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Best bras for support 2023: Lift and shape your bust from £18

Our top picks of the most comfortable and supportive bras for everyday wear

A supportive bra is an everyday essential for most women – and finding a bra that provides the proper support can feel like an impossible task. Not only that, but if your bra doesn’t give adequate support, it can also be physically damaging. Finding the right supportive bra doesn’t have to be a challenge, and you don’t have to feel resigned to a bulky mess of fabric to keep you lifted.

Many companies now recognise the need for bras that provide quality support while offering visual appeal. Gone are the days of huge cups with thick straps that feel as much like a shirt as a bra. You can now find good support in various bra styles, even wireless or strapless.

We’ve helped narrow down your choices so that you have a clear guide to the best bra for support. Our list and buying guide below can also help you to decide what style works best for you.

READ NEXT: The best strapless bras to buy

Best bras for support: At a glance

How to choose the best bra for support

Many people believe that wires are the key to quality support in a bra, but that’s not always the case.

What makes a bra supportive?

Multiple factors help determine the amount of support a bra provides. They include:

The band: This is the part that provides the majority of a bra’s support. This strip of fabric sits under the cups and wraps around your torso. The wider the band is, the more support you get. For heavier busts, the band should fit snugly and have minimal stretch. The rule of thumb (or finger) is that you should be able to fit two fingers underneath the band. Any more and the band is too loose; any less and it’s too tight.

The underwire: Just because a bra doesn’t need wire to offer support doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a role to play. The underwire gives structure to bra cups, which helps with lifting and shaping.

The straps: These work along with the band to keep your bust lifted. Wider straps tend to offer greater weight support, but it’s not impossible to get support with no straps at all. Like the band, straps should be tight enough to fit two fingers underneath. Any looser and the straps will slip off the shoulders; any tighter and it can end up being painful.

Should I choose wired or wireless?

This is a question that comes down to preference. Each option has benefits and drawbacks, so consider which one has more pros than cons for you specifically.

Underwire bras offer conventional shaping and support. They’re a tried and tested method for getting the fit you need. They also provide a good amount of lift and help define your shape. For some people, however, wires just aren’t comfortable. They may dig into the ribs or the underarms and just not feel right.

Wireless bras are hands down the more comfortable option. Also known as soft cup bras, they can still have a snug, supportive band and proper straps to give you good support. That said, they don’t have the definition that underwire bras do, so you may not be as happy with the shaping you get.

No matter what style you choose, you won’t get proper support if you’re wearing the wrong bra size. If you’re not sure of your exact size, consider finding a lingerie store near you that offers bra fittings. That way, you can be sure you’re getting just the right fit.

How we test bras for support

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. We test all the support bras we review by wearing the products under a variety of outfits, considering their different fits, and judging any special features. Where support bras are recommended for a particular body type or use case, the bras are reviewed by the appropriate body types, or use scenarios, to ensure we make an accurate recommendation.

Throughout testing, we evaluate each bra for support level, overall comfort, style options, and how they feel after a long day of wear. We also consider the fit of the band and straps against the body. Finally, we confirm the measurements of the product.

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The best bras for support to buy in 2023

1. Shock Absorber Active Multi: The best sports bra for support

Price when reviewed: £40 | Check price at ASOS

The Active Multi extreme high support bra from Shock Absorber provides you with support even during high-impact movements. A good sports bra is designed to keep you supported and keep everything in place while you exercise. But that doesn’t mean you only have to wear a sports bra during your workout. A good sports bra, like this Shock Absorber, can offer you all-day comfort and lift.

The bra provides support with a stretchy yet secure band, with adjustable straps and double hook-and-eye fastening at the back. These two fastening points add to the support provided by the band. The racer back design holds you up without constricting your movement. It has a v-neck front and is wire-free for optimal comfort.

Sports bras typically provide support through compression. While compression plays a role with this item, it works alongside the band and doubles back to keep you lifted without squishing your chest.

Key specs – Sizes: 32B to 38G; Materials: Polyester

Check price at ASOS

2. Fantasie Illusion: The best bra with side support

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at John Lewis

When it comes to wearing a bra, nothing is more irritating than when the breast bunches up near your armpit. A bra with side support works in one of two ways to eliminate this spillage. One is an extra strip of fabric that runs beside the cup. The Fantasie Illusion uses the other method: a three-panel cup. The bra has an extra panel on the outer edge of each cup that runs the full length of the cup, from the band to the strap.

