10 Best Sports Bras for Running

20/02/2020

Ok, this week I am going to answer a question I get asked a lot; What is the best sports bra for running?

Firstly, for us female runners choosing the right sports bra for running is comparable to getting the right trainers. If it is the right fit, supportive and comfortable you will run better and longer. A good sports bra might feel tight at home but out on the trail keeping the girls in check and reducing bounce helps alleviate back and breast pain.

A good sports bra is also important for the breasts themselves. Especially if you run regularly, as a good sports bra will look after your breasts supportive structure – the Coopers Ligaments. These delicate ligaments hold your breasts up and stop your breasts from sagging. Check out my blog ‘Breast Sag and How to Prevent It’ for further reading on preventing the dreaded sag!

So What Are the Top Ten?

Nothing tests a sports bras support and comfort like running. I for one have experienced the breast pain caused by a poor supporting bra and the rub from an ill-fitting one! If this is you it’s worth checking out ‘10 Common Fitting Problems & How to Solve Them’.

So, what are my criteria? Easy; support and comfort! You won’t find any crops here. They may be comfortable but as a rule they don’t offer the support you need. Structured bras all the way for me. They are designed to your back and cup size to offer the best support.

I have broken the list into two sections. Best underwired and best wirefree. I wasn’t going to do this and just list ‘my top ten’ but one thing I have come to realise is nothing creates more debate than underwired vs wirefree. It’s the Holden vs Ford of the sports bra world.

Furthermore, there were no financial incentives offered by suppliers to get their bra on the list. Unfortunately, this happens a lot to ‘best product’ lists meaning they are often biased and do not offer you the absolute best of advice. These are just my picks from a life lived in the world of sports bras.

Read on to see my top 5 + 5 = 10.

Top 5 Wirefree Sports Bras for Running

#1 Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra

Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra

Now I know this list is in two parts, but this sports bra tops them all. Designed specifically for runners the name says it all. It really is the ultimate run bra. Designed by Shock Absorber UK this multi award winning sports bra will keep the girls under control during any run. It provides the ultimate in friction-free comfort and reduces bounce by up to 78%. It’s features and benefits really are top of the list.

That’s the official research and I can tell you my own tests out on the trails of Nerang can back that up. It really is the best I have come across and ticks all the boxes. A big, big thumbs up from me.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Made from moisture-wicking, breathable, sports performance fabrics to keep you cool and dry.
  • The back of the bra can be completely undone which makes it easier to put on and off.
  • The shoulder straps are non-slip, wide and padded for your comfort. They are also fully adjustable to ensure a good fit.
  • The cups are silky soft, and they have a seamless inner to prevent any rubbing or chafing.
  • Shock Absorber have developed the infinity-8 support system within the cups to counteract the breasts’ figure-of-eight movement, which has been shown to happen during running.
  • Whilst the racer back style provides you with additional high impact support and prevents any strap slippage.

Suits 8 – 16 backs and B-G cups.

#2 Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra, Colour Peacock and Anthracite, Front View

Am I allowed to say that this bra is my number two overall? I thought this list was meant to be in two parts. I can’t resist sorry as this bra is a clear second overall. There I’ve said it. It’s designed for comfort and offers great support. It’s so lightweight that you forget you’re wearing it. The soft comfortable band sits snugly against you rig cage and I also love the front adjustment. So easy to use!

If my Shock is in the wash, then this one is my next go to. Great in the warmer months as it’s so light weight and breathable.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Simple and convenient: Easy dressing and undressing due to the wide opening and ‘Easy On and Off’.
  • Soft and breathable CoolMax net insert at the front centre to transport moisture away from your body.
  • Racerback design for maximum comfort across your shoulders.
  • Comfort strap system exclusively developed for Anita: Ergonomically shaped, with integrated padding, very adjustable at the front and designed to be positioned at the centre of the shoulder for maximum comfort and to relieve your neck.
  • Seamlessly shaped, preformed, double layered cups ensure comfort and a great under t-shirt look – outside high-function pique fabric, inside absorbent towelling creating the Anita sweat management system.
  • Special support function at the side aided by the double back design and X-back for extra firmness.
  • Soft and comfortable band which sits snugly against your rib cage.

Suits 10 – 18 backs and B-E cups.

#3 Triumph Triaction Extreme Lite Sports Bra

Triumph Triaction Extreme Lite Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

This bra is extremely light and comfortable with high bounce control. Triumph puts its bounce control at 77% with 3-layer anti-bounce compression and I would say it does a great job of keeping the girls under control so a big tick. It’s made from tech material that is breathable and has moisture regulating inserts, perfect for long sweaty runs.

Overall this bra delivers high support and comfort for runners in the C-E cup range.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • 77% bounce control, 3-layer anti-bounce compression.
  • Innovative texture which is very flexible and keeps the shape for a long time.
  • With LYCRA®, an extremely elastic fibre, which guarantees unique freedom of movement.
  • Breathable material with moisture regulating inserts.
  • Unpadded, shaping cups, which firmly wrap around the bust.
  • Wide lower band with a velvety touch, which feels pleasant on the skin.
  • Adjustable, padded straps with practical snap closure, which can be worn crossed as well.
  • Wide hook eye closure, softly padded, adjustable in three positions, nickel free.
  • Light mesh material, double layering with very flexible texture for excellent support.
  • Soft, anti-bacterial quality, suitable for sensitive skin.

