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Sports Bra – How to Choose The Right Bra for Running
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Sports Bra – How to Choose The Right Bra for Running

Sports Bra - How to Choose The Right Bra for Running

Choosing the right sports bra is more than just a matter of comfort – it’s a crucial step in optimizing your running experience. A well-fitted sports bra can significantly impact your performance and overall enjoyment of running. Beyond comfort, proper support plays a vital role in preventing discomfort, enhancing performance, and reducing the risk of injuries.

Dr. Hazel Wallace, a medical doctor, nutritionist, and advocate for female health, emphasizes the importance of choosing the correct sports bra for both breast health and exercise performance. She points out that selecting the right sports bra can help prevent problems such as breast pain, sagging, and embarrassment, which can hinder performance and discourage exercise.

In this guide, you’ll get the basics of selecting the perfect sports bra specifically for running. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just starting out on your jogging journey, understanding the importance of proper support and knowing how to choose the right sports bra can make all the difference when you’re running.

In This Sports Bra Guide

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Key Takeaways

Support is Essential: Choose a sports bra that offers proper support to minimize discomfort and maximize performance during running.

Focus on Features: Look for moisture-wicking fabrics, wide straps, and adjustable closures to ensure comfort and functionality.

Prioritize Comfort: Above all, prioritize your comfort and support by investing in a well-fitted sports bra tailored to your needs.

Importance of a Good Sports Bra

Courtesy of Christine from Frugal Fit Mom

When it comes to running, wearing a supportive sports bra is paramount for several reasons. Firstly, it provides essential support to your breasts, minimizing discomfort and potential injury during high-impact activities. Without proper support, the repetitive motion of running can lead to breast discomfort, pain, and even tissue damage over time.

One of the most common issues faced by female runners is breast bounce. The breasts are composed of delicate ligaments called Cooper’s ligaments, which can stretch and sag with repetitive bouncing movements, especially without adequate support. A well-fitted sports bra reduces breast bounce significantly, helping to maintain the integrity of these ligaments and preventing sagging breasts in the long run.

Wearing a supportive sports bra enhances your overall running performance. By minimizing breast movement, you can run more comfortably and efficiently, allowing you to focus on your stride, pace, and breathing without distractions. This can lead to improved endurance, speed, and enjoyment of your runs.

Beyond immediate comfort and performance benefits, investing in a good sports bra can also have long-term implications for breast health. Chronic breast bounce and inadequate support can contribute to breast pain, discomfort, and even tissue damage over time. By choosing a sports bra that offers optimal support, you’re not only prioritizing your comfort and performance but also safeguarding the health and well-being of your breasts in the years to come.

Wearing a supportive sports bra while running is essential for minimizing discomfort, reducing breast bounce, enhancing performance, and promoting long-term breast health. In the following sections, you’ll get the basics on how to choose the right sports bra to meet your individual needs and preferences.

Understanding Your Needs

Before choosing any sports bra for running or being swayed by heavy marketing, celebrity, and influencer endorsements of specific brands, it’s essential to understand your own specific needs and preferences. Consider the type of support you require, your size, and personal comfort preferences. 

Understanding the different types of sports bras and their suitability for running can help you make the best decision, it’s your girls well-being.

Types of Sports Bras:

  • Compression Bras: Compression sports bras work by compressing the breasts against the chest wall to minimize movement. They are typically pullover style and offer a snug, supportive fit. Compression bras are ideal for smaller cup sizes or for runners who prefer a firm, secure feel.
  • Encapsulation Bras: Encapsulation sports bras feature individual cups that encapsulate each breast separately. They provide more shaping and support, resembling traditional bras. Encapsulation bras are suitable for larger cup sizes, busty women or for those who prefer more separation and definition.

Assessing Your Size and Support Requirements:

  • Start by measuring your band size and bust size to determine your correct bra size. Many sports bra brands offer sizing guides to help you find the perfect fit.
  • Consider your level of activity and the impact of your workouts. For running, which involves high-impact movements, opt for sports bras with medium to high support.
  • Take into account any specific support requirements based on your breast size, shape, and sensitivity. Larger cup sizes may benefit from encapsulation bras with molded cups and adjustable straps for added support.

