- Sweaty Betty/Business Insider
- Finding a sports bra that looks good, fits well, and gives you enough support for your workout is really hard.
- We’ve done the heavy lifting to find the best sports bras for every size and budget.
- Sweaty Betty and Zensah make the best sports bras for A to B cups, Brooks and Champion make the best sports bras for C to D cups, while Panache and Syrokan make the best sports bras for DD cups and up.
- See also: The best workout clothes for women
The first prototype of today’s modern sports bra was invented over 40 years ago in 1977. Not so surprisingly, traditional lingerie bras just weren’t cutting it on runs, so two women named Lisa Lindahl and Polly Smith took matters into their own hands. Thanks to them, we’ve come a long way from the “jockbra” and now there is an overwhelming number of styles and sizes of sports bras to choose from.
Besides your running shoes, as a woman, your sports bra is the other most important – and personal – piece of workout gear that you shouldn’t do without. It keeps your chest supported during your workout, minimizing any bounce and jiggle. This is important because while your breasts don’t have any muscle, the skin and ligaments that give them their shape can stretch over time without proper support.
With so many styles and sizes to choose from, you’re bound to find your perfect fit so you can run happy and bounce free. Below are some important factors to consider when it comes to finding your perfect bra.
There’s plenty to think about when searching for the perfect sports bra to add to your running wardrobe, but we’ve done the testing and read the reviews to find you well-performing sports bras for every size.
Here are the best sports bras you can buy:
- Best sports bra for A/B cups: Sweaty Betty Stamina Workout Bra
- Best sports bra for C/D cups: Brooks Rebound Racer bra
- Best sports bra for DD+ cups: Panache Women’s Underwire sports bra
- Best budget sports bra for A/B cups: Zensah Seamless sports bra
- Best budget sports bra for C/D cups: Champion Spot Comfort sports bra
- Best budget sports bra for DD+ cups: Syrokan Front Adjustable sports bra
Updated on 10/29/2019 by Mara Leighton: Updated prices and formatting. We are currently testing new products, so we’ll update this guide soon.
The best sports bra for sizes A/B
- Sweaty Betty
The supportive under band, wide straps, and waffle detailing for extra ventilation make the Sweaty Betty Stamina workout bra an all-around winner when it comes to support and performance.
Just because you’re petite on top doesn’t mean you should go without a sports bra. Everyone needs support, no matter their size. While you may not need a high impact bra with extra padding and underwire, a medium impact compression style bra that helps restrict any extra movement is always a good idea.
With a compression style bra, the band and material are especially important, as these are the things that will provide you with the comfort and support you’ll need. The Sweaty Betty Stamina delivers in both departments, with a wide under band and sweat-wicking, seamless fabric.
The wider band makes this an ideal bra for high impact sports like running, and if you cross train on the days you aren’t running, it will do double duty. It’s comfortable enough for other types of workouts like spinning and yoga. Workout gear isn’t always cheap, so versatility is a great thing to have, giving you the most value for your money.
The Sweaty Betty Stamina is on the more expensive side, but its multi-use functionality does help justify the price, as do its features. The seamless design adds comfort and reduces chafing on longer runs, and the strategically placed waffling in the fabric provides extra ventilation where you’ll need it most. The wide straps won’t dig into your shoulders, and the tight-knit fabric and added elastane give this bra a soft, yet supportive feel.
The Stamina comes in 14 different colors. It’s available in sizes Small, Medium, Large, and XL instead of cup sizes, so you’ll want to refer to the bra guide to find your perfect fit. Some buyers do wish that an extra small was offered, but otherwise found the Stamina comfortable, and like that it washes well.
According to the product description, it will give medium support up to a C cup, but for adequate running support, most reviewers with up to a B cup felt that it provided them with the support they needed for higher impact workouts. Those with larger busts loved the comfort of this bra, but don’t recommend it for running.
If you’re looking for a sports bra that can take you from the road, to the yoga mat, and then go the extra mile with you on your weekly errand running, this is the “must have” that can help you do it all in comfort.
Pros: Wide under band for support, seamless design, wide straps for added comfort, waffled fabric detailing for extra ventilation, washes well, multiple colors to choose from
Cons: Expensive, some reviewers wished it came in extra small
The best budget-friendly sports bra for sizes A/B
The Zensah Seamless is a no fuss, affordable sports bra that has a seamless design, making it a favorite among distance runners who want chafe-free runs.
