The Best Sports Bras

For this test, several women with A to D cup sizes are constantly testing sports bras and providing feedback. The bras are worn in both warm and cold weather conditions with workouts that include easy paced runs, sustained hard efforts, interval classes, long runs, races and sessions at the gym.

Sports bras are an essential piece of gear for women, and the technology has really improved in the past few decades. Athletic bras were originally one-size-fits-all in most respects, which had an obvious negative impact on women who didn’t feel supported by their bra during high-impact activities. This deterrent may have even been enough for some women to stop running or working out all together while the most determined athletes put on two or even three sports bras at one time to create enough chest compression while in motion.

It’s pretty easy to tell if a bra is going to be supportive, but you don’t always know how it’s going to perform during a long run, for example. Then, beyond support, it’s nice for the bra to have a little style, and it’s even better if function and aesthetic can create an ideal combination.

Each person’s body is different, and one woman may love one sports bra that doesn’t work for another women, so it can be a lot of personal trial and error to find the right fit. For this test, we took it all into account, from comfort and support to fit and style, so you can decide for yourself which bra you want to take for a test run.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Eddie Bauer Movement Bra
94
Best in Class
2018
Comfort 10
Fit/Mobility 9
Support 9
Breathability 8
Style/Design 8

Best fit & mobility

Great balance of support & comfort

Breathable material that does not chafe

Basic sporty style design

Color & print options are basic

MSRP
N/A
BEST DEAL
Nike Pro Hyper Classic Padded Sports Bra
93
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 9
Support 9
Breathability 9
Style/Design 8

Superior fit and mobility for running

Seamless construction

Lightweight and breathable

Logo on the chest

More sporty than stylish

MSRP
$60.00
BEST DEAL
Oiselle Hi Line Bra
92
Comfort 9
Fit/Mobility 9
Support 8
Breathability 7
Style/Design 9

Flattering feminine style

Comfortable fit

Very compressive

Thick material

Low cut design

MSRP
$54.00
BEST DEAL
Falke Control Maximum Support Top
92
Best in Class
2018
Comfort 9
Fit/Mobility 9
Support 8
Breathability 8
Style/Design 8

Quick-dry & seamless fabric

Adjustable under-bust band

Comfortable compression

Tight fit can hug intensely

MSRP
$82.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Brooks FastForward Crossback Bra
92
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 9
Breathability 8
Style/Design 9

Excellent support

Fun & functional style

Good range of colors & prints

Good breathability

Almost too compressive for A/B cups

Hard to get on and off

Tight around the rib cage

MSRP
$50.00
BEST DEAL
prAna Costas Bra
92
Comfort 9
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 8
Breathability 8
Style/Design 9

Simple yet stylish design

Good balance of comfort and compression

Mesh back that is cool and breaths well

Limited color options

Poor breathability in front

MSRP
$59.00
BEST DEAL
Patagonia Switchback Bra
92
Comfort 9
Fit/Mobility 9
Support 7
Breathability 8
Style/Design 9

Open back cross strap design

Great combination of style & function

Comfortable & moves well

Minimal Support

Feels like a bathing suit top

MSRP
$49.00
BEST DEAL
Brooks Hot Shot Bra
91
Comfort 9
Fit/Mobility 9
Support 7
Breathability 8
Style/Design 8

Lightweight & breathable material

Soft material & comfortable design

Stylish straps & fun color options

Minimal support for fuller cup sizes

Thin material not durable

MSRP
$38.00
BEST DEAL
Handful Y Back Bra A/B
90
Comfort 10
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 7
Breathability 7
Style/Design 8

Soft material

Comfortable fit

Not much compression

A lot of extra material

MSRP
$54.00
BEST DEAL
Lululemon Enlite Bra
90
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 6
Support 10
Breathability 8
Style/Design 8