Personal Preferences:

  • Think about your personal comfort preferences when it comes to features like strap width, closure type (pullover vs. hook-and-eye), and fabric feel.
  • Reflect on any specific design elements that matter to you, such as racerback styles for enhanced shoulder mobility or seamless construction to minimize chafing.

    Understanding the different types of sports bras and your size, support needs, and personal preferences, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect sports bra for your running routine. In the following sections, we’ll explore key features to look for in a sports bra and provide practical tips for trying on and testing different styles.

    Key Features To Look For

    When selecting a sports bra for running, several features can make all the difference in providing the support, comfort, and performance you need. Here’s a detailed look at the essential features to consider:

    Moisture-Wicking Fabrics:

    • Look for sports bras made from moisture-wicking materials such as polyester or nylon blends. These fabrics help to wick sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable during your runs.

    Wide, Padded Straps:

    • Opt for sports bras with wide, padded straps to distribute weight evenly and reduce pressure on your shoulders. Padded straps help prevent digging and discomfort, especially during long runs.

    Adjustable Closures:

    • Choose sports bras with adjustable closures, such as hook-and-eye or Velcro straps, to customize the fit according to your body shape and preferences. Adjustable closures allow for a snug yet comfortable fit that can be tailored to your needs.

    Looking for these features in your search for a sports bra, you can ensure maximum comfort, support, and performance during your running sessions. Remember to try on different styles and brands to find the perfect combination of features that suit your individual needs and preferences.

    Tips For Trying & Testing Sports Bra

    Trying on sports bras is a crucial step in finding the perfect fit for your running needs. Here are some practical tips to ensure you choose the right sports bra:

    Assess Bounce Control:

    • Jump or jog in place while wearing the sports bra to assess its bounce control capabilities. Pay attention to how much your breasts move during these movements. A good sports bra should minimize bounce and provide a secure, supportive feel.

    Check Band Fit and Cup Coverage:

    • Ensure the band of the sports bra fits snugly around your rib cage without feeling too tight or restrictive. The band should provide firm support and remain in place without riding up.
    • Check that the cups fully encapsulate your breasts and provide adequate coverage without any spillage or bulging. Adjust the straps or closure as needed to achieve a comfortable and secure fit.

    Evaluate Comfort and Range of Motion:

    • Move through a range of motions, including arm circles, reaching overhead, and bending forward, to evaluate the comfort and range of motion provided by the sports bra. Ensure that the bra stays in place and does not cause any rubbing, chafing, or discomfort.
    • Pay attention to how the straps feel on your shoulders and whether they dig in or slide off. Adjust the straps as needed to achieve a comfortable fit that allows for unrestricted movement.

    Troubleshooting Common Fit Issues:

    • If the straps dig into your shoulders, try loosening them or opting for sports bras with padded straps for added comfort.
    • If you experience discomfort or poking from underwire bras, consider trying non-wired or seamless bras for a more comfortable fit.
    • If the band rides up or feels too tight, try adjusting the band size or opting for a different style with a wider band for better support.
    • If you notice any gaps or wrinkling in the cups, try sizing down or choosing a style with molded cups for a smoother fit.

    Giving attention to how the sports bra feels and performs during your try-on session, you can confidently select a sports bra that provides the comfort, support, and performance you need for your running activities. Don’t hesitate to try on multiple styles and sizes to find the perfect fit for your body and preferences.

    What Kind of Support Do You Need?

    The type of support you need in a sports bra depends on your breast size, the intensity of your physical activity, and personal preference. 

    Here’s a general guideline:

    1. Low-Impact Activities: If you’re engaging in low-impact activities like yoga, walking, or weightlifting, you may only need light support. A sports bra with minimal compression or encapsulation may suffice.
    2. Medium-Impact Activities: For activities like cycling, hiking, or dancing, you’ll likely need moderate support. Look for a sports bra with medium compression and/or encapsulation to minimize bounce and provide adequate support.
    3. High-Impact Activities: Running, aerobics, and other high-impact activities require maximum support to minimize breast movement and reduce discomfort. Choose a sports bra with firm compression or encapsulation, wide straps, and possibly underwire or molded cups for added support.