Even some of the most well-designed sports bras will start getting uncomfortable once you’re 5 miles into a run, but this isn’t the case with the Zensah. At first glance it looks almost too simple, but for those with smaller chests looking for compression support, simplicity wins out.
There are no hooks, plastic, metal, or tags on this pullover bra, and the seamless design means nothing will be jabbing you repeatedly while you log your miles. The fabric is sweat wicking and odor resistant, so you can stay comfortable even as the temperatures rise and the sweat starts to pour.
The racerback design won’t hinder your motion, and there are plenty of fun colors patterns to choose from, making this the type of bra you could wear alone or under a top.
This bra shows up repeatedly in “best sports bras” lists, including the Runners World Best Bras of 2017. While it may look simple, the Zensah is anything but. Most of its features are knitted directly into its fabric. The wider fabric knitting in the back allows for ventilation, while the more sturdy ribbing on the sides and in the band itself offer more structured support without the use of underwire or additional padding.
The simplistic, clasp free style also lends itself well to mat workouts on the days when you’re giving your muscles a rest, so you can do your Savasana without anything digging into your back and distracting you from your state of mindfulness. If yoga isn’t your thing, the Zensah’s support also lends itself well to other high impact cardio workouts.
While the price range varies depending on the color and size you choose, most styles are available for under $30.
This bra is best suited to those requiring an A or B cup for running, but those with a C cup have also had good results while running with the Zensah.
There are few downsides to this bra, but if you’re looking for extra coverage on those cold days, be aware that the material across the chest doesn’t have any additional padding.
Pros: Seamless design, sweat wicking fabric, fabric ribbing on the sides and in the band for extra support, affordable
Cons: Not as much coverage across the chest
The best sports bra for sizes C/D
The Brooks Rebound Racer is a high impact bra that delivers support without extra padding and has adjustable straps for comfort and a customizable fit.
While Brooks is a well-known brand when it comes to reliable running shoes, the company also makes some great running apparel. The Rebound Racer bra is a perfect example. Finding a high impact sports bra that provides enough support without any padding can be a challenge, but this sports bra does just that.
I was able to test the Brooks Rebound for myself and can attest to both the comfort and support it provides on a run. While those with A and B cup sizes would be fully supported in this sports bra, its design is also fantastic for those with a little more up top.
Compression style bras don’t always provide enough support for those with C or D cups, but the molded, compressive cups keep everything in place while creating a flattering silhouette. In short, you get compression-style support without the dreaded “uni boob” effect that can sometimes occur with this style of bra.
The sweat-wicking fabric and strategically placed mesh ventilation keep you dry and comfortable. Adjustable straps, as well as an adjustable rear enclosure, add to the comfort of the Rebound Racer, provide a more customized fit, and make it easier to get it off after a long, sweaty run.
I’ve taken this bra on multiple runs without any issue. While running, I felt completely supported and didn’t notice any chafing. The adjustable straps were one of my favorite features, allowing me to find my perfect fit, and preventing the straps from cutting into my shoulders – an issue I’ve had with many other sports bras I’ve tried in the past.
I liked that the fabric used was thick enough to provide coverage with no additional padding needed, giving this bra a less cumbersome feel. It was also nice not to have to remove any padding before washing. I’ve washed the bra multiple times, and it’s held its shape completely, making it feel like new every time I put it on. I’ve never put this in the dryer, which isn’t recommended as drying will shorten the lifespan of any sports bra, but it also air dries very quickly thanks to the sweat-wicking material.
Most buyers love this bra and the support it offers. Reviewers on REI say it’s “great for C cup runners” and they “love the secure hold of this sports bra.” Another reviewer liked the fact that they didn’t have to worry about removable padding, stating it “provides support for my C/D cups without a wire or those dumb removable pads that just get banged up in the wash.”
Some reviewers did feel that the sizing was a little off, and did need to size up to find their perfect fit. It’s important to note that this is a compression style bra, so the fit will be snug, but it shouldn’t be snug enough to make you uncomfortable.
Pros: High impact support without padding, adjustable straps and rear enclosure for a customized fit, sweat wicking fabric, washes well
Cons: Some reviewers feel that the sizing runs small
The best budget-friendly sports bra for sizes C/D
With gel-cushioned straps, wire-free molded cups, and targeted ventilation, the Champion Spot Comfort sports bra provides comfort where you need it most.
