Sports Bras | Buying Guide and How to Find Your Perfect Bra

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If you’re like most women, you probably rate sports bra shopping right up there with cleaning the bathroom, public speaking, and mammograms.

Even though a properly fitting, supportive bra can make a huge difference to the comfort and enjoyability of a workout, many women wear bras that don’t fit their needs because they are either the wrong size, not supportive enough, or too old and worn out (the bra, that is; NOT the woman!).

Fortunately, understanding a few key concepts can make finding the right sports bra a lot less painful and, dare we suggest, even enjoyable. In this buying guide, we’ve selected our favorite bras and catalogued them by size, providing you with the option to simply select the one you like best.

Before we begin, let’s review a few key concepts that will help you select the bra that is best for you. When it comes to buying a sports bra, think of the three S’s: Size, Support, and Style.


Size

Size is the first thing you should consider when shopping for a sports bra. Why? A bra that is too big will not provide adequate support, and a bra that is too small can restrict movement and breathing. No one wants to have bouncy boobs or trouble breathing during a workout!

To find your correct size, you will need to take two simple measurements: one to find your Band Size and another to find your Cup Size. 

Measuring for band size

We have found that the best way to find your band size is actually to measure above the bust, just below the armpits. This seems a bit counterintuitive, since the band of a bra goes in a completely different place, but it turns out that measuring below the bust can provide incorrect sizing for women with certain shapes of ribcages.

 

Measuring for cup size

To find your cup size, measure around the fullest part of the bust, keeping the tape level. Round up to the closest inch, then subtract the band size.

Difference (Bust measurement – Band size) Cup Size
less than 1” AA
1” A
2” B
3” C
4” D
5” DD
5.5” E
 6″  F

Support

Different activities require different bras. Just like you wouldn’t wear that lacy little number on a backpacking trip, you might not want to wear your yoga bra while running. This is because different activities create different levels of impact, and a bra that provides sufficient support in lower impact activities might not support your girls enough in a high-impact activity like running.

Similarly, a bra that provides great high-impact support for a smaller-chested woman may not provide adequate high-impact support for a larger-chested woman. What works for one woman will not necessarily work for another. Basically, the more breast tissue there is to support, the more supportive the bra needs to be.

Sports bras may be constructed with compression support, encapsulation support, or a combination of the two. Compression support uses stretchy, compressive fabric to hold the breasts in place. Encapsulation support separates the breasts to provide individual structure and hold for each of the girls.

At Running Warehouse, we only carry bras that provide high-impact support suitable for running. In the buying guide below, we’ve taken care to list bras that will provide the appropriate level of support for your size.


Style

Even though style is usually the first thing that we are drawn to when shopping, you really should consider Size and Support before looking at a bra’s Style. Remember, just because a bra is cute, doesn’t mean it has the right fit and support for your needs. That being said, once you’ve narrowed down your options by size and support, you can consider certain style features, which are mostly just a matter of personal preference. These features can include strap style, padding, and closures.


Band Size: 30 – 34
Cup Size: A / B

Brooks Frontrunner Racer Bra

With both encapsulation and compression support, the Brooks Frontrunner will keep the girls in place as you blaze through your run. The deep V neck and racerback design come together for a feminine but sporty look, while contoured cups provide light padding and shaping. The seamless knit construction makes for a soft, chafe-free experience.

 

 

Handful Adjustable Bra

Sweet and feminine, the Handful Adjustable Bra offers compression support and adjustable straps to ensure a secure, supportive fit. The padding in this bra is a bit thicker than in others, providing a shapely silhouette. Or if you prefer a lighter, more natural bra, you can easily remove the pads. The center fabric gathered in front is a flattering little detail, and the thin straps can be worn three ways: as a cross back, tank style, or tied behind the neck as a halter.

 

New Balance Hero Printed Bra

The New Balance Hero Printed Bra maintains a light, simple look while offering substantial stability via encapsulation and compression support. The thin, adjustable straps come together in back for a racerback design, and the contoured cups provide light padding for shaping and modesty.

* Bra featured in above video

 

 

Nike Pro Indy Cooling Bra

For the woman who prefers a strappy, sporty look, the Nike Pro Indy Cooling Bra offers compression support. Removable pads provide the option for enhanced shaping and modesty, and Nike Cooling fabric works to wick away moisture and keep you cool.

