After 12 hours of research evaluating 110 products, we picked Panache Women's Underwire Sports Bra as our top choice.
According to Women’s Running, one in three women don’t work out as hard as they could because they aren’t properly supported with a high impact sports bra. That’s why buying high-quality sports bras and underwear for working out is incredibly important.
There were a lot of bras to sift through as we tried to find the very best sports bras. But to be honest? Most of them didn’t live up to the test. You need performance, support, breathability, and most importantly, comfort.
Regardless of what sort of physical activity you’re into, you need the right kind of sports bra to hold you in place. Whatever type of sports bra you need, we’ve covered all the bases so you can stay focused on getting healthy and into shape.
This vibrantly colored sports bra is more than just something cute to wear under your workout clothes. Nope, it also works well for the woman who wants a comfortable, wireless bra that’s comfortable and supportive for low to medium impact workouts.
Some A-cup wearers say this bra feels too restrictive for them.
Size: Best for A to C cups if you don’t mind the extra compression.
Performance: This is best for low to medium impact workouts.
Comfort: Athleta tends to make workout clothes that not only hold up well during performance, but that feel great too. Since this one has back cutouts and mesh lining, it also gives wearers a more breathable and cooling experience while exercising.
Support: There are some women who say that there’s too much compression with this bra, but that can probably be adjusted if you remove the padding in the cups.
Price: This is a surprisingly affordable sports bra, considering it comes from Athleta, a premium athletic clothing brand.
If you’re looking for a low impact bra to get you through a hot and steamy yoga workout (or some other non-bouncy activity), say hello to the Natori Performance Sport. Customers love the light-feeling and cooling properties of this fabric as well as the light support and compression that keep everything held in.
Because there is no padding, there’s quite a bit of nipple show-through when things get cold.
Size: Comes in sizes B through DD, but is probably best for the smaller end of the spectrum.
Performance: This is strictly low impact. Do not use this if you’re planning to do any cycling, running, boxing, etc.
Comfort: This bra is incredibly comfortable, not just because of the soft and thin fabric lining, but because of the Coolmax polyester.
Support: While customers do claim that this bra is supportive and provides a good amount of compression, it isn’t supportive enough to do any sort of strenuous activity in.
Price: Some reviewers think the price is too high on this bra, but you get what you pay for when you buy Natori.
If you’ve ever felt hindered by your sports bra, the Enlite Bra by Lululemon is the answer to your prayers. This revolutionary bra provides comfort, movement management, and a natural shape. Plus, it’s from Lululemon, so you know the quality cannot be beat.
While we’re not super crazy about the high scoop neck design, this bra is so comfortable and supportive we’re just gonna let that go.
Size: Available in sizes 32B through 38E, the Enlite bra is designed for anyone on the move looking for a high-impact sports bra.
Performance: Perfect for high-impact exercises like running and aerobics, but also great for lower-impact exercised like Pilates and yoga. The stitch-free hook-and-eye closure lays flat against the skin and the back closure is fully adjustable for a customized fit.
Comfort: Rather than weighing you down like the traditional high-impact sports bra, the Enlite feels light against your skin--providing adequate support without being overly constricting. Additionally, the Ultralu fabric is soft, smooth, and pulls moisture away from the skin so the bra feels equally as comfortable before, during, and after each workout.
Support: Lightweight, breathable built-in cups are engineered to soften bounce, and the bonded underband keeps the bra firmly in place without digging in or riding up.
Price: While the original price of $98 is slightly outrageous, the sale price of $39-$59 is super reasonable for a comfortable, stylish, supportive sports bra perfect for any size and activity.
Back in 2012, the Champion Shape T-Back Sports Bra won the “Undie” award for Favorite Sports Bra (Average Figure). One of the reasons it won? Because of how well it keeps everything in place while fighting the dreaded uniboob and giving ladies a nice shape.
No major issues noted.
Size: Comes in A to C cups.
Performance: For women with smaller cup sizes, this is a fantastic high impact sports bra.
Comfort: This bra is known for its ability to keep your breasts in place—and separated.
Support: Champion touts this bra for its “encapsulation” and “compression” properties, and customers seem to agree that if you need that extra support, you’re going to get it here.
Price: This is a really good price for a sports bra, probably because it’s been around for a while.
The Under Armour Mid Crossback Bra is our pick for best medium-impact bra and it’s because its ergonomic details enhance your shape while adding an extra edge. Reviewers agree that it’s a fantastic pick for those low to medium workouts that you want to feel comfortable and supported throughout.
