Ultimate Sports Bra Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Ultimate Sports Bra Guide

Ultimate Sports Bra Guide – Everything You Need to Know

What is a sports bra? How do you choose one? Which are the best sports bra brands on the market? Read on to find out.

What’s a Sports Bra and Why Are They Important?

Sports bras are specially designed to provide adequate breast support during physical activities. These bras help reduce breast movement, contain and keep them in place as you work out. Any woman with an active lifestyle needs a sports bra in her lingerie collection. From yoga, Zumba sessions to morning runs, a sports bra is a must-have regardless of your breast size.

Large or small breasts, a sports bra is important as it saves you from discomfort and any post-workout pain. What’s more, sports bras help alleviate chest pain and possibility of breast sagging. Sports bras are quite impressive as they help reduce bounce by defying gravity.

Why You Need a Sports Bra

We believe that sports bras are not usually given the praise they deserve. Here’s why:

Most people spend a lot of money on sportswear when they finally decide to enroll for a gym session or go for morning runs. You invest in appealing leggings that will give you that athletic vibe and training shoes with unique soles. All these are worthwhile investments. But do you ever stop to think about what your breasts need?

Buying a good sports bra helps a great deal in ensuring your breasts are well supported and secure especially during intense workouts. It also saves you unwanted side effects like post-workout discomfort, shoulder back and neck pains. The breast tissues are quite delicate unlike muscles that can bear stress and flex. Subjecting the breast tissues to excessive stress can cause irreversible damage to the breasts. This damage includes weakening the Coopers ligaments resulting in breast sagging.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Sports Bra

You can tell from the name that a sports bra is specially designed to provide ultimate breast support during any physical activity. The impact level of the activities varies but this doesn’t mean that you can compromise on support from high impact exercises like running to low impact exercises like yoga. Investing in a good sports bra is not a given especially if you are looking to get into shape.

Here’s what to look for in a sports bra;

Adequate Support

Any activity that requires movement will make your breasts bounce in different unpredictable ways regardless of your cup size. When talking of physical activities, what usually comes in mind is high impact exercises. However, Pilates, yoga and walking also fall under the category of physical activities. This is because your breasts are bound to move in an unregulated manner even when you don’t put any effort.

Unsupported breast movement can have severe implications on your breast health. In this case, a sports bra will come in handy. Sports bras help reduce breast movement and sagging over time as they provide incredible support, extra security and stability during physical activities.

Sweat Absorption

Regular bras are usually not designed to absorb perspiration as a result of exercising. The moisture tends to soak into the bra’s fabric and causes discomfort and build up of bacteria on accumulation. Enter sports bras. Sports bras are made with a moisture wicking material that helps wick sweat away from the body to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the day. Plus, the fabric features a blend of cotton which is known to have breathability properties.

Ultimate Comfort

By now, you know that comfort is not a given when it comes to bras and sports bras are no exception. Working or with a regular bra or any other bra type will result in post-workout pain, discomfort, skin irritation and soreness. Sports bras on the other hand provide support in all the right places while allowing your skin to breathe. Buying a high-quality sports bra is just as important as investing in running shoes with specialized soles.


Invest in a flexible sports bra with a perfect fit. Imagine having to pause mid workout to adjust slipping straps or tighten loose hooks. Annoying right? For ease of exercise, this is where a flexible sports bra comes in.

There are different types of sports bras in the market. This means that you have a variety to choose from wireless to underwire options, encapsulation to compression designs among others. Sports bras tend to cling onto the breasts to allow you to comfortably work out without any disruptions.

Different Types of Sports Bras

Sports bras are super functional. You get the drift. They are available in different styles and are equally stylish. The best part about these bras is that they strike a perfect balance between functionality and style. Here are the different types of sports bras in the market based on their function:

Compression Sports Bras

Just like the name suggests, compression sports bras compress the breasts which typically means holding them in place to reduce movement. These bras treat the breasts as a single unit since they don’t have built-in cups. Compression sports bras are wireless.

Compression bras are ideal for low and medium impact exercises. They might not work well for D cups and beyond. Women with large breasts tend to experience the much-dreaded uniboob with compression sports bras. Plus, the breasts might spill out owing to their volume.

Encapsulation Sports Bras

Encapsulation sports bras usually hold each breast separately and provides incredible support ideal for high impact activities like cycling and running. Also, it helps reduce breast movement significantly. These bras are best suited for women with large breasts.

Compression and Encapsulation Sports Bras

These sports bras offer a combined effect of both compression and encapsulation. Compression and encapsulation sports bras hold the breasts separately while the spacer fabrics and power mesh compressors help keep them in place. Save for providing separate cups, these sports bras usually squeeze the breasts against each other to make them appear fuller.

Compression and encapsulation sports bras are best suited for all women. However, D cups and DD+ cups stand to benefit a lot from this sports bra style. They also feature underwire cups for natural shaping, structure and adequate breast support.

