The Best Sports Bras for Running: Stay Comfortable and Supported

woman wearing a sports bra


How to Start Running | Running Tips | Hydration for Runners | Best Running Shoes for Beginners | Most Comfortable Running Shoes | Best Sports Bras for Running | Best Running Jackets | Best Budget Treadmills | Best Budget Fitness Trackers

For women who run, finding the best sports bra can, quite literally, make or break a training session. Women need a sports bra that not only stands up to a sweat test but also keeps them supported and secure. Similar to a proper running shoe, if you have comfortable, well-fitting gear, you'll have a better, more enjoyable run.

Since its inception back in 1977, the design of a running bra has evolved. Starting out as two jockstraps sewn together upside-down (true story), sports bras have advanced in many ways. From compression and encapsulated bras to adjustable straps and hook-and-eye closure options, there are now plenty of options to find a fit that works best for you.

So, what actually constitutes a good fit? Finding the right fit for a sports bra can prove to be a bit complicated since women come in a variety of shapes and sizes, meaning support needs may vary from runner to runner. That's where the ACTIVE Reviews Team comes in. We've done the research for you, identifying the best running bras for a variety of women. Before you find yourself tugging at an ill-fitting bra on your next run, be sure to read through our top picks.

Why Trust Us?

The ACTIVE Reviews Team is made up of fitness experts that include athletes, coaches, and certified trainers who bring their years of knowledge and experience to each review. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.

The Best Sports Bras for Running — Our Top Picks

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Best Overall Sports Bra – Lululemon Run Times Bra High Support

Lululemon Run Times Bra High Support

Specs

 

  • Materials: Nylon, Xtra life lycra elastane, and polyester
  • Size range: Band: 32 to 42, Cups: B to G
  • Closure: Hook-and-eye
  • Colors: Vivid plum, black
  • Strap style: Padded, adjustable crossable straps
  • Support level: High support

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Lululemon receives notoriety in the world of athletic apparel for its high-quality, performance-enhancing, and stylish clothing and accessories. And we think the Lululemon Run Times Bra High Support lives up to the Lululemon hype in every way. It offers a high level of support while remaining versatile and functional. Designed for women who wear a bra size ranging from B to G, the Run Times Bra is made for those who need reinforced support. We like how it features padded adjustable and crossable straps, which prevent the strap from digging into your shoulder. Plus, its nylon and lycra construction provides just enough stretch to feel comfortable, but still tight enough to secure everything in place.

For warmer days, the Run Times Bra comes with perforated front paneling to increase airflow. It also has a 3-clasp hook-and-eye closure, which may be a bit cumbersome to some, however, it does make getting your sports bra on and off that much easier: Anyone who has tried to wrestle a sports bra off after a sweaty run knows this struggle. The one kicker? This bra's price point may seem a little steep to some, but the quality is top-notch.

What We Like

  • Highly supportive
  • Adjustable and convertible straps
  • Hook-and-eye closure to customize fit
  • No removable pads
  • Perforated front panel is stylish and keeps you cool

What We Don't Like

  • The under band feels too snug for some
  • Hook-and-eye closure is not easy to close
  • Might be too pricey for some

BUY: Lululemon Run Times Bra High Support

Best Sports Bra for Smaller Breasts - Lit Activewear Basic Racerback Bra

Lit Activewear Basic Racerback Bra

Specs

  • Materials: High elastane
  • Size range: Band - 31" to 39", Cups - small to large
  • Closure: Pull-on racerback style
  • Colors: Black, hazel blue
  • Strap style: Non-adjustable racerback
  • Support level: Medium support

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We like the ultra-lightweight feel of the Activewear Basic Racerback Bra for smaller-chested women. It offers medium support, which keeps you secure but still comfortable. The soft material provides just enough locked-in compression to reduce bounce without making you feel restricted. And because of its lightweight texture, it's also a great choice for everyday use.