A more affordable option than most, the high impact Champion Spot Comfort bra features molded cups, making it ideal for C and D cup ladies that need a little extra support, but don’t want any underwire. While compression can be an effective form of support, for those with a larger bust size, a combination of encapsulation (individual cups) and compression creates provides all-around motion control and a more flattering shape.
Instead of having a racerback design, the Spot Comfort clasps in the back and is adjustable so you can find your perfect fit. Being able to completely unclasp the bra allows for easy removal – a major plus after a sweaty run when you can easily give yourself a workout just by trying to get out of your sports bra.
Along with an adjustable rear enclosure, the straps of the Spot Comfort are also adjustable and are gel-infused, giving you freedom of motion, and preventing any shoulder chafing. Mesh paneling is placed along the top and in between the cups, giving you ventilation where you’ll need it most on your runs. The material is sweat wicking and quick drying, so you’ll stay comfortable even on summer runs.
The inside of the bra features a smooth lining for additional comfort, and the back is tag free to minimize any chances of chafing. There are plenty of color combos to choose from, so you can find the one that goes with your favorite running top. This is also a bra that looks stylish even on its own for the hot summer days when you want to ditch as many layers as possible.
The Spot Comfort goes by traditional bra sizing (band and cup size) for a more tailored fit and goes up to a DDD cup size. Some people have found the back clasp difficult to reach, and others don’t care for the stitching on the inside on the top of the bust, finding it itchy. Overall, though, the Spot Comfort is a good and affordable option.
Pros: Molded cups for additional support and more natural silhouette, adjustable gel-cushioned straps, targeted ventilation, sweat wicking material, hook and eye enclosure for easy on and off, multiple colors to choose from
Cons: Back clasp can be difficult to reach, some people found the flat stitching in the interior of the bra itchy
The best sports bra for sizes DD and up
If you have a large cup size and need a sports bra that will keep bouncing out of the equation, the Panache Underwire sports bra is for you.
So often, women find themselves sacrificing style when it comes to larger clothing sizes because the options become more limited, and it’s a sacrifice that shouldn’t have to be made. Luckily, more brands are finally starting to see the light and provide stylish options in a wide range of sizes.
Athletic wear especially has seen changes in recent years, and it shows in sports bras like the Panache Women’s Underwire, which is specially designed for women with a full bust. Notable for its ability to eliminate bounce, this sports bra combines both function and style, creating a flattering shape in multiple colors and patterns to choose from.
The options don’t end at colors, either. The Panache also has adjustable straps and an adjustable hook and eye enclosure so you can create a more customized fit. The wide padded straps are designed for comfort and are convertible so you can choose if you want a racerback style.
The underwire gives extra support and shaping, and is completely encased so you won’t feel any uncomfortable jabbing during your run. The cups are lined with sweat-wicking material for additional comfort, and mesh paneling built into the bust will eliminate sweat build up, keeping you dry and eliminating the chances for chafing to occur.
There is a science behind the bounce-free design, as it encapsulates instead of simply compressing your breasts against your chest, making for a far more comfortable (and flattering) fit while reducing movement in all directions.
The Panache Underwire comes in a wide range of sizes and goes up to 40H.
Though it is expensive, it’s worth the investment because of its ability to support well and minimize bounce.
Some people have found that sizing runs small for them, and found a better fit by sizing up. Others report that the metal rings on the straps tend to squeak when worn as a racerback.
Pros: Bounce free design, plenty of colors and patterns to choose from, wide adjustable straps, adjustable hook and eye enclosure, mesh paneling for added ventilation, encapsulation style support for a more comfortable and flattering fit
Cons: Expensive, the sizing ran small for some people, metal rings on straps can squeak when worn as a racerback
The best budget-friendly sports bra for sizes DD and up
Women with a DD+ bust will appreciate the comfort the affordable Syrokan Women’s Front Adjustable sports bra offers, with its wire-free, full coverage.
It can be hard to find a sports bra that truly keeps everything in its place, looks flattering, and provides options for a more customized fit for an affordable price. The Syrokan Front Adjustable is a sports bra that rises to this challenge.
Available in sizes ranging from a B cup to an F cup, it checks off all the boxes so you’ll be able to conquer your runs in comfort. True to the name, the straps are completely adjustable, and they can also be undone. The wide underband offers full coverage and support and prevents the bra from riding up during high impact workouts like running.
The straps aren’t the only adjustable feature on this sports bra. The racerback has a rear enclosure, giving the band a more customizable fit, and allowing for easier removal. Though it doesn’t have any underwire, this bra uses more than compression for motion control.