Impact Level or Activity

Different sports bras ae designed for different impact levels. For instance, you can’t wear a yoga sports bra when running or cycling. You need to be conversant with the different impact levels to get a sports bra best suited for each activity.

Sports bras are classified under three different categories depending on support and the impact level. There are sports bras for low, medium and high impact activities. Remember, the higher the level of impact the higher the breast movement and the more support you need.

Here’s a review of the three different sports bras based on impact level:

Low Impact Sports Bras

Low impact sports bras are usually designed for exercises with minimum breast movement and bounce. Some of these activities include yoga, Pilates and walking. Most low impact sports bras come in compression style although others have removable cups.

Medium Impact Sports Bras

Medium Impact Sports Bras are designed for exercises with moderate breast movement and bounce. Medium impact activities are not quite involving. They include Zumba, cycling, hiking and brisk walking among others.

Medium Impact Sports Bras provide more support and hold the breasts in place better than their low impact counterparts. These bras can either have cups or not.

High Impact Sports Bras

High Impact Sports Bras are specially designed for activities with excessive breast movement and bounce. Some of these physical activities include kickboxing, CrossFit training, dancing, jumping and running. You realize all these exercises involves a lot of movement.

High Impact Sports Bras are highly supportive and help reduce breast movement significantly.

Based on Structure:

Seamless Sports Bras

These sports bras are machine knitted with barely-there to no stiches at all.

Constructed Sports Bras

These sports bras feature individual parts cut and sewn together.

Based on Material:

Cotton – Natural Fabric

Cotton fabric is usually associated with ultimate comfort. The fabric is equally breathable for ease of exercising. However, it’s important to remember that cotton sports bras tend to get soggy and loose flexibility over time if not properly taken care of.

Synthetic Fabric – Nylon and Polyester

Sports bras made of polyester don’t wear out easily as they are usually more resistant. These bras are versatile and flexible. However, they don’t absorb perspiration like cotton sports bras. They spandex blend incorporated in polyamide fabric provides flexibility. These bras are best suited for medium and high impact activities since they are stretch resistant and tear-proof.

Nylon is also a synthetic fabric. Polyamides are more tear and wear resistant which makes them relatively expensive compared to polyester sports bras. These bras are lightweight, more absorbent and quick drying. A small percentage embedded into the bra makes it a bit stretchy ideal for high impact activities.

Sports Bra Fitting Guide

According to research, 80% of women wear the wrong bra size either knowingly and unknowingly. But how do you know you are wearing an ill-fitting bra?

Fit is very important when it comes to sports bras. Breasts spilling out of the cups in the middle of an intense workout can be quite embarrassing as it is annoying. Here are some of the things you should look out for when shopping for a sports bra.

How do you know you’ve found a perfect sports bra?

Compression and support are crucial as they help determine the greatness of a sports bra. Support usually comes from:

The straps – The shoulder straps should be snug, neither too tight nor too loose. They also shouldn’t stretch out a lot to ensure the sports bras offers enough bounce control. A fairly stiff shoulder strap helps ensure there’s minimum to no breast movement.

The band – The underbust band should fit snugly yet comfortably that you can slip at least two fingers underneath effortlessly. Also, ensure the band doesn’t ride up the back. You might need to size down if the band rides up the back when you lift your arms over your head since its probably too big.

The cups – The cups will hold the breasts perfectly well if the fabric is hard to pull. Skip this check if your sports bra comes with built-in pads. Sports bras usually have full coverage cups to help contain the breasts and prevent spillage on the top and sides.

A great sports bra:

Holds the breasts in place. However, you should ensure you are wearing the right size and fit. Go for a sports bra in the same size as your regular bra with a perfect fit. Don’t go down a size. Also, be mindful when choosing the band and cup size.

Ensure your sports bra has a perfect fit so that you don’t have to keep adjusting it in the middle of your workout. Check on the bra’s fit if you occasionally find yourself adjusting any part of the bra.

Different sports bras serve different purposes. Always invest in a sports bra based on the impact level of the physical activity. For instance, if you are a runner, go for a high impact sports bra for ultimate support and bounce control. If you want a sports bra for yoga, a low impact one will work just fine. Never brush off the importance of impact levels when shopping for the best sports bras for different exercises.

Sports Bras Care Guidelines

Here’s how to wash your sports bras:

Sports bras are the most functional undergarments. These bras see you through different sports activities that’s why proper care is crucial. Here are some tips when it comes to cleaning them:

  • Always dry your sports bras under a shape as opposed to direct sunlight/heat. The spandex fibers embedded in the bra tends to break down with excessive exposure to heat.
  • Avoid bleach since it makes the bra’s fabric stiffer and coarse. Using bleach can interfere with support. And by now we know that support is the most important function of a sports bra. No support renders the bra useless.
  • Avoid using fabric softeners. Fabric softeners can make the sports bra lose its elasticity.
  • Use cold water and mild detergent when washing.
  • Don’t iron your sports bra.
  • Gently wring the sports bra if you want to drain off excess water.
  • And just like all other bras, avoid the air drier by all means.

