The best sports bras combine the perfect balance of support and comfort, so much so you'll want to wear one both in and outside the gym. An important decision, picking a bra that offers the right amount of support is as important as getting the right running shoes for your feet.
Thankfully, most activewear retailers know this, and offer a variety of styles and support to cover any and every kind of exercise. When it comes to choosing the best sports bra, there is no one size fits all approach. Every woman is different and the bra you need will depend heavily on your size, the level of support you need and the activity you are doing.
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The best sports bra: What to consider?
It might sound obvious, but the first thing you need to think about when picking the best sports bra is your choice of exercise. If you are doing high intensity workouts, you’ll need a design with high support. If pilates and yoga are more your thing, compressed sports bras (those which support each breast individually) are great for allowing maximum comfort and flexibility. You can also find designs suited to lower impact sports, such as cycling, too.
Material is also a big consideration. Being tight to your skin, the material of your chosen sports bra should be soft and not irritate, and actively absorb moisture and sweat to help you keep cool and dry (as possible) during a workout.
Finally, and most important, is to make sure whichever sports bra you choose fits properly, which ideally means a slightly tighter than your everyday bra to help minimise movement – the less bounce, the less likely you are to stretch your cooper's ligaments (breast supportive tissues that stops sagging) and suffer from back and breast pain.
The best sports bra overall
The best sports bra right now overall is the Under Armour Infinity Bra. A whole lot of science, testing and insights from a breast health expert went into creating the design – something that becomes abundantly clear when you wear it (more below). The Infinity bra is available in both low and high support variations, and, as the best sports bras go, is one of the more affordable.
Read on for more of the best sports bras for an enjoyable and pain-free workout.
The Under Armour Infinity sports bra is pretty special. To look at, it's just another nice looking piece of gym kit, but there's so much more to this bra than meets the eye. Under Armour worked worked alongside breast health expert Dr Joanna Scurr at the University of Plymouth to create a unique sports bra design – and between them they've done just that.
The cups have been injected with liquid foam for a more natural shape that moves with a woman’s breasts. The idea being that the flexible cups can offset impact and mould naturally to the female’s body. The liquid foam follows an infinity shape, the shape breasts actually move when jumping and running, therefore providing a highly accurate level of support.
The design of this thing is all very impressive, but does it actually work? The short answer is yes. The design is super light, so much so it feels like a second skin, and is tight enough that you feel adequately supported without feeling even remotely uncomfortable. The foam cups are reminiscent of wetsuit type material, which works wonders for absorbing sweat, and the design is super stylish and flattering. Hands down, the best sports bra around right now. For larger bust sizes, check out the Infinity High Sports bra version.
For high impact exercise, the best sports bra you can pick up is Shock Absorber's Ultimate Run bra. We'd say Shock Absorber is the outright winner when it comes to those with bigger boobs. There's no relying on stretch here: all this brand's bras are carefully constructed to make sure everything is completely strapped down. It's basically scaffolding for your chest.
The king of the range is the Ultimate Run bra, with a double-clasped racer back design that distributes the weight to ensure incredible support without putting unnecessary strain on your shoulders. Unlike many sports bras, it's sized by band as well as cup size, which means you can get a snug fit whatever shape you are (note, we found the band sizing a bit small). Yes, it does require some arm gymnastics to get into, and yes, there are prettier designs on the market, but if you've got a larger chest, there's no better sports bra than this.
If you're a fan of high intensity exercise, the Ultimate Bra from Adidas is an excellent choice. The high support design is one of the very few sports bras currently available with a front zip fastening, which we have to admit was a very welcome feature at the end of a workout (no more trying to peel off sweaty undergarments – hurrah!).
That said, getting it on was slightly more tricky. To get the support you need requires a snug fit, and so pulling the bra together while trying to do zip up was actually a bit fiddly. However once on (with a bit of a squeeze), there was an undeniable feeling of super support.
The material is made with recycled polyester to save resources and decrease emissions, which you'd be forgiven for expecting it not to be the comfiest. But in actual fact, the material is silky smooth, soft and ever so comfortable to wear. One of the more expensive sports bra on the list, but if you're a regular to HIIT, Crossfit or other high impact exercise, it's well worth the investment.
When it comes to comfort, the GapFit Eclipse sports bra is a top choice. The super-soft fabric is breathable and feels lovely against your skin, and its three-strap design allows for added ventilation across the shoulders and back. It's a sports bra that's not only comfortable enough to wear in and out of the gym, but it looks great too.
The GapFit Eclipse is not adjustable in any way, so it's important to get the right fit when purchasing. The lack of adjustment also means this is not the best sports bra choice for high impact exercise, with less in the way of support for bounce when running and jumping. But for low impact sports, such as yoga and pilates, the GapFit Eclipse is a solid, not to mention very affordable, option.
If you're a regular gym go-er, you'll almost certainly have heard the name Lululemon. And if so, you'll also probably know it's not exactly the cheapest gym kit around. While there's an argument that you can get sports bras cheaper, there is absolutely no doubt the quality of Lululemon's gear makes this one of the best sports bras money can buy.
Lululemon gym wear might be above average in price, but so is the quality of its products – you get what you pay for, right? And this All Stash sports bra is no exception. At £58, it's the most expensive item on this list, but add up the amount of years this quality item will no doubt last you, and it's actually a bargain.
Lululemon has a some of the best sports bras around, with this Stash It All bra being a particularly fine example. The design features an integrated, streamlined front pocket that's held in place at the centre for a secure fit. We certainly not suggesting you keep your phone in there for safe keeping while you go for a run, but it's a great place to, er, stash a door key for when you head out on a run. The front pocket is a nice little extra touch on a superior quality, lovely-looking sports bra.
Under Armour really is pulling out all the stops when it comes to creating the best sports bras right now. This Rush Jaquard design looks more like it belongs in a fashion show than in the gym, the only difference is this is probably way more comfortable than something you'd find on the catwalk.
The design is beautiful and the function just as impressive. Tailored for medium-support activities such as cycling, weight training and boxing, this quality sports bra has thick, adjustable straps to minimise movement and bounce, and has a small triangular window on the back for added ventilation. The back also features a bra-like hook to ensure a great fit and adequate support. The best sports bras offer style and substance, and the Under Armour Rush Jaquard has both in abundance.