Thursday Dec 07, 2023

The best sports bras for working out (or working from home in) from Nike, Lululemon, M&S and more

sports bra
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

It’s January and team GLAMOUR are looking to get back into the swing of things exercise-wise, which means treating ourselves to a whole new workout wardrobe – sports bras included.

Don’t be fooled: while we absolutely won’t be throwing ourselves in at the deep end with a scheduled workout every day of the week, we are aware of all the reasons why we should be wearing a bra – even when we’re sat watching Netflix. A sports bra beneath your ensemble of choice, be that gym clothes or loungewear, reigns supreme as the most comfortable option.

In all seriousness, alongside their role in the building of a stylish WFH uniform, a good sports bra is one of the most important garments in your fitness collection if you’re planning on doing any exercise. While you may not need a sports bra of amazing quality if you’re just planning to do some stretches, you will need a high impact sports bra if you’re hoping to run or engage in a HIIT class.

In fact, a study by the University of Portsmouth found that breasts, if left unsupported, can move up to 14 whole centimeters when you’re working out. That’s a pretty significant amount. What’s more, if this is repeated time and time again, you could cause irreversible damage to the Cooper’s ligaments that help hold your boobs in place. And no one wants sag.

So, in the name of perky breasts, investing in one of the best sports bras is paramount. But with almost every retailer offering a different style and design, knowing which will work for you can be tricky. Luckily, we’ve done the leg work. We’ve tried and tested the best sports bras for small breasts, sports bras for yoga, sports bras for large breasts and everything in between. There’s something in this edit for everyone, whatever your boob size, chosen form of fitness and budget.

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How to choose a sports bra

Before you start adding to cart, there are a few things to consider. Firstly: sizing. Use your chosen sports bra brand’s size chart to figure out what will be the most comfortable for you. Sports bra sizing can often be different to your regular bra sizing, so don’t be put off if you need a smaller size than usual. It’s important that a sports bra fit’s a little bit tighter to keep everything in place as you jump up and down, jog or even go for a brisk walk. That said, you shouldn’t feel restricted when you put it on (or need several friends to help you take it off).

Next up – you need to consider whether you want a compression bra or an encapsulation bra. Compression bras are best for women with smaller boobs, because they look more like crop tops and hug your body tightly. This Stamina Sports Bra from Sweaty Betty is a good example. Encapsulation bras look a bit more like your bog-standard T-shirt bra, because they support each breast separately. They’re often padded with a normal bra fastening to the back – something like this Runderwear sports bra. In other words, if you’re blessed with bigger boobs, an encapsulation bra is the way to go.

Lastly, find a bra that’s moisture-wicking so you’re not soaked in sweat while you train. Your sports bra needs to absorb moisture from your skin and dry quickly – particularly important in winter so that you don’t stay damp and catch a chill. As we’ve done the hard work for you (literally), we’ve made sure all of the below picks are moisture-wicking but if you want to test the claims, place a drop of water on the fabric and make sure it spreads out sharpish (and doesn’t bead up).

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Which brand is best for sports bras?

There are a few brands we favour time and time again in the quest for the best sports bras. Lululemon and Sweaty Betty offer great options, particularly for smaller chests, soft fabrics and medium impact exercise. Elsewhere, there’s NikeNike’s Flyknit Sports Bra is the most popular among GLAMOUR readers for good reason: years of research went into its creation – a good explainer for the £72.95 price tag. It’s compressive for minimum bounce and boasts moulded cups and a nearly seamless design for comfort.

What is best sports bra for large breasts?

For the best sports bra for large breasts, it’s a toss-up between two offerings. Firstly, there’s Goodmove’s Extra High Impact Serious Sports Bra which goes up to cup size G, has chunky straps, moulded cups and triple fastening for an ultra-secure fit. The Easy-On Runderwear sports bra is also great. It goes up to a size H, has moulded cups to offer great support and wide padded shoulder straps to make it really comfy (while distributing the weight of your breasts evenly while you’re running so you don’t get neck, shoulder and back pain).

What is the best high impact sports bra?

The best sports bra for high-impact support is Lululemon’s Swift Speed BraHigh Support which is suitable for A-E cups. It’s crafted in the brand’s Ultralu fabric which is smooth, sweat-wicking, quick-drying, breathable and with four-way stretch for comfortable. The cups are super lightweight, despite how supportive it is, and the straps adjust at the front for ease.

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Hailey Josephine

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