For anyone who needs to order using a specific cup size (usually larger chested gals), this might be a tough one to find the right sizing for online.
Size: Comes in XS to XXL. Unfortunately, these only correspond with the chest band size and not your cup size, so it might be hard to get a good fit if your specifications don’t fall in line with the “average” user.
Performance: This bra is great for low to medium impact workouts…you can do just about anything in this bra including cycling, weight training, and boxing.
Comfort: This sports bra has fabric that’s super soft, moisture wicking, and quick drying. The soft, breathable cups provide extra structure and coverage, while the super supportive cross back straps move with you while still staying put. It is the epitome of comfort and not something typically found in a sports bra.
Support: Despite being so lightweight, this bra does still offer a good amount of support. If you’re looking for solid compression, however, this is not necessarily the bra for you.
Price: Pricing depends on the color and size, so it could either end up being the cheapest bra on this list or simply just average in price.
Of all the complaints we’ve seen women make online about sports bras, the majority of them have to do with the fit. That’s not going to be an issue with this Champion sports bra that provides a great fit, good amount of support, and comfortable padded straps.
Some customers who purchased the DD or DDD bras said that their breasts bounced around too much when wearing this.
Size: Comes in C to DDD, but is probably best for C and D due to compression issues with the larger sizes.
Performance: This is a medium impact bra, so you can do weight training, cycling, and other somewhat stationary exercises that require a little more support and compression than something like mat work.
Comfort: Because these bras provide such a great fit and come with smooth seams as well as padded straps, comfort is not going to be a concern.
Support: In terms of impact, you’re really only looking at an intermediate amount of support here. That doesn’t mean you won’t feel supported, but it does mean that compression may be lacking somewhat.
Price: Champion bras usually tend to be on the cheaper side, and this one is no different.
One of the most popular styles brought to you by Brooks, the Fiona adjusts in front and back for custom fit and comfortable support thanks to molded cups with a hint of stretch.
Keep in mind that this is a medium-intensity support bra, so if you’re looking for something to wear to HIIT activities this is not the bra for you. Additionally, the band runs smaller than most brands, so make sure to order a size or two up.
Size: Ideally for our full chested ladies that wear size D cup or larger.
Performance: Encapsulation and compression with medium-impact support; ideal for long-distance running, weight training, and other cardio. As an added bonus, it comes in a variety of stylish colors.
Comfort: The adjustable straps and back closure provide a custom fit for lasting comfort. Additionally, the trimmer size of the straps and the open back provides for a more comfortable fit under leotards as well as other fitted workout wear.
Support: Provides comfortable support with molded cups and moderate stretch for a natural-looking shape ideal for medium-impact activities.
Price: Between $30 and $50 for a medium-impact bra is a reasonable price to pay, especially for a bra designed for anyone D cup or larger.
Panache Women’s Underwire is the ultimate sports bra designed for all you full busted ladies out there. It provides both comfort and maximum support to reduce bounce by 83% while fitting like a normal bra.
No question this bra will live up to performance and comfort expectations, but the quality of the material leaves something to be desired.
Size: Ideal for fuller figured ladies ranging from D to J cups.
Performance: The wired design of this bra cups each breast individually, which provides adequate support needed for every sport or activity. Plus, the racer back option provides more freedom of movement for running and HIIT workouts. Also available in a variety of colors and patterns.
Comfort: The Panache Women’s Underwire is created with lightweight microfiber fabric that wicks away moisture from the skin, while the breathable mesh panels keep everything feeling fresh and airy. The smooth molded inner cups reduce friction and improve comfort by encapsulating breasts rather than compressing. Additionally, the flat seams fit perfectly under even the most form fitting of sportswear and the underwire is wrapped in silicon and sewn between fabric layers for comfortable support.
Support: Repetitive bouncing can stress, stretch, and damage the connective tissue that maintains the shape of your breasts, but, by encapsulating each breast individually, the Panache Sports Bra provides the support necessary to reduce movement in all directions. As an added bonus, the wide padded straps help to distribute weight comfortably and the underband anchors the bra to the body for comfort and support.
Price: Depending on your size, you can snag this bra for anywhere between $30 and $80. While not cheap, the price could be worse for a bra that provides unbeatable support for busty ladies.
Why should you wear a sports bra?
Sports bras aren't a "one type fits all" item of clothing. You'd be amazed by how many different types of sports bras there are:
Racerback – These are designed to reduce shoulder pressure, providing good support for heavier breasts while running, rowing, and training the upper body.