The Illusion’s three-piece cup provides both support and a forward lift, which minimises breast tissue bunched at the sides. It works alongside the band and soft straps to provide support and a smoother silhouette. This underwired bra uses hook-and-eye fastening and comes in five different colours. While it’s not available in smaller sizes, it’s usually people with fuller breasts that need the side support.

Key specs – Sizes: 30DD to 38H; Materials: Nylon, elastane

Check price at John Lewis

3. Embrace Wired Extra Support: The best bra for large breast support

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Marks & Spencer

For those with a larger chest, a bra without proper support can be a major issue. At best, it will cause discomfort throughout the day. At worst, it can cause muscle and back pain, headaches and even long-term physical issues. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re properly supported at every size. The Embrace Wired Extra Support bra from Marks & Spencer is specifically designed to support larger busts. The bra has a non-padded full cup, providing coverage without adding bulk.

It includes an underwire to support and lift the chest. The top of the cup is lined with mesh lace, which is adorned with embroidered flowers. Along with the keyhole space between the cups, this lace feature brings a sultry style to the overall design. It has hook and eye fastening and soft, microfibre-blend fabric.

The Embrace bra is available in black, white and beige. It covers a wide variety of band sizes and most higher cup sizes.

Key specs – Sizes: 32F to 44J; Materials: Polyamide, polyester, elastane

Check price at Marks & Spencer

4. Wonderbra Refined Glamour Ultimate Strapless: The best strapless bra for support

Price when reviewed: £46 | Check price at Bravissimo

You may think that wearing a supportive bra means sacrificing bare shoulders, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With the right technology, a strapless bra can still provide the lift you need so you can wear that off-the-shoulder dress you love. The Wonderbra Refined Glamour Ultimate Strapless bra features that convenient gadgetry with a gorgeous flair and provides the cleavage effect Wonderbra is known for. The bra is designed with a plastic frame, as opposed to the traditional wire frame.

This polycarbonate is Wonderbra’s patented hand support technology, which literally mimics hands supporting you. This offers a natural lift and comfortable support. The band includes silicone dots that are perfectly spaced to keep the bra in place without causing irritation. The bra is finished with beautiful structured lace for a feminine, glamorous touch. The size availability is somewhat limited compared to other brands, but it does still accommodate small and slightly larger busts. It’s worth noting that there’s no option to attach straps to this bra.

Key specs – Sizes: 30D to 38G; Materials: Polyamide, polyester, elastane

Check price at Bravissimo

5. Boux Avenue Full Support Lounge: The best wireless bra for support

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Boux Avenue

For some, wearing a wired bra all day is a pain – figuratively and literally. Even when a wired bra fits perfectly, some people just find the sensation too uncomfortable. While it may seem like a wireless bra wouldn’t offer the same support as a wired one, that’s not the case. This comfort bra from Boux Avenue has moulded cups with light padding and microfibre fabric, allowing you to get excellent support from the band, the coverage and even the type of fabric used.

The benefit of this is that the bra will adapt to your shape, giving you a perfect silhouette. The full cups provide excellent coverage, adding to the wireless support. The website also states that it has “improved support for larger cup sizes”.

The Boux Avenue Full Support Lounge bra comes in black, white and blush. There are only four cup sizes available, but there’s a wider variety when it comes to the band sizes.

Key specs – Sizes: 30E to 40G; Materials: Polyamide, polyester, elastane

Check price at Boux Avenue

6. Boux Avenue Mollie: The best full lace bra with support

Price when reviewed: £28 | Check price at Boux Avenue

You need everyday support, but you want to keep it fancy. We get it! Not everyone wants to put aside beauty to make room for comfort. That’s why we chose the Boux Avenue Mollie unpadded balconette bra. It offers the best of both worlds. The bra has a beautiful all-over floral lace, with scalloped edges that keep it from showing under your clothes. The mesh back offers breathability for added comfort. It also has a sling panel to provide even more support.

To tie up the visual appeal, there’s a little bow in the centre between the cups. The balconette style has low-cut cups, and straps set further apart than normal. This strap setting offers upward lift and support.

The Boux Avenue Mollie bra is available in classic black and white. There are a number of band sizes available, but a limited size range in cups.

Key specs – Ages: 30DD to 44G; Materials: Polyamide, elastane

Check price at Boux Avenue

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