We all like to feel supported, don’t we? So do our breasts, especially while we’re running. Whatever your cup size, it’s important to find a good sports bra that fits and gives you the support you need while running. Not only will it make for more comfortable runs right now, it will also minimise the chances of sagging later on.
When choosing a sports bra for running, there are three main things to consider: it should be comfortable no matter how far you’ve run, it should offer adequate support, and it should also look good, because sometimes little things like that can make the difference between going out for a run or not.
Sports bras offer different levels of support. As running is a high-impact sport, it’s best to opt for a high (or super-high) support level, especially if you have larger breasts.
Broadly speaking there are two types of sports bras: ones which use compression, a tight band which flattens the breasts; and those which use encapsulation, with separate cups for each breast. Compression bras are more commonly found in general sportswear shops and can offer great support and a good fit, especially for women with smaller busts. For larger-breasted runners, compression-style bras tend to give an unflattering “uniboob” and may not offer enough support for running.
The majority of running bras are pulled on and off over your head (easier said than done after a run when you’re all sweaty). However, some bras offer a hook-and-eye clasp which makes taking them off easier, and a whole host of bras now feature a zip at the front which avoids this problem altogether.
A racer or cross-over back will help the bra stay in place better than normal shoulder straps. Cutouts and mesh panels will help keep you cooler, but beware of weird-shaped tan marks if you’re doing a lot of outdoor running in the summer!
Here’s our pick of the best running-specific over-shoulder-boulder-holders out there.
This specialist running bra was the result of a two-year design process by the Canadian athleisure brand. An encapsulating bra, it’s made up of moulded cups and wide, soft straps. A hook and eye fastener allows you to get in and out of the bra easily, and all seams and stitching have been carefully thought out to minimise chafing. The result is a supremely comfortable running bra that keeps your breasts almost completely still while you run. It’s pricy, but we reckon it’s worth it for the excellent look and feel.
Buy from Lululemon | £78
Under Armour Vanish
If you usually end up dripping by the end of your run, you’ll find the Under Armour Vanish bra a game-changer. Extremely fast-drying technical fabric wicks sweat away from your skin instantly so you can keep one step ahead of chilly sweat patches. Its encapsulating foam pads offer a snug fit and the cross-over straps ensure good support, while the front-opening zip means no more struggling out of a sweaty tangle with your elbows flailing around wildly.
Buy from Under Armour | £55
Brooks Running Rebound Racer
Many runners swear by compression-style sports bras, so if you think it might be a good match for you, consider the Brooks Rebound. It offers Velcro fastenings at the front of the straps, and an adjustable hook-and-eye at the back, affording a more tailored fit.
Buy from Brooks Running | £40
Victoria’s Secret Incredible Knockout Ultra Max
This front-fastening super-high-impact sports bra comes from Victoria’s Secret sportswear brand Victoria Sport. As well as being a knockout in terms of looks, it’s a high-functioning technical bra – double win. Plus it’s available in cup sizes ranging from B to DDD.
Buy from Victoria’s Secret | £47.77
Adidas Stronger For It Soft Bra
With soft moulded cups, this bra has adjustable straps and hook-and-eye fastenings that allow you to find the perfect fit. It’s worth noting that this bra is cut a fraction on the low side in the smaller cup sizes, but it’s a nice-looking sports bra that’s up to the job.
Buy from Adidas | £44.95
Shock Absorber Ultimate Fly Bra
A great choice for summer marathon or ultra runners, the Ultimate Fly Bra from sports bra specialists Shock Absorber is incredibly lightweight and yet extremely supportive. The high tech mesh material is very breathable making it perfect in the summer months. Padded shoulder straps give added comfort and the brushed elastic on the band around the ribcage makes it as soft and comfortable as you can get.
Buy from Amazon | £45 (currently reduced to £22.50)