Featuring a scoop neckline, this sports bra also has a racerback style with non-adjustable straps. Simply pull it over your head and you're ready to go—no fuss necessary. It also uses sweat-wicking fabric at the hems, helping you stay dry and cool in warmer weather. And to accentuate your natural shape, the bra has a bit of built-in padding.

What We Like

  • Comfortable, sweat-wicking material
  • Enough compression for workouts and everyday wear
  • Built-in molded pads that maintain a natural silhouette
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Limited sizing and colors

BUY: LIT Basic Racerback Bra

Best Sports Bra for Bigger Breasts - Reebok PureMove+ Bra MotionSense

Reebok PureMove+ Bra MotionSense

Specs

  • Materials: Nylon, spandex
  • Size range: Band - 30" to 50", Cups - A-F
  • Closure: 2 hook-and-eye closures
  • Colors: Buff and black
  • Strap style: Adjustable convertible straps
  • Support level: High support

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Although the Reebok PurMove+Bra MotionSense comes in a variety of sizes ranging from an A cup to an F, its innovative design makes it particularly well-suited to women with a bigger chest. It features an innovative fabric, composed of a shear-thickening fluid inside the bra that tightens up during high-impact movements like running, and relaxes as the intensity of the workout decreases. If you're in need of greater support, simply adjust the thick straps, which can be worn crossed for more security.

Plus, the perforation on the front panels helps you avoid excess sweat. Two hook-and-eye closers make it easy to take on and off, and its sleek design will have you looking forward to—instead of dreading—your daily run.

What We Like

  • Comfortable
  • High level of support
  • Adapts to support your movement
  • Great for high-intensity exercise
  • Available in half sizes

What We Don't Like

  • Might run small to some
  • Could feel too compressive to smaller-chested runners

BUY: Reebok PureMove+ MotionSense

Best Budget Sports Bra - adidas Powerreact Training Medium-Support Bra

adidas Powerreact Training Medium-Support Bra

Specs

  • Materials: 89% recycled polyester, 11% elastane single interlock
  • Size range: Band: 2XS-2XL, Cups: A-DD
  • Closure: Pull-on style
  • Colors: Light purple
  • Strap style: Mesh racerback
  • Support level: Medium support

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Not everyone is going to want to drop a lot of money on a sports bra. For those on a budget, we like the adidas Powerreact Training Medium-Support Bra. This sports bra is made in part with recycled materials that feel smooth and keep you cool. The mesh racerback provides breathability, comfort, and function. This bra offers a nice medium level of support, meaning it works well for running but might not be supportive enough for some who plan on regularly performing high-intensity movements (jump squats, burpees, etc).

Keep in mind that this bra does not come with any padding and the straps are not adjustable, so if you need a more secure fit, this may not be the best option for you.

What We Like

  • Environmentally friendly, made from sustainable materials
  • Affordable
  • Medium support
  • Adjustable straps

What We Don't Like

  • Tricky sizing
  • Only 2 color options

BUY: adidas Powerreact Training Medium-Support Bra

Most Supportive Sports Bra - adidas TLRD Impact Bra

adidas TLRD Impact Bra

Specs

  • Materials: Recycled polyester, elastane interlock
  • Size range: Band - N/A, Cups - A-DD
  • Closure: Scoop neck with hook-and-eye closures
  • Colors: Black, white, shadow green
  • Strap style: Adjustable straps
  • Support level: High support

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Running is a high-impact sport so solid support is paramount in a sports bra. The adidas TLRD Impact Bra more than delivers thanks to its wide, padded straps that can be adjusted for a customized fit. Combined with the hook-and-eye closure, this bra helps you stay comfortable and contained without feeling overly constricting. We also like how it uses cool-to-the-touch technology in the materials, helping to manage moisture and sweat. Available in three colors, this high-support bra is said to feel cool to the touch thanks to an AEROREADY technology that manages moisture.

For long runs or especially intense workouts, you'll appreciate the front strap stabilizers which are made to reduce bounce. Plus, the non-removable pads mean you don't need to worry about them shifting or sliding off during training.

