The Best Sports Bra for Running To Give the Support You Need

You love your daily run, but you don’t love having your jugglies jiggling with every step you take. That much bouncing is distracting, but you’ve never found a sports bra that really works for you and gives the support you need. Don’t worry, you’ll be an expert by the time you’ve read our article about how to find the best sports bra for running.

Quick Look: Our Top Picks

What Level of Impact Should I Buy For?

What level of support you need out of your bra has more to do with the activity you’re performing and less to do with how big your chest is. Running is a high-impact sport. Simply put, there’s a lot of movement going on, which means a lot of bouncing will occur.

For that reason, all women runners should look for a high-impact sports bra. Always check the packaging or description on a website if you’re shopping online. You don’t want to try to get away with using a low-impact bra meant for walking on the day of your big race — if you do, people will be staring, but it won’t have anything to do with the PR you just set.

What Different Bra Styles Will I Encounter?

There are different styles of sports bras, but most will use two primary methods, or a combination of the two, to hold your breasts in place while you’re running.

  • Encapsulation: Individual cups are used in these bras to hold each breast in place. This is the same method regular bras use. Women tend to like this style because it gets rid of that unattractive uni-boob situation, where your breasts are being squished together.
  • Compression: As the name suggests, these bras use compression to keep your wonder twins in place. There aren’t any built-in cups in the sports bras that rely solely on compression. These won’t have two separate cups for your breasts, only one stretch of fabric.

How Should it Fit?

While the main goal of a sports bra is to find one that minimizes movement of your breasts, you don’t want to feel like a boa constrictor has wrapped itself around you. If your bra feels so tight that it’s difficult to take a full, deep breath, you’re going to be in trouble when you begin to run. It should feel snug against your skin, but not too tight, much like your running belt.

And there should be no shifting or movement of the band that’s located under your breasts. If there’s a lot of movement there, you’ll experience some uncomfortable chafing.

The second thing you should look for is overflow. You don’t want your breasts popping out of the top of the bra or the side of the bra. For women with bigger breasts, this is a real concern.

If you have the opportunity to try the bra on before you buy it, give it the old jump test in the dressing room. Jump up and down a few times and see what kind of movement you have. The less movement, the better.

But women who wear D cups or larger will likely still have some movement — it would be difficult to eliminate it all.

Should the Bra Have Hooks?

There are some super cute sports bras out there that you simply pull over your head, like a tank top. There aren’t any hooks to mess with, and they just seem so comfortable.

Of course, they seem comfortable, because they aren’t constrictive enough to do any good for you on a run. They won’t give you the support you need.

Hooks are a good idea, even if you don’t want them. Hooks make the bra adjustable as you begin to stretch it out after repeated usages.

If you don’t have the hooks and your bra stretches out, you’re out of luck. But with the hooks, you just move up to the tighter setting when you start noticing your bra doesn’t give as much support as it used to.

What Material Should It Be?

You need to find a good moisture-wicking material for your sports bra. It has to be able to suck up the moisture that’s sure to accumulate around your breasts.

If you buy a cotton bra that doesn’t grab onto your sweat, you run the risk of chafing.

Adjustable Straps

You’ll want adjustable straps to control the bounce and lift that your sports bra gives your breasts. You don’t want your straps digging uncomfortably into your skin, but they should be snug.

Ideally, you want your bra to have thick straps that can take a lot of punishment. Thin straps won’t give you the support you need for running.

The 5 Best Sports Bras for Running

1. Enell High Impact Sports Bra

This is a favorite of women runners because of its sturdy construction, and the fact that it also works for women with large chests.

Pros

  • It’s made out of nylon primarily, mixed in with a little spandex, which gives you moisture control.
  • It uses hooks as a closure.
  • This bra uses both encapsulation and compression, which gives women superior support so they can run with confidence.
  • It has a higher neckline than many other sports bras, which gives even more support.
  • Made for high impact — you’ll be covered whether you’re doing a light jog or a full-on sprint.
  • This fabric feels soft on your skin, which will give you a more comfortable run.
  • Your other clothing won’t cling to it.
  • This offers superior support to women with big chests, who have trouble finding other sports bras that go up to their size.
  • You can order this bra for a custom fit, which is nice for women who don’t have a standard bra size.

Cons

  • If you’re used to ordering by cup size, this 0 to 8 sizing system Enell uses is a bit confusing.
  • It’s very shiny, which might bother women looking for a more conventional looking sports bra.
  • This bra has its hooks in the front, not the back, and it is rather hard to put on.

