Sports crop top bra

A reliable sports bra keeps you comfortable and supported during a workout, but a yogi may not need the same kind as a Zumba instructor. So to find the best sports bras for a range of activities and intensities, we spoke to 27 fitness experts, including runners, yogis, dancers, movement trainers, cyclists, and boot-camp trainers. (If you’re looking for something to wear with any of them, see our list of the best leggings for women. And if you don’t want to scroll through all the options, you can click any of the links below to jump straight to the sports bra that sounds right for you.)

Sports crop top bra

Size range: We wanted to include sports bras in a wide selection of cups and bands. Athena Kasvikis, the founder of Behave Bras, recommends buying multiple styles in multiple sizes when you’re first trying out any bra from a new brand. “All brands size their products differently, so while that isn’t awesome for consumers, it is a reality that you can compensate for by trying on multiple sizes at home,” she says. But in general, you can look for something that fits your standard bra size.

Material: The material of your sports bra can make or break your workout. It’s best to wear something breathable and lightweight, like nylon, polyester, or Lycra. That way, it’ll wick away moisture while providing the right amount of support. Mesh panels or cutouts are perfect for ventilation, giving added airflow so you won’t overheat. We note the material makeup of each bra so you can pick the one that’s right for you.

Bra Style: Depending on the intensity of the workout, compression or encapsulation is a necessary sports-bra feature. Most cup sizes need a bra that will fit snugly against the chest to prevent movement — i.e., it needs to pass the no-bounce test. Compression keeps large breasts in place during low-intensity workouts, while encapsulation will support each breast individually (think of an everyday bra) during high-impact activities like running. Kasvikis recommends finding a style that works for your breast shape. “Smaller breasts may do better with compression,” she says, “and those with larger breasts should consider encapsulation sports bras.” But if you’re looking for the best of both, try a hybrid sports bra. This style pushes down, securing breasts in molded cups to prevent movement and underboob chafing.

Recycled polyester and spandex | Compression with built-in support band

A favorite among Strategist readers as well as our experts, Girlfriend Collective’s Paloma bra is our pick for most bodies. The compression fabric is made from recycled water bottles, and the racerback design’s built-in support band makes this bra suitable for just about any activity. Lauren Roxborough, former head of marketing for hot-yoga studio Y7, says the bra is her favorite for an active, sweaty class. Natalie Holloway, co-founder of Bala (maker of our favorite wrist weights), likewise relies on hers for intense workouts and lifts weights in them, too. “They are not restrictive in your movement and show no-to-little sweat, especially when you wear the black,” she says. If black is too boring for you, there are ten colors to choose from. It’s also surprisingly stylish beyond the gym. Brodie Lancaster, a longtime remote worker, wears it for WFH, saying it stays put, is structural, and supports her chest without becoming uncomfortable. “If anything,” she says, “it encourages me to sit up straighter, for which my osteopath is grateful.” Girlfriend Collective is known for being size inclusive, and this bra is no exception: It goes up to a size 6XL, which can accommodate a DDD and a 50-inch band.

Old Navy PowerSoft Racerback


XS–XXL | Polyester and spandex | Compression with removable pads

If you’re a heavy sweater, Spiked Spin instructor Stacy Maharaj recommends Old Navy’s racerback sports bra. “It’s great for support and absorbency, and it’s very fashionable,” she says. “Not a bad price point, either.” Depending on which color you fancy, this bra will run you only around $15, though we think its (almost) seamless design makes it look much more high-end and expensive. It’s moisture wicking and offers light compression for a comfortable level of support. “It’s all-around great for high-intensity workouts and training,” Maharaj says. (Plus, you get the Girlfriend Collective look for less.)

Outdoor Voices Doing Things Bra



XXS–XXXL | Nylon, Lycra, and polyester | Compression with mesh racerback

Candace Taylor, the chief inspiration officer at 305 Fitness, says she’s a fan of the sports bras from Outdoor Voices since there are a “variety of coverage and support options.” Our writers and editors at the Strategist feel the same way. Although we’ve written about many of the brand’s sports bras and crops before (like the Move Free Crop Top, editor Jenna Milliner-Waddell’s go-to workout and WFH top), the Doing Things Bra is the best for medium-intensity workouts like cycling, using an elliptical, or other activities that call for moderate support and coverage. Taylor’s favorite sports bra is this one because it’s made with Outdoor Voices’ light, breathable TechSweat fabric and has a comfortable honeycomb-mesh racerback, which is a good option for athletes who run hot. It’s offered in cup sizes AA to D, making it one of the most size-inclusive options on this list.

Lululemon Energy Bra High Support, B–DDD Cups


Cup sizes B–DDD | Nylon and elastane | Hybrid with adjustable cross-back straps

Lululemon is another brand we regularly recommend here at the Strategist. We’ve sorted through dozens of its sports bras (and other stretchy offerings), but this one is ideal for high-impact activities because of its molded foam cups, which add shape and separation to eliminate any jiggle-jiggle. This bra is also liked by Dominique Coleman, another Spiked Spin team member, and Alexa Javens, a fitness manager and coach at the Williamsburg workout studio Session. “It’s great for all activities but especially training and running,” Javens says. As someone who wears a C or D cup, she feels more supported in a bra for high-impact sports and says that even though this one has a hybrid design, it’s still comfortable. It’s made from quick-drying fabric, and “most Lululemon bras are already pretty sweat-wicking,” she adds, though she still sticks to black or navy to avoid showing any sweat stains.

If you prefer a longline design, the Energy bra comes in that style, too. Fitness coach Hollis Tuttle says that when doing any kind of high-impact workout, she opts for the Energy Longline bra. “I don’t often wear shirts while working out, and I like the bit of extra coverage this bra provides — I feel less naked but still stay cool in the middle,” she says.

Panache Medium-Control Wire-Free Bra


Cup sizes B–J | Polyamide, polyester, and elastane | Encapsulation with three-row hook-and-eye closure

Kasvikis’s company makes wireless bras for bigger breasts, so she’s well aware of brands that make good big-boob-friendly sports bras. Panache is one of them. Its sports bras are sized like regular bras and come in 28-to-40-inch bands and B-to-J cups. Kasvikis says this sizing is more helpful than mono-size bras when you’re trying to find the right fit. “S, M, and L are sizes that may be too broad and too ambiguous to fit both your cup and band well,” she says. “You’re going to need the cup and the band to fit well to feel comfy in a sports bra.” This Panache bra is designed to encapsulate instead of compress, which means there are individual cups for each breast to fill instead of being squashed down; Kasvikis, who wears size 32GG, says that works well for larger chests. “It’s great because you still have two boobs under a shirt,” she says. The straps are padded, and thanks to the uniquely curved stitching, the bra has enough lift to give a great shape without wires.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *