Best sports bras to help you run, skip and jump with confidence

Whether you’re a yoga bunny or HIIT hero, we’ve tested the very best sports bras on the market so you don’t have to

(Image credit: Panache Sport Campaign #MYSIZE)

Finding a well-fitting bra is tricky enough, let alone the best bras for you, but throw the word ‘sports’ into the mix and it becomes a whole different ball game. Ironic, as you might well be after a new bra to play ball games in…

The main focus of a sports bra is to keep your best assets close to your chest, holding them towards your body so they don’t get in the way or, worse, cause you pain as you exercise. 

This added support can be provided in a variety of different ways, but the most popular methods are through wide shoulder straps, supportive racerbacks or underwiring. 

Some, like the Panache Sports Moulded Underwired Bra, go for the fashion hat-trick by providing all three in one stylish and, most importantly, comfortable package. 

How to find the best sports bra for you 

You need to consider four key factors:

Fit 

As your sports bra will be playing a more supportive role than your everyday bras, you need a slightly snugger fit. Having said that, you don’t want it to be so tight that it restricts either your movement or your breathing.

The bulk of your bra’s support comes from the backband, so if you find it’s riding up at the back, this means it’s too loose and the weight of your boobs is pulling it down at the front. Not sure if your band is too tight? You should be able to place two fingers under the band and pull back slightly. If you can pull back further than an inch, you need to size down.

As with all new bras, if your sports bra has a back fastening, you should start off with it on its loosest clip. This is because the elastic of your bra will stretch and slacken over time – something that can be easily counteracted by tightening the band. The tighter it fits to begin with, the longer your bra will last. 

Sizing can vary from brand to brand, so don’t be afraid to stray from your usual size. It might be time consuming to try a range of sizes, but it’ll reward you in the end with a comfortable fit. 

Impact

The more you’re moving, the harder your sports bra will need to work to support your bust. As a result, you’ll need more or less support depending on what you’re up to. 

Low impact refers to activities like walking, yoga or weights training – anything where you’re standing still or moving slowly.

Next up, it’s medium impact. This includes dancing, cycling or jogging. 

Finally, it’s high impact, which will cover everything from sprint training to marathon running, burpees to high knees. 

Fabric

Look out for breathable mesh fabrics that let air in, as well as sweat-wicking ones that draw moisture away from the body. Both of them will help to keep you cool and comfortable, whatever you’re up to.

How your bra is pieced together is important, too. Ideally, the fewer seams, the better, as these can not only dig in to create sore grooves in the skin but contribute to chaffing, too.

Compression or encapsulation

There are two key terms to look out for when shopping for a sports bra: compression and encapsulation. Compression styles work by drawing your breasts into your chest. They normally look more like a crop top than a bra and are best suited to smaller busts.

Encapsulation refers to the way in which these bras encapsulate the breasts into two separate cups. These look more like your everyday bras, just with more coverage and a higher level of support. Opt for an encapsulation if you have a bigger bust or are a fan of high-impact exercises. 

Some bras offer a mix of both, for extra-firm hold. 

The best sports bras you can buy right now 

Panache Sports Moulded Underwired Bra

(Image credit: Panache)

Panache Sports Moulded Underwired Bra

Best sports bra for everyone

Specifications
Price : £42
Sizes: Available in back sizes 28-40, cup sizes C-J
Composition: 49% polyamide, 36% polyester, 15% elastane (all material details exclusive of trims)
Wired: Yes
Machine washable: No
Reasons to buy
+Underwiring offers extra support+Cushioned strap and band
Reasons to avoid
-Comes up a little small-Racerback strap tricky to secure

Super-supportive sports bra with an impressive and fully inclusive size range. 

If you’re looking for a sports bra that will support your boobs without compressing them, then this is the one for you. The light padding, underwiring and moulded cups work together to ensure there’s no need to compromise on shape. 

Comfort is at the front and centre of all the design details, from the pillowy-soft straps to seam-free inner cups. The washing instructions have even been printed directly on to the band to negate the need for niggling labels. 

Wear as a classic bra with the straps straight for low-intensity walking and yoga, or take advantage of the racerback clip for sweaty HIIT sessions and long runs. 

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra

(Image credit: Anita/Figleaves)

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra

Best premium sports bra

Specifications
Price: £54
Sizes: Available in back sizes 30-44, cup sizes B-FF
Composition: 62% polyamide, 21% polyester, 5% elastane
Wired: No
Machine washable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Inclusive sizing +Full-cup support 
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky back fastening-Cups can dent in if your boobs are different sizes 

Full-cup coverage and high-level support for bounce-free workouts. 

Crafted from lightweight, breathable fabric with perforated mesh sides, this is a bra that works hard to keep you cool. Even better, both the cups and band are lined with a super-soft towelling cloth for maximum comfort.

Free from padding, the cups on the Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra are made in three separate parts. This not only ensures each breast is fully encapsulated in the cup for spill-proof support, but creates a rounded feminine shape. Housing three sets of hook and eye fastenings, the wide back band is bulkier than your average bra, but worth it for the high-level support.

Adidas Don’t Rest Alphaskin Padded Bra

(Image credit: Adidas)

Adidas Don’t Rest Alphaskin Padded Bra

Best budget sports bra

Specifications
Price: £27.95
Sizes: Available in sizes 2XS-4X, equivalent to sizes 30A-48G
Composition: 70% recycled polyester, 19% polyester, 11% elastane
Wired: No
Machine washable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Removable padded cups+Extensive size range 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited colour choice-Pull-on only 

A function-focused crop top crafted from high-tech fabrics for support when you need it most. 