What We Like

  • Adjustable straps
  • Plus sizes available
  • Comfortable while still offering great compression
  • High level of support
  • Built with cooling technology

What We Don't Like

  • Some might not prefer the tighter fit which lends greater support

BUY: adidas TLRD Impact Bra

Best Lightweight Sports Bra - SheWarrior Dream Chaser Tie-Dye Sports Bra

SheWarrior Dream Chaser Tie-Dye Sports Bra

Specs

  • Materials: Polyester, spandex
  • Size range: Band - 31.5"-41.5" (XS-XL), Cups - N/A
  • Closure: Pull-on style
  • Colors: Tie-dye purple
  • Strap style: U-back
  • Support level: High support

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Although it's lightweight, the Dream Chaser Tie-Dye Sports bra is designed for high-impact activities. Made of polyester and spandex, the Dream Chaser effectively compresses your chest to minimize movement when pounding the pavement.

We like how this bra is also built with anti-microbial and moisture-wicking properties, helping you stay cool and dry on your run. To wear this sports bra, simply slip it over your head and under your arms—no hooking or clipping required. The U-shape also provides a nice amount of security, but keep in mind that because of its lightweight feel, it's still not the most supportive option.

What We Like

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Sustainable manufacturing process
  • Only comes in one color option
  • Cooling

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't specify cup sizes, might have to measure for accurate fitting
  • Might not be supportive enough for some

BUY: SheWarrior Dream Chaser Tie-Dye Sports Bra

Best Full Coverage Sports Bra - Lululemon Wunder Train Longline Bra

Lululemon Wunder Train Longline Bra

Specs

  • Materials: Nylon, lycra elastane, polyester, lyocell
  • Size range: Band - 28"-42", Cups - N/A
  • Closure: Pull-on, racerback
  • Colors: White, dew pink, mineral blue, misty glade, black, and heritage 365 deep camo
  • Strap style: Racerback, non-adjustable
  • Support level: High support

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Featuring a high neck for added coverage and pockets for removable cups, we like this bra for the full coverage it offers. Featuring buttery soft and stretchy Everlux fabric from the Wunder Train collection, this bra is stylish, modest, comfortable, and incredibly functional. The Everlux fabric also dries incredibly quickly, making it work for a variety of workouts.

It uses a four-way stretch design and added lycra to maintain its shape. Plus, thanks to the extended coverage, this sports bra can be worn alone or as a crop top.

What We Like

  • Great coverage
  • Supportive
  • Comfortable
  • Several color options
  • Material has a buttery soft feel

What We Don't Like

  • Seams on the front might be irritating to some
  • More pricey than other options

BUY: Lululemon Wunder Train Longline Bra

Best Sports Bra with Front Closure - Women's Armour High Crossback Zip Sports Bra

Women's Armour High Crossback Zip Sports Bra

Specs

  • Materials: Polyester, elastane
  • Size range: Band - 30"-112", Cups - 32A-42C
  • Closure: 2 hook-and-eye closures and front zip
  • Colors: White/halo gray, neptune/sea mist, black/jet gray, beta/black
  • Strap style: Adjustable cross-back straps with keyhole detail
  • Support level: High support

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Supportive sports bras that compress your chest more can be a real struggle to get on and off, particularly after a long and sweaty workout. Our solution is a zipper-front bra, which still provides a high level of support but makes for easy on-and-off access. And our pick in this category is Under Armour's Women Armour High Crossback Zip Sports Bra. The Women's Armour High Crossback Zip Sports Bra offers strategic, tailored support by using breathable foam pads, a front zip closure, and a lock to keep the zipper in place. Mesh lining promotes more ventilation, warding off excess sweat.

In addition, this running sports bra features Under Armour's HeatGear fabric. This means it has a super-light feel and is fast drying (ideal for summer runs). A hook-and-eye back closure combined with adjustable straps also allows for a more customized fit.