Compression – These bras press the breasts close to your body, keeping everything firmly in place. For maximum support and minimum bounce, these are your top choice.
Encapsulation – These have a defined cup for each breast, enhancing your feminine shape while ensuring maximum support. Great for looking good at the gym!
Padded – For those who want to stay modest in cold environments, the extra padding built into these will prevent your nipples from showing through your shirt. And the padding will give you a little extra volume in the bust.
Front Fastening – If you're looking for comfort and user-friendliness, these easy-on/off bras are just what you need. They're also good for post-surgery comfort when mobility is limited.
Underwired – These offer extra support for heavier/bigger breasts, but without the pressure of a regular bra. These are made of the same soft, comfy material of non-wired sports bras, and enhance bust support.
Non-wired – These are ideal for sensitive breasts (usually smaller or developing). They provide some support without restricting movement or cutting into sensitive skin.
High impact – These are designed for high-impact activities: CrossFit, HIIT training, running, horseback riding, snowboarding, etc. They are usually made sans underwire, but ensure your breasts stay firmly in place through the high-impact exercise.
Plus-size – These are designed not for plus-sized women, but for plus-sized breasts (beyond a G-cup).
Low impact – For sports activities like Yoga or walking that don't involve high impact, these sports bras are ideal. They're super-comfy, provide good padding, support, and comfort, and will often be an added stylistic element.
Mastectomy Sports Bra – These are designed to be worn post-mastectomy, providing comfort and control during recovery.
How can you tell you're wearing the wrong sports bra? Here are a few simple things to notice:
Buying a sports bra is a surprisingly challenging activity! With so many styles to choose from, each with their own unique features, you may have no idea how to buy a sports bra.
Here is the fail proof way to know you are walking out of any store with the perfect sports bra:
Step 1: Determine the sizes. Obviously you need to think about bra cup sizes, but the band size also matters. Without a shirt or bra on, run a measuring tape around your back, measuring just above your breasts. The tape should be pulled tight enough to be accurate, but not so tight it squeezes anything. Seeing as the band does most of the support work, it's vital to get the band size right.
Next comes bust size. Wrap the tape measure around the fullest point of your breasts. Always round that number up to the nearest inch. Depending on the size of your cup, you'll find this number is anywhere from 1 to 4 inches higher than your band size.
The formula for cup size is: Bust size – band size = cup size. So, for example, a 3" difference between your band and bust size would be a C or D cup, while a 1" difference would be an A or B cup.
For A and B cups, you'll want to find a bra that offers protection and a snug fit, without too much compression. Padding may also be a bonus.
For C cups, coverage is vital. You'll also want to think about supporting your breasts without compressing them too tightly.
For D cups, support is definitely what matters most, and compression can help keep everything firmly in place as you move around.
Step 2: Consider the required support. Bras come in different impact types, from high to medium to low impact. The higher the impact, the more support provided.
Think about what type of exercise you're going to do:
Women with larger breasts may need to use a high-impact bra for medium or low-impact activities, while women with smaller breasts will be able to perform more activities with low impact bras.
Step 3: Think about compression and encapsulation. Compression refers to the amount of pressure on your breasts. Encapsulation refers to the individual support offered by the bra, enhancing the feminine curves of your bust.
Compression bras are good for those with larger breasts, as well as anyone doing high-intensity exercise. Encapsulation bras are more stylish, but they offer good individual support for large-chested women. You can find bras that offer both compression and encapsulation.
Step 4: Consider the features. Bras come with a wide range of features to consider, including:
Step 5: Test the darned thing. This is the important final step in buying a bra! You have to test it out to determine whether or not it fits, if it's too tight/loose, or if it offers good support.
To test the bra:
Sports bras are more durable than regular bras, but they still require delicate care to keep them in good condition. To ensure your sports bra lasts:
Hand wash only. Wash with warm water, and don't scrub too hard. Washing the sports bra in the machine will speed up the wear and tear, meaning you'll have to replace the bra soon. If you're going to dry it in the machine, run it on the cold cycle.
Have a few bra choices. Don't just have one sports bra you use for everything. Buy 6 to 10, so you can switch between them. This will extend the lifespan of your bras and help you get the most out of them.
Use the right bras for your activity. This is VERY important especially for women with larger breasts. You need to find the right bra compression/support/fit/impact according to the exercise you're going to be doing.
Replace regularly. Your sports bras have an average lifespan of 6 to 15 months, depending on regular use and care. Once the bra starts showing signs of wear, replace it!