A Sports Bra Lifespan

A sports bra should serve you for at least six months depending on the usage. Gently used ones can go longer than the estimated six months. If you have an active lifestyle, which means using the sports bra twice or thrice a week, ensure you replace them yearly. It’s not advisable to use a sports bra for more than a year.

You should replace your sports bras when you notice any signs of wear and tear and visible spandex fibers. You might need a new sports bra if you pull the elastic fibers and they don’t come back in place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Best Sports Bra for Yoga?

Yoga is a low impact activity with very little to no breast movement. A low impact sports bra is best suited for this exercise.

Best Sports Ba for Running?

Running involves a lot of movement. A high impact sports bra would be ideal for ultimate support and bounce control.

Can I Wear Another Bra Under a Sports Bra?

Wearing two bras is not necessary. A sports bra with a perfect fit will ensure your breasts are well supported and secure.

Best Sports Bras for Teenagers?

For most physical activities, a low impact sports bra would Be ideal. However, if the exercise involves a lot of movement, then the teenager can choose a sports bra depending on her personal specifications.

Which is The Best Sports Bra for Gym Sessions?

Gym workouts usually puts the entire body in motion. This means that a high impact sports bra will suffice. High impact sports bras provide adequate breast support and significantly reduces breast movement, saving you from post-workout discomfort, back and shoulder pains.

Are Sports Bras Padded?

Sports bras have padding. The padding provides natural shaping and additional breast support. Sports bras with padding are best suited for high impact activities.

Are Regular Bras Ideal for Physical Activities?

Regular bras are only ideal for everyday wear. However, they are not designed to offer adequate support during any physical activity. Also, regular bras tend to absorb perspiration since they are not made with a moisture wicking fabric. A regular bra offers less support, doesn’t control or minimize breast movement.

Working out in a regular bra can result in sagging as the cooper’s ligaments tend to weaken when the breasts are not well supported. It also causes severe breast health implications some of which can be irreversible.

How Do I Choose the Best Impact Level Sports Bra Based on the Activity?

Here’s a breakdown of some of the exercises.

Low Impact Activities – Yoga, Pilates and Walking

Medium Impact Activities – Brisk Walking, Zumba, Hiking and Cycling

High Impact Activities – Running, Kickboxing, CrossFit Training, Jumping and Dancing

Remember, you can wear a high impact sports bra for a low impact activity but you cannot wear a low impact sports bra for a high intensity workout.

After How Long Should I Replace My Sports Bra?

Always replace your sports bras every year. However, cotton sports bras tend to get soggy after a while since they are natural fibers. This means that cotton sports bras have a shorter lifespan and might need replacement in less than a year.

Why Do I Need to Wear a Sports Bra When Exercising?

Unlike muscles, breast tissues cannot flex or bear stress regardless of the size of your breasts. No wearing a sports bra when exercising tends to weaken and damage the Cooper’s ligaments resulting in breast sagging over time, pain and discomfort. Remember, this damage is usually irreversible. That’s why it’s always advisable to wear a sports bra when exercising.

Where Can I Get the Best Sports Bras?

You can shop online or choose from any of the bra brands in the market. Most of these lingerie brands have a line of sports bras in different designs, colors and sizes.

How Do I Get the Right Sports Bra Size?

Get a sports bra in the same size as your regular bra. If you are in doubt, you can get measured by a professional or use the bra fit calculator. Also, when shopping for sports bras, always check the bra’s comfort level and fit.

Is a Sports Bra Size the Same as a Regular Bra?

Yes, they are the same. Whatever size you wear for your regular bra should be the same as that of a sports bra.

Sports Bra Glossary


The straps in these bras are not adjustable. It’s therefore important that you get the right size and fit. Racerback sports bras usually features a Y or V back design with a strap running through the middle part of your back.


These sports bras feature cross over straps forming an X-shape design. Crossback sports bras strike a perfect balance between comfort and support with an added bonus of flexibility.


This is the ability of the fabric to absorb perspiration and wick it away from the body to keep you cool and dry.


Spandex is an elastic synthetic fabric. Spandex makes a sports bra stretchy to provide a flexible fit.


Compression typically means pressing the breasts against the chest to reduce movement and control bounce during any physical activity.


Encapsulation sports bras usually have two different cups to hold the breasts individually providing incredible support when exercising.


Chafing usually occurs when the bra’s fabric constantly rubs against the skin especially on the shoulders. It causes redness, soreness and irritation.

Molded Bra

A moulded sports bra has no padding or seams since it’s made with a single piece of fabric. Unlike regular bras, the volume of cups is predefined and retains its shape even when you take them off.

Seamless Sports Bras

These bras are uniquely designed with a single piece of fabric with minimal to no stitching.


Powermesh consists of spandex and nylon usually used as lining fabric.

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