The best sports bras for running, yoga, and more
Shopping for a sports bra can be a truly unpleasant and frustrating experience. If you have a larger cup size, you can comb through several websites and stores and still not find a supportive sports bra that does what you need it to during high-impact workouts like running or HIIT. If you have a smaller chest, some bras are just plain uncomfortable or don't provide enough coverage in general -- two things you don't want if you're depending on your sports bra to hold up through Pilates class or yoga.
It gets even worse the more your body doesn't conform to industry-defined standards -- which makes knowing what to look for in a sports bra and finding the perfect fit all the more complicated.
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What to look for in a sports bra
What you should look for in a sports bra depends on two key factors: your bra size and what you will be doing in the bra.
For example, if you need a sports bra for running or a high impact sport, chances are you need more support than a regular bra. But that same bra may not feel as comfortable in a yoga class (and you may not need the same level of extra support). You also want to consider fabric.
If you're going to be sweating a lot, you might want an athletic bra made from moisture wicking fabric and a mesh panel or two. If your workout is more low-key, that won't be as critical. You can also opt for a bra with removable cups if you're not sure how much support you're going to need from workout to workout.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when shopping for a sports bra. Support: Do you need high, low, or medium support? High-impact activities warrant more support for better comfort, but depending on your personal cup size and preference, you may feel better with more support no matter what workout you do.
Typically, higher-support bras will have molded cups, a wider band and adjustable straps to help you get a better fit. There might even be an underwire bra that you can use as a workout bra. Straps: For a more custom fit, look for bras that have adjustable straps.
If you are worried about strap slippage and don't want to wear a workout bra with adjustable straps, consider a racerback bra. Racerback styles can also hold up better if you can't find a fully adjustable strap. Fit: Fit goes beyond band size.
Some sports bras have a more compressive fit, while others move more with your body. If you don't want a compression bra, look for bras that say "low-impact" or "yoga bras." These will give you minimal support, but still provide some coverage.
How we chose these sports bras
We (Mercey and Amanda) have been shopping for sports bras for various workouts for years. We're both avid fitness fanatics and between the two of us, we've tried just about every type of workout -- spin class, CrossFit, long-distance running, dance cardio, HIIT, yoga, Pilates, hiking -- just to name a few.
We used our personal experiences with trying so many sports bras out there to highlight some of the ones that perform the best and stood out to us over the years. With that in mind, we are both on the smaller-chested side, so we can't speak for all body types and sizes. But these are the best sports bras and styles we've found that work for us in the hope that you can find the right sports bra that works for you, too.