly effective at eliminating bounce, keeping testers’ boobs locked firmly in place as they put in the work. Despite the high level of compression, the smooth, sweat-wicking fabric also kept them cool and comfortable all workout long.

Stellar performance aside, the innovative design is what makes this bra really stand out. Instead of a bog-standard hook-eye closure at the back, it has swan hooks around the chest and adjustable shoulder straps at the front so you can scale up the support easily. The fastening system is a tad fiddly to begin with, but you’ll get there after a couple of wears. Overall, a seriously impressive bit of kit.

Note: the sizing runs small, so it’s worth sizing up for maximum comfort.

M&S Goodmove Extra High Impact Serious Sports Bra

M&S might not be the first brand that springs to mind when you think of sports bras, but this high-impact number was a big hit with our panel. The support comes from an underwire that keeps your breasts in place as you pound the pavement, and the moisture-wicking fabric ensures you stay cool and dry, even on lengthier runs. The straps are adjustable, which is handy, and the classic bra fastening makes it easy to get on and off.Testers reported the sizing was hit and miss, so we’d recommend trying before you buy. When the fit is right though, this bra is a dream to run in and, best of all, it comes in at under £30. Affordable activewear at its finest.

Royce Aerocool Sports Bra

If you wear cup sizes G to K, it’s likely that finding a well-fitting compression bra is a bit of a challenge. This is a supportive solution that helped testers go the extra mile with no discomfort. The adjustable straps can be worn normally or as a racerback – although the clip’s a little fiddly. The sports bra comes up small, so sizing up is recommended but overall this is well-designed and looks good, too.

Panache Wired Sports Bra

This underwired bra is designed to keep large breasts tamed during exercise, and it doesn’t disappoint. According to our testers, it’s extremely supportive thanks to separate moulded cups and wide straps that convert between straight and racerback styles.

If you’re concerned about the underwire digging in or poking you mid-run, you needn’t worry. Our runners confirmed the bra was a delight to wear, with one saying: ‘I felt comfortable after running for over two hours.’ They also rated it highly for sweat wicking and said the soft fabric was breathable and didn’t cling to the skin unpleasantly.

The only downside is that the bra needs to be washed by hand, which could be irritating if you’re running most days.

Brooks Drive Convertible Run Bra

Get set with this lightweight offering that’s made just for running. Brooks’ unique technical fabric feels luxe and supportive to wear while the easy-to-access adjustable straps and racerback clasp make it simple to fit this compression bra how you like it. There are no built-in cups but the bra feels secure as you run, especially for our testers with smaller boobs. We’d give it extra points for the attractive design.

Sports bras have certainly come a long way since Lisa Lindahl invented the first one back in 1977 by fashioning together two jock straps. Throughout the last few years, big brands like Reebok, Brooks, and Lululemon, as well as smaller labels like Knix and Maaree, have dedicated themselves to making even better high-impact sports bras a top priority. From creative construction and technology that cuts back on bounce to designs that keeps you comfy (no more too-tight-to-move constriction!), they’ve found some seriously innovative ways to make it happen.

“It’s interesting, because if you think about the bra and history of the bra, for a long time, there hadn’t been any real innovation in the way companies constructed them,” says Barbara Ebersberger, Reebok’s vice president of performance apparel. “It’s always the same principle: The idea that, in order to create a higher-support sports bra, you need to create more layers, with additional bindings and additional hardware.”

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