Crossed back straps add support & style

Built-in cups minimize chest bounce

Chest shape maintained rather than compressed

Under-band doesn’t dig in or chafe

Difficult for wearer to fasten the back strap

Higher chest sits above some tanks and shirts

Cups are not removable

High price point

MSRP
$98.00
BEST DEAL
The North Face Stow and Go Bra
90
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 7
Support 9
Breathability 8
Style/Design 8

Functional front storage pocket

Great balance of comfort & support

Sizing runs small

Style is nothing fancy

MSRP
$50.00
BEST DEAL
Saucony Women’s Impulse Bra Top
89
Comfort 7
Fit/Mobility 7
Support 9
Breathability 8
Style/Design 8

Style & function-forward

Four-way stretch & sweat-wicking material

High compression creates full support for C/D cups

Removable cups provided

Tight to put on and take off

Snug fit on skin can create chaffing during a long run

MSRP
$42.00
BEST DEAL
New Balance Power Bra
89
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 9
Breathability 7
Style/Design 7

Gel-infused strap lining

Wide bottom band

Provides high-impact support

Specific bra sizing

Thicker fabric on cups have less breathability

More fabric and hardware overall

MSRP
$59.99
BEST DEAL
Falke Madison
89
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 7
Breathability 8
Style/Design 8

Highly elastic good for mobility

Moderate coverage for modest women

Minimal support

Basic design, not flattering

MSRP
$55.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Lululemon Energy Bra
88
Comfort 7
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 7
Breathability 7
Style/Design 9

Good balance of style and function

Available in a wide variety of colors

Lightweight material

Holds sweat and moisture

Not as compressive as others in the test

Material wears down after a few months of wear

MSRP
$52.00
BEST DEAL
Tasc Endurance Sports Bra
88
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 7
Breathability 6
Style/Design 9

Soft bamboo/cotton material

Reversible for 2-in-1 style

No chafe

Not moisture-wicking

Light compression

MSRP
$32.00
BEST DEAL
Handful Y Back Bra C/D
88
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 6
Breathability 7
Style/Design 9

Made for casual fitness & fashion

Comfortable fabric and fit

Removable pads included

Moderate support for C/D cups

Plush fabric holds some moisture

MSRP
$54.00
BEST DEAL
Lululemon Speed Up Bra
87
Comfort 7
Fit/Mobility 7
Support 8
Breathability 7
Style/Design 8

Holds a more natural chest shape

Mesh fabric panel helps style & breathability

Smooth sweat-wicking fabric with four-way stretch

Molded foam cups are small for D cups

No adjustable clasps or straps

MSRP
$78.00
BEST DEAL
Smartwool PhD Seamless Strappy Bra
86
Comfort 10
Fit/Mobility 8
Support 5
Breathability 6
Style/Design 7

Super soft & comfortable

Warm material good for cold weather

Seamless design minimizes chafing

Thin straps cut into shoulders

Minimal support

Not breathable for warm conditions

MSRP
$50.00
BEST DEAL
Salomon Medium Impact Bra
85
Comfort 8
Fit/Mobility 7
Support 6
Breathability 8
Style/Design 6

Self-adjusting style

Lightweight

Breathable with knitted holes throughout

Wide lower band and shoulder straps add comfort

Moderate support for C/D cups

Stretch fabric loses shape after extended use

Seamless technology means more stretch and less compression

MSRP
$48.00
BEST DEAL
Oiselle Brilliance Bra
84
Comfort 6
Fit/Mobility 6
Support 7
Breathability 7
Style/Design 8

Adjustable chest strap

Removable cups

Higher front coverage

Padded shoulder straps

Less coverage on sides of cups

Marginal fit can create chafing

Could use more compression for D cup

MSRP
$56.00
BEST DEAL
Oiselle Gifted Verrazano Bra
83
Comfort 7
Fit/Mobility 7
Support 7
Breathability 6
Style/Design 6