Suits 10 – 16 backs and C-E cups.

#4 Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra

Shock Absorber Multi Sports Support Bra

Next on the list is another great running bra from Shock Absorber. They really do know how to make great sports bras. This bra was voted number one by Runner’s World Magazine. So why haven’t I got it as my number one you ask? I’m sorry I do love it as an all-round sports bra but not as much as the two above as a running specific sports bra. It is good for running just not great. I do love the padded straps and racerback design.

I always look for that little bit extra comfort and support in my running bras and this bra does offer that.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Fully back opening for easy on and off.
  • Powermesh side panels for breathability.
  • Double anchorage points at the back.
  • Shaped, adjustable padded straps for your added comfort.
  • Made from moisture-wicking, breathable, high performance fabrics to keep you dry and fresh during any activity.
  • Racer back style gives you extra support and a greater range of motion.
  • Crop top design with integrated sports bra support.
  • Shaped, adjustable padded straps for extra shoulder comfort.

Suits 8 – 18 backs and B-HH cups.

#5 Brooks Juno Sports Bra

Brooks Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

This sports bra is an absolute Brooks favourite. This best-selling bra is comfortable from start to finish. The cups are seamfree and the overall construction gives no-chafe comfort when running.

I particularly like the racerback design and front adjustment (can you sense a bit of a theme here?). Also, the padded back closure can be a life saver for those of you that run some serious k’s. Nothing worse than that painful mid-back rub that can occur on longer runs.

An easy number 5 for me.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Front adjustable straps let you customize fit on the move.
  • Updated back design for easier on and off.
  • Drilayer® burst fabric minimizes odours.
  • Moderate-contour cups give shape, modesty and maximum moisture transfer with a seamless look.
  • Increased ventilation in key sweat zones to help keep you cool, dry and comfortable.
  • Padded back closure for proper fit and support.
  • Seam-free interior moulded unicup design gives you support, shape and modesty.
  • Made from bonded material for less bulk and smooth, no-chafe, comfort.

Suits 8 – 18 backs and C-F cups.

Honourable Wirefree Mention:

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra, Colour Black and Grey, Front View

It’s always hard doing a top five when there are so many great running bras out there, so I’ve had to throw in a ‘honourable mention’. And this sports bra is definitely it.  It’s designed with an extreme shaping function and provides maximum support.

Like all Anita bras is made from high tech material that is lightweight and comfortable. Can I rank this one 5.5 as it only just misses the top five.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Anita sweat management and breathable mesh back helps keep you cool and dry.
  • Outside of highly functional pique fabric for quick moisture absorbtion and transportation. Inside seamless hydrophilic towelling for extra support and comfort; does not chafe the breast.
  • Three-section outer cup with sickle-shaped supporting section at the sides to enhance the shape of your breast.
  • Ergonomically tailored comfort straps with simple adjustment, padded throughout to prevent shoulder and neck discomfort and provide firm support.
  • Soft microfiber underbust band that provides firm support and moulds to your body’s contours.

Suits 12 – 24 backs and D-G cups.

Top 5 Underwired Sports Bras for Running

#1 Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra

Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra, Colour Electric Black, Front View

Ok we’ve worked our way through the Wirefree top 5 but what if you’re an underwire lover. I love wirefree so this isn’t me, that said I make a point of trying everything I recommend and this my number one underwired sports bra.

Why? Quite simply the support it offers. Freya reckon it can reduce independent breast movement by 92%. I don’t know about that, but it certainly does a good job of keeping your assets in check. It’s surprisingly comfy for an underwired bra too (there’s my wirefree bias again!). All in all a great running bra and a definite ‘best in underwire show’ for me.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • High performance with full coverage from a centre front extension that keeps you in place.
  • Perforated foam cups for smooth breathable shaping.
  • Soft hook and eye closure with four rows for a flexible fit.
  • Slide hook fastening allows racer back option with quick and easy dressing. Get workout ready fast!
  • COOLMAX® fabric in the inner bra combined with microfibre wicks moisture away helping keep you cool and dry.
  • Subtly positioned mesh panels offer further cooling comfort.
  • The adjustable padded straps help keep your shoulders comfortable and reduce neck & shoulder strain allowing you to perform for longer.
  • Soft thread seams reduce friction against the skin.
  • Soft, wide bottom band for your support and comfort.
  • Wide curvature underwire in puncture resistant casing reduces pressure against the body.

Suits 6 – 18 backs and D – H cups.

#2 Glamorise Sport High Impact Underwire Sport Bra

Glamorise High Impact Underwire Sport Bra, Colour Black Purple, Front View

So, what’s next on the list? For me it’s hard to go part this Glamorise bra. It offers great support and comfort when you’re pounding the pavement. I particularly like the Wonderwire technology. Glamorise have done a great job of designing the bra to give you the benefit of underwire but the softness of wirefree.

