The following sports bras have been tested through rigorous high impact activities to provide our best insight to the best bras for each bra size.
Moving Comfort Fineform A/B
Some people underestimate the need for smaller chested women to have a bra with great support given their chest size. Moving Comfort designed a bra that both supports, but also accentuates smaller chests. The Fineform A/B has a unicup design that molds around curves rather than compressing them. The bra has self adjusting straps with a back hook transforming it into a racerback style with hook-and-eye closures around the ribs for a customizeable fit. The performance fabric wicks moisture and feels great against the skin. I tested the bra on a run and loved how I felt supported and was impressed how the bra didn’t chafe given it’s strappy features. I love how this bra makes me look like I have boobs, but given its lingere-like design it should also be taken care of like your regular bras – recommended hand washing and line drying. At $50 this bra is a moderately priced investment, but worth it for the technology and form it provides.
Champion Marathon Bra
The name says it all: the Marathon Bra from Champion should find its way into your running bra rotation. The comfortable racer-back straps are a perfect width to provide support without feeling too large. They’re also adjustable as well as infused with gel, which means that they should (and do) sit on your shoulders without digging in. The double layer of nylon and spandex that make up the body of the Marathon Bra is really soft and very smooth. Champion calls this combination “Vapor Technology” in honor of how well the material breathes. It’s a fitting name. What’s more, Champion has eliminated seams on the body of the bra. Smooth material and few seams meant that I could do longer runs without having to slap the ol’ Body Glide on areas that are likely to chafe. Huge plus! The base of the front of the bra, as well as the entire backside of it have mesh for ventilation. I could definitely tell a difference in how much dryer both the bra and my skin were at the end of the run. Finally, the base of the bra is a soft brushed band. It yields a perfectly solid grip around your chest, one that is neither too tight nor too loose. It’s obvious this is also a band that won’t stretch too much over time. The high-visibility Champion logo has unfortunately loosened and flaked off after a couple of washes but that’s not at all reflective of the rest of the quality of the bra. At a price tag of $48, the Marathon Bra is seriously a good investment for any high-impact sport.
CW-X Versatx Support Bra
We featured a full review of the Versatx Support bra from CW-X a couple of months ago. However, as one of my go-to options for high-intensity activities, I just had to add include this bra on our list. In fact, I liked it so much that I wore it for my first alpine ultrarun this summer and I’m glad that I did. Wide straps provide strong support, but they’re made of a very soft Velcro so they are adjustable and won’t loosen once you’ve chosen the perfect length. The Coolmax and Lycra material mix is soft, smooth, and breathes. Not to mention, it evaporates sweat like a champ. Finally, CW-X designers put a lot of thought into the internal construction of the bra that help reduce bounce; a star-shaped inner lining helps keep the ladies tied down. The Versatx Support bra does carry a $65 price tag, which is certainly on the higher end for this type of athletic apparel. That being said, it’s one of the top options I’d recommend to any lady looking for a sports bra. Furthermore, the quality is just really superior. Despite using and washing it often, it still looks almost new. Have I peaked your interest? Find out more about this bra in my detailed review HERE.
Patagonia Compression Bra
The Patagonia compression bra doesn’t play around with nomenclature. This is one of the most intensely supportive running bras that I have ever worn; it doesn’t leave room for any bounce or wiggle. The Compression bra is made of polyester and spandex and has a solid elastic band at the base of the bra to prevent any slippage. I wore this bra on a rainy run and felt super secure but a little soggy, as the only breathable fabric panel was sewn into the top of the racer back. I wear a size Medium and this bra provided maximum coverage, falling about halfway down my ribcage. I loved the length, but could imagine the straps being a little long for an athlete with a medium sized chest but shorter torso. The Compression bra is frills-free, with a single layer of fabric and one solid color, and would be my go-to choice for a day of super, trampoline-style, high impact activity. ($50)
Saucony Athlete Avenger Bra
Saucony has quite a few bras in what they call the “support group” all sharing a similar goal of keeping the girls in place during high impact activities. They cater and designed their bras with “the runner in mind”, which is arguably one of the higher impact sports out there. The Athlete Avenger was one in this high impact line that stood out to me. It felt nice on and performed how an ideal bra should. This bra has a racer back style and design features that help increase ventilation. These design features include a mesh back panel (made with 81% nylon and 19% spandex) and a keyhole back opening. The front panel of the bra is made with 90% nylon and 10% spandex and has separated, lined, and molded cups. I don’t usually like “padded” sports bras, but the padding material Saucony uses is very light and doesn’t add anything besides exceptional support. Not being a seamless bra, I’m always weary of chafing and uncomfortable rubbing, but the seams of the Athlete Avenger passed my comfort test and the bra as a whole passed my functional one (think lots of running and jump-roping). Aesthetically, as well, the Athlete Avenger was one of my favorite in the high impact support group. I liked the location that the neck line hit at: not too low to feel exposed or uncomfortable, but also not too high that it looks silly poking out of my athletic tanks. I would say that this bra runs true to size to running every so slightly large — me, being that fun in-between-small-and-medium size, the Athlete Avenger in a size small had the expected tight fit of a high impact sports bra and hugged me in all the right places.
Falke Control Maximum Control Bra Top
The Falke Control Maximum Control Bra Top is a must-have for high impact activities for larger chested women. The European designed bra is double layered with full breast coverage and an adjustable band width for a fit that is customizable – one of my favorite features of this bra for sure. The bra is made from 85% Nylon and 15% Elastane making it both stretchy and breathable. I tested this bra on a few hot runs and found that it was both breathable and supportive without suffocating me. While the double layer feature is great for support it does gather a bit of moisture on the bottom band at the end of a long sweaty workout but it is quick dry so I was dry by the time I got home from running errands after my workout. At $75 it is a little higher on the price side, but well worth every penny for the comfort and support it provides.
Champion Spot Comfort Full-Support Bra
True to its name, the Spot Comfort Full-Support Sports Bra is all about comfort in a high-impact package. Beginning with the fabrics used in this piece, the soft fabric lining stays comfortable against the skin even on more strenuous, high-impact workouts. Add to that the fact that this liner is wicking and anti-chafing and you’ve got a feeling of moisture controlled comfort when things get warm. A big favorite of mine on this bra are the gel-cushioned shoulder straps which have about 4 inches of adjustability in this size.
My bra size is 38D and while I’ve found this bra to be incredibly comfortable on runs, hikes and while keeping up with my 5 year-old daughter – AKA, Baby Gearist, it holds things in place but I’d prefer to have it be a bit more snug across the front. The adjustability goes a long way with this and the anti-chafing properties of this bra certainly do their thing so I wasn’t really affected by this. As I said at the top of this, the Spot Comfort bra is all about making sure its name stays true and it certainly does in my book.
Gretchen Powers is a Maine based freelance filmmaker and photographer. She specializes is branded content creation and outdoorsy weddings. When she’s not wielding a camera she loves xcskiing, hiking, knitting, drinking tea and exploring with her pup Ella. www.gpowersfilm.com