Four-strap system reduces stress on shoulders

Adjustable straps create personalized fit

Removable cups

Higher neckline for more coverage and support

Adjustable straps can bunch up

Minimal chest ventilation

Larger cup sizes may have side exposure

Moderate support for C/D cups while running

MSRP
$60.00
BEST DEAL
Eddie Bauer Movement Bra

The Eddie Bauer Movement Bra was a favorite among A/B cup runners. Testers agreed that combination of comfort, fit, mobility, and support was above the rest of the bras tested. The Movement bra stood out in comfort. “This is the first bra I grab from my drawer, every time,” said one tester. “It’s just so comfortable.” The bra is a top seller for Eddie Bauer and sells out for time to time, but it is only a matter of time before it is back in stock.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Amazon.com

Handful Y Back Bra A/B

Designed to “flatter not flatten” the Y Back Handful Bra features a luxuriously soft material and the brand’s signature Lights Out pads that fully lift and increase your bust size by at least one cup. Of all the bras in the test, the Handful Y Back Handful Bra is by far the most comfortable. The soft material and wide stripes make it feel good to put on. Although the bra features more coverage, it is not as compressive or supportive as other bras in this test group. The bra is better for low impact sports or the gym than for running.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Amazon.com

Falke Control Maximum Support Top

Combining comfort and compression isn’t an easy feat, and Falke has nailed with the the Control Maximum Support Top. The smooth and quick-dry fabric is nice next-to-skin, paired with seamless construction to eliminate chafing. This bra hugs in the chest in all the right places, while still providing room to move in a broad range of exercise including high impact activity.

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Saucony Women’s Impulse Bra Top

It’s not often that a bra can be used by C/D cups for low, moderate, and high-impact activities and have a stylish appeal. But the Saucony Impulse Bra Top is highly functional with fun design details. It fits tightly, so a wearer who doesn’t like a lot of compression may find the bra too constricting.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Amazon.com

Salomon Medium Impact Bra

Mobility and comfort are at the forefront with the Salomon Medium Impact Bra with a simple and stretchy design. For C/D cups the bra is only supportive enough for moderate impact, as the name of the piece suggests. 

Read the Full Review Shop Now at REI.com

See All Sports Bras Reviews

The Best Sports Bras Review Results

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It’s not always easy to find a sports bra that will support you with comfort and style. Since each body is unique, not every sports bra will work for every athlete. Runners with smaller cup sizes may not have to spend as much money on their sports bra, since they can choose one with less fit, mobility and support technology, while athletes with larger cup sizes may have to spend more money on top-of-the line running bras that will hold them in place. Some sports bras are designed with cup sizing, while some have more general small, medium and large distinctions. To get that “perfect” fit, athletes should be sized in a bra store or follow a guide to size themselves, and then purchase a sports bra with specific measurements.

Finding the right running bra is hard. Comfort, support and style all contribute as make-or-break design factors.

Some of the bras were considered running-specific, and some of them were for more all-around activity. It was clear that the companies that make run-specific sports bras excelled at it for all cup sizes, even in comparison to the companies that make bras that are specifically for larger cup sizes.

It’s pretty easy to know immediately whether a bra will be supportive enough for running – just jog up and down the hall in your house a couple times and you’ll certainly know if you want to go out for a run wearing that bra.

Test Results

While simple and lightweight, the Control Maximum Support Top from Falke combines the perfect balance of comfort and compression. This bra is the highest price point of those in this test, retailing for $82. It’s the stretch that Falke put into the fabric of the Control Maximum Support Top that really makes it stand out. It’s easy to move in this bra, and it keeps the chest compressed, whether you’re in a yoga class or running a half marathon.

The New Balance Power Bra also performed well in the test, standing out with its adjustable hardware, a one-inch wide non-slip adjustable strap, and molded pads for shaping.

More average sports bras for C/D cup running in this test were the Lululemon Speed Up Bra and the Oiselle Brilliance Bra. Both bras were not great for C/D cup running, but each had unique qualities in style and fit and will provide A/B cups great support in high impact activities.

