There are stylish sports bras and then there are functional sports bras. It’s harder than it should be to find the perfect blend of both. The best sports bras are the ones we can’t wait to wear but don’t think about at all while we’re actually working out.
We’ve scoured the internet, put bras to the test, even surveyed a few friends and we think we’ve done it: we’ve found the best sports bras for every type of workout. Here were our criteria for each piece…
the Fit: The whole point of a sports bra is to keep everything close to the body. We want a sports bra that lets us feel secure but won’t crack a rib. We don’t want anything pouring out from the sides, the straps should not have scratchy seams or thin straps that dig in, and we don’t want anything suffocating our chest.
the Material: We love a good sweat-wicking material for intense workouts, but those kinds of bras don’t feel quite as comfortable when we’re just hanging out. For low-intensity workouts, we love bras with light structure that let us move and flow. We’re looking for material that’s thick enough for good coverage, but thin enough that we don’t feel as though we’re wearing a suit of sweat-infused armor.
the Aesthetic: Sometimes we shop for style, sometimes we shop for function – the list below is a blend of both, but with functionality as top priority. We selected bras with minimal buckles, metal accents, strings or accents and pieces that could be worn on their own just as easily as under a top.
running, circuits, HIIT, boxing
Lululemon Enlite Bra | This sports bra took two years to design, and it was well worth the wait. The result is an ultra supportive, second-skin type of sports bra that works for most sizes — including those with big boobs. It’s not the easiest garment to get into, but it performs like a pro when put to work. CHECK OUT
Outdoor Voices Zip Bra | Outdoor Voice’s latest launch is a collection of sweat-wicking performance pieces like this one. The zipper here is super functional – meaning the metal doesn’t get in the way of a comfortable workout. It keeps everything in place and is easy to slip right out of after an intense class. That means you can skip the most dangerous part of your workout: squeezing out of your sweaty, skintight bra. CHECK OUT
barre, cycling, hiking, weight lifting
Lorna Jane Compact Sports Bra | Lorna Jane makes some of the best sports bras we’ve come across that are both cute and totally functional. You’re in good hands with pretty much any pick, but this one is a workout wardrobe staple you’ll never want to sweat without. We love the bra-style closure in the back which makes it easy to get in and out of. Not only does it let us get the perfect fit around our ribs, but when it inevitably starts to stretch out (because that’s just what sports bras do) then we can adjust so it still fits well. The straps are soft, thick and adjustable and the cut provides just the right amount of coverage. CHECK OUT
yoga, stretching, nesting
Alo Yoga Sunny Strappy Bra | The thin straps and light material make this sports bra look like a wimp, but you’d be surprised. It holds everything in place while allowing for free movement and flexibility. The cinching in the front prevents a uniboob situation and looks extra cute under a light, flowy yoga top. CHECK OUT
Live the Process Corset Stretch Sports Bra | Live The Process pieces honestly look like art. We love the simple, structural lines, high-quality material and effortless yet supportive fit. This one has just the right amount of structure, stability and style. It’s the little black dress of a chic workout wardrobe. CHECK OUT
lounging, errands, brunch
GapFit Breathe Low Impact Strappy Bra | A soft cotton bralette is best for times you want to feel comfortable and secure, but you don’t need to rely on the bra’s support. This one from Gap Fit comes in a ton of colors, and uses a super soft cloth that is just thick enough to cover the nips. It’s perfect for lounging or for a slow flow yoga class. It’s also less than $30 which means you can load up. CHECK OUT
Varley Racerback Sports Bra | The deep v is chic and gives us lots of room to breathe. We’ll admit it’s not the most secure option for hardcore workouts, but if you’re chilling or doing something else low key, it’s a great-looking well-fitting option we love. CHECK OUT
A Note For Big Busted Babes
Bigger breasts need greater scaffolding and a secure fit that prevent bouncing but leaves room for movement. While we kept this in mind while building our list, sports bras for bigger busts deserve their own special mentions. One of the best sports bras for bigger boobs, according to top online reviews, is the Lululemon Enlite Bra. It’s made with super smooth, seamless fabric that slides right on, and restricts chafing wihle providing good, wireless support. The bra is available in up to a 38E. Other top contenders include Alo Yoga’s Max Support Heroine Bra and Sweaty Betty’s Ultra Run bra.
What are your favorite sports bras? Let other readers know below and be sure to include your go-to workout and body type!
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