 

 

 


Band Size: 36 – 38
Cup Size: A / B

Brooks Justright Racer Bra

What at first appears to be a typical racerback bra turns out to be so much more in the Brooks Justright Racer Bra. Compression support and the racerback construction ensure a secure fit and unrestricted freedom of movement, while the seamless design ensures chafe-free workouts. Removable cups provide light padding and modesty if desired.

 

 

Handful Y-Back Bra

Compression support is the way of the Handful Y-Back Bra. Slightly thicker, removable pads ensure that the compression won’t flatten you out, and gathered center provides additional feminine detailing. Soft, wide straps create a secure hold without digging in.

*Bra featured in above video

 

 

Brooks Uprise Crossback bra

Providing both encapsulation and compression support, the Uprise Crossback bra features a fun, sporty look. Crossed straps in back create an extra element of fashion, while lightly shaped, molded cups provide natural shaping.

 

 

 


Band Size: 40+
Cup Size: A / B


adidas Techfit Racer Bra

Sometimes a well-constructed, no-frills compression bra is just what you want to get the job done. The adidas tech fit Bra is a high-quality racerback that will keep you supported and comfortable through every stride. The addition of a hook-and-eye closure in back means that getting this bra on and off is easier, and you’ll be able to adjust the band to provide the perfect fit. Light padding is provided for shaping and modesty, and the mesh-lined panel and moisture-wicking fabric will keep you cool and dry.

 

Champion The Show-Off Spacedye Bra

For a more adjustable option, The Show-Off Bra provides compression support with a feminine profile. Molded cups provide light shaping that conceals without adding excessive bulk. The adjustable straps come together in the back for a racerback design, and a hook-and-eye rear closure ensures that the bottom band will fit securely.

 

 

Shop all Sports Bras for A Cups and B Cups


Band Size: 30 – 34
Cup Size: C / D

adidas Committed Racer Bra

This bra provides encapsulation and compression support as well as wide straps to minimize bounce and ensure comfort. A rear hook-and-loop closure as well as adjustable straps make it so that you can get the perfect fit, and a mesh lining provides a great next-to-skin feel with moisture-wicking properties.

 

 

Brooks Rebound Racer Bra

Women who appreciate a standard racerback bra but want added support and security will love the Brooks Rebound Racer Bra. This bra provides both encapsulation and compression support to ensure sufficient support during running and other high-impact activities. Molded cups provide light shaping without padding, so there’s no extra bulkiness or material. The straps easily adjust with velcro in the front, and a hook-and-eye rear closure makes it so that you can get the perfect fit for your body.

 

Brooks Uplift Crossback Bra C/D

Style meets support in the Brooks Uplift Crossback bra. Encapsulation and compression provide significant support, and molded cups provide shaping without pads. Wide straps cross in the back for a bit of added flair, and a J-hook rear closure ensures that you get the best fit possible.

 

 

 


Band Size: 36 – 38
Cup Size: C / D

Champion Spot Comfort Bra

Providing all the support you need in a slightly different silhouette, the Champion Spot Comfort Bra uses both encapsulation and compression support and features tank-style straps. Front mesh paneling adds both style and increased breathability, while a rear hook-and-eye closure makes for an easy on-and-off as well as an adjustable fit. Additional adaptability is provided by the gel-infused, adjustable straps.

 

Oiselle Bae Bra

The Oiselle Bae Bra utilizes both encapsulation and compression support to ensure that you have a bounce-free running experience. Thinner, adjustable straps offer a feminine look, and removable cups provide the option for extra padding. Mesh paneling on the back both looks stylish and provides a significant increase in breathability.

*Bra featured in above video.

 

Oiselle Brilliance Bra

The Oiselle Brilliance Bra uses compression support in a racerback profile. Removable cups provide optional padding, and a rear hook-and-eye closure allows for some adjustability in the bottom band. Mesh paneling in the back and front increases breathability, and the extra coverage it provides in the front not only looks stylish but also helps to control vertical bounce.

 

 

Under Armour Eclipse Bra

Encapsulation and compression support are provided in a tank style design with the Under Armour Eclipse Bra. Molded cups provide shaping, and the wide straps are adjustable. The rear hook-and-eye closure ensures an easy on-and-off as well as the perfect band fit.

*Bra featured in above video.

 

 


Band Size: 40+
Cup Size: C / D

Brooks Fiona Bra

The Brooks Fiona Bra offers both encapsulation and compression support. Molded cups allow for shaping without added padding, and a tank-style design provides an alternative to the standard racerback profile. By adjusting the straps and the rear hook-and-eye closure, you can customize the fit for your individual body.