Molded cups allow for encapsulation support, with limited stretch to keep everything in its place. Sweat-wicking fabric will keep you dry, and the mesh inserts on the sides of the bra and in the back provide additional ventilation.
It may not be the flashiest sports bra, but the Syrokan does offer a good number of color options, and its simple style allows it to look good under any running top. It also has just enough padding so it will also look flattering worn on its own.
Some people find it tricky to reach the rear enclosure or wish for even more separation, but, despite some downsides, the Syrokan is a worthwhile purchase, especially at the affordable price.
Pros: Velcro adjustable straps, adjustable rear enclosure, sweat wicking fabric with mesh inserts for additional ventilation, encapsulation for additional support, affordable
Cons: Some people find the rear enclosure hard to reach, some wished there were more separation for an even more flattering fit
What to look for in a sports bra
Starting with the right sized sports bra is the key to having comfort and support during your workout. Unlike 40 years ago, there are now a wide range of sizes to choose from whether you’re on the petite side or rocking a curvier figure. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and sports bras finally reflect that fact.
Once you’ve determined the size you’ll need, you’ll be able to find a comfortable fitting sports bra. Material and style can also determine how comfortable a bra will be. Sweat-wicking synthetic materials are best, since they’ll dry more quickly and reduce the chances for uncomfortable chafing during a run. Style is very much a personal preference, but features like adjustable straps, mesh paneling, and seamless designs can all contribute to comfortability.
Even if it feels comfortable at first, there’s no point in wearing a sports bra that doesn’t give you adequate support once you put your body in motion. If you feel any jiggle up top, or have to do any adjusting, it likely means your bra isn’t fitting correctly and isn’t supportive enough.
A sports bra’s support comes more from the band than the straps. For running, you’ll want to look for a medium to high impact sports bra depending on your size. Save the low impact sports bras for workouts like yoga or barre, when you aren’t hitting the pavement. With medium and high impact sports bras, the only bounce you should feel is in your step.
Sports bra care
Once you’ve found a sports bra you love, the last thing you want to do is shorten its lifespan by washing it incorrectly. Doing so can cause it to lose its elasticity, and in turn its support. While no sports bra can last forever, with the proper care, you’ll be able to get the most mileage out of it, and make the most of your money.
The best practice is to hand wash and air dry your sports bras, but if you do have to machine wash them, avoid using fabric softeners which ruin the effectiveness of sweat-wicking fabrics. The one thing you should avoid at all costs is putting them in the dryer with high heat, as this can ruin the elasticity of the fabric.
Check out our other great workout gear guides here
With the right clothes, you’ll actually want to get to the gym and show off your style before meeting friends for a much-deserved drink afterward.
- Best workout clothes overall: Sweaty Betty
- Best workout clothes from a fitness company: Nike
- Best affordable workout clothes: Old Navy
- Best beachy workout clothes: Vuori
- Best comfortable workout clothes: Bandier
- Best workout clothes that you can wear all day: ADAY
- Best high-end workout clothes: Live the Process
If you take your phone on runs and workouts, you need a comfortable, secure armband to hold it. The Trianium ArmTrek Pro is our top pick, because it’s affordable, comfortable, water-resistant, and fits a variety of phones.
- Best armband overall: Trianium smartphone armband
- Best armband for iPhone users: Grantwood Technology TuneBand
- Best armband for visibility: Griffin Technology LightRunner
- Best armband for phones with large cases: Tune Belt armband
- Best budget-friendly armband: Tribe armband
There are a vast number of running belts on the market, from money belts that are just glorified fanny packs, to high-tech hydration belts. The SPIbelt hits a sweet spot in the middle, with an expandable pocket that allows you to carry personal items on your run with a bounce free, comfortable fit.
- Best running belt overall: SPIbelt
- Best minimalist running belt: FlipBelt
- Best running belt for hydration: Fitletic Hydration Belt
- Best running belt for durability: Aqua Quest Kona
Your feet carry you on every run you undertake, so why not pamper them with the best pair of running socks?
- Best overall: Rockay Accelerate Running Socks
- Best tough socks: Darn Tough Tab no show running socks
- Best socks for comfort: Balega Hidden Comfort no show socks
- Best socks for cold: Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather mid crew socks
- Best socks on a budget: Saucony Performance No Show socks
- Best for blister prevention: Injinji Run 2.0 lightweight no show toe socks
- Best compression socks: CEP Progressive Compression socks
- Best stylish running socks: Zensah Limited Edition Running Socks