More like a crop top than a bra, this medium-support style uses a super-stretchy elastane blend fabric to secure your bust. The bulk of the support comes from the racerback, distributing the weight of your boobs while still offering full flexibility of movement.

As you’d expect from Adidas, the fabric is tech-focused, teaming a power-mesh lining with moisture-absorbing properties to keep you cool and comfortable no matter how sweaty your workout. 

Cleverly concealed at the sides, the removable padding gives you the option to boost your bust, especially handy if you have different sized boobs – you could always leave one in and take one out, to even things up. 

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra

(Image credit: Shock Absorber)

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra

Best sports bra for high-impact exercise

Specifications
Price: £39
Sizes: Available in back sizes 30-40, cup sizes B-HH
Composition: 49% polyester, 45% polyamide, 6% elastane
Wired: No
Machine washable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Inclusive size range+Fully-opening back for ease 
Reasons to avoid
-Can come up small-Double clasp tricky to master

High-impact bounce control for running through to horse riding.

Active types, listen up. The Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra is your ultimate high-support solution for a wide range of exercises and sports. Its key unique selling point is the fully-opening, double-clasp back, letting you put bra on and off with ease, without compromising on racerback support. The only slight downside is that the top clasp is a little fiddly to secure.

Wire- and padding-free, this bra holds your boobs close to your body for bounce-free support. The shoulder straps are padded for maximum comfort, and relatively narrow for a sports bra, meaning they can be easily disguised under the straps of your workout vest. 

Tala Zahara Bra

(Image credit: Tala)

Tala Zahara Bra

Best eco-friendly sports bra

Specifications
Price: £30
Sizes: Available in sizes XS-SL, equivalent to UK sizes 6-18
Composition: 92% upcycled polyamide, 8% elastane
Wired: No
Machine washable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Made from upcycled fabric+High-coverage style can be worn in place of a top 
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky for wearing under T-shirts-Shoulder seams can dig in a little 

An eco-friendly way to take your workout to the next level. 

If you’re looking to make more sustainable fashion choices, this sports bra is a big leap in the right direction. By using upcycled polyamide to create their Zahara style, Tala saves 28 litres of water and 1.5kg of CO2 compared with non-upcycled polyamide. Impressive, eh?

Thanks to the high neck and zip, this style is seriously sporty and a fun way to upgrade your workout wardrobe. It is bulky, though, so would be best worn as a top as opposed to layered under a vest or T-shirt. The compression fit works together with removable padding to keep your chest under wraps as you enjoy your exercise. 

Falke Shape Melange Low Support Women Sport-Bra

(Image credit: Falke)

Falke Shape Melange Low Support Women Sport-Bra

Best sports bra for smaller busts

Specifications
Price: £55
Sizes: Available in sizes XS-SL (equivalent to cup size AA-C)
Composition: 43% polyamide, 42% polyester, 15% elastane
Wired: No
Machine washable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Super comfortable+Easy to adjust 
Reasons to avoid
-Only available in one colour-Sizing is a little confusing

A softly supportive style perfect for smaller busts and low-impact exercise.

One for the yoga bunnies, this fuss-free bra will keep your bust perfectly in place as you flow through your sun salutations. The adjustable back strap guarantees the perfect fit and, as it’s narrow, is nice and easy to disguise beneath your gym top.

The double layered fabric means this sports bra dries in record time – something fans of hot yoga will appreciate. 

As it’s been designed with smaller boobs in mind, it won’t offer enough support for bigger busts to exercise in. Having said that, if you’re looking for a cosy sleep bra or something to wear around the house, then this might just be for you. 

Sweaty Betty Stamina Sports Bra

(Image credit: Sweaty Betty)

Sweaty Betty Stamina Sports Bra

Best sports bra for medium-impact exercise

Specifications
Price: £35
Sizes: Available in sizes XS-XL, equivalent to 30A-38D
Composition: 91% polyamide, 9% elastane
Wired: No
Machine washable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+High-tech fabric+Amazing shade range 
Reasons to avoid
-Sells out quickly-Not big enough for larger busts 

One for the gym-lovers, this will keep your best assets in place through active classes like spin and boxercise.

Helping to take the weight off your shoulders for medium-impact exercise, Sweaty Betty’s Stamina Sports Bra has racked up more than 1,000 reviews in order to achieve it’s 4.4 star status. 

As you’d expect from Sweaty Betty, this not only works well, but looks good, too, thanks to the wide colour choice and stand-out waffle detailing. Much more than a design detail, the waffle fabric has been placed across the back, chest and sizes to help with breathability. Team that with sweat-wicking fabric, and you’ve got yourself a dry, comfortable workout.

This bra works by compressing your breasts close to your body, while the seamless edges minimise the risk of rubbing or chaffing. 

Triumph Triaction Extreme Lite

(Image credit: Triumph)

Triumph Triaction Extreme Lite

Best plus-size sports bras

Specifications
Price: £40
Sizes: Available in sizes 34A-36F
Composition: 79% polyamide, 21% elastane
Wired: No
Machine washable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Fully supportive style+Multiway straps 
Reasons to avoid
-Back band comes up small-Cup size comes up a bit big 

Extreme bounce control makes for a fully supportive fit. 

Brilliant for keeping bigger busts under wraps during bouncy cardio sessions, this bra encapsulates each breast into a separate cup for targeted support. 

Specially designed to avoid sore shoulders, the fully adjustable straps are packed full of padding. Giving you the option to wear it your way, the straps can be easily cross-crossed, too, for a firmer fit. 

Lightweight and breathable, the mesh fabric helps to move moisture away from the body, leaving you cool and dry. 

If you’re wearing your bra in place of a top, some colourways even feature light-reflective patterns, helping to keep you visible when running in the dark.