If you’re after a great running bra in a larger back size then it’s have to go past this one.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • The adjustable shoulder straps help give you a perfect fit with no shoulder ache while the two-way stretch back moves with your body to keep the bra in place.
  • The double layer cups with the integrated Wonderwire® design prevents the wire from ever touching your body. Feel supported in comfort like never before.
  • Features seamless outer cups made of non-stretch material.
  • Look and feel great while moisture wicking fabrics keep you cool and dry when it matters most.

Suits 10 – 24 backs and B – F cups.

#3 Triumph Triaction Control Lite Minimiser Sports Bra

Triumph Triaction Control Lite Minimiser Sports Bra, Black, Front View

This really is a good running sports bra and perfect for those who may be a little self-conscious about their breasts when running. I am a D cup and it really did feel good on. Soft, comfortable and supportive.

Triumph advertise it as having 3D powertech technology and 3D straps. I am not sure what that means and suspect it is just marketing jargon to break through the sports bra noise. That said whatever it is it works. I took it for a run and felt good throughout. An easy number 3 for me.

Features and Benefits:

  • Wired Minimiser bra that reduces the bust by one cup size.
  • Comfort wire prevents the wire from digging in under the arm for ultimate comfort.
  • 3D straps are padded, versatile and fully adjustable both front and back with security hook on front strap.
  • 3D Powertech technology and 77% bounce control with 3D straps, soft fabrics, wide lower band and unpadded, shaping cups.

Suits 10 – 16 backs and D – E cups.

#4 Freya Active Core Underwired Sports Bra

Freya Active Core Underwired Sports Bra, Colour White, Front View

Ok we are back with Freya. In my opinion they are the queens of underwired sports bras and this bra is a princess (see what I did there!). It’s not as supportive as it’s sister the Epic but it comes close (80% bounce control). It’s less bulky than the Epic whilst still maintaining the comfort.

Some women find it a bit pointy in the cups, but I found it OK. All in all a great underwired sports bra perfect for running

Features and Benefits:

  • COOLMAX® fabric with a soft feel wicks moisture away helping keep you cool and dry.
  • Mesh panels for cool comfort.
  • Built up padded straps for support and comfort.
  • Soft hook and eye closure for extra comfort.
  • Wider curvature wire giving you a comfortable and supportive fit.
  • Double fabric for firm support.
  • Firm and flat bottom band for good anchorage.
  • Research findings show a reduction in up and down velocity by 80% (University of Portsmouth).

Suits 6 – 16 backs and D-GG cups.

#5 Berlei Shift Underwire Bra

Berlei Shift Underwire Bra, Colour Black, Front View

Berlei make great sports bras but I am not normally a fan of the support level they offer for high impact activities such as running. This bra breaks the mould. It ups the support factor whilst maintaining the comfort. Well done Berlei you have created a winner here.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Berlei states it has a Support Factor of 4 – Extreme Impact; reducing breast bounce by up to 60%.
  • Sides and back have encased elastic at top edges.
  • Patterned mesh overlay around cups and on sides and back.
  • Center panel – tall and narrow for containment, with arched centre underside for high tummies.
  • This sports bra is made to reduce chafing and will keep you dry during the toughest exercises.
  • Wide adjustable straps help to stabilise and minimise bounce whilst enhancing support.
  • The cross over functionality delivers additional support and flexibility under clothing.
  • Multi-part encapsulated underwire cups feature angled seams for shape and support during even the most strenuous workouts.
  • Covered elastic underband stabilizes bust and adds support.
  • Cotton-lined cups for comfort.

Suits 10 – 18 backs and C – F cups.

Honourable Underwired Mention:

Elomi Energise Underwired Sports Bra

Elomi Energise Sports Bra, White, Front View

I’ve given this one my honourable mention purely due to the support it offers women with fuller figures and larger cups. We are all entitled to have great support when we run, and this sports bra does just that.

I’m a 12D so couldn’t really test the support it offers larger sizes but feedback I have received has been all good. Larger ladies love the support and comfort it offers.

Features and Benefits:

  • Full coverage and support.
  • Newly added J Hook on the straps for conversion to racerback.
  • Each breast is supported individually giving great shape and separation.
  • Made from a super-smooth microfiber fabric, which wicks moisture away.
  • Two-ply construction in the cups for uncompromising support.
  • Four section cups with side support panels, encapsulate rather than compress the bust, giving amazing support and great separation, no more uniboob!

Suits 10 – 24 backs and D – K cups.

So, there you have it. My 5 + 5 = 10 done and dusted. As always, the perfect sports bra for you is very much a personal choice. Who works for your running buddy may not work for you. Use this list as a guide and hit the trials with the ultimate in support and comfort.

In closing can I say that no single sports bra can offer you complete support. The very best advertise 80-90% bounce control and over a long run that 10-20% can add up.

In my opinion a must have running accessory is the Pinkclover Breastband.

PINKCLOVER Breastband, Colour White, Beach Run

This athletic breast support band is designed to work with your sports bra to provide the complete support solution for holding your breasts in place preventing bounce and breast damage while you exercise. You will love it!

Happy running

Amy

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