The 10 Best Sports Bras for Running, According to Olympians, Coaches, and Marathoners
In a fitness world that constantly urges shoppers to add the newest stationary bike, weights, and bands to an ever-expanding home gym, running remains one of the great, minimalist activities: all you need is a trusty pair of sneakers, a little motivation, and for people with breasts, a high-quality sports bra.
That being said, finding the right bra for your unique body and preferences can be tricky. Too loose and you risk injuring your back and damaging your breast's supportive tissue. Too tight and you may experience chafing and trouble breathing. There's also adjustability, price, and cooling features to consider. With thousands of options to choose from, it's best to turn to the experts.
These are the best sports bras for running, according to Olympians, running coaches, and marathoners:
- Best Overall: Shefit Ultimate Sports Bra
- Best With Adjustable Straps: Shock Absorber Women's Ultimate Run Bra
- Best for High-Impact Workouts: Nike Dri-FIT Swoosh
- Best Plus-Size Option for High-Impact Workouts: Enell High Impact Sports Bra
- Best Affordable Sports Bra: Runderwear Running Sports Bra
- Best for Comfort: Athleta Ultimate Bra
- Best Plus-Size Option for Comfort: Rainbeau Curves Women's Gace Bra
- Best for Cross Training: Lululemon Invigorate Bra High Support
- Best for Long Distances: Torrid Racerback Wicking Sports Bra
- Best Longline: Saucony Rocket Bra Top
Why you need a sports bra
"The breast does not contain muscle; the only two supporting structures are the skin and the Cooper's ligaments, both of which are quite weak mechanically," explains Jenny Burbage, a senior lecturer in biomechanics at the University of Portsmouth, in her foundational 2018 study of breast movement. Why should you care? Well, if you don't wear a sports bra that will support your boobs during a run or high-impact activity, your breasts will experience a lot of movement and bounce, which can lead to pain, sagging, and decreased performance ability (who can focus on miles when you're constantly adjusting yourself?).
What features to look for in a sports bra
While shopping for a running bra, LaJean Lawson, an expert in sports bra science and design, points out that there are several factors you'll want to consider.
Maximum motion control
Perhaps the most important aspect in shopping for a running bra is to keep bounce control in mind. Look for either hugging compression or support mechanisms including wide shoulder straps or anchoring features like paneling, cushioning, or added back support, which will promote breast health, improve performance, and keep you comfortable. How could this help improve performance? "If your breasts bounce so much that you're uncomfortable, you might be tempted to cut your run short," says Lawson. Finding a sports bra that you don't have to constantly adjust could help keep you motivated, focused, and on track with your running goals.
Wide shoulder straps
When it comes to high-impact activity, a wider bra strap can cut the pressure put on your shoulders in half, according to Lawson. Minimal stretch is a must, especially where the front load is at its heaviest, and top-of-shoulder cushioning can make a difference in protecting the tender shoulder bones and skin, especially for larger-breasted runners.
A "No-fly" neckline
"Cleavage can definitely be an asset, but not when you're trying to keep breast motion under control," says Lawson. A higher neckline is more effective in controlling breast movement and preventing breasts from 'surging up' during a workout.
Firm, fast-drying fabrics
Less stretch means less bounce, so it's important to find a material that's both low friction and substantial. "Smooth fabrics discourage nasty chafing," Lawson explains, adding that "the bigger your breasts, the more rubbing there is between them and the rest of your body." Additionally, a sweat-wicking, moisture-resistant material "can trump the annoying sweat that's more easily trapped by full breasts," she adds.
Specialized sizing systems
For runners with breasts sizes over a D-cup, Lawson suggests finding a bra with adjustable shoulder straps and a back fastener to "personally fine-tune the fit and support your breasts demand." Plus, you can slip it on like a normal bra, rather than having to uncomfortably stretch it over your head and chest.
The best sports bras for running
Keep in mind that searching for the perfect bra is an intimate and unique experience, points out Latoya Shauntay Snell, an ultra-marathoner, multi-sport athlete, and chef. Snell urges you to remember that while you can shop for a bra with similar measurements to another athlete, you could still come out of the dressing room hating their favorite bra. Her winning bra quality combination? Something that's wireless, made with a soft material, and has a sturdy shape or construction. "Recommending good bras is always a hard one for me and because they're so costly, I try to take my time with the process." Definitely a tip worth taking.
Whether you hit the pavement every day or have just started jogging for fun, we've rounded up the best sports bras that experts—from Olympians to coaches to marathoners—say go the distance.
Best With Adjustable Straps: Shock Absorber Women's Ultimate Run Bra
With an adjustable back clasp and straps, this bra earns the number one spot for providing customized support tailored specifically to your breasts. The high neckline and firm-yet-smooth paneling prevent any bounce, creating an ideal fit for runners of any size looking for an extremely secure high-impact bra. Plus, with Shefit's rotating selection of colors and patterns, protecting your breasts has never looked better.
"I love this bra because it's so customizable! You can adjust the brand and the straps to find your perfect fit and the zip front has hook eye closures that keep you well supported! I also love that it comes in a diverse and inclusive size range all the way from cup sizes A-I…I have yet to find a more supportive, high impact sports bra for people with larger cup sizes!" —Kelsey Ellis
Best With Adjustable Straps: Shock Absorber Women's Ultimate Run Bra
Designed to provide 'no movement' support to athletes of all cup sizes, the Ultimate Run Bra's adjustable straps keep you secure through even the longest jogs and most intense sprints. The stretchy band and reinforced cups make for a jiggle-proof fit, while the hook-and-eye back clasp allows for easy entry and exit.