2. Champion Women’s Spot Comfort

Champion bras have several different styles and models to choose from, but the Spot Comfort style holds up well mile after mile.

Pros

  • Women who like to wear more than basic black or white while running will love the good selection of colors you can buy this bra in.
  • It offers great support in the cup, back, frame, and strap — in these locations it’s made out of 86 percent nylon and 14 percent spandex.
  • It has a hook closure.
  • It has breathable mesh in a section on the front of the bra.
  • It does have molded cups, which will help you avoid the uni-boob look.
  • The bra feels soft against your skin and won’t cause chafing even during long runs.
  • Although this bra is made for high-impact sports, it doesn’t feel heavy — it still feels lightweight, which is perfect for runners.
  • The adjustable straps are gel-infused for added comfort.
  • It’s wire free, for women who don’t like wires digging into their skin.

Cons

  • You have to hand-wash this bra, which is a pain for women who would rather not spend their free time doing laundry.
  • Not available in A or B cups.

3. Victoria’s Secret The Ultimate Maximum Support Sport Bra

It’s not a surprise that Victoria’s Secret would make this list. They base their business off of making great products that women love, and this bra is no exception.

Pros

  • Comes in a bunch of colors and patterns, ensuring you’ll find one to go with every running outfit.
  • The body-wicking keeps you dry, even on your long runs.
  • It has underwire for added support, but the underwire is well-covered so you won’t be poked uncomfortably during your runs.
  • It goes up to DDD, so even large-chested women can run with comfort.
  • This bra uses encapsulation, so it will give you a great shape while you’re running.
  • You can wear it in the standard way, or you can adjust the straps so you wear it crisscrossed in the back.
  • The back closure has extra cushioning, which means it won’t dig into your skin and cause that itchy sensation that some closures do.
  • It lasts a long time if you wash it on the gentle cycle.

Cons

  • They don’t offer this bra in A cups for smaller-chested women.
  • These bras have a fair amount of padding, which might not be appreciated by women with big chests.

4. Nike Women’s Fitness Bra

If you aren’t carting around D cups, this Nike bra might be just your speed.

Pros

  • It has a great color selection.
  • It uses compression to keep your breasts from wandering during your run.
  • They are made out of dri-fit fabric, which will ensure you’ll have a dry run.
  • It has mesh panels on the chest area to give you extra air circulation as you sweat it out.
  • It has a smooth look — you won’t have any weird seams that cause bulging.
  • It has a racerback style that will work well with tank tops.
  • Nylon stabilizers have been put in the straps to cut back on the stretch you’ll put them through with every step.
  • The stitching is minimal, which means you’ll get less chafing from bulging stitching that can rub on you.
  • It is a comfortable bra, letting you breathe with ease. You almost forget it’s on.

Cons

  • This bra should only be used by A, B and C cups — it doesn’t offer enough support for anything bigger.
  • The sizing isn’t ordered by cup size, so you have to do a little detective work to figure out what size you should order.

5. Victoria’s Secret Knockout Front Close Sports Bra

This bra is made out of 77 percent polyester and 23 percent elastane, which gives it a good mix of comfort and support.

Pros

  • It’s designed as a bra within a bra, so you get the support of wearing two bras while only having to put on one.
  • It has two closures on the front — a zipper closure which is easy to reach and doesn’t require any acrobatics to put on and a front closure on the cups.
  • There are so many colors to choose from.
  • The body-wicking fabric means your chest won’t feel moist and sticky during your run.
  • The adjustable straps hold tight until you loosen or tighten them.
  • There’s a concealed underwire for extra support.
  • There is breathable extremely thin padding in the cup area, plus it has a wicking liner, which means you’ll stay extra dry in the areas you most need to.
  • The elastic band is soft, which will cut back on chafing.

Cons

  • These bras last much longer if you don’t put them in the dryer.
  • It seems to fit small, so you might want to order up a size.

And the Winner Is …

Victoria’s Secret Knockout bra really does knock out the competition. It’s not budging when you run race after race. Plus, it has great body-wicking abilities, leaving you feeling nice and dry.

The bra within a bra design makes it stand out in a crowd. The colors are pretty and there’s enough of them that you can order several to wear during the week.

The front enclosures make this bra easier to put on than many others are. The padding won’t add a size to your chest, which won’t make you feel self-conscious in your regular gear.