A reliable sports bra will keep you supported and comfortable as you run, jump, stretch, and lounge. But not all sports bras are made equally; one that’s suitable for cross-country running won’t be the same as one for a daily Yoga With Adriene session. And as your breasts go through changes — such as during pregnancy or following surgery — your sports bra needs may change.
To find the ideal sports bra for any type of workout and bust size, we did some research. After chatting with fitness enthusiasts (and a breast-cancer nurse), consulting hundreds of reviewers, and taking a thorough look around the Strategist archives, we’ve compiled a list of the seven very best sports bras. Whether you’re a breastfeeding mum who loves pilates or someone with a larger bust training for a marathon, read on for our recommendations.
What we’re looking for:
Size range: A good sports bra should be available in a range of sizes. No matter your bust size, you’re sure to find a bra that is suitable for your needs on this list. As well as noting the size range offered by each brand, we’ve also highlighted where experts have recommended the bra for specifically smaller or larger bust sizes.
Level of support: The level of support that you’ll need from your sports bra depends on the intensity of your workout. Lower-impact exercises such as yoga and pilates won’t require as much support as higher-intensity workouts like running or HIIT training.
Fit: Sports bras also massively vary in their overall fit, ranging from different fastenings to strap types and adjustability. Some feel more comfortable in a sports bra with an elongated band, which provides extra coverage, whereas others need bras that layer easily with other bras or garments. Those with larger busts might opt for the extra support provided by a racerback, whereas some prefer thick padded straps. We’ve also found bras designed to suit specific needs, such as bras for breastfeeding and for those recovering from surgery.
Best overall sports bra
UK 0–20 | Medium support | Elongated band
If you’re after a versatile, durable, and reasonably priced sports bra, our top pick is the Lululemon Energy Long Line. It was highly recommended to us by three fitness experts, including Melissa Weldon, head trainer at Sweat It London, and Liberty Cox, trainer at Sweat by BXR. The Long Line option has a more elongated band than Lululemon’s original Energy Bra, which Cox finds provides ample coverage for her to feel comfortable wearing her bra as outerwear.
The bra comes in a great range of sizes; sold as US sizes 2 to 14, which corresponds to UK sizes 0 to 20, or back sizes 28 to 42. It’s made of a sweat-wicking material, has added Lycra for flexibility, and has pockets which allow the cups to be removed, depending on preference. It’s designed with double racerback straps to provide support, and is available in a range of 12 colours, the cheapest of which start from a very reasonable £34.00. It’s also an incredibly durable bra, says Cox, who notes it has “retained its shape and quality despite hundreds of washes.”
But the main reason that we’ve allocated the top spot to the Energy Long Line is due to its versatility. Weldon, a B cup (a size 4 in this bra), wears hers when teaching treadmill running classes, and likes how it offers flexibility and movement while also providing solid support. Meanwhile, Cox, who’s a G cup (and a size 10 in this bra) wears hers during spin classes and weights sessions. Reviewers across the internet have also highlighted its suitability for yoga, pole fitness, power walking, and tennis, amongst other activities. Besides extreme high-intensity workouts, the bra is suitable for almost any workout.
Best sports bra for yoga and pilates
28A–42D | Less support | Racerback
Our best sports bra for yoga and pilates also comes from Lululemon. Its Free to Be Bra Wild is designed for low-intensity workouts, and is a favourite of Melissa Weldon, an instructor at Soulcycle. “Its Free to Be Wild bra is so lightweight I barely feel it,” she says. “The cross detail on the back [six interwoven straps] offers suitable support, but also creates a sexy silhouette under T-shirts.”
Weldon, a B cup, wears its Light Support A/B style as she needs “minimal support,” but the wider Free to Be range covers A through D cups, with both long-line and high-neck styles (this means it’s unfortunately not suitable for anyone above a D cup). For this range, select the size that roughly correlates to your dress size and back size (again, 2 is equal to 28 inches, where 14 is 42 inches). The bra has an added Lycra and a four-way stretch to move and twist with your body — without rubbing your skin. There are over 12 colourways across the range, and prices start from as little as £29.