 

 

Brooks Juno Bra

The Brooks Juno Bra utilizes both encapsulation and compression support, but offers more coverage and a different profile than the Fiona Bra. Contoured cups provide a bit of extra padding for shaping and modesty, and the slightly higher neckline adds coverage that helps reduce movement. The wide straps are adjustable and come together in the back for a modified racerback design. A rear hook-and-eye closure allows you to get the perfect fit.

 

Champion The Absolute Zip Bra

The Champion The Absolute Zip Bra offers a unique solution to your support needs. Encapsulation is used to provide support without compression — ideal for ladies who tend to feel constricted by overly compressive sports bras. Molded cups offer shaping without additional padding, and the adjustable straps come together in back for a racerback profile. The front zip closure ensures a hassle-free on-and-off, so you can get in and out of your workout gear without the fuss of pulling a sweaty bra over your head.

 

Shop all Sports Bras for C Cups and D Cups


Band Size: 30 – 34
Cup Size: DD+

Brooks Embody Bra

The Brooks Embody Bra goes the extra mile to provide you with enough support to run the extra mile. Encapsulation and compression are both utilized, as well as the addition of an underwire, which adds structure to enhance support. Molded cups ensure that the bra will fit smoothly to your shape without the addition of pads, and mesh paneling on the front adds coverage without limiting breathability. The padded, adjustable straps are convertible, allowing you to wear them in either a tank style or cross back design. A rear hook-and-eye closure provides additional adjustability and an easy on-and-off.

Brooks Jubralee Bra

The Brooks Jubralee Bra uses encapsulation, compression, and a hidden side-and-under-bust support that provides added structure without the rigidity of an underwire. Molded cups ensure a smooth shape without padding, and the fit is customizable with both the adjustable straps and the rear hook-and-eye closure.

 

 

Under Armour Eclipse High Zip Bra

The Under Armour Eclipse High Zip Bra uses encapsulation to support the bust without compression — ideal for ladies who tend to feel constricted by overly compressive sports bras. Molded cups provide shaping without pads, and the cross back design creates a fun, unique profile. The wide straps are adjustable, so you can customize the fit, and the front zip closure makes taking the bra on and off a breeze.

*Bra featured in above video.

 


Band Size: 36 – 38
Cup Size: DD+

CW-X Stabilyx Bra

The CW-X Stabilyx Bra works to provide substantial support by using both encapsulation and compression. The higher neckline provides added coverage that helps to limit movement and add stability. This tank-style bra is adjustable at both the band and straps with the use of hook-and-eye closures, ensuring that you get the best fit possible.

 

 

New Balance Power Printed Bra

The New Balance Power Printed Bra offers a fun, stylish option without sacrificing support. Encapsulation and compression are both used to provide substantial support in this racerback bra. The contoured cups offer shaping and light padding. The straps are adjustable and the back features a hook-and-eye closure, so you will be able to get the perfect overall fit in this bra.

 

 

New Balance Shockingly Unshocking Bra

This bra is perfect for larger-chested women who are looking for adequate support without compression. Encapsulation provides all the support you need in the New Balance Shockingly Unshocking Bra, which has wide tank-style straps for a comfortable fit. Molded cups ensure a smooth fit without extra padding, and mesh paneling increases breathability. The adjustable straps and rear hook-and-eye closure both make it so that you’ll be able to find the perfect-for-you fit.

 


Band Size: 40+
Cup Size: DD+

Brooks Maia Bra

The Brooks Maia Bra uses both encapsulation and compression support for a secure hold, as well as underwire for additional structure. The wide, tank-style straps are gel-infused and adjustable, and the rear hook-and-eye closure provides some additional adjustability with an easy on-and-off. The molded cups provide smooth shaping without added padding.

 

 

Enell Sport Bra Plus Sizes

The Enell Bra provides substantial support for larger-busted women without a restrictive, compressing feel. Encapsulation provides support and the full-back design also helps carry the weight without placing unwanted stress on the shoulders. Front hook-and-eye closures provide an easy on-and-off as well as a secure hold.

 

*Bra featured in above video.

 

Shop all Sports Bras for DD Cups and E & F Cups


Tracie is a former teacher and a lifelong learner who loves exploring. Most at home in the mountains, she enjoys tearing up and down the trails on her mountain bike, and occasionally leaves the wheels at home for a run through the trees. Having recently earned her personal trainer certification, Tracie thrives on helping others reach their athletic goals.

Read more posts by Tracie

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