15 sports bras that will change your life
Imagine a sports bra that actually does what it’s supposed to: It holds you in place throughout your afternoon jog, it prevents nip slips during flowing asanas, and at boot camp, it doesn't dig in with distracting, painful straps. We know: It sounds too good to be true. A whopping 95 percent of women have at least one gripe about their sports bras, according to a recent Prevention poll.
Since not-good-enough isn’t, well, good enough, we got on the case. We enlisted a dozen testers to sweat it out in bras selected specifically to suit their size and favorite activity. In all, we tested more than 70. Out: anything that rubbed, pinched or otherwise interfered with our workout. In: anything we’d want to wear again, and again, and again (with bonus points for anything that looked cute, too.)
Here, 15 of the best sports bras on the market. So long, uniboob.
--By Kelly Gonsalves
Best running bra
Lululemon All Sport Bra, $52, 4-12, shop.lululemon.com
The wide, ultra-soft straps make this bra ideal for running. One of our testers even ran a half-marathon in it without any digging or chafing. The smooth, seamless front presses tightly against the chest for a strong hold, while a mesh inner lining ventilates and wicks away moisture. Slits in the side allow you to insert padding if you want a little extra oomph. (Put yours to the test with our free zero to 5K training plan!)
Pro: “The crisscross design is very supportive but easier to get into than a racerback.” –34B
Con: “For yoga, it felt a little restrictive when I was doing heart openers.” –32D
Best classic compression bra
New Balance Fabulous Framer I & II, $42, XS-XL, amazon.com
This bra takes all the features of the basic sports bra—a racerback, compression fabric and light padding for modesty—and actually does them well. Our small testers in the Framer I and large testers in the Framer II raved about the highly supportive hold and the flattering shape that held up throughout high-impact activity.
Pro: “It allowed very little bouncing or movement. I was comfortable the whole time.” –34A
Con: “It has seams that run down in between the bust that you can see from the outside, which is slightly unflattering.” –32DD
Most versatile bra
Champion The Smoothie High-Support Sports Bra, $19-$41, 34-36 B-D, 38 C-D, amazon.com
Cross-back straps are great when you need support, but they can constrict arm movement during dance classes and yoga. The fix: This bra’s convertible straps allow you to wear it either way. Numbered sizes ensure a perfect fit, and a contoured seam under the bust supports and lifts without wires.
Pro: “I felt like I could run a marathon in this bra with no issues.” –34B
Con: “I felt it came up a bit too high on my chest.” –36D
More: Get sleek, sexy arms and shoulders with these 10-minute exercises to tone your arms.
Best multi-sport bra
Pearl Izumi W Elite In-R-Cool Crop, $55, XS-XL, amazon.com
The quick-drying fabric and swim-friendly pad-less cups actually make this triathlon-specific sports bra perfect for nearly any performance-heavy sport. The particularly wide-set racerback design minimizes both up-and-down and side-to-side movement.
Pro: “I really like the athletic design and bright colors.” –34B
Con: “There’s a seam running right over your breasts that makes it look like the cups inside are crumpling or falling out—awkward.” –32B
Best bra for hot workouts
Nike Victory Adjust X-Back Sports Bra, $40-$63, XS-XL A/B-D/E, amazon.com
This sports bra is soft and thin but boasts a surprisingly firm grip thanks to the adjustable straps and back closure; the mesh, X-shaped design feels almost backless. Bonus: All of the clasps are plastic, not metal, for extra comfort.
Pro: “It has a good cut that goes with most tops.” –38DD
Con: “Not supportive enough for high-impact activities like jumping.” –34A
More: Is hot yoga really safe? Click here for the surprising answer.
Victoria’s Secret Angel Sports Bra, $44.50-$46.50, 32A-36D, victoriassecret.com
Meet your new go-to sports bra for group workout classes. Show off a rounded shape, thanks to memory padding in the cups that molds to fit your body and then fills out the rest. The semi-sweetheart neckline nudges the breasts toward the center for natural-looking cleavage. The thin back straps also allow full shoulder and arm movement during yoga. Our smaller-chested testers loved it for jogging, too.
Pro: “The first thing I did after I put on this bra was send a picture to my boyfriend.” –32B
Con: “I wouldn’t run a race in it—I would want a little more support.” –32D
Best yoga bra
Reebok CrossFit Skinny Racer Bra, $42, XS-XL, amazon.com
While it’s technically a CrossFit bra, it won over the biggest yoga buff on our testing panel with its spaghetti-thin racerback straps and smooth, floor-friendly back. The back’s tight fit also pulls your breasts into your chest for a firm but comfortable grip that holds you in during headstands and Chaturanga—and still has enough give for twists and heart openers.
Pro: “It had great support, and the straps never dug into my shoulders.” –32D
Best all-around bra for A/B cups
Lululemon Free To Be Bra, $42, 2-10, shop.lululemon.com
Crisscrossing string straps allow one of the widest ranges of motion of all the bras we tested while still offering support at every twist and turn. Although designed for yoga, this sturdy bra can even hold you up for a lengthy run. Not many bras can be a low- and high-impact bra at the same time, but this one pulls it off.
Pro: “It was cute enough that I wore it as a bralette under a tank for errands.” –34A
Con: “It’s not great for extremely sweaty workouts.” –32B
More: Hate crunches? Flatten your abs in 15 minutes—no crunches in sight—with these 11 flat belly yoga poses.
Best high-impact bra
2XU Women’s Contour Support Bra, $55, XS-XL, amazon.com
Very few sports bras succeed at securely fastening around A and B sizes without compression, but this one’s molded cups secure each breast individually and keep them in place without squeezing. One of our testers ran an entire 5K without even a light nudge from the girls. The convertible straps and clasp-free adjustable back closure are added bonuses.
Pro: “This bra’s V-shaped design is sleek and sexy, and it makes what you’ve got look even better!”–34A
Con: “Any major twisting and turning makes the racerback straps rub against your shoulder blades.”–32B