Best sports bra for HIIT
28B–42J | Very supportive | J-Fastening
“Imagine scaffolding, but for your boobs,” says Liberty Cox about this bra. “It keeps you locked in, held up, and in place, there is no wiggle room at all.” Available in a B to a J cup, and back sizes 28 through 40, the Panache Sports Wire bra is designed to offer optimal support. Seam-free, wired cups keep the bust comfortable, as padded shoulder straps and a racerback with a J-hook fastening provide rigid hold.
Cox says she wears it for activities ranging from running to jumping, climbing, and high-impact sports, and finds that she never has to adjust her breasts mid-workout, no matter how vigorously she’s moving. Sweat-wicking material also ensures that, despite the workout, the bra remains bone dry. Available in three colourways (black, red, and teal), reviewers find the bra makes their breasts look perky, and has a longevity that justifies the £44.00 price tag.
Best sports bra for running
30A–38G | Very supportive | Adjustable racerback
Shock Absorber’s Ultimate Run Bra has been designed specifically for running. Personal trainer and long-distance runner Mollie Millington wears the bra for marathon training, racing, and spinning, and uses the thick back straps to adjust the fit depending on how much hold she needs. “It’s really simple to change the fit, and it keeps my breasts in place with minimal bounce no matter how hard I run.” Millington, who has this bra in four colours (try Amazon for a larger range of shades), rates the soft material that wicks away moisture and keeps her cool during intense workouts.
Whilst Millington recommends the bra for smaller to mid-size busts (she wears a 36C), the range actually covers sizes 30A to 38G. Whilst the brand recommends sticking true to size, several reviewers have advised sizing up by one bust size, finding any smaller can be a tad too tight.
Best sports bra for large busts
32D–46K | Very supportive | Removable J-fastening
In 2018, Jada Sezer ran the London Marathon in her underwear to raise money for charity Heads Together. During training, her sports bra of choice was the Energise Sports Bra by Japanese lingerie brand Elomi, which designs apparel for fuller-figured bodies. Sezer, an E cup, says she was delighted to discover the brand did sports bras after modelling lingerie for them. “That was five years ago and this is still the bra I send every big-busted woman to.” The bra is available in bust sizes 32 to 46, and cup sizes D to K, and is made with a sweat-wicking microfiber fabric.
Sezer finds the bra makes her “boobs feel secure” and, even with its boning and ribbing, never chafes. As well as four back hooks, the bra turns into a racerback with a removable J fastening. This adds some versatility: Sezer uses the J-hook for added support during intense workouts, and removes it for stretching. “I’ve covered miles and miles in this bra and nothing slips out of place — and the last thing I want during a workout is having to tuck my boobs back in.”
Best sports bra for prepartum and postpartum
S–L | Medium support | Breast-feeding friendly
The racerback nursing sports bra from Maman Bebe is our top pick for both expecting and new mums. The lightweight fabric can stretch to adapt to a growing bust, as wide straps and a thick band create a comfortable fit. It’s available in sizes S to L, but the brand recommends shoppers size up.
With a racerback design, the bra offers support for yoga, pilates, and strength training, but is also comfortable enough to lounge in, according to Alice Clare Thomas, who favoured the bra as she breastfed her first child. “It’s super-comfy and gives good coverage, with a wide band,” she says. “I usually breastfeed just before and just after a workout, and this bra allows me to do that easily — you just pull back the layers of fabric.”
Best sports bra for post-surgery
32A–42G | Very supportive | Front-fastening
“You may need several different bras over the first four to six weeks after surgery, when bruising and swelling are subsiding,” says Louise Grimsdell, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Now. Grimsdell recommends finding a bra that provides support without becoming restrictive, and one that “fits on the loosest hook so it can be gradually tightened as swelling goes down.” She also recommends avoiding potentially painful underwriting, and opting for a high cotton content due to what she calls post-surgery “skin hypersensitivity.” Finally, she recommends choosing a front-fastening bra, which will allow easy removal without having to exert yourself to reach the fastening.
This Post Surgery bra from M&S ticks all of Grimsdell’s boxes. Available from a 32A to a 42DD, it’s made of a nonrestrictive cotton blend. It contains no padding and no wiring, and has an easy-to-reach front zip allowing the bra to be removed without any twisting. With wide straps and a high back, the bra is designed for high-impact sports such as running, and can be worn long after you’ve fully recovered.
Some other sports bras we’ve written about:
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