What We Like

  • Easy to take on and off
  • Affordable
  • Sweat-wicking material
  • 4-way stretch for added comfort

What We Don't Like

  • Zipper could cause chafing
  • Underarm area might be constricting to some

BUY: Women's Armour High Crossback Zip Sports Bra

What to Consider When Shopping for Sports Bras for Running

Finding a good sports bra means more than just looking good. There can be damaging (and painful) effects on breast tissue from running with a bra that doesn't provide appropriate support. The unique motion of running causes your chest to move up, down, and all around, putting stress on the thin collection of connective tissues that support this area. To prevent this, it is imperative to find a bra that reduces bounce and movement for added protection.

Below, we've listed some of the top things to consider when shopping for the best sports bra for running:

Type

There are two kinds of running bras: compression and encapsulated. Compression bras feature a shelf style that tends to work best for smaller cup sizes and/or low to moderate-impact workouts. Encapsulation sports bras have individual cups which keep the breasts separated while reducing bounce. These are usually best for larger chested women. Both are designed to minimize movement when sized appropriately.

Support Level

When it comes to running, you want a moderate to high support level to match the intensity of your runs. As a rule of thumb, it should fit snugly but not feel overly constricting. The under band should feel snug and sit at the same level all the way around your body without riding up. You should be able to get no more than one finger under the band and there should be no wrinkling in the material. Try reaching your hands up overhead to be sure the band stays put.

Design

Some running sports bras feature a pullover design, while others use a hook-and-eye or zipper closure. Additionally, you might see adjustable straps or ones that can be converted to a cross-back design, which allows for a more customized fit and better support.

Another design consideration is padding in the cups. Knowing whether you want removable pads, built-in molded padding, or no padding at all are important factors to consider. Ultimately, the design that works for you is based on your own personal preference and functionality needs.

Why You Should Buy a Running Specific Sports Bra

As much as we love the endorphins that come with running, the truth is that running puts a lot of stress on your body. And like with any other sport or activity, having the right gear can make all the difference. Just like you need a pair of supportive, durable running shoes, you also need a comfortable, secure sports bra.

Most people just think about the wear and tear felt on knees and joints but for women who run, pain and soreness can also be felt in the chest if not appropriately supported. Running with ill-fitting bras can lead to back pain, stretched-out ligaments in the chest, and overall uncomfortableness.

That's why certain sports bras designed to provide higher levels of lasting support can help minimize the stress experienced during running. The best sports bra for running will keep you comfortable and well-supported, so you can focus on your training.

FAQs about Sports Bras for Running


Is it ok to wear a sports bra when running?

Not only is it okay, but wearing a sports bra when running is highly encouraged. Running is a high-impact sport and it's important that your chest is supported, not only for comfort reasons but also to limit movement of the connective breast tissues. Have you ever tried to run in a bra that didn't fit correctly? Or without one? Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can be painful and distract you from your training.

Which type of sports bra is best for running?

Since running is such a high-impact sport, encapsulation or combination compression sports bras are typically the most supportive. Encapsulation bra styles support each breast separately while a compression style limits movement by keeping your chest tighter against your body, reducing bounce. Generally, encapsulation bras are best suited for larger boobs while compression works better for smaller breasts.

You also want to consider the material used in any given sports bra as moisture-wicking fabrics are helpful for warding off sweat. Keep in mind that any bra made from 100-percent cotton might stay wet after you sweat and lose some of its support over time.

Is it weird to run outside in a sports bra?

Depending on the temperature outside and your own comfortability, it's never considered abnormal to run outside in a sports bra. Warmer running conditions may entice you to go sans shirt, while cooler weather may encourage bundling up over your sports bra. The most important thing is that you feel as comfortable as possible in your running gear so that you can enjoy and focus on your workout.

How to Start Running | Running Tips | Hydration for Runners | Best Running Shoes for Beginners | Most Comfortable Running Shoes | Best Sports Bras for Running | Best Running Jackets | Best Budget Treadmills | Best Budget Fitness Trackers

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