Comfort

There are a number of ways bra designers try to make athletic bras comfortable and this can come at the sacrifice of other criteria we test for like support, breathability, or even design. Key elements of the Control Maximum Support Top from Falke are the comfort of the fit and the fabric. The highly-elastic, quick-drying fabric holds the chest securely while still supporting full-body movement. We found we could wear this bra on a run, and also while hanging out in comfortable clothes at home. Designed for comfort and support in mind, the Power Bra from New Balance has a gel-infused strap lining for specifically for comfort, as well as a powermesh lining that offers sweat-wicking and breathability more intensive and warmer workouts.

Fit & Mobility

The sides on the Oiselle Brilliance Bra don’t fully cover larger chests, so exposure and chafing can occur during a lot of movement. Higher mesh coverage on the front of the bra can offer that extra front hold when desired. It’s the stretch that Falke put into the fabric of the Control Maximum Support Top that really makes it stand out. It’s easy to move in this bra, whether in a yoga class or running a half marathon. The band wraps around a 36-inch ribcage snugly and the pre-formed cups hold all sizes securely, all while still allowing freedom of movement for the rest of the body that can range from gentle to vigorous.

Support

With specially designed padded cups, the New Balance Power Bra gives substantial support and shaping to larger cup sizes. It uses encapsulation and compression support technology, so each internal cup supports each breast individually while the outside shell maintains the appropriate compression. The cup design of the Lululemon Speed Up Bra will offer substantial support for size B and C cups, but size D will find a lack of support with high-intensity activities like running and jumping. The bra has a lower V-cut front, offering less coverage in the center of the chest, especially for larger cup sizes.

Breathability

Mesh on the front and back of the Oiselle Brilliance Bra make it very breathable even with thicker straps and higher coverage on the chest. An additional airway in the back creates more ventilation, and the fabric on the bra is sweat-wicking which kept us cool while running. The Luxtreme fabric created by Lululemon and used for the Speed Up Bra is sweat-wicking, and in general offers decent breathability. The molded foam cups do collect more sweat, but the bra has a lot of airflow in the back, including a ventilated back razorback strap.

Style & Design

A simple and smart design makes the Control Maximum Support Top from Falke easy to put on and take off. The V-cut in the chest creates an attractive aesthetic, while a strip of fabric behind provides for more support and coverage. The racerback shoulder straps go seamlessly under workout tanks and t-shirts. The aesthetic of Lululemon’s Speed Up Bra is one of its most enticing qualities, with flattering molded foam cups that offer high support and a natural shape for the chest. The mesh fabric on the racer-back strap not only offers ventilation, but also adds an extra stylish flare to the overall look of the bra on its own and with athletic tank tops.

Test Methods

There are multiple elements that can make or break a running bra, so for our tests we compare the following categories: Comfort, Fit/Mobility, Support, Breathability and Style/Design.

Comfort looks at the fabric of the bra and how it feels next to the skin. We also note the strap size, where straps sit on the shoulders and cross on the upper back, how the bra’s seams interact on the skin, garment adjustability, and generally how the bra feels on the body.

How a bra fits is very important, and equally important is also how the bra maintains that fit while in motion. The testers notice how a bra sits on and around the chest and whether the fit is streamlined. Once the testers start moving, they feel if the bra shifts or stays in place.

Arguably the most important element in a running bra is support. The testers evaluate the bra’s compression on the chest and if it is effective during different levels of impact and activity. If support is too tight, that is not comfortable and/or restricting breathing, then it’s not sustainable to wear for longer workouts.

A bra’s fabric has a lot to do with its breathability, and this will determine the comfort of a runner on long sessions, especially in hot and humid weather. Testers note the weight of the bra and the rate the fabric dries once it’s damp or wet.

Style and design of the bra brings together technical elements with aesthetic. Testers observe if the bra is flattering, as well as style and design elements that make it especially unique.