"It's a great supportive bra for running, and I have minimal movement in my bust while wearing it on the run. The way the strap adjuster is designed means it stays exactly where you put it, unlike traditional bra strap adjusters that can lengthen over the course of a run. I've only heard great things from friends with larger cup sizes than me." —Laura Fountain
Best for High-Impact Workouts: Nike Dri-FIT Swoosh
Although comfy straps and recycled, sweat-proof material alone make this bra an A+ recommendation, its star feature is its high-impact support. With all-around compression and a single support pad across the front, the Dri-FIT Swoosh provides no-movement support that's garnered it a fan base of both endurance runners and sprinters.
"I love how comfortable this sports bra is and how well it fits...tight but still breathable, perfect for my hard workouts." —Beatriz Hatz
Best Plus-Size Option for High-Impact Workouts: Enell High Impact Sports Bra
Designed to keep larger breasts secure through the longest and most hardcore runs, this bra offers a secure fit and high-impact support that's earned it a devoted following in the running and marathon community. Plus, you'll appreciate that it comes In dozens of color options from basic black to a fun take on cotton candy.
"This is a no-motion bra with great coverage! As a very busty woman, this is the only bra I've found that keeps motion to an absolute minimum! I probably own a dozen in all different colors, and I've never had one wear out on me!" —Jill Angie
Best Affordable Sports Bra: Runderwear Running Sports Bra
From award-winning activewear brand, Runderwear, this bra is seamless, supportive, sweat-wicking, and incredibly comfortable—for only $31. Designed specifically for runners, the Running Bra is a breathable, non-chafing basic that adds function and value to even the most extensive sports bra collections.
"I love this bra for running because it's easy to get on, and it's also so comfortable once it's on that I forget I'm wearing it. It's my favorite bra for a longer run because it fits perfectly, so it doesn't move around and chafe, and gives me plenty of support." —Michelle Mortimer
Best for Comfort: Athleta Ultimate Bra
Made from sleek, recycled nylon, this is one bra you'll actually love wearing (and might even forget to take off). Whether you're training for the big race or just chilling on the couch, the Ultimate Bra is supportive enough to protect your breasts and back while still providing a lighter, less constricting fit. Plus, the strappy back looks super cute peeking out of a tank top. Choose from the option for cups A—C or cups D—DD+.
"This bra is like the plain t-shirts of running bras for me. It's a simple, no-frills design (other than coming in lots of the fun color options!), but I will always have one in my workout wardrobe. It's the ideal level of medium coverage and support, can be worn with or without the included cups (I'm one of those psychopaths who actually loves cup inserts), and has never let me down." —Shannon Bauer
For runners with larger breasts who dread shimmying their way out of a sweaty bra after every workout, this one's for you. It's designed with a sweat-resistant material to keep you cool throughout your run and front-zipper for easy on and off.
"I originally found this because I had a spinal injury that didn't prevent me from walking, but did prevent me from reaching behind my back to fasten a sports bra, or pulling one on over my head. I like that this gave me both the support I need and the additional accessibility to actually be able to put it on…even though my spinal issues are resolved, it's still my favorite sports bra!" —Ragen Chastain
Best for Cross Training: Lululemon Invigorate Bra High Support
Whether you're running your usual route, hitting the gym, or taking on a Zumba class, this bra will let you move freely while keeping everything in place. The flexible four-way stretch allows users to bend through any yoga pose, while the high-impact design protects your breasts from bounce. Plus, the adjustable hook-and-eye back clasp lets you adjust it to fit looser or tighter, depending on your workout. For the runner who wants a bra for every type of exercise, this stretchy, supportive option makes for a seamless transition from yoga mat to open road.
"This bra has a standard racerback, but the mesh silhouette makes it a little more stylish. The compression is great (no chafing!) and the material feels luxurious. I own two and wear them constantly." —Mary Johnson
Best for Long Distances: Torrid Racerback Wicking Sports Bra
This bra easily takes the prize for 'best for long distances' with its comfortable but supportive design (complete with fixed racerback straps), four-way stretch, and moisture-resistant fabric. Take it from ultra-marathoner Latoya Shauntay Snell, who ran with hers for a consecutive 50 miles.
"I love running and doing high-intensity workouts in this bra because it makes me feel secure but not constricted. The fabric is soft and I didn't feel like I needed to go up a size." —Latoya Shauntay Snell
Best Longline: Saucony Rocket Bra Top
For runners who'd rather not wear a shirt but aren't ready to commit to wearing a bra alone, the longline bra provides an excellent middle ground. With all the support of a sports bra, the Rocket Bra Top extends further down the rib cage than traditional bras and features an extra-comfy plush lining. With a high neck and medium compression, this design prioritizes comfort and style.
"It's a basic bra top, but almost fits as a crop top, so you don't feel like you're too uncovered when you do run shirtless (a fine balance ha!). I love it for the hard work out days in the summer because it's a light breathable fabric and it isn't overly tight. It is on the lighter side for support, but I like how it doesn't squeeze my ribs too tight around the band so it's easier to breathe." —Molly Huddle
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