Can Sports Bras be Used for Swimming?


With summer just around the corner our thoughts turn to the beach and hot summer days by the pool. Sounds good to me!

I am not one to sit still. So, if you are like me a trip to the beach will often involve a walk or short run in the sand followed by a swim to cool off.

Many of us also have active kids who want to kick the ball or play tag. Great beach fun but not so fun for our breasts in that strappy bikini top!

So, this begs the question ‘can sports bras be used for swimming?’ We all have that favourite sports bra (if you don’t, you so need to get one!) that you wear everywhere. But can you wear it in the water?

Read on as I answer your swimming bra questions!

The Obvious First; Can I Swim in a Sports Bra?

Absolutely yes! There is no physical reason you cannot swim in a sports bra. It may not be good for your bra but given how supportive and low impact water-based activities are it is perfectly fine to jump in, sports bra and all.

That said there are some features you should consider to ensure your sports bra is suited for the job.

Will Salt and Chlorine Damage Your Sports Bra?

We all know how damaging salt and chlorine can be. When it comes to clothing it can fade, stretch, and rust. So, you are going to need a bra made of the right fabric for the job.

Luckily, most sports bras are made of material designed to perform under pressure. We sweat in them and put the material through its paces with every workout we do.

That said I would recommend getting a sports bra more designed for the job. One made of Chlorine resistant material if you are heading to the pool regularly. Or one made from lightweight, quick-dry fabric (no moulding or padding!), so it doesn’t become an uncomfortable soggy mess on your chest.

Can Sports Bras be Used for Swimming

Consider a Bra With no Metal or Low Rust Metals

Salt water and most metals do not mix. As such, look for a bra that has minimal metal components. No underwire is a good start.

If metal is unavoidable check whether the metal components are stainless steel or at the very least coated, so the chance of rusting is minimised.

You don’t want a hook and eye closure breaking mid-swim due to rust. Not to mention the staining it may cause.

A metal free pullover option may provide the best solution if you are using the bra a lot in the water.

Which Straps are Best?

Swimming requires a good range of motion in the arms and shoulders, so a racerback or cross back style is a good option. It will allow your arms to move freely and will also eliminate the embarrassment of a strap slipping off mid-swim.

If your trip to the beach is more land than water based, then a regular backed bra will be fine. Just be sure that if you do go in the water that you adjust the straps to take up any stretch that may have occurred when the bra was wet. You don’t want to accidently pop out due to a loose strap!

Will Swimming Ruin my Sports Bra?

Sports bras aren’t cheap, so we don’t want a trip to the beach ruining our favourite bra. We know the pool and ocean are harsh environments. A good idea is to have a dedicated beach sports bra in your wardrobe that gets popped on for water days.

To help prolong the life of your bra be sure to rinse it thoroughly in fresh water as soon as possible. And lay it in the shade to dry.

What Are the Best Sports Bras for Swimming?

The following are my top four swimming bras. All are racerback, made of lightweight or chlorine resistant materials and have no or minimal stainless-steel metals.

  • 2XU Perform Tri Crop, Black, Front View2XU Perform Tri Crop, Black, Back View

    2XU Perform Tri Crop WT555a

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  • Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front ViewAnita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra, Colour Black, Back View

    Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra 5537

    $120.00 $104.95
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    $120.00 $104.95
    Pool Blue/Metallo Peacock/Anthracite Black White
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    10B 10C 10D 10DD 10E 10F 12B 12C 12D 12DD 12E 12F 14B 14C 14D 14DD 14E 14F 16B 16C 16D 16DD 16E 18B 18C 18D 18DD
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  • 2XU Hi-Impact Bra, Black, Front View2XU Hi-Impact Bra, Black, Back View

    2XU Hi Impact Bra WR6214a

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    10A 10B 10C 12A 12B 12C 14B 14C 14D 16B 16C 16D
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Check out my full range of swimming sports bras.

Hopefully I have answered your swimming bra questions. If I have missed something, please reach out to me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Yours in support

Amy x

Amy is the face behind Sports Bras Direct, Australia’s largest sports bra website. She's a mother of two, outdoors lover and sports bra expert. Her life mission is to help active women get the support they need as well as assisting women in need through her charitable donations.

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