    Listen to your body and choose a sports bra that feels comfortable and supportive for your specific needs and activity level. If you’re unsure, consider consulting with a professional bra fitter who can help you determine the best type of support for you.

    How Do You Measure Your Sports Bra Size?

    Measuring your sports bra size accurately is important for finding a bra that fits well and provides the support you need. Here’s how to measure your sports bra size:

    Band Size:

    • Start by measuring around your ribcage, just under your bust, using a soft measuring tape.
    • Make sure the tape is snug but not too tight. The tape should be parallel to the ground and should not dig into your skin.
    • Round the measurement to the nearest whole number. This measurement will determine your band size.

    Bust Size:

    • Measure around the fullest part of your bust, making sure the measuring tape is parallel to the ground and not too tight.
    • Again, round the measurement to the nearest whole number. This measurement will determine your bust size.

    Calculate Cup Size:

    • Subtract your band size from your bust size. Use the difference to determine your cup size based on the following chart:
    • Difference (in inches)Cup Size

    Try on Different Sizes:

    • Keep in mind that sizing can vary between brands and styles, so it’s essential to try on different sizes to find the best fit for you.
    • Pay attention to how the band and cups fit, ensuring that the band is snug but not too tight, and the cups fully encapsulate your breasts without any spillage or gaps.

    If you’re unsure about your measurements or how to find the right sports bra size, consider visiting a lingerie store with professional bra fitters who can assist you in finding the perfect fit.

    Best Sports Bras For Running

    Courtesy of Michelle West

    Brands and Style Options

    Finding the perfect sports bra for running, you have several reputable brands known for their quality, performance, and innovative designs. Here are some of the most popular brands catering to a variety of runners.


    • Nike offers a wide range of sports bras designed specifically for running, featuring innovative technologies such as Dri-FIT moisture-wicking fabric and adjustable straps for a customized fit. Popular styles include the Nike Pro Rival, Nike Indy, and Nike Swoosh Run bras.

    Victoria’s Secret

    • Victoria’s Secret offers a range of sports bras designed to cater to various levels of activity and support needs. Their bras feature moisture-wicking fabrics, adjustable straps, and a wide range of sizes to accommodate different body types. Whether you’re into running, yoga, or high-intensity workouts, Victoria’s Secret sports bras aim to combine style with functionality to support your fitness journey.

    Under Armour

    • Under Armour sports bras are known for their supportive compression fit and sweat-wicking performance. Styles like the UA Infinity Mid Bra and UA Vanish High Bra offer a balance of comfort, support, and breathability for running activities.


    • Adidas sports bras combine style and function, featuring supportive designs and moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you comfortable during your runs. Styles like the Adidas Stronger For It Bra and Adidas Don’t Rest Bra offer varying levels of support to suit different preferences.


    • Lululemon sports bras are favored for their luxurious fabrics, comfortable fit, and stylish designs. The Lululemon Energy Bra and Lululemon Free to Be Serene Bra are popular choices among runners, offering medium to high support with a range of strap options.


    • Brooks sports bras are engineered with runners in mind, offering a balance of support, comfort, and performance. The Brooks Dare Crossback Bra and Brooks Uplift Crossback Bra feature adjustable straps and molded cups for a personalized fit and maximum support.


    • Champion sports bras are known for their affordability and reliable performance. The Champion Spot Comfort Full-Support Sports Bra and Champion Absolute Sports Bra offer high-impact support at budget-friendly prices, making them ideal for runners on a budget.


    • SheFit specializes in sports bras designed for various activities, including running. Their bras are adjustable and customizable, offering a personalized fit and maximum support during high-impact workouts.

    Sweaty Betty

    These are just a few examples of brands and styles known for their quality sports bras for running. When choosing a sports bra, consider factors such as support level, comfort, fit, and price to find the perfect option that suits your individual needs and preferences. Don’t hesitate to explore different brands and styles to find the best fit for you.

    Explore & shop Sport Bras


    When it comes to running, the importance of choosing the right sports bra cannot be overstated. Prioritize comfort and support by selecting a bra that fits well and offers the features you need. 

    Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, investing in the right sports bra can make a significant difference in your running experience. Take your time to find the perfect fit and enjoy the benefits of a supportive companion on your fitness journey. Take good